These Times

Vol. 25 No. 3 | Mar-Apr 2015

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THREE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

The symbolic Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has been moved closer to midnight, a statement of how close the planet is to a global disaster. “It is now three minutes to midnight,” said Kennette Benedict, the executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. “The probability of global catastrophe is very high. This is about the end of civilization as we know it.”

The clock was moved closer to midnight because of “unchecked climate change” and the “threat of nuclear weapons.” It is the closest to midnight it has been since 1984 during the “cold war.” The only time it was closer (two minutes to midnight) was in 1953 when the hydrogen bomb was first tested.

The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the countdown to convey threats to humanity and the earth.

“World leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe,” said the Bulletin. “These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth.”

The clock was moved from six minutes to five minutes ‘till midnight in 2012 in response to nuclear proliferation and climate change.

“When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Matthew 24:33.

“Doomsday Ticks Closer to Midnight: ‘the Probability of Global Catastrophe is Very High,’” www.theage.com.au, January 23, 2015.

SCIENCE INCREASINGLY MAKES CASE FOR GOD

In 1966, Carl Sagan announced that there were only two important criteria for a planet to support life, which meant that a septillion planets (1 with 24 zeros) were capable of supporting life in the universe. Now researchers have learned that there are over 200 parameters required to support life, which has reduced the odds for life on a single planet (ours, for instance) to less than zero, suggesting that we shouldn’t be here.

“At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces?” wrote a recent Wall Street Journal columnist. “Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?”

Furthermore, the fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe itself to exist. Alter any one tiny value and the universe could not exist; stars could not have been formed. The odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the idea that it “just happened” defies common sense. It’s like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row.

Even Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” by the astronomical odds. He later wrote that “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology…. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Theoretical physicist Paul Davies has said that “the appearance of design is overwhelming,” and Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox has said “the more we get to know about our universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator…gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.”

“The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something—or Someone—beyond itself.”

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of Heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth…saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made Heaven, and Earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:6, 7.

 “Science Increasingly Makes Case for God,” www.WSJ.com, Dec. 25, 2014.

US GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL CALLS FOR GLOBAL COVENANT OF WORLD RELIGIONS

“Faced with the urgent crisis provoked by Islamic state extremists, faith leaders must work harder to prevent religiously motivated violence,” says Jerry White, deputy assistant Secretary of State in the US government’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. White was at the Vatican recently to promote a “Global Covenant of World Religions.”

“Religion is a vocabulary that is being used…to justify violence,” White said. “Religion has to be part of the solution—and that’s why a conversation about a new covenant, an interreligious peace treaty…” is needed, he claims. “We have to actually go beyond photo opportunities, beyond interfaith conferences, and say: What would our agreement look like in terms of an interreligious fatwa against violence.”

White believes that the Pope is the logical center of this important initiative and applauds the fact that “a number of the world’s religious leaders are dropping through Rome more than ever before, and appealing for that type of neutral brokerage, a third side…. You’re seeing hopeful signs of people reaching out, courageous stands for peace and renunciation of violence.”

Increasingly, Pope Francis is being sought after for geopolitical and religious solutions. Shimon Peres, the former prime minister of Israel, recently suggested to the pope that there be an organization of United Religions which the pope would head. Now the United States is calling for something similar.

The Bible predicts that at the end of time, the world will “marvel and follow after the beast.” Revelation 13:3, NKJV.

“Call to Action For ‘Global Covenant of World Religions,’” Vatican Radio, Oct. 23, 2014.

GAMES OF WAR

Deadly violence erupted at a soccer match near Cairo, Egypt, on February 8, 2015, leaving 40 dead and dozens more injured when “huge numbers of Zamalek club fans…tried to storm the stadium gates by force” prompting military intervention. The “Ultras,” a radical group of Zamalek fans, instigated the violence. They also took part in the Egyptian street protests in 2011 and are considered some of the fiercest fighters in Africa.

Egypt has a deadly history of soccer game riots. In February of 2012, 72 people were killed and more than 500 injured at a soccer game in Port Said.

Soccer violence isn’t limited to Egypt. While the 2013 World Cup matches were playing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, angry soccer players 1300 miles to the northeast beat an opponent to death, decapitated him, and displayed his head on a fence post.

The violence that accompanies many sporting events can even result in war. In 1969, a five-day war known as the “Soccer War” erupted when Honduras and El Salvador tied in soccer matches leading up to the 1970 World Cup games. Six-thousand people were killed, 12,000 wounded, and 50,000 lost their homes before a cease-fire was arranged.

The Bible forbids activities that foster strife and pride. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3. Paul prophesied, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,…incontinent, fierce,…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:1–4.

“Dozens Killed in Violence at Cairo Football Game,” www.aljazeera.com, Feb. 9, 2015.

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