An inconvenient truth meets nuclear apocalypse

By By Matt Homer

By Matt Homer

Apocalypse-looking Christians and climate-worried scientists seem to have more in common these days.

This past week, the “Doomsday Clock,” a figurative representation of how much time is left before the “end of civilization,” ticked two minutes forward. According to the Bulleting of Atomic Scientists, we now have just five minutes before our annihilation.

The scientists who chose to move the clock forward cited the continued pervasiveness of nuclear weapons and the threat of global warming as signs that the end could be near. In a public statement, they argued, “We stand at the brink of a second nuclear age,” and that “The dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons.”

They are also worried nanotechnology could produce “missiles the size of an insect” and biological research could lead to “programming organisms for?malign purposes.” The scientists’ statements evoke images of apocalyptic doom and nuclear endgame.

Dr. Strangelove meets the seven-headed beast.

On the other side of the spectrum, Pat Robertson–outspoken Evangelical preacher and host of “The 700 Club”–has predicted that catastrophe will hit the United States later this year.

“I’m not necessarily saying it’s going to be nuclear. The Lord didn’t say it would be nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that,” he said on his television show.

The Christian right has had a rough time with science. But today it appears that some are beginning to agree with scientists on global warming. Even Pat Robertson has said that he’s becoming a believer.

Still, not all agree. In fact, many of the most ardent disbelievers of global warming are the same individuals who believe flooding and earthly havoc will usher in the second coming at any time.

Both Christians and scientists have voiced their opinions that the end could be near, but for very different reasons. Scientists believe our consumption-driven lifestyles are leading to our ultimate demise, while many Christians believe it is the lifestyle of moral wickedness that signals we are coming to an end. Which is it? Or, are we looking at two sides of the same coin?

Despite a similar view that our civilization may soon end, there are major points of divergence. For example, scientists believe the “end” is avoidable if we take corrective actions. Most Christians, on the other hand, believe the end of the world is inevitable.

Christians and scientists also disagree on how to best cope with our coming demise. Environmental scientists want us to reduce carbon emissions and, in some instances, limit our own procreation. Christians, on the other hand, are more concerned with saving us from eternal torment. The difference in strategies is one of perspective: Scientists are concerned with the world we currently have, while Christians are thinking of the world to come.

Preventing the onslaught of moral sin (such as gay marriage and abortion) is as essential a strategy to many Christians as stopping carbon emissions is to Al Gore.

The author of an Assyrian tablet from 2800 BC also worried the end was approaching.

“Our earth is degenerate in these latter days (and) there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end,” he wrote.

Is our predicament similar to his? Or, is the end actually near?

Matt Homer

Courtesy Michelle Christensen