Japan earthquake: Sign of the end times?
Houses are washed away by the tsunami following today's 8.9 quake in Japan.
Is the 8.9 quake in Japan a sign of the end times? Some Religious Rightists and 2012′ers hope so.
Update: Additional pronouncements by Religious Right figures will be added to the end of this article as we learn of them. Send us any we’ve missed via the Contact Form!
In a WorldNetDaily article, “Left Behind” author and evangelical pastor Tim LaHaye and “The Bible tells us in Matthew 24 that one of the signs of the last days – one of the birth pangs to occur – is an increase in earthquake activity and intensity. We’re seeing that happen here. It’s not just earthquakes, but hurricanes and all kinds of natural disasters.”
LaHaye and his wife were on vacation in Hawaii and were able to observe the tsunami from an upper floor of their hotel.
The December 21, 2012/Mayan prophecy gang is in on it, too. From one of their discussion forums:
The beginning of the end? Didn’t Edgar Cayce said the earth changes would start in the pacific?
Looks like the talk about Nibiru passing by jupiter and the start date of mid march earthquakes is coming to pass…the Nuclear stuff in japan is much bigger the most people realize…hang on..the crazy people do not look so crazy now. huh..
Another site provides footage, but no commentary other than to ask whether this is “signs to come of 2012“.
Surely, there will be more commentary from the religious right and 2012′ers in the days to come about “God’s judgment” and “end times”. With each quake, fingers point to the dramatic increase in earthquake activity in recent years.
Wait . . . What increase?
The USGS reports that the increase in major earthquakes often pointed out simply doesn’t exist, saying, “We continue to be asked by many people throughout the world if earthquakes are on the increase. Although it may seem that we are having more earthquakes, earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant.”
Statistics on the USGS website show that, since 1900, there has been on average one 8.0 or greater quake and 15 7.0-7.9 quakes each year.
The number of smaller quakes is measured since 1990, not since 1900. Why? USGS explains:
. . . we have definitely had an increase in the number of earthquakes we have been able to locate each year. This is because of the tremendous increase in the number of seismograph stations in the world and the many improvements in global communications. In 1931, there were about 350 stations operating in the world; today, there are more than 8,000 stations and the data now comes in rapidly from these stations by electronic mail, internet and satellite. This increase in the number of stations and the more timely receipt of data has allowed us and other seismological centers to locate earthquakes more rapidly and to locate many small earthquakes which were undetected in earlier years. The NEIC now locates about 20,000 earthquakes each year or approximately 50 per day. Also, because of the improvements in communications and the increased interest in the environment and natural disasters, the public now learns about more earthquakes.
This doesn’t prevent those who wish the world to end from forcing the data to conform to their belief system. For example:
Trends since 1986
For example, between 1986 and 1996 (incl), a period of 11 years, there were “just” 15 earthquakes listed by USGS of magnitude 7.0 or greater. This is not markedly different (albeit a slight decrease) from previous (similar periods) of 20th century, where an average of about 18 might be expected.
But between 1997 and 2007 (incl), a period of only 11 years, there were 99 earthquakes with magnitude 7.0 or greater : This is more than a six-fold increase on the previous similar period – and is a stark increase on any earlier decades in 20th century too.
The trends in nature here, particularly from 1997 support the wider realisation of prophesy about the “End Times”, namely that an increase in earthquake activity is a pre-requisite for the “second coming of Jesus Christ” foretold in the bible. It does not indicate how close we are to this event, but suggests it is not too far away.
Please note that the 99 7.0-or-greater quakes for 1997-2007 is for the entire decade . . . In other words, an average of 9 quakes per year, or a decrease to less than 2/3 of the annual average (15 + 1) since 1990, during the decade where this “end times” site claims there was an increase.
Instead of fantasizing about the end of the world, we can do something that actually makes a difference. The Red Cross and Global Giving are both set up to receive donations to aid in relief of this disaster:
You can also text redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross. The donation will show up on your next cell phone bill.
http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/japan-earthquake-tsunami-relief/ GlobalGiving is working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations on the ground. You can donate online or text JAPAN to 50555 to give $10.
The Red Cross provides these additional resources:
Inquiries concerning U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan should be referred to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202 647-5225.
For inquiries about relatives living in Japan who are not US citizens, encourage the members of your community to keep calling or to try contacting other family members who live in the region. Even though communication networks overloaded right now, the situation may change and access to mobile networks and the internet may improve.
The Google Person Finder site is available at: http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/?lang=en
Additional donation opportunities:
- Skeptics and Humanists Aid and Relief Effort (SHARE): Donations go to Doctors without Borders. CLICK HERE to donate.
- RichardDawkins.net’s Non-Believers Giving Aid is partnering with the International Red Cross.
- The American Humane Society is sending personnel from its “Red Star Animal Emergency Services” program to help rescue pets and animals hurt or separated in the disaster. You can donate online.
- Humanist Charities, which has been in contact with American Humanist Association members and other freethought groups in Japan, has established a Japan Earthquake Fund here.
- Foundation Beyond Belief has set up a relief fund for Japan here.
Additional Religious Right speculating, finger-pointing, and flat-out gloating:
Joel Richardson, a Glenn Beck favorite and a contributor to WorldNetDaily, writes:
A new poll conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals reveals that a majority of its members would agree that the recent earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand and Japan are signs of the soon coming return of Jesus.
The survey shows that more than half of respondents adhere to the theological position known as Premillennialism, which interprets the Book of Revelation to be speaking of yet future events. In contrast, only 17 percent of those polled say they believe most biblical prophecy has already been fulfilled.
