Counting Blessings….a note to the pessimists
October 20, 2010
There is a good number of Christians who are pessimistic about world history. They read the Bible to say that the world is going down hill and they interpret current events as support of this view. Things like abortion, sexual immorality, and a diminishment of church influence in the public square are all proof that this world is passing away.
But I think that this is a very “glass half empty” view. While the baby murder rate has increased horrifically since Roe v Wade there is some perspective that should be kept. There were several very good things that humanity did in the 19th and 20th centuries that may have saved many more children (and adults) than abortion has killed.
First, vaccines were developed. There was a time when measles would strike fear in a society. Over the last century, it is estimated that 200 million people died of measles (many children). In Hawaii during the 1850s measles killed 1/5 of the population. In one year (1875) measles killed 1/3 of Fiji. Outbreaks in Europe and Asia have had similar damage. And that is just measles. Many other diseases and plaugues have been cured by vaccines. In my opinion as a parent, we should all be thanking God that we do not have to watch our children grow sick and die in the way that so many parents in the past did.
Second, antibiotics. The bubonic plague (black death) is estimated to have killed 30% – 60% of Europe’s population in 1400!! It killed an estimated 75–200 million people in the 14th century. In areas such as Italy, the south of France and Spain, where plague ran for about four years consecutively, it was probably close to 75% to 80% of the population. Can you imagine the horror? Can you imagine the fear you would live in? The smell? How many people do you know that died of the plague recently? I think we should be thanking God that we live in a post antibiotics world where our children do not have to watch their parents die as they anticipate their own death.
Third, food. Twenty bushels per acre used to be really impressive for a farmer. Now we get 200. A hundred years ago, a farmer used to be able to feed 6 to 8 people and now it is approximately 126. Drive by a farm at harvest time and you will see small mountains of corn that would make any person with knowledge of the historic difficulty in getting food want to stand up and cheer. Rewind just a bit in history and you will see a trail of death with regards to food. History is full of famine horror stories. The famine of 1315–6 may have killed at least 10% of England’s population. The great famine in Finland in 1696, killed one-third of the population. Two massive famines struck France between 1693 and 1710, killing over two million people. Then there is a famous Irish Potato Famine of the 19th century that killed up to 12% of the population. And food is still a problem. During the 20th century, an estimated 70 million people died from famines across the world. Next time some stupid movie like “Food Inc” comes out grab a box of highly buttered genetically modified popcorn and throw it at the screen as you celebrate living in a society where the major food problem is having too much of it and getting fat. Parents throughout the ages that watched their children die of hunger would have loved to trade places. I think we should be thanking God that he has provided a world where the blight of hunger is being eradicated.
There are many other good developments provided in terms of science and health. A brief review of the miracles of modern medicine would cause anyone to stop and thank God. And there there are all the other things that I have mentioned in previous emails (slavery, infanticide, gladiators, racism, unjust laws, oppression, lack of hospitals, orphanages etc).
Abortion is a blight. But it will end. I recently got a note from a woman who has been working in a crisis pregnancy center for 18 years. She says in the last several years she has noticed a major shift in the American consciousness. Abortion will end. God has done more wonderful things that ending abortion in the past. Imagine being a Christian in first century Rome. They have abortion and infanticide…..and the plague…. and famine…. and gladiator games…and slavery…..and and and….
The world is getting better. God is making it better. I think that if we want to be dwarfs and sit in the wonderful world that God has given us and complain and say that it is going down hill…..well that is up to you. I praise God that I was born in this exciting and wonderful moment in history.