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60 Responses

  1. Captain Kevin says:

    Damn! I’m gonna pray, seriously pray for all those I know and love, and take your word for it. Probably bury my head in the proverbial sand too.

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    “The Day After” -not only messed me up also, but the scariest movie I ever saw or ever will see.

    I’ve see scary images, movies, album covers.

    That movie topped them all.

  3. Michael says:

    CK,

    I’ve read it, I’m informed…and I’m looking for a sand pit…

  4. Michael says:

    Dan,

    It was terrifying.

    What’s interesting to me is that 100 million people watched it that night…64% of the tvs in America were tuned to it.

    It messed us all up…but here we are…

  5. Josh says:

    Thanks for the warning, but I’m gonna give a no thanks on the reading 🙂

    Do not need more stress at all. Will happily disintegrate when the bomb drops.

  6. Dan from Georgia says:

    I don’t care to watch or consume media with disturbing content, but once in a while I take a peek…seen some art expressions that made my skin crawl, literally.

    “The Day After” – still haunts me.

  7. Michael says:

    The question before the house is whether or not we have a responsibility to be informed on these matters?

    We are literally an hour from annihilation at any given time.

  8. Josh says:

    No responsibility. Nothing I can do about it either way. All I can do is worry, and that helps no one.

  9. Dan from Georgia says:

    What responsibility do I have? Hard to know my personal responsibility beyond knowledge of things that a more sane society should allow. Those that possess nuclear weapons have a responsibility obviously, whether they realize it or not. Problem is rogue nations, organizations, and individuals.

    I kind of wonder why, since 9/11 (and to some degree before that, especially the Cuban Missile Crisis) has no entity used a nuclear weapon? I know the easy and cheap answer is that all is in God’s hands, but still I wonder what goes on behind the scenes internationally. Have nuclear detonations been thwarted? Have those shopping for materials been hindered by special forces? Spiritual forces?

  10. Interested Bystander says:

    Coincidentally I am also reading a book on the subject myself, titled Limited Exchange by Don Shift.

    It is set in the Bay Area, during a nuclear exchange between China and the US

    It’s always extra jarring to read this genre set in an area you know, containing street names, landmarks, and freeways you know. The Bay Area isn’t my locale, but have read others that are, and it really “brings it home”.

    I’ll be reading your recommendation next. On a roll with this subject matter.

    Like most, I want to be at ground zero should events take us there.

    As an antidote, I’ll share some media that’s totally unrelated to anything nuclear or politics or church related. If history without a slant is your jam, and you’d like your blood pressure to come down, I’ll share on next post that it’s appropriate to do so

  11. Interested Bystander says:

    The author has many interviews currently on You Tube, with all the biggest podcast hosts.

    She has a very calming voice, which is at odds with her subject material.

  12. Xenia says:

    I think we should all read The Lord of the Rings instead.

    I cannot prevent a nuclear attack. I can’t vote for anyone who could prevent a nuclear attack. It’s the Devil’s work, and his work must be accomplished before the end of this Age.

    i don’t think we can physically prepare for this. Our little Apocalypse Hoard out in the garage is good for a big storm, earthquake or supply chain disruption but it can’t stand up to nuclear fall-out.

    We can ready our souls to meet the Lord, which will happen to all of us in any case, hopefully peacefully.

    So I’ll pass on this particular book.

    Tolkien has much to say about good vs evil.

  13. Xenia says:

    As to responsibility… this is just an idea I have, but I believe that every sin I commit adds to the sin load of the entire planet.

  14. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Well … given the comments so far I hesitate to suggest reading the utterly harrowing manga Barefoot Gen written and drawn by Keiji Nakazawa who was at Nagasaki when the bomb dropped. If you don’t want to cry like a baby for thirty minutes afterward don’t read volume 1.

  15. Interested Bystander says:

    Responsibility – way, way beyond anyone’s pay grade reading here.

    Unless the Secretary of Defense or the President are secret readers.

    Sole responsibility is to take our individual fear to God and ask for help in managing it. Or helping others with theirs.

    As Xenia mentioned, preps are wise and useful in fire, earthquake or any weather events. That encompasses most of us. Supply lines are always vulnerable too.

