The Doomsday Clock

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its famous “Doomsday Clock” to 5 minutes before midnight. This clock has moved forward and backwards depending on this (“liberal”) group’s perception of how close the world is to nuclear holocaust (timeline). It has been as close to midnight as 2 minutes during the 1950s, when the US and USSR were spiraling deeper and deeper into an arms race of bigger and better means of mass destruction. It inched away from the midnight mark as test-ban and arms-reduction treaties were signed. The end of the cold war in the late 1980s and early 1990s brought the clock all the way back to 17 minutes before midnight, but terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation brought it back to 11:53 in 2002.

Here is the rational the Bulletin used for moving the clock closer to doom:

The world stands at the brink of a second nuclear age. The United States and Russia remain ready to stage a nuclear attack within minutes, North Korea conducts a nuclear test, and many in the international community worry that Iran plans to acquire the Bomb. Climate change also presents a dire challenge to humanity. Damage to ecosystems is already taking place; flooding, destructive storms, increased drought, and polar ice melt are causing loss of life and property.

A few thoughts, and a question:

  • This is the first time that the Doomsday clock has included criteria other than the threat of the use of nuclear weapons. “Climate change also presents a dire challenge to humanity.”
  • Nuclear war or terrorism continue to be a real threat, and will for a very long time.
  • The US did win the cold war, but this hasn’t secured a safer world.
  • Some people in the world are running scared. They see threats out there that could destroy civilization. The rest of the world has its head buried in the sand.
  • “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Mt 5:9 ESV). Whatever this means, it has to mean something that involves Christians activily working for peace. The #1 peace that the world needs is peace with God through Jesus Christ. Other types of peace (between nations, with creation) will flow out of this.
  • The US and USSR never used their nuclear weapons. I don’t expect extremists (Islamic or secular) to show that same restraint in the future. I expect that in my lifetime, someone will use a nuclear weapon.
  • The US and USSR didn’t use nuclear weapons because of a concept called “Mutually Assured Destruction,” or MAD. Here was the incentive: if we nuke them, they’ll nuke us. It kept the peace, and for that I’m thankful. But is that kind of thinking ethical, when one has thousands of warheads available?

Grace and Peace

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