Five Significant Trends of 2006

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Five Significant Trends of 2006

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Last year was heavy with happenings of great significance. We selected five of the most crucial trends that will inevitably shape our future world during this age of man. Number one: The erosion of American power Fifteen years ago the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union collapsed as a major superpower. The United States reigned supreme as a superpower perhaps without precedent in all of world history. In the aftermath of the demise of Soviet power over Eastern Europe, President George Herbert Walker Bush spoke of a new world order and even of a kinder, more compassionate America. Yet today the United States is perceived by many observers as a declining power in the world. The war in Iraq has been stalemated for now and the war in Afghanistan is heating up again. Iran and North Korea threaten to become aggressive, dangerous members of the nuclear club. Strenuous objections to potential Iranian nuclear weaponry by both America and Israel have been virtually ignored for a long time. Now the United Nations has finally acted, at least in part. According to The Sunday Times: "By unanimous vote, the security council banned exports of nuclear-related technology and materials to Iran, ordered a freeze on overseas assets held by Iranians involved in nuclear research and placed limited restrictions on their ability to travel abroad" (Dec. 24, 2006). On the financial front, London and Hong Kong have captured valuable business from New York City—long the world's financial capital. The Associated Press reports that corporations making their initial public offerings (IPOs) of shares preferred these investment hubs to New York for two primary reasons. First is the stringent accounting rules the United States has put in place to lessen white-collar crime (it's easier for companies to go elsewhere than to meet these regulations). Second is the booming Chinese economy. (If you would like to understand why American power is declining from a historic and biblically prophetic point of view, request our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.) Number two: The emerging resurgence of Russia Russia only blocked gas supplies to Ukraine for two days last January. Yet the implications for a potentially energy-starved Europe were enormous. The cutoff even had a temporary impact on gas supplies to Western Europe. Very recently, Moscow threatened to double Georgia's oil prices. European nations suddenly woke up to the reality of their energy dependence on Russia and President Vladimir Putin's option of using this power as a lever in his political and economic conflicts with Europe. Since that time, Moscow muscled Dutch Shell Oil out of its Russian investments and then turned its sights on BP. One may well ask, Is Putin trying to "reassemble" the Soviet Union through economic blackmail? The lead editorial in The Economist frankly tells us, "Russia's habitual abuse of its energy muscle is bad for its citizens, its neighbourhood and the world" (Dec. 16, 2006). Number three: The rise of aggressive atheism The publishing of Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins' most recent book, The God Delusion, reenergized atheists around the globe, particularly in Britain and Europe. According to a Sunday Times feature article, "Professor Richard Dawkins has caused a sensation this year [2006] with the runaway success of his anti-religious book The God Delusion" (Dec. 24, 2006). This unusual work blamed all forms of religion (focusing on Christianity) for our insecure, uncertain and problem-plagued world of today. Professor Dawkins has been described as "almost evangelical in telling Christians they are misguided in their faith" (Seven Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph, Dec. 17, 2006). He is even planning to influence our schools. According to a feature article in The Sunday Times, "The Oxford Professor and campaigning atheist is planning to take his fight against God into the classroom by flooding schools with anti-religious literature" (Nov. 19, 2006). On a trip late last year to Northern Ireland, mainly by train, this writer saw at least two individuals reading The God Delusion intently. In one case I sat down opposite a businessman and a conversation about the book ensued. It turned out to be a friendly discussion in which I pointed out some of the flaws in the author's rationale. Two weeks later I encountered two atheists reading the book in a local Northwood (near London) coffee shop, followed by another friendly discussion. (If you would like more information concerning the core issues about this subject, request our free booklets Life's Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? and Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe?) Number four: The intense vilification of Israel Polls have shown that far too many Europeans actually believe that the state of Israel is a greater menace to world peace than rogue countries like Iran and North Korea. Also the nonaligned nations that met in Havana, Cuba, all heartily endorsed one resolution—their condemnation of Israel. Iran has even offered to arm the other enemies of Israel with rockets. In addition, Iran convened a two-day "Review of the Holocaust" conference, including 60 researchers (actually Holocaust deniers) from 30 nations, to supposedly demonstrate that the Holocaust was a myth. In twisted reasoning, somehow this serves as an additional pretext for the president of Iran to continue to call for the wiping of Israel off the map—one of his consistent themes in 2006. One of the points of the Iraq Study Group recommendations on Iraq involved the restoration of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. It seemed to some observers to be heavily weighted against the state of Israel. For example, it suggests that the Shebba Farms region that Israel occupies in the strategic Golan Heights be given to Syria—without anyone asking Israel about the idea! (For further understanding, ask for our free booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy.) Number five: The onslaught of sex outside of marriage American pornographers have more or less succeeded in defending themselves under the pretext of free speech. Liberal attitudes toward illicit sex have gained ground in the United States. Many American teenagers are losing their virginity before they are old enough to legally drive. One survey showed that four in 10 teenagers had experienced sexual intercourse before age 14. The media is at least partially responsible for this sad state of affairs. Briefly run your eyes over the covers of newsstand magazines sometime. Suggestive articles about sex tend to dominate many of these publications. Illicit sex, however, is far from just an American problem. Internet pornography is available everywhere. For instance, in Britain almost 40 percent of the male population has logged onto sex Web sites. Illicit sex has become "consumerized" on a massive scale. Serious biblical warnings The Bible warns humankind to avoid all types of illicit sexual conduct along with many other moral pitfalls. The apostle Paul told the Colossian brethren: "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience" (Colossians 3:5-6, emphasis added throughout). Notice that all these offenses speak directly or indirectly to sexual misbehavior. Paul further warned: "In the last days perilous times will come" (2 Timothy 3:1). He went on to detail some of the characteristics that would plague the last days. "For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God" (verses 2-4). These passages fit well the behaviors of peoples of our Western nations today. And as astonishing as it may seem, many of the people acting in this manner are outwardly religious and may even attend church regularly. Paul continues: "Having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (verse 5). This article has highlighted just five major problems that have significant prophetic overtones on the direction mankind is headed in today's world. There is but one reliable, true source with the answers to the increasingly complex problems the world is facing. That source is, of course, the Holy Bible. We have prepared for our readers a timely booklet that helps us to understand from Scripture why man is faced with crisis after crisis, with no real solutions on the horizon. To really understand the significance of not only the key happenings in 2006 but even more importantly, what will occur in the weeks, months and years ahead, request our free booklet Are We Living in the Time of the End? WNP

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