  16. Josh says:

    I could never get through Lord of the Rings. Just so hard for me to read. Love the stories, but something about the language stops me before I get into it.

  17. Michael says:

    We are strange creatures, indeed.

    I won’t revisit this topic anytime soon, but I will wonder why the single biggest existential threat to humanity isn’t worthy of discussion.

    The theological aspects of the subject are mind boggling.

    On to the next thing…

  18. Josh says:

    Some topics are too big to tackle. I can talk to my neighbors and possibly be effective in helping with some of the problems in their lives. I don’t have access to the leaders of North Korea to try to persuade them against killing everyone.

    No need for offense, I don’t think.

  19. Josh says:

    I mean, I just admitted that Lord of the Rings was too big for me too handle. I’m supposed to figure out mutual nuclear annihilation? 🙂

  20. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m not offended…just puzzled.

    I spend most of my life that way.

  21. Reuben says:

    The theological implications are flat out immeasurable

  22. Xenia says:

    It is worthy of discussion, but if there’s no solution it’s hard to keep the convo going. My advice is to read books to prepare ourselves for our own deaths, no matter how our death comes to us. The Devil is the enemy so we should resist him and his works whenever we can.

  23. Xenia says:

    On the bulletin board light-up sign at the Baptist church across the street they have permanently displayed “In the last days perilous times shall come.” I appreciate the reminder that God know the beginnings and the endings.

  24. Josh says:

    Somebody give me a theological implication. Why does this have unique theological givings? I’m missing something.

  25. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Let’s start with an easy one.

    Would God allow humans to make themselves extinct?

  26. Josh says:

    Clearly, right? I mean, you could do the whole “In his timing” thing, but all of this (at least current form) is going to end one day.

  27. Dread says:

    Late to the discussion,

    How does Korea release a bomb of such magnitude? Secretly? On the Pentagon? I missed something.

    One thing that seems sure is that if humans can do something unthinkable they will. With the way we are redefining humanity in our education systems it is easy to see why someone would think such creatures unworthy of life.

    Are we making the case for preemptively eliminating the nuclear capacities of nations? That’s how it sounds to me.

    As for a Christian response?

    How can we respond to anything? Likely the Christian response is well-placed Christians in the pagan systems. We need an Esther or a Rahab or Joseph, or some faithful Hebrew children. We need to raise up some people who cannot be bought, compromised or intimidated.

    Those are rare but Bible history says they exist

  28. Alan says:

    As to Michael’s question.

    My understanding would be NO!

  29. Josh says:

    “One thing that seems sure is that if humans can do something unthinkable they will. With the way we are redefining humanity in our education systems it is easy to see why someone would think such creatures unworthy of life.”

    Hiroshima was almost 80 years ago.

  30. Michael says:

    Dread,
    In the scenario the launch is detected quickly…but how to react is the question.
    North Korea allows with a hit on a nuclear power plant in California and the world has begun to end.

    One of the things I didn’t know was that to bomb NK the missiles have to pass over Russia…and they don’t have the ability to discern whether or not we are attacking them…

    “We need to raise up some people who cannot be bought, compromised or intimidated.’

    Amen…but who would be their examples?

  31. Josh says:

    At some point depending on your eschatological view, every human in this phase will be gone. Why couldn’t that be accomplished (in God’s will) by nuclear war?

  32. Michael says:

    Josh,

    That’s another theological question….

  33. Xenia says:

    The world will end when this Age is over. Even if there is nuclear war, some people will survive. Even in Revelation there is mass destruction but a percentage survives.

  34. Josh says:

    I don’t think even in the biblical examples that “we” raise them up. God does. If its his plan, he already has those people in those places. We can only mess it up if try to make it happen.

  35. Josh says:

    OK, so the vast majority of my study was done around the millennial theories, and in all of those at some point, all old things must pass away, behold they are made new…Technically that is extinction of humanity as we know it. I don’t see why a nuclear bomb couldn’t be the agent of that change.

  36. Josh says:

    “The world will end when this Age is over.”

    Could nuclear war bring an end to this age?

  37. Xenia says:

    Josh, could be.

