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Civilization is in serious trouble! This world’s leaders are DESPERATELY grasping for solutions to the constant stream of new (but also old) problems coming at them. New crises are emerging as old ones worsen. This age of “information overload” could also be called “problem overload.” Just think of a few of the countless issues plaguing mankind: barbaric religious extremism—violent weather—devastating earthquakes—agricultural problems and crop failures—poverty—disease—ongoing wars and conflicts—drug and alcohol abuse—raw human nature in the form of protests and riots—and political upheaval.
In Africa, the spread of Ebola shows NO signs of slowing—but rather it is speeding up. The death rate for those infected can reach up to a staggering 90%. Senegal became now the fifth country to be hit by the deadly virus after a single infected student recently crossed from Guinea into Dakar, Senegal. A Washington Post article showed how the outbreak is creeping into heavily populated cities—a true game-changer in what could happen:
“Already, the hardest-hit West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have reported more than 3,000 cases, including the infections of 240 health-care workers.
“Ebola is now spreading from the remote provinces and into the teeming cities such as Freetown, where 1.2 million people jostle for space. Previous outbreaks had been limited to remote villages, where containment was aided by geography. The thought of Ebola taking hold in a major city such as Freetown or Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, is a virological nightmare…the World Health Organization warned that the number of cases could hit 20,000 in West Africa.
“‘We have never had this kind of experience with Ebola before,’ David Nabarro, coordinator of the new U.N. Ebola effort, said as he toured Freetown last week. ‘When it gets into the cities, then it takes on another dimension.’”
A gynecologist in Freetown, Sierra Leone, summarized the fear that is crippling large numbers (italics added): “‘Everyone is scared. Even I am scared…Everyone is afraid of Ebola. This used to be in the villages. Now it is in the cities. What is happening in the world?’” (ibid.).
This frightened doctor adds his voice to the chorus of billions asking the same disturbing questions: “What is happening? Why is the world going so wrong?” People sense the global order is in a revolutionary time of transition. The “tectonic plates” of civilization are moving more frequently—and violently! The ground is shifting, and only those not completely blind to world events are feeling it.
In the Middle East, ISIS (or ISIL to some) continues to take more territory across Syria and Iraq. The international community has not even begun to figure out how to deal with the rise of the new “Islamic State.” In fact, the current U.S. administration recently stated that they were still forming their strategy. Consider this: “When the president was asked if he would seek Congressional approval for U.S. attacks on ISIS targets in Syria, he responded, ‘I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet’” (ABC News). One can humanly sympathize with a world leader—any of them—not knowing what to do with such a complex problem that reaches to most corners of the world. And no single world leader can address them without the help of many others working in concert, something that never happens in a world cut off from God.
Of course, some American news commentators are downplaying the ISIL threat, in part to make America not look so weak. Yet these radicals are still on the move. For instance, fighters successfully overran a key military air base in Tabqa, Syria, which held multiple squadrons of tanks, planes, helicopters and artillery. The extremists then stripped 250 captured Syrians down to their underwear, marched them across the desert and executed them—all while filming it. A second American journalist was also beheaded recently.
Now think of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine. This conflict has led some U.S. government officials to call on America to intervene, and in a big way: “The Senate foreign relations committee chairman…Robert Menendez, called for the US to arm the Ukrainian military. Speaking in Kiev, he said: ‘This is a watershed moment. Thousands of Russian troops are here and are directly engaged in what is clearly an invasion. We should be providing the Ukrainians with the types of defensive weapons that will impose a cost upon Putin for further aggression’” (The Guardian).
However, no matter what sanctions are threatened or imposed, what warnings of military intervention come, or what statements are made condemning Russia’s actions, Moscow is only more emboldened: “Vladimir Putin has called on Kiev to enter discussions on ‘statehood’ for the south-east regions of Ukraine a day after the EU gave Russia a week to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine or face further sanctions.
“In excerpts of an interview with state television…the Russian president said talks between Ukrainian authorities and separatist leaders in the east should begin immediately and be about ‘not just technical issues but on the political organisation of society and statehood in south-eastern Ukraine’” (ibid.). President Putin also claimed that his forces could take Kiev (Ukraine’s capital) in just “two weeks.”
Finally, regarding news in the religious world, just last week a Jerusalem Post article appeared describing the 91-year-old former President of Israel (just retired), Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace prize winner 20 years ago, meeting privately at the Vatican with Pope Francis to make the case for him to become the single voice of all religion in the world. He appealed to Francis as the “only world figure” who could end war and create an “organization of United Religions.” Regarding war and terrorism in the name of religion, Mr. Peres said what the world needs is “an unquestionable moral authority who says out loud, ‘No, God does not want this and does not allow it!’”
As you consider the graphic picture of world conditions, realize that more and more voices are crying out for swift action to be taken to address the world’s growing problems. (To learn more about the unique time in which we are living, read our informative booklet Are These the Last Days?)