Sunday, January 03, 2010
The Coming Disaster
Some people are predicting horrible apocalyptic-things that will happen this year that will not happen. At all. The predictions are there. The predictions will not be fulfilled. Probably the predictors will not stand before us and confess they were in error. Some may actually say the apocalyptic event has happened and the rest of us were too blind to see it. Apocalyptic guilt and shame will be heaped on us doubters. Meanwhile, people who believe the false prophets will live in fear of the coming non-event.
I now declare this: "2012" will never happen. I am not saying that the year 2012 will not come and go. I am saying that the world will not end in 2012. The comign and going of 2012 will be the sign that the "2012 disaster" did not measure up to our great expectations. Therefore you do not need to spend any time studying that or how or why the Mayan calendar does not go beyond 2012. The following will not happen: "First, a polar reversal will cause the north to become the south and the sun to rise in the west. Shattering earthquakes, massive tidal waves and simultaneous volcanic eruptions will follow. Nuclear reactors will melt, buildings will crumble, and a cloud of volcanic dust will block out the sun for 40 years." Not. And I write this looking out my window almost able to see the nuclear power plant on the north side of our community.
"2012" will bring forth all kinds of religious people, including Christians, who will warn us of 2012. Some of them will write books and make some money. In 2013 these books will be selling for $1.98 on the table outside of Borders. I predict this and warn you of this and warn you not to buy one of these books until 2013, and then still don't buy them. Just like Christmas displays appear in stores in August, that we are still two years away from "December 21, 2012" gives ample time to hype the non-event and make lots and lots of money from it. "2012" is only going to get bigger, finally having its financial balloon popped on December 22, 2012. (If the 2012-apocalypse does happen, which of course it will not, I will publicly say I was wrong if I survive the Fermi-meltdown happening in my front yard.)
Remember Y2K, the great non-event? Denis Dutton writes in today's nytimes of Y2K. What didn't happen? The following: "Haywire navigation controls might cause aircraft to fall from the skies. Electricity grids, water systems and telephone networks would be knocked out, while nuclear power plants would be subject to meltdown. Savings and pension accounts would be wiped out in a general bank failure. A cascade of breakdowns in communication and commerce would create vast shortages of food and medicine, which would, in turn, produce riots, lawlessness and social collapse. Even worse, ICBMs might rise from their silos unbidden, spreading death across the globe."
In the fall before the Y2K non-event we held a community meeting at our church about Y2K, to alleviate fears. Leaders of our city's electric, water, and other services gave presentations. I will never forget the man in charge of water tell us that, on Jan 1, 2000, our water would be running because none of it was computerized, but rather operated manually by turning a large wheel that opened the valve connected to Lake Erie. The only danger was that if the man who manually operated the valve was wearing a defibrillator and the computer chip in his heart failed, causing him to go crazy and close the valve. In that case someone would have to go and re-open it.
Y2K is instructive because of the global fear it engendered. "Asia, a Deutsche Bank official had predicted, was going to be “burnt toast” on New Year’s Day — not just the lesser-developed areas of Vietnam and China, but South Korea, which by 1999 was a highly computer-dependent society. South Korea, one computer expert told me, had a national telephone system similar to British Telecom’s. But where the British had wisely sunk millions of pounds into Y2K remediation, South Korea had done next to nothing." In the United States $100 billion had spent spent on Y2K preparations.
Dutton says that "the Y2K fiasco was about more than simply prudence... From today’s perspective, the Y2K fiasco seems to be less about technology than about a morbid fascination with end-of-the-world scenarios." As a culture we like watching disaster movies and are fascinated by TV shows that document everything from parachute cliff-jumpers who fall to their death to video footage of the Asian tsunami. A coming disaster can breathe life into somebody's failing career or church, even if only until the disaster does not come.
What shall we do? I suggest:
1. Something is coming.
2. God knows what it is.
3. God can reveal and sometimes has revealed future events to prophetic people.
4. You don't need to trust prophetic disaster-voices that you are unfamiliar with, or do not find credible. (I suggest to beware of people who make money off of writing books on the coming disaster, since if the disaster comes they and their money will be either worthless or gone. If they really believed in such nonsense, and cared about people, they would give their books away for free.)
5. Continue trusting in God, living as if this might be your last day on earth to do so.