    I was talking to my old Baptist pastor, who is now an amillennialist. He believes the world is going to get better and better before the Lord returns. He believes everyone on the planet will become a Christian and there will be no more wars, etc. because the Lord is coming to receive His spotless bride. He relies on statistics showing less disease, less famine, and says– erroneously, I think- that Christianity is the fastest growing religion. I think Islam is? He said my statistics were wrong. Well, he’s a cheerful guy and I don’t like to rain on the parade of the few optimists left in the world so God bless him.

  38. Josh says:

    I like the way that sounds, but does seem counter to observable reality.

  39. Xenia says:

    This retired Baptist pastor is a fantastic person, by the way, and his wife is even more fantastic. It’s been 40+ years since he was my pastor and every time he comes to California from Indiana they stop by for a visit and cheerfully sit in my icon-filled living room without comment or complaint.

  40. Dread says:

    People always exist that God can use. Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, none are on the list of fastest rising leaders of their generations. As for Christians, well I always loved my mentor/pastor of the 80s and his sermon “God can ride a lame horse.” Wesley wasn’t much of a candidate. Luther was a monstrosity of vulgar and base impulses. So who knows?

    My optimism as per God’s kingdom intentions is never muted by his bastardly spokespeople.

    I suppose also that nuclear incineration could definitely be the prelude to cosmic renewal and resurrection. But that might mess with my prayers.

    I’ve always loved Pacino in Scent of a Woman “I’ll take a flamethrower to this place!” It’s always seemed appropriate. Nuclear vanquishing? Swift, merciful, efficient, complete!!!

  41. Dread says:

    *insist

  42. Reuben says:

    Islam is by far the fastest growing religion, which should scare the hell out of people.

  43. Dread says:

    Reuben,

    In the twentieth century the fastest growing ideology was communism. So there’s that. In swallowed nations, murdered all opposition and produced none of its’ temporal promises. Not trying to provoke. So I will just drop that here.

    I’d be ok if those two rivals had a proper showdown.

  44. Reuben says:

    Dread, you also know that Communism was never once realized. It was used as a carrot. Then came the stick. The stick was never expressed or implied.

  45. Alan says:

    Reuben,

    True enough! Communism is a secular eschatology. It requires a new creation humanity. Communism says what’s yours is mine. It requires a humanity that says what’s mine is yours. It cannot be accomplished without transformation of the human species.

    Really it is socialism that is the ideal. Communism is the stick.

  46. Josh says:

    Dread – were the early followers of Christ not living communally? Certainly there is a difference between one choosing to live in commune with a group of people and being forced to do so by a government. I get that, but the ideal is there in the book of Acts, no?

  47. Alan says:

    Josh,

    I think not. The Jerusalem experiment in sharing was never taught as a way of life. It was demonstrated as a response to necessity. In Jerusalem the city was filled with those on pilgrimage. Pentecost constituted a revival that motivated people to stay beyond their preparations. The believers in Jerusalem sacrificed to share and maintain the revival. It was an extreme measure and never became the stated norm of how to live.

    Further, Jerusalem in a few years would fall into poverty and the believers there became to object of need and no longer the source of abundance. In this case Paul stepped forward and brought the offerings from the many churches he was planting.

    The one thing that is clear is that it was voluntary and not coerced. We all know that coercion cannot produce new creation.

    I don’t think their experiment in communalism was ongoing. I think it was always heroic measures created by the impulse of the Spirit. Not a new economy but a new morality.

    Your observation is commonly asserted but it does not prove out as a long term economy.

  48. Josh says:

    Good answer. Much appreciated.

  49. Janet Linn, BrideofChrist says:

    Really like Dread’s comment on “Well placed Christians in public settings’ – Daniel, Esther, etc. That is how God has always worked. They didn’t take over the system, as the Christian nationalists seem to want, but they worked within the system.
    Perhaps because that way these saints win over souls and they are a good witness as well as carrying out God’s will here on earth.

  50. Terrie R. Beede says:

    Michael said:

    We are strange creatures, indeed.

    I won’t revisit this topic anytime soon, but I will wonder why the single biggest existential threat to humanity isn’t worthy of discussion.

