|The Problem of Trusting In Ourselves|
(by Chris Long)
Many people have already "forgotten" since we've moved on to the latest news, but on March 11, 2011, there was a major earthquake and tsunami in Japan, that, in addition to the local devastation, for many days caused panic and concern around the world over the very real possibility of numerous nuclear reactors experiencing full core meltdown. The backup cooling systems had failed (knocked out by the tsuanmi) and it was looking quite likely for a while that there would be some very significant radiation releases.
In the final analysis, much of this was averted, but the lessons it showcases should definitely NOT be forgotten. Not only would a major radiation release from a meltdown have devastated Japan, the increase in low-dose radiation worldwide could have potential ramifications on all, beyond what many even consider. For instance, although I am not an expert, if there could be some concern about low-dose radiation potentially reaching people like me here in California some 5,000 miles away, then how that may affect fish and wildlife in the Pacific over the long-term (which are caught and become a part of our food supply, etc.) are all things to consider as well. There are loads of possible unintended consequences - and many things that are difficult to measure. Much like the major increase in a variety of diseases and conditions in the last 30-60 years (cancer being one of them!), there are all sorts of things that can be difficult to pinpoint and say that "x caused it", but yet they still have a negative overall effect over years and years.
If you are not aware, although scientists do not agree on the health risks of low-dose radiation (which besides radioactive emmisions, includes cell phones, WIFI signals, PET/CT/X-Rays, various other electronic devices including your television & computer, even radiation from space, etc.), there is agreement as I understand it that radiation exposure is cumulative - which means a low-dose in-and-of-itself is not a big deal, but it's all those little doses over time that can add up to eventually become a serious problem. Even those "experts" that focus on a specific thing and will say for instance that cell phones are not dangerous, will mostly admit when pushed on it, that the cumulative effect combined with other low-dose radiation, may well become a problem for you years down the road, etc.
Our lifestyles these days are very different from say 50-60 years ago. Besides your home/neighborhood, many businesses now days have WIFI signals as well. Then there's cordless phones, cell phones (which many people talk/text on constantly), numerous other electronic devices, medical procedures such as CT/PET scans, microwaves, and all the myriad gadgets we have.
Then you add to that the fact that the number of atomic weapons that have been detonated as tests is estimated to be in the thousands (yes, more have been detonated than just the 2 that were dropped on Japan in WW2), the major meltdown of the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl for which if you don't know, the ~20 mile radius around it is STILL largely uninhabitable and will be for a VERY VERY VERY long time!, the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, etc. and well, you add it all together, and it really isn't hard to see why there's been such an increase in certain things such as cancer over the last 50 years. I just heard not long ago the stat where they now say that 1 in 2 men in America will develop cancer in their lifetime - that's HALF, folks!
People act like it's some giant mystery why there's all this increase in these kinds of illnesses. I guess I'm just a simple guy, but to me it really isn't all that hard to figure out.
We're literally destroying ourselves.
And that gets into what I want (no, make that feel "compelled") to write about today - which I will develop more fully in a minute.
For now, I just want to put out a basic logic flow to establish one of the key points of me writing today (and despite what it may seem, bashing "nuclear power" is not actually my intended goal):
- Humanity discovered powerful energy that could be harnessed via nuclear reactions
- Humanity immediately put such discovery towards a powerful weapon which was loosed upon the world
- Humanity subsequently got in competition with each other over such weapons to the point that several countries have enough nuclear weapons to blow the entire world up thousands of times over
- Almost immediately after WW2, someone had the bright idea that this nuclear energy could be harnessed for "peaceful" means to create energy for our society.
- Before you know it, despite the incredible health risks when something goes wrong, despite the fact that there is no real solution anywhere for long-term storage of nuclear fuel/fuel-rods (and they have a half-life of thousands or millions of years or something crazy like that), despite the fact that this was all "uncharted territory" for humanity as far as possible long-term effects/possible unintended consequences messing with such a serious thing, within 10 years of WW2, the first commercial power-plants were being designed and constructed to power cities/countries around the globe as key infrastructure.
- Japan has a major history of earthquakes and tsunami's. They KNOW this - this is not news to anyone. They live with earthquakes over there on a regular basis.
- Japan builds numerous nuclear power plants anyway. Even though they know the potential for earthquakes, they still build nuclear power plants. And they "feel safe" because they are supposed to be able to withstand large earthquakes. Yet, they aren't able to withstand REALLY large earthquakes, even though, again, they KNOW the potential over there for such earthquakes - this is NOT rocket science, here!
- They have nuclear power plants with backup systems that can also be damaged by tsunamis / earthquakes (I think we can all agree this has now been proven).
