commentary: Dire Predictions
Fear and Hope
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 21-Sep-19; Sermon #1507c; 11 minutes
Over the past 50 years, climate alarmists have made many doomsday predictions, none of which have panned out. Virtually all of Paul Ehrlich's predictions regarding the effects of population growth proved to be groundless. Alarmists over a half century have predicted overpopulation, famine, water rationing, peak oil, killer bees, global cooling, a new Ice Age and global warming. Al Gore and Prince Charles have repeatedly issued the irresponsibly outlandish warning that mankind has only months to save the planet. None of these predictions have come to pass, even when reputedly 'trustworthy' sources such as NASA, the U.S. Navy, or the UN issued them. Psalm 118:9 warns us not to trust men or princes (leaders). We can trust God because He always tells the truth and warns us in Amos 5:18, "Woe to you that desire the Day of the Lord." God predicts the coming of dreadful events, but these events should be neither our focus nor our dread. Satan and his accomplices in the media and government use fear as a means of social control.
This week, a college classmate of mine posted a list of failed dire predictions on Facebook. He likely reposted it from somewhere else, but I will give him the credit anyway. These things are posted and reposted and reposted, and that is just how these things go. What he wrote on top of his list says this:
“The sky is falling (and has been for a very long time). One of these times they'll be right, right? Afterall, even a stopped clock's correct twice a day!”
I won’t share the whole list, but I'm going to share a good part of it. Let me just remind you of some of the whoppers the media has put out there. I think they put these out there, not necessarily for journalistic purposes, but to scare the public about these impending disasters—to scare them into action (or reaction). Just listen to some these—like I said, they are whoppers:
1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years. (1966 was the year of my birth; I am 53. So, 53 years ago, they said that in 10 years, all the oil would be gone. We seem to be swimming in it now.)
1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975 (Paul Ehrlich)
1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide (Paul Ehrlich)
1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989 (NYT, Paul Ehrlich)
1970: Ice Age By 2000 (Boston Globe, James P. Lodge, Jr., National Center for Atmospheric Research)
1970: America Subject to Water Rationing By 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980 (Paul Ehrlich)
1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources
1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish
1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
1970s: Killer Bees! (They were going to come up and sting us all. They even made movies about it. Pretty corny, too.)
1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life’ (Prof. T.M. Donahue, U. of Michigan, to Congress)
1976: Scientific Consensus: Planet Cooling, Famines imminent (NYT)
1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes (Canadian Environmental Minister)
1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (Canberra Times, AUS) (The Maldives are still there, by the way.)
1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000 (UN)
1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (Salon mag., James Hansen)
2000: Children [in the near future] Won’t Know What Snow Is (Britain’s The Independent)
2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy (Britain’s The Guardian newspaper) (...because we spend so much of our resources on Fish, Meat, and Dairy.)
2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024 (Pentagon report, reported by The Guardian)
2005: Manhattan Underwater by 2015 (That's -4 years.)
2006: Super Hurricanes! (although regular hurricanes are destructive enough, as the Bahamas have recently seen.)
2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018 (NASA, James Hansen)
2008: Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013 (which, in 2009, he changed to 2014)
2009: Prince Charles Says We Have 96 Months to Save World (Britain’s The Independent)
2009: UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet From Catastrophe’ (ditto)
2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2016 (US Navy, Britain’s The Guardian)
2014: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’
Obviously, none of these have come to pass. The scary thing about most of these is that they were made by supposedly trustworthy people. Don't you think you should be able to trust a scientist? Doesn't he use the scientific method, trying to just get to the truth, the facts? Also trusted individuals in government, and trusted institutions, like NASA and the US Navy. Shouldn't we be able to trust organizations like that? It makes you wonder who you can trust.
And that’s the point. You cannot trust these people and institutions, no matter how high a regard they are held in by other people. They all have agendas, whether it is to be reelected—all those individuals in government—or to make their mark on history—a lot of scientists want to leave their name in there by Copernicus and Newton and others like that—or to push a political agenda. That is what we have had a lot of with this "climate change" thing. There is are a bunch of environmentalists who are trying to change our way of life to fit their political and economic ideas.
God warns us in Psalm 118:8-9; 146:3, and implies this in many other places, not to trust in men or even in princes. You would think that princes—your leaders, the ones that are out there making all these laws—can be trusted, but no, they cannot. They are men; they cannot be trusted. God is the only one we can trust. His word is the only sure thing in a world of liars and self-interested individuals and groups.
You have to remember that from the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden, God has told us that this world is a mixture of truth and error. It is a mixture of good and evil. It cannot be trusted. There is the old saw about if you put poison (say that is the air) in with wine (say that is the truth), you are still going to get poisoned. You have to be very careful.
On the other hand, God is truth. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. We can trust Him, because He never tells a lie.
We started this talking about dire predictions, and the Word of God has many dire predictions, and most of them are still to come to pass in the years ahead. If that is your thing, fine. Just remember that God warns us in Amos 5:18,
Amos 5:18 Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light.
Joe was talking about focus. Having these dire things that are prophesied to occur in our future as our focus is not healthy. Even though it is part of God's word, it is darkness and not light.
Sure, things are going to get worse as we approach the return of Christ, but always remember that Satan and his willing accomplices among men love to use fear to control you, to make you act and react in a way that is against both God and common sense and what you see with your own eyes. Don’t fall for those crazy conspiracy theories and radical agendas. Instead, read and study God’s Word and receive a helping of hope, along with the prophetic warnings He has—in love—provided for us beforehand.