    Michael, I know you know this, but the single biggest existential threat to humanity isn’t worthy of discussion for the same reason that the knowledge of a sovereign eternal Creator and our accountability to Him and our own lack of personal sovereignty isn’t worthy of discussion – Because we simply don’t want to face the reality – Rom 1:28
    Because we won’t accept the reality, the only thing we have to fall back on are delusions.

    I am not a Dispensationalist by any stretch of the imagination – though I was raised in that system, my reading of Scripture led me away from that long ago. Nor am I, consequently, a believer in eschatological sensationalism…But I do find Zechariah 14:12 interesting, especially when we consider that from a New Testament perspective, “Jerusalem” are the people of God.

    One caution I would issue however, and this is simply a caution – not the judgement of one who already knows, but the experience of someone who reads critically – The information in Annie Jacobsen’s book should be evaluated in the light of the quality of information, interpretation, and presentation she provides in her other works, as well. I would urge everyone to read both the positive AND negative reviews of her work “Area 51”. These can be easily read on Amazon. Many of her negative reviews are actually from her sources.

    I regularly read critical, academic Biblical commentaries – not for their theology, not for their conclusions, but for the amassed data that they contain, which cannot be obtained from popular works. The lessons we learn when reading in this manner are “1.) Never be afraid of facts. Facts, faced appropriately, will not dislodge but rather establish true faith, 2.) Facts are facts, and must be reckoned with, but first those facts must be verifiably established, and 3.) It is not the facts, but how we interpret those facts, that is critical to us.

  51. Terrie R. Beede says:

    I should make one clarification. I said: “But I do find Zechariah 14:12 interesting, especially when we consider that from a New Testament perspective, “Jerusalem” are the people of God.”

    By “the people of God”, I mean ALL Israel – that is, the Church, the New Testament people of God. It is my belief that this is what is meant by “The New Jerusalem”. It is talking about you and me.

  52. Michael says:

    Terrie R. Beede,

    “The information in Annie Jacobsen’s book should be evaluated in the light of the quality of information, interpretation, and presentation she provides in her other works, as well. ”

    I think this is a good habit with any author. I did read the reviews on her other works…but I have pretty decent confidence in the work she did on this book. I appreciate how you use commentaries as well…

  53. Tim says:

    I haven’t read the book, and honestly I don’t plan on it. The premise, as outlined in this blog post, is fundamentally flawed, IMO. I find it highly implausible that North Korea would launch a nuclear attack on the US, as our response would most likely erase North Korea from the map, unless China or Russia were able to intervene.

    I think it’s worth noting that nuclear weapons have only been used twice in anger, against Imperial Japan in 1945. At the time, no one else besides the US had nuclear weapons, though Nazi Germany was researching them, Stalin knew we had them, and there are some sources that say Imperial Japan was researching them as well. Great Britain gave the US a head-start in our research, as well as working with us.

    There have been close calls, for sure. The closest publically known incident happened on Saturday, October 27, 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the US’s aggressive blockade against Soviet ships, the Soviet submarine B-59 was being prosecuted by USN forces. The captain initially thought he was being attacked and that the war had started, and was going to fire his one nuclear-tipped torpedo. One of the senior officers onboard the B-59, Captain Second Class Vasily Arkhipov had enough time to convince the captain that the US was signalling them, not attacking.

    World leaders, and wannabe world leaders, like to rattle the nuclear sabre, but I find it highly unlikely that they would actually wield it. I can see, possibly, Putin testing the West’s resolve by using a tactical nuke in Ukraine, but there’s a lot of speculation that the US has told Russia explicitly what our response would be – essentially we’d blow the crap out of the Russian military, with conventional weapons.

    A rogue group, like ISIS, I could see trying to use one, for sure – but it wouldn’t be on the scale that Russia, China, the US, UK and France could do. And the nations that have “tamed” the nuclear genie are very active in their actions to prevent this technology from falling into the wrong hands.

    Is it possible in the political game of brinksmanship someone could miscalculate? Sure. But I find it highly unlikely. There are almost always back channel communications and deals. The Cuban Missile Crisis was solved by (at the time, and for many years after, unknown) negotiations between the US and the USSR that resulted in the US pulling its missiles farther back from the USSR’s border, and the USSR pulling it’s nuclear missiles out of Cuba.