Lest you think I'm bashing Japan, I'm not. I live in California - earthquake country as well (though nothing like Japan). I've got a nuclear power plant relatively close to me as well. Even in a state with the earthquake history that California has, that didn't stop the development of such plants. And for the record, there have been numerous safety concerns at this plant in recent years - including one not that long ago, where they briefly had stopped 2 backup emergency systems at the same time for a short while. Had a nuclear emergency occurred in that window of time, the core likely would have melted down, and the MAJOR metropolitan area where this plant is located could have been devastated with untold millions affected.
Or, let's take the state of Arizona. Did you know that there's a major nuclear power plant that's actually key for energy for much of the western United States located in Arizona in the middle of the DESERT?? Yes, that's right - I've passed by it before on Interstate 10. By now, we all know the importance of having water available to cool a reactor core. According to Wikipedia, all nuclear power plants in the WORLD, except this one in Arizona, are by large bodies of waters for this purpose so that in an emergency, water is always available. But they built this thing out in the middle of the desert away from any natural body of water. I hope we never find out what they're gonna do if they ever have an emergency, because me thinks it may not be a pretty situation at all. (By the way, they have had numerous serious safety concerns at that plant also!)
Or, then you've got some reactors, like the ones at Chernobyl, which don't have containment domes to help contain the radioactive emissions in case of emergency. Yes, humanity, KNOWING that nuclear radiation wiped out loads of people in Japan in WW2, rushed to build nuclear power plants that didn't even have an outer containment "shell" to contain radioactive emmissions in the case of an emergency situation, even knowing that such release could be extremely serious and devastating.
So, maybe you're wondering what my point is.
It's not to bash nuclear power, though I AM staunchly against nuclear power. Many so-called "conservatives", of which I guess some might label me, seem to love "nuclear power". I don't. But my reason has NOTHING to do with politics or energy. I don't like it because of a spiritual issue. And it is this spiritual issue that I believe many people (including many in the Church) have missed - that I want to draw out today because it affects much more than just the narrow scope of nuclear power or nuclear weapons.
This whole "nuclear power" issue tells us something about humanity. What played out in Japan in such a clear way confirms to us something that the Bible tells us about humanity. And it's something that we as Christians desperately need to understand on a very clear level - especially in these times we are living in.
Humanity is thoroughly corrupted because of sin. Yes, I know, you're thinking "We already know that, Chris!" Yet, if we really do already know that, why do so many WITHIN the church act in such a way and hold beliefs that portray that they really don't?
It is absolutely INEVITABLE that there will be nuclear power accidents. Humanity CAN'T (yes, I said CAN'T!) rise above that. Humanity THINKS they can. Humanity, while recognizing that mistakes are made, always seems to be on a course where they think they can "improve" enough to rise above those mistakes. This goes for any area of life, not just nuclear power. It just happens to be that the stakes are really super high in the area of nuclear power and weapons.
The godless unbelievers (and sadly, many that would call themselves Christians) in the world really believe that if we all just try hard enough and come together as people, we can solve all of our problems. This is evident in a LOT of things we see going on in our world today. And this is a central theme in it seems almost every other movie Hollywood has produced in the last 15 years. (By the way, have you noticed the major increase in such movies in the last 15 years? I don't believe this is coincidence! There is a major spiritual war going on right now - make sure you are not inadvertantly being deceived by messages that the devil would love for you to believe!) This whole "humanity coming together to save the world" is literally a major theme of more major blockbuster movies than I can even name...many of which are movies that Christians have flocked to and loved right along with the world...Be careful, lest you be deceived. There is far more in play than many Christians realize...far more than just "simple entertainment" going on...there is a real spiritual war and all these things fit into that overarching war.
For those of you that have studied what the Bible has to say about the end-times, you will know how this whole "humanity coming together (rather than looking to God) to try to save the world" message fits in exactly with the end-times prophetic picture. The stage is being set. I encourage us all to make sure our eyes are wide open.
Because of sin, humanity makes mistakes (and lots of them). We will not ever rise above this by ourselves. There is no amount of knowledge that will overcome this. There is no amount of trying hard enough that can overcome this. Sin is degenerative. Our world at a core level is degenerating, not improving. I pray that we don't ever get confused on that (as evolutionists would like us to believe).
Humans in our natural state, while somewhat acknowledging that "mistakes" can occur, always seem to operate with this presumption that we can rise above that. It's our pride. The same pride incidentally that keeps people from God. It's an "I don't need God - I can do and be anything that I need" mentality. Hence, even though building nuclear power plants - where nuclear material if released could kill untold amounts of people if not immediately, then over time - in a country that frequently has major earthquakes and is prone to tsunamis, you would THINK would be illogical, humanity ignores and proceeds right ahead. Just as us humans rushed to build them in earthquake-prone California. Just as us humans built one in the middle of the DESERT, even though water is quite important to the whole cooling process. We think: "Oh, if we just have enough security measures, enough backups, etc. we can account for any possible scenarios." Wrong! Mistakes happen. Backups fail (a la what happened in Japan). Because flawed sinful humans are creating this stuff, sin touches all that we do and create. We CAN'T ever get it 100% right because the only way we could was if sin was not a factor. But it is. And we CAN'T overcome that factor on our own!
