(HOST) With predictions that the world would end May 21st having failed to materialize, we apparently have a new date to worry about. This morning commentator Barrie Dunsmore gives us his take on Armageddon.
(DUNSMORE) Harold Camping is the Christian radio broadcaster who foretold that the world was going to end on May 21st, 2011. He based this prediction on Revelation, the final book of the Bible’s New Testament , along with his own expertise in numerology. When it didn’t, he had no difficulty explaining. Camping said he now believed that May 21st was the "spiritual" Judgment Day. The physical "rapture" of Christians rising up to heaven, with God’s simultaneous destruction of the Universe, will occur October 21st, 2011.
The traditional view of the Book of Revelation is that it was written near the end of the First Century by St. John the Divine, who may also have been the apostle John who wrote the fourth book of the New Testament. In this interpretation, John was being held prisoner by the Romans and while sometimes writing in code for the still small Christian flock, he may also have been trying to put the fear of God into the minds of Christian persecutors. Although modern scholars often dispute its source, Revelation has endured for two millennia as the ultimate warning of the final battle between Good and Evil – when only devout Christians will be saved and go to heaven – and the rest of humanity and the earth itself, will be destroyed.
As I saw the destruction of Joplin Missouri – and began reflecting on the extraordinary devastation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and the unbelievable scenes of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami – it occurred to me that this might well be how the end of the world may begin – not with a big bang but incrementally.
Here in Vermont last winter we had more snow than any previous year and the wettest spring ever.
In the rest of the country, the Mississippi and Missouri rivers rage much above normal. And in the Mid-West more than 500 people have been killed during the worst tornado season since the 1950s.
I do not have the expertise to relate all of this to climate change, but I tend to believe those numerous experts who do see a link, if not always a direct one. For instance, global warming does create greater amounts of moisture in the atmosphere and that could explain the record snow and rainfall leading to so much flooding. Likewise, hurricane seasons have been more destructive in recent years. That may be because winds and weather from Africa are increasingly heating up the area in which hurricanes form in the mid-Atlantic. A century ago, the Sahel region, the wide strip that runs across Africa just south of the Sahara desert was completely forested. Today, much of it is desert.
My point is simply this. It’s easy enough to shrug off quirky doomsday prophesies. However, nature is providing ample evidence that global warming and climate change are tangible and serious threats to our environment and our way of life. Yet most of America is still blithely ignoring these warnings. And it does so at great peril.
(TAG) For more commentaries by Barrie Dunsmore, go to VPR-dot-net.