Tim LaHaye, author of the “Left Behind” series, mistakes a geological event for God’s wrath. Okay, not all news stories come as a surprise.
Fact: There is no such thing as your basic earthquake or hurricane for a fundamentalist Christian. Any really bad storm has to be a sign that God is really, really, pissed off at somebody.
In this case, it’s the entire human race. Mr. LaHaye is talking of course about the 8.9 magnitude quake and resultant tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011, killing upwards (by most recent estimates) 10,000 people
Speaking to the conservative loon-collective known as World Net Daily (WND) LaHaye said:
“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.”
Mr. LaHaye was visiting Maui when he had to be evacuated to the upper floors of the Marriot Hotel because of tsunami warnings.
What’s a good fundamentalist Christian to do but see it as a sign of the End Times?
Well, like the rest of us…er, sane people…he could see it as a geological event.
The USGS explains earthquakes in the following terms:
An earthquake is the vibration, sometimes violent, of the Earth’s surface that follows a release of energy in the Earth’s crust. This energy can be generated by a sudden dislocation of segments of the crust, by a volcanic eruption, or event by manmade explosions. Most destructive quakes, however, are caused by dislocations of the crust. The crust may first bend and then, when the stress exceeds the strength of the rocks, break and “snap” to a new position. In the process of breaking, vibrations called “seismic waves” are generated.
See…not heaven…but the earth’s crust. Talk about anthropomorphizing nature!
It isn’t because God is mad at anybody. As the USGS explains, “Geologists have found that earthquakes tend to reoccur along faults, which reflect zones of weakness in the Earth’s crust.”
Zones of weakness or divine wrath…hmmmm….
Wrong. Okay, well how about tsunamis then! Prove to me those aren’t a sign of God’s wrath and the coming End Times!
According to the International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC),
Tsunamis (pronounced soo-ná-mees), also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”), are a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite. A tsunami can move hundreds of miles per hour in the open ocean and smash into land with waves as high as 100 feet or more.
As ITIC goes on to explain,
Earthquake-induced movement of the ocean floor most often generates tsunamis. If a major earthquake or landslide occurs close to shore, the first wave in a series could reach the beach in a few minutes, even before a warning is issued.
Wow, are you kidding, a seismic sea wave? You mean God isn’t mad at me after all? Earthquakes! You mean the two are related? Wow, next you’ll be telling me the earth is billions of years old or that it’s not the center of the universe!
WND tells its readers that,
LaHaye, an evangelical pastor, has written more than 60 non-fiction books on a wide range of subjects such as family life, temperaments, sexual adjustment, Bible prophecy, the will of God, Jesus Christ, and secular humanism with over 14 million in print, some of which have been translated into as many as 32 foreign languages.
This just goes to show that just because somebody has written 60 books that they’ve ever taking a basic high school science class. Fourteen million books in print does not qualify anyone to talk about something they’re completely ignorant of. And Tim LaHaye might know a lot about the End Times (though not enough to avoid confusing them with natural phenomenon) but he knows jack about science.
Mr. LaHaye should be aware that the stringent Japanese building codes that served them so well in this recent tragedy were aimed at a defense against nature, not against divine wrath. I can’t imagine that any building codes could protect against a real, bona fide episode of divine wrath, can you?
Let’s face it, if earthquakes and tsunamis are a sign of the End Times, we’ve been suffering through the end times since the earth took form. Because what happened to Japan isn’t surprising, considering where fault lines lay and the mechanics of tsunamis. Hello! It’s called the “Ring of Fire” for a reason. And no, it hasn’t thing to do with heaven and hell. It’s all predictable science, based on and explained by empirical evidence, not biblical mythology.
I’d say Tim LaHaye is the one who has been left behind: by modern science.