Is Time Running Out for This World?
PROMINENT people in all parts of the world are, indeed, coming to the conclusion that time is running out. The forces that constantly push the nations toward the brink of nuclear war register in their minds like screaming alarm sirens. The danger of global economic collapse and the many forms of deadly environmental pollution add to their uneasiness. They sense that time is running out not just for a few nations but for the entire world. Why? Because none of them can come up with solutions that really work.
Their greatest concern is the threat of nuclear war. Earlier this year, in harmony with the advice of 47 scientists, including 18 Nobel prize winners, the monthly Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its “doomsday clock” forward one minute—to three minutes before midnight. The clock represents how close they believe the world is to a nuclear conflagration. “It is an expression of alarm,” they state. The “doomsday clock” is now the nearest it has been to midnight in 30 years!
Other menaces add to the intensity of the alarm:
● The “nuclear club,” once thought to be the exclusive domain of six nations, may actually have grown to nine nations. Professor Daniel Yergin of Harvard University reckons there will be 40 nuclear-bomb-making nations by 1985.
● The possibility that space will be a future battleground, with orbiting weapons spewing their laser-induced destruction across the face of the earth, has become real.
● Military strategists project the horrific idea of striking first, in the hope of winning a nuclear war.
These things give people nuclear jitters because they lower the nuclear-war threshold and increase the chances for a nuclear holocaust by accident.
Can nuclear war be triggered by accident? Harold Freeman, professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote a book entitled This Is the Way the World Will End—This Is the Way You Will End Unless. Therein he states that 151 indications of immediate attack were recorded in the 18 months prior to October 1980. “Four resulted in a state of alert for B-52 bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles, in preparation for retaliation,” he says. “All errors were corrected in time but some were close.” How close? On November 9, 1979, he continues, “bombers took to the air in six minutes, readying a nuclear counterattack.”
Where can we hide? Is any place safe? No! A nuclear war limited to the northern hemisphere could spread a blanket of lethal radioactive fallout over the southern hemisphere, too, or spawn a global “nuclear winter.” The seriousness of the situation has moved leaders of six nations—India, Mexico, Tanzania, Sweden, Greece and Argentina—to issue a declaration known as the Four Continent Peace Initiative. It states: “Today, the survival of humankind is in jeopardy.”
But not a few people try to block out their fears. They reason that there is little or nothing that they can do about the situation, so they try to go about life as if nothing were going to happen. However, such an attitude leaves out of account an important fact. What is that?
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Some young people believe that there really is a future for the human family. Many more believe that it is too late to avoid world disaster. “I have now accepted the fact that there quite possibly will be an ‘end of time,’” lamented one teenager.
For some, skepticism and confusion about the future has led to suicide. Long ago a wise man wrote: “Where there is no vision a people runs wild.” (Proverbs 29:18, The Bible in Living English) Without a reliable “vision” to give hope for the future, many youths adopt a way of life shaped by the philosophy of “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32) Some turn to drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, putting love of pleasure first, retreating into fantasy worlds, wanting to have it “all” now because there may not be a “later.” For them, “planning seems pointless, and ordinary values and ideals appear naive,” say Drs. Beardslee and Mack, two noted psychiatrists.a
This sense of hopelessness breeds the New Wave youth. Perhaps you have seen them with their bizarre clothes, multicolor hair that is cut in strange shapes, skin pierced with safety pins, and men with earrings. They are driven by an overwhelming feeling of exclusion and therefore want nothing to do with society. “Some things that we do may look outrageous,” said one New Wave youth, “but it is the only way left to us to say we are not part of your crazy world.”
Other youths who hear the nuclear-annihilation alarm worry. Unlike some adults who can block out their fears of nuclear destruction, youths, with their fertile imagination, cannot. Here is what they say:
● “I don’t feel like going up in smoke.”—Vanessa, 11.
● “When you really sit down and think about it, it puts fear in you. Your life-line is attached to a red button that when it is pushed you explode.”—Dexter, 13.
● “I have nightmares not about a nuclear war, but about nothing being here afterwards.”—Stacey, 14.
Yet other teenagers, though concerned, are not anxious. They are optimistic about their future.
● “Yes, I will have a future.”—Pam, 17.
● “It is impossible for a nuclear holocaust to come.”—Oliver, 17.
● “I don’t have that fear.”—Dashunta, 18.
● “I have the hope of living; I’m glad I have that knowledge.”—Elizabeth, 15.
Why are these youths so confident? What knowledge do they have? They have knowledge of the Bible and its prophecies, so they know why time is running out for this world.
a “The Impact on Children and Adolescents of Nuclear Developments,” from the American Psychiatric Association’s publication Psychosocial Aspects of Nuclear Developments.