As 2014 comes to an end, an interesting display of journalistic optimism is in the air. According to many sources, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
On a personal level, I agree that hope is vital to life. As followers of Christ, we should always be focusing on the “half full cup” of blessings that God has given us instead of the half empty mug of disappointments because “we can do all things through Christ” and “the future is as bright as the promises of God.”
Yes, from an eternal perspective, the blessing of knowing Jesus far outweighs the daily pains of human existence.
But I believe there is a reason for the current global giddiness, and, in truth, another reality lies ahead.
We are simply experiencing the calm before the storm.
A number of positive articles about the state of the world have gotten my attention recently. One was an article in USA Today that touted the “good times” that the nation is experiencing. USA Today is America’s most widely read newspaper.
On December 23, the New York Times got into the act with an article called, “Economic Vital Signs in 3rd Quarter Were Strongest in a Decade.” The Times seemed practically delirious with excitement about the future. I will italicize some of the hyperbole that gushes forth from their commentary:
“The American economy grew last quarter at its fastest rate in over a decade, providing the strongest evidence to date that the recovery is finally gaining sustained power more than five years after it began.”
“Bolstered by robust spending among consumers and businesses alike, economic output rose at an annual rate of 5 percent during the summer months, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, a sharp revision from its earlier estimate of 3.9 percent. The advance followed a second quarter where growth reached a rate of 4.6 percent after a decline last winter that was exacerbated by particularly harsh weather.”
“The revision was led by an upswing in investment by businesses, a powerful force for growth in most economic recoveries but one that has lagged in the latest rebound. Higher consumer spending, including increased outlays on health care, and a narrower trade balance also contributed to the summer improvement. The gain makes the third quarter the strongest since the summer of 2003.”
I think you get the idea. Economic Nirvana has finally returned.
Then three days later, the UK Telegraph ran an article by Fraser Nelson entitled “Goodbye to One of the Best Years in History.” Its subtitle read “It Might Not Feel Like It, But We are Safer, Richer, and Healthier Than at Any Time on Record.”
At any time on record? Are things really looking up?
Here is Fraser’s British analysis of global goodness as seen from the view across the pond:
“Judging the world through headlines is like judging a city by spending a night in A&E – you only see the worst problems. This may have felt like the year of Ebola and ISIL but in fact, objectively, 2014 has probably been the best year in history.”
“Take war, for example – our lives now are more peaceful than at any time known to the human species. Archaeologists believe that 15 per cent of early mankind met a violent death, a ratio not even matched by the last two world wars. Since they ended, wars have become rarer and less deadly…The ISIL barbarity in the Middle East is so shocking, perhaps, because it comes against a backdrop of unprecedented world peace.”
“We have recently been celebrating a quarter-century since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which kicked off a period of global calm. The Canadian academic Steven Pinker has called this era the “New Peace”, noting that conflicts of all kinds – genocide, autocracy and even terrorism – went on to decline sharply the world over.”
With peace comes trade and, ergo, prosperity. Global capitalism has transferred wealth faster than foreign aid ever could…Global life expectancy now stands at a new high of 71.5 years, up six years since 1990. In India, life expectancy is up seven years for men, and 10 for women. It’s rising faster in the impoverished east of Africa than anywhere else on the planet. In Rwanda and Ethiopia, life expectancy has risen by 15 years.”
The Ebola crisis has led to 7,000 deaths, each one a tragedy. But far more lives have been saved by the progress against malaria, HIV and diarrhea. The World Bank’s rate of extreme poverty (those living on less than $1.25 a day) has more than halved since 1990, mainly thanks to China – where economic growth and the assault on poverty are being unwittingly supported by any parent who put a plastic toy under the tree yesterday.”
“Prosperity is bringing benefits without trashing the planet. Since 1990, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are down, in spite of our economy being about 60 per cent larger – thanks to more efficient technology. Our roads are safer, as well as greener. Traffic deaths are down by two-thirds since 1990, and are lower now than when the Model T Ford was on the road.”
Nothing is irreversible. And there will be a great many people for whom life is tough, and looks set to remain so for some time. We still have a lamentably long list of problems to solve. But in the round, there’s no denying it: we are living in the Golden Era. There has never been a better reason for people the world over to wish each other a happy and prosperous new year.”
Greatest year in history. New Peace. Golden Era.
I think you get the idea, and I think I know, at least in America, why secular progressives are trumpeting this new message of happy times.
They are deliberately trying to set the stage for a Hillary Clinton presidency in 2016 to keep their hold on power.
Let’s set the record straight about what’s really happening in the world right now.
1. First of all, free enterprise and civic freedom in nations grows mostly through the biblical worldview and the liberty that is found in Jesus Christ. The growth of global capitalism, elevating people out of poverty, is primarily a result of the Christian faith. So is the progress of modern medicine, fueled by science that emerged out of Christian Europe. None of these good changes were produced by statism–my word of choice for secular progressivism or atheism. In fact, the intense regulations of Big Government worldwide are stifling creativity and freedom which could bless billions more people.
2. Does anybody really believe that world is more safe today? The orchestrated collapse of American influence around the globe has led to chaos in the Middle East and the rise of possibly the world’s most barbaric Islamic expression–ISIS. Tyranny is growing in many places including the United States, the social democracies of Europe, dictatorial Russia, Communist China, and fascist Islamic states. Nine nations have atomic bombs, and the world’s greatest exporter of terror–Iran–is about to become nuclear. Things are not “golden” in the world right now. They are downright scary. Exhibit one: The millions of Christians in Iraq and Syria being slaughtered and chased from the region of their birth. It might be one of the largest genocides in history.
3. Global debt–the product of a secular live-beyond-your-means mentality– is a potential time bomb that could reek as much havoc as nuclear fusion. Worldwide, global indebtedness stands at 55 trillion with hundreds of trillions of unfunded liabilities. In the United States, our national debt has passed 20 trillion dollars that must produce a day of reckoning in the not-so-distant future.
4. And here in America, poor leadership and race peddling for political gain have fueled weeks of rioting in major US cities including the death of two policemen in New York who were shot execution style. There is so much tension in USA’s largest city (New York) that the police have turned their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio because he doesn’t have their back in maintaining order in the city. Many marches and protests are fueled by communist groups and anarchists. It seems like one little match could send American cities into a blaze of horrific violence.
The New York City killing of policeman Rafael Ramos really strikes home. Rafael was a distance-student of a seminary where I teach–Faith Evangelical College and Seminary in Tacoma, WA–and was only fifteen hours away from completing his degree. His goal was to do a Masters in chaplaincy and use his life to bless many others. (Faith Seminary will be awarding his degree posthumously.)
His future was halted by a cowardly bullet.
Here’s the truth about 2015: Major economic difficulties and collapse, maybe on a global scale, is more than likely in the next year or two. That will create distress, chaos and, possibly, a new world order might emerge out of the disruption of life as we know it.
Happy days are not here again. Don’t believe the secular Pied Pipers. It’s the calm before the storm–and this particular tsunami will not be pretty.
But God is in control. So prepare yourself. Get your money out of the fragile markets and into tangible investments and ministry. Watch and pray and serve the needs of those around you.
Tribulation is coming. So is Jesus Christ.
Fulfilling his commission and hastening his return are the best things we can do to to enter into the true golden era of His heavenly kingdom.