Secular scientists are now predicting an “end times” that resembles that of the Bible. The only problem is they aren’t offering any hope.
Can it be that the hostility toward Christian, Jewish and Muslim belief in some kind of catastrophic end to the world as we know it is nothing more than an expression of prejudice? While it is true that almost all religious end-times predictions are mere speculation, the latest being the September 23 “prophecy,” that doesn’t mean belief in a doomsday is false. The very same is true of science’s repeated predictions of a “natural” doomsday. Though leading scientists have wrongly predicted impending global catastrophes of various kinds, their hastiness doesn’t mean that mass extinction for one reason or another is a false scenario altogether.
The three monotheistic religions have different versions of the End Times, but all revolve around a messianic figure. Jews and Christians believe that this divinely-empowered person will transform our planet by means of global war. This end-times war will trigger “natural” catastrophes like earthquakes, asteroids and deadly pandemics.
Contemporary scientific and pseudo-scientific end-times scenarios are surprisingly similar, and just as horrific. John’s Book of Revelation speaks of extraordinary celestial events that will devastate our planet. It is quite possible that “something like a huge mountain, all ablaze … thrown into the sea,” speaks of an asteroid. Scientists today are so concerned with asteroids hitting earth that they have convinced governments to launch special defense programs against them. Movies like Armageddon (1998) and the 2013 meteor that hit the Russian town of Chelyabinsk have caused a great many to believe that a disastrous asteroid is likely to hit earth within the next 100 years.
The journal Perspective, which often focuses on climate change, recently published an article, signed by 22 leading scientists, stating that “there is scientific consensus that unmitigated carbon emissions will lead to global warming of at least several degrees Celsius by 2100, resulting in high-impact local, regional and global risks to human society and natural ecosystems.” John’s Apocalypse speaks of heatwaves that scorch earth’s vegetation:
“A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.”
Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant stated presciently on CNN just a few years ago that “in the next 20 years, 30 years, there will be a pandemic.” John’s Apocalypse speaks of some kind of pandemic that kills millions:
“A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.”
In his 2015 article in Science magazine, Eric Hand warned that ocean acidification believed to be responsible for the Permian mass extinction 250 million years ago, can cause mass extinction once again. John’s Apocalypse envisions poisoned oceans:
“A third of the sea turned into blood.”
The probability of man-made global bloodshed has increased dramatically with the appearance of cheap drones and other means of easily delivering weapons of mass destruction. Almost any savvy hi-tech sociopath can now purchase online an unlimited number of cheap drones, enough to cause mass death. John’s Apocalypse speaks of two “sociopaths” – “beast” and “dragon” – who will instigate a global war (Rev. 16:13).
The religious and those who adhere solely to science also share a very similar enthusiasm for predictions. Frank Fenner, who helped develop the smallpox vaccine, predicted in 2010 that humans will be extinct within 100 years. Renowned ecologist Guy McPherson said just last year that humanity has but a decade before extinction. And the list goes on.
Doomsday predictions made by the religious and the secular are not only remarkably similar; scientists have made them real enough to convince governments to take appropriate action. With all the similarities, however, one major difference between the scientific and the religious doomsday scenarios stands out. Science offers purposeless mass suffering and extinction. Judaism and Christianity envision an Eden-like world born out of the doomsday ashes. Given that the Bible predates scientific awakening to the possibility of doomsday by millennia, the hope it carries may prove to be just as real as the destruction it foresees.