A Climate Hawk’s Rethinking of Biblical Armageddon

The catastrophic effects of the earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan has once again catapulted the view of an “end times” apocalypse into the minds of many Judeo-christian believers.

Like all orthodox christians raised on church teachings I bought into the Biblical prophesy about the “end of times” and the second coming of the Messiah.  But as I got older and began to research the history of the faith and the institution of the church that encompasses all the centuries of dogma, I have since become a skeptic and now view what was written back in ancient times as perhaps nothing more than an attempt by religious leaders to keep a tight leash on those followers who “had strayed from the ways” of their ancestral teachings.

For the most part, all that was prophesied within scripture can be easily attributed to events going on during that time when these words were being written, much like the preterist view holds.  To think this was aimed at generations centuries removed from those times is pretty much dispelled by the very words attributed to the son of God himself.

In Luke 21:7 when an apostle asked Jesus when the end of times would come “and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass”, he told them in verse 32, after describing the generic signs, that “This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” Now, twist this anyway you want, but if you are to take the Bible literally as many fundamentalist Christians expect, then “this generation” surely referred to those who Jesus was addressing during that time-space continuum.  All utterances today that WE are that generation is simply speculative fear-mongering, in my opinion.

Global mean surface temperature difference fro...

Image via Wikipedia

The forces of good and evil are most likely not spiritual in nature but could consist of  humans who, on the one side, would deny that these cataclysmic occurrences are the result of industries who are guilty of adding to the green house effect that is generating record high temperatures on this planet.  Anthropogenic global warming from increased CO2 in our atmosphere from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) is likely impacting many of the natural disasters occurring at larger levels and frequencies than ever before recorded.

There is no denying that there has been singular catastrophic events long before our use of fossil fuels that are greater than anything modern man has seen but there is little evidence that the rate and strength of these natural calamities has occurred at the current levels.  It may seem a stretch to many to suggest that what mankind does can impact such things as droughts, floods, earthquakes and all the destructive effects of these events.  There is a sound explanation however that can be found in the years of research of climate science that dates back as far the 19th century “when natural changes in paleoclimate were first suspected and the natural greenhouse effect first identified.”

On man-made global warming, there is evidence that stands up to scrutiny, suggesting that end-times catastrophes are in store for us if we don’t reduce our use of fossil fuels.  Our ecosystem is a balanced system that when excesses occur with what nature created, there will be negative consequences.  CO2 is a vital part of our life system but like anything in excess, can prove fatal to our very existence.  The science shows that as natural CO2 is emitted by nature, there is a balance of O2 that results from the natural cycling process.

Natural emissions that come from plants breathing out CO2 and outgassing from the ocean add up to 776 billion tons per year.  These emissions, left alone would become life-threatening IF they were not converted to O2, the air we breathe, that results as plants also breath in CO2 along with huge amounts that dissolve into the ocean.  Currently earth is capable of converting as many as 788 billion tons of CO2 to oxygen, leaving some room for any instances where excess CO2 can be absorbed and converted if necessary.  Thus when people deny global warming is a farce because CO2 is not a toxic threat, they are only half right, provided our delicate balance of CO2/O2 doesn’t alter significantly.

However, once these excess occur, as is happening when we emit 23 billion tons of CO2 annually from burning fossil fuels to power our homes, businesses and transportation systems, the delicate balance that supports life is effected and the consequences can result in an uptick in natural disasters.  This conversion process is further threatened though deforestation to build glamorous housing and business communities as we remove the means to convert CO2 to oxygen.

click on image to enlarge

When these increases in CO2 remain in the atmosphere, it creates a barrier which prevents solar energy from escaping back out into space.  This warms up the planet which in turn starts melting the earth’s air conditioning system – the ice in glaciers and polar caps.  Sea water levels rise as this ice melts and slowly floods coastlines, where three fifths of the world’s population live.  This change in sea water also alters its chemical composition, making it more acidic which kills off the sea life, decreasing food supplies that support many economic systems human inhabitants rely on.

This increased warming effect will also heat up more of the water in the oceans and generate more moisture in the atmosphere which is then moved around by wind currents and dropping its excesses on land areas, resulting in floods.  This expanded hydrology cycle however doesn’t distribute moisture equally around the planet so as global temperatures rise many areas will go without adequate moisture, over heat and droughts will ensue.

Both the increased flooding and draughts that result from a heating planet caused by increased CO2 in the atmosphere threatens land use for habitation as well as clean water and food supplies for survival.  This scenario has already been plotted by the Department of Defense’s DARPA study showing “the potentially imminent and colossal national security threat posed by climate change.” (SOURCE)

These are undeniable facts and there is a preponderance of scientific evidence that shows since the dawn of the Industrial age where fossil fuels have served as our primary source of energy that CO2 levels have increased dramatically.  The safe level of CO2 by which life can be sustained is set at 350 ppm.  We climbed above that level for the first time in man’s history in 1987 and have been inching up about 2 ppm each year.

The signs for an Armageddon are here folks though not what many biblical doomsayers forecasted.  Yet because the fossil fuel industry lobby has paid millions for clever people to create a smoke screen around these facts, religious fundamentalists and their politically conservative/corporate counterparts are not willing to respond to the urgency many have feared all their lives.  Perhaps it will take a different generation of those who interpret end time prophecies divined from scripture to put it in to 21st century realities.

RESOURCES:

History of climate change science

Past, Present, and Future Temperatures: the Hockeystick FAQ

The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism

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2 responses to “A Climate Hawk’s Rethinking of Biblical Armageddon

  1. This was so good. I am with you. I believe that many of the disasters are not so much a punishment or a reeling in from the almighty or divine or whatever but a result of man made abuse. I also agree that time is of the essence but conservative ideology has obfuscated the the environmental threat and instead created an end-of-the-world scenario.

  2. Revelations served as a warning to Christians who were being perscuted by the Roman Empire. 666 is decoded to mean Czar Nero when written in Hebrew. It was a warning. It’s not meant to be taken literally, but metaphorically, and has nothing to do with modern times.

    It’s a story that is wholly First Century. And, that is the era in which it should be understood.

    As an Evangelical, I have argued with fellow church members over this many times. And when I attended the Catholic Church, I argued it just as often with some of those people.

    Do I believe in end times? Yes, but because of what Jesus said in Matthew. My belief has nothing to do with Revelations.

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