When we refuse the truth, there is nothing left to believe but the lie ! This is why much of the world today is wide open for deceivers and false prophets. It was estimated that in the 1990's by a Syracuse University professor who researched the contemporary religious situation in America that there are over 2,000 practicing gurus calling themselves Christ.
Not only are many people falling for Satan's deceptions, increasing numbers are following Satanism. Rick Hatfield, director of Brylin Hospital's adult and adolescent inpatient chemical dependency treatment facility near Buffalo New York, warns, " Satanism is one of the greatest and most prevalent threats facing kids today."
Youth involvement in the occult and witchcraft has been attributed to lack of spirituality in the churches. The Manchester (England) Guardian Weekly reported in the late 1990's that there are an estimated 80,000 witches in England. The growth has been called a "renaissance in witchcraft", and there are now open schools in witchcraft that teach " psychic self-defense " and the history of witchcraft. " Pagan Power " is similarly on the increase in the US. There are about 2 million Americans who adhere to some form of paganism.
There are many striking statistics to show how people are falling away form the Christian faith. Here are a few examples :
Among churchgoing Anglicans (Church of England), only half believe in the virgin birth and almost a third of the clergy don't believe it either ! Only 2% of the population worships at church every Sunday.
In Germany, about 20% of people who call themselves Protestant and 10% of Catholics are atheists, according to Reader's Digest.
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass,.... " (Mt 24:6)
The world has never really been free from the scourge or war, but no period in all history has witnessed the escalation of wars as has the 20th century. The International Red Cross estimates that over 100 million people have been killed in wars since that century began. The century cam eto a close with a third of the world's 193 nations embroiled in conflict. In 1999 alone there were 65 armed conflicts !
Since WW II, which was supposed to be "the war to end all wars", there have beeen over 150 major wars (conflicts resulting in over 1,000 deaths pre year), as well as hundreds of smaller conflicts, armed rebellions and
revolutions. The death toll in armed conflicts since the end of World War II topped more than 23 million people before the end of the 20th century.
World s conflicts killed 100,000 in 1999
Agence France Presse
At least 100,000 people have died in armed conflict in the past year, the majority of them in sub-Saharan Arica, the International Institute of Stategic Studies (IISS) said in it's annual report (released 10/00) on the wrold military balance.
Wars and civil unrest continued unabated in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, notably Columbia, and South East Asia, particularly Indonesia. The Caucasus region, notably Chchnya, and Central Asia were the scenes of unresolved and persistent conflict , it added.
However, around 60% of the death toll came from sub-Saharan Africa, where conflicts were recorded between Ethiopia and Eritrea, in Central Africa, Sierra Leone and Southern Sudan.
There are now 14 ongoing UN peacekeeping operations around the world using the services of 28,900 troops from 38 countries; nearly three times as much as a year earlier.
Menwhile, sales in the world arms trade in 1999 were estimated at around 53.4 billion dollars. Global military expenditures were about 809 billion dollars.
The US remained the largest arms exporter with a 49.1% share of the global market.
Civil wars ( nation against nation )
The Greek word for "nation" originally used in this prophecy, is ethnos, which is more accurately translated "a race" or "a tribe". Jesus was sying that ethnic groups would rise against each other ; a prophecy dreadfully fulfilled in former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and other trouble spots around the world.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that during the 20th century, the murders perpetrated by dominant clans or ethnic groups in nations against other clans or ethnic groups in their own countries have exceeded the deaths caused by wars with rivals outside their borders.
In the seven years following the end of the Cold War in 1989, an estimated 101 conflicts raged. Most were wars not between states but within states. They were fought by opposing groups with unsophisticated
weapons. In Rwanda, for example, much of the killing was done with machetes.
Deaths in Civil Wars (among people of the same country)
Compiled 1999 from articles in AP, The Independant, State Department, Center for Defense Information, CIA, World Almanac.
Following is a list of death tolls or estimates in a sampling of civil conflicts fought in the 1990's.
Algeria : 75,000, 1992-98; An insurgency touched off when the army cancelled elections the Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win. Algeria is getting it's first civilian chief of state since 1965, but the election brought charges of fraud.
Burundi : 150,000-250,000, 1993-99; Tutsis and Hutus have been fighting since the 1993 assassination by Tutsis of the first democratically elected president, a Hutu, and a coup in 1996 that brought a Tutsi government to power
Colombia : 1,200 civilians, 1998; Thousands die yearly in violence perpetrated by drug trafickers, leftist rebels, right-wing paramilitary squads and wayward army soldiers in a decades-long struggle. The country's ombudsman says civilian massacres rose 16% last year, to 1