And even if we could build the perfect nuclear power plant, because sin is in the world itself and affects the world itself, even a perfect nuclear power plant can't account for what might occur due to the law of sin manifesting in the earth itself. These reactors in Japan were built to withstand a big earthquake, just not as big as what happened, and not a large tsunami. So, humans, no doubt, will try to "learn their lesson" much like happened after Chernobyl, and come to the conclusion that they just need to "build a better reactor" that can withstand those things. So, now we'll think if we can just build a power plant that can withstand say a 10.0 earthquake, we'll have it made since 10.0 earthquakes are practically unheard of! But because the law of sin and decay is actually affecting the world itself, one day an 11.0 earthquake might occur (despite what we could "foresee" based on past experience) or a human operator could just plain make a mistake, and next thing you know, another nuclear disaster occurs, and the cycle repeats...
Mark my words - watch for this: In the weeks/months/years ahead, humanity will try to figure out what went wrong and come up with a way to "fix it" so it won't happen again. It's what we always do. But that strategy is - and always has been - a losing one. We will NEVER win with that approach, because we in ourselves cannot overcome the sin in us or in our world. And when the stakes are so high with things such as nuclear material that can produce such massive devastation, this is honestly just clearly "accidents waiting to happen". I hate to say it folks, but we may just be seeing the tip of the iceberg for things in our future. In fact, if you know about Biblical end-time prophecy, you know that there's actually some fairly apparent references to nuclear devastation that factor in the equation.
And with all this talk today, another important notation: Has anyone noticed that all these disasters seem to be occuring on a super rapid timetable in the last 10 years? We don't even have time to recover from one disaster, before the next major one occurs. I'm only 30, but I have noticed a MAJOR increase which is seemingly getting worse by the year. Katrina flood, Haiti earthquake, Chile earthquake, New Zealand earthquake, major Volcano eruptions, flooding in Australia, flooding in the United States, Indonesia tsunami, I could go on and on and on. I'm just saying: If you're not right with Jesus Christ, now would be a REALLY good time to do so. The Bible talks of the increase in things such as earthquakes (along with wars and "rumors of wars") in the "last days". Now would be a REALLY good time to be watching and waiting, making sure you are right with the Lord and are about His business here on the earth, while watching for His return for you.
Okay, I've probably scared half of you silly today. That's not my goal or point. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have nothing to fear, for our Heavenly Father WILL take care of us, no matter what! We need to rest in Him and find our peace in Him! Do not get sucked into the trap of fear (this is ANOTHER key area that the devil loves to work Christians over in - and indeed I found myself sucked into that trap some!). There's no place for fear for people that are right with Jesus! So, step 1: Make sure you're right with Jesus. If you are, rest in that relationship with Him and trust Him to take care of you, regardless of what happens in this world!
But with that said, this is all very serious and gets into core issues of humanity and sin that all Christians need to be very clear on in these days we are living in...this goes far beyond just nuclear issues. I'm merely taking advantage so to speak, of the clear example before us, to bring this out.
Back in the 90's, before "Laugh & Lift" was called "Laugh & Lift", my original ministry website had a different name and was based around this Bible verse:
"Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a 'fool' so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: 'He catches the wise in their craftiness';" (1 Corinthians 3:18-19 NIV1984)
This would seem very appropriate to this whole discussion. Man's wisdom is diametrically opposed to real wisdom, which is only found in God.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction." - Proverbs 1:7 (NASB)
"A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless." - Proverbs 14:16 (NASB)
Here's a verse that describes our world to a tee right now (from a chapter - Romans 1 - that says much about our world right now):
"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles." (Romans 1:21-23 NIV1984)
Finally, although I am not at all directly applying this verse to Japan (so please do not mistake my intent in sharing this), I do believe this Scripture is worthwhile to consider:
"You have trusted in your wickedness
(Isaiah 47:10-11 NIV1984)
This is a part of a prophecy against Babylon. But I do believe its principles can be extrapolated to any that reject God and are wise in their own eyes. The wisdom of this world is absolute foolishness to God. Sin brings forth death - it's a spirtual law.
Now more than ever, we that profess to believe in Jesus Christ, need to be clear in our own minds and hearts where we stand. We can't live in the grey any longer. Indeed, the grey has been fading quite fast!
With the incredible speed at which things are happening right now in our world, I exhort all that name the name of Jesus (myself included!), to be on our toes (or rather, our knees!) with eyes and ears open wide.
Now is the time to get into the Word like never before. Now is the time to get beyond much of what we've made "Christianity" and get back to simple basics with Jesus. Read the Bible. Pray. Share the Good News and live it out in a life of love! Know where you stand, and why you stand there.
Let's resolve never to look to the "wisdom" of man for our hope, but rather to God and His Wisdom.
With love to you in Christ,
This is version 2.0 of this document (May 17, 2012).