    In short, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about nuclear war. I can’t do anything to prevent one, except pray and trust our elected officials to act with wisdom and restraint (I have more faith in my prayer).

    I’ve often said that nuclear weapons, at least strategic ones, are really terror weapons. They’re a means to attempt to hold the other country’s population as a hostage.

    At the end of the day, I trust self-interest to prevent a nuclear war. If you know that you’re going to suffer a terrible price if you use them first, you will realize you have nothing to gain. What’s the point of staying in power over a nation if your nation is a radioactive wasteland? What’s the point in turning your opponent’s country into a radioactive wasteland, thereby depriving you, the “victor” of access to their land and natural resources?

  54. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    I was hesitant to mention how actually improbable a nuclear exchange seems until Tim commented. We’ve been more at risk through conventional warfare incidents and the use of non-nuclear weapons. In the wake of 9/11/2001 for instance we had more anthrax scares than nuclear war scares.

    As a comics reader (off and on) the topic of how likely nuclear war is or isn’t can influence your reading of landmark comics. For comics fans we’re forty years, give or take, past Alan Moore’s Watchmen where The Comedian claimed that inside of 30 years the nukes were gonna fly. For those who thought nuclear war under Reagan was a foregone conclusion Ozymandias “had” to kill millions of people but if nuclear war was, in fact, not nearly as likely as liberal centrists and leftists thought it was then Ozymandias spent decades plotting to massacre millions of people because he had a messianic complex and was far more dangerous to the world than either the US or USSR. Readers of superhero genres often decided Ozymandias “had’ to do what he did because the nukes “were” gonna fly.

    Forty years later we know in real world terms that didn’t happen and the Cold War ended. Moore seemed (and seems) cynical enough to stoke paranoia that nuclear war is probable but also to stick to his polemical point that if superheroes “did” exist they’d be more evil and dangerous than actual nation states with nuclear weapons.

    Not that any of us want nuclear weapons used, I suspect that really ought to go without saying, but coming up with a ripped from the headlines “what if” isn’t needed for that when we have two or even three generations of existing literature.

    I’ve read Barefoot Gen, for instance, and Japan gave us Godzilla (I can’t resist another plug for Godzilla Minus One to anyone here who hasn’t seen it, it’s magnificent (for a Godzilla movie anyway)).

  55. Muff Potter says:

    All the more reason to eat, drink, and be merry while ya’ can.

  56. BrianD says:

    I bought this book on Michael’s recommendation. Annie Jacobson all but admitted in her interview with Michael Shermer she has an agenda for the book: scare the pants off of everyone, like The Day After movie did in ’83.

    I’ve read a lot of books, fiction and otherwise, on the subject of a Cold War nuclear exchange/World War III. The Third World War: August 1985 by General Sir John Hackett is one example. Red Storm Rising by Clancy, Arc Light by Harry, Team Yankee by Coyle, Red Army by Peters are some of the best of the fiction genre. Raven Rock goes into detail about one of the places such a war would have been fought.

    I saw The Day After and it scared the pants off of me. So did Threads, and Testament. Fail Safe struck me in a different way, with the way the movie ended. By Dawn’s Early Light was good.

    Protect and Survive, on the Alternate History message board, comes at the subject from a Threads-like angle and is, IMO, one of the finest works of fan-written alternate history on Earth.

  57. Reuben says:

    Hey Brian!

  58. BrianD says:

    Hey Reuben. What’s up

  59. Michael says:

    BrianD,

    I can only handle the subject in very limited measures…it badly affects my mental state.

    Still, I think it’s important to be informed…

  60. BrianD says:

    Michael,

    I understand. The subject has fascinated me for years, but I imagine that I’d drop it like a hot potato if the balloon ever went up and look for something else (if I had the time).

    Writing about it, really about anything, is vitally important, like the proverbial voice in the wilderness. There are people talking, and writing, about artificial intelligence as if it will radically reshape the world as soon as the next five years.

    I know next to nothing about it. If I did, I’d still live one day at a time, just like with nuclear war, with Covid, with the potential threats of killer viruses or domestic terrorism or whatever murderous thing you could imagine.

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