Richardson describes “USGS statistics” showing a substantial increase in 7.0 + earthquake activity over the past century. (I’ve been unable to locate such statistics, and Richardson provides no link to the stats he claims are found on USGS’s website. As they say, ““.) The “Pastor Cecil” who informed Richardson of this “pattern” sent Richardson an email on March 4, predicting a major quake within the next week, as the longest period in 2010 without a quake was 57 days.
Statistically, given the USGS annual average of fifteen 7.0 – 7.9 quakes since 1900, Cecil pretty much had to be right; that comes out to one 7.0 – 7.9 quake every 24.3 days. Thus, I predict a 7.0 or greater quake will hit someplace in the world . . . by mid-June. Let’s see if I’m right.
Richardson goes on to quote Zechariah 14:4:
On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
That should be interesting!
Beck himself has had some words on the matter. In part:
Now look, I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes. Well — I’m not saying that he — I’m not not saying that either.
God — what God does is God’s business, I have no idea. But I’ll tell you this: whether you call it Gaia or whether you call it Jesus — there’s a message being sent. And that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.’ I’m just sayin’. And — yesterday I got home and I was thinking about all the messages that I could bring in, all the things that I could tell ya, and oh I’ve got stuff on Hezbollah. Oh, I have stuff on radical Islam in America that’ll make your eyes fall out. Or I could just tell you the answer, and the answer is: Buckle up. Buckle up, ’cause it’s going to be a bumpy ride . . . Don’t do anything stupid, what do you say we follow the big top ten. You can call them Moses’ ten commandments, or ten rules of um. What do you say we start doing those things? Because the things we are doing really suck and they’re not getting better.
Yes, Beck would like us to follow the Ten Commandments (keep the Sabbath, worship no gods other than Jehovah, etc.) to prevent earthquakes. Perhaps he will start marketing Ten Commandments Earthquake Repellent Pendants?
Anybody else? How about Cho Yong-gi of Yoido Full Gospel Church, head of the largest Christian church in the world?
I fear that this disaster may be warnings from God against the Japanese people’s atheism and materialism. I hope that these series of events will drive the Japanese to turn their eyes towards God.
While Cho Yong-gi has received condemnation for his statements, at least he saw the earthquake as a bad thing and sought simply to use it to evangelize. That’s more than can be said for others noted further below, who believe their prayers to “open the eyes of atheists” were answered with mass-murder by a loving, yet vengeful and homicidal, god. One that kills pregnant women and babies.
Do these sickening pronouncements and gleeful cheers demonstrate the norm among mainstream Christians, Jews, Muslims, or believers of other faiths? Of course not. Religious people of all faiths are speaking out in compassion for the Japanese people over this natural disaster, and reaching out with financial assistance. Extremists, however, are using this tragedy. Some, like Foreman, to reinforce their own warped beliefs. Others, like Yong-gi, to persuade people to join up with their religion to avoid the wrath of a loving god.
An atheist, having viewed various right-wing pronouncements, responded on Opposing Views:
As an atheist, I have to say a massive earthquake that kills thousands does not make me want to believe or worship this god. A god that would kill innocent people, including small children, is not a god that I would want to look up to in any way.
And, most powerfully,
If this god really wants me to believe in him, then [he should] present sufficient evidence for that belief. After all, an all knowing god would know what level of evidence would make me and all other atheists believe. (emphasis added)
Killing people with an earthquake, one perfectly consistent with established plate tectonics theory, in an area known for extreme seismic activity? Speaking for myself, that ain’t it.
Chuck Pierce (not Charles Pierce) claims his brother Keith foretold the 2011 quake in 2005, God’s wrath for a “stronghold of spiritism”. But that it was to happen “soon”. (Six years is soon? If we wait long enough, it will happen to the US’ West Coast, too!)
Cindy Jacobs has come out in agreement with Pierce, saying she believes the Japanese are “a hard group for the gospel” and that her god will use the quake for a “great spiritual awakening”, loosening Japan’s “grasp on idolatry”.
Rick Joyner has announced that the devastation in Japan will require Japan to call in its debts from the US, wreaking economic devastation in the US and allowing demonically-promulgated Nazism to take over. Watch the video!
Thanks to Mike Meno for American Humanist and Foundation Beyond Belief info.
Update on tamtampamela: “tamtampamela” from YouTube provided a particularly vile video praising God for responding to her prayer group’s begging to “open the eyes of the atheists” by slaughtering thousands, and drooling over how vengeful her god would be toward America. Following public outcry, Pamela has admitted that she was using the Japanese tragedy as an opportunity to parody right-wing Christians. Her video channel (a series of videos in which she portrays a fundamentalist Christian) has been removed from YouTube. Reference to the video as an example of the real right-wing end-times cheerleading crowd has been removed from this article.
Pamela’s video was accepted by many viewers as sincere, even by me. It went viral after being featured on a number of prominent websites, garnering hundreds of thousands of views. Compare it to the less-well-known quotes from Real Right-Wingnuts Cindy Jacobs, Tim LaHaye, Glenn Beck, Joel Richardson, and others noted above. Is it over the top, or spot on?
Click this link for a mirrored copy: GOD IS SO GOOD!!!
Given the comments from the Real Right Wing-Nuts over the last few days (added above as they come in) . . . well, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see “tamtampamela” invited onto the 700 Club. (Pat Robertson has not, to my knowledge, yet commented on the Japanese disaster. He had plenty in a similar vein to say about Haiti, however.)
As noted above, many Christians are condemning the hateful words of the Right Wing-Nuts and providing real aid to the Japanese at this time. Let’s join them — many giving opportunities are noted in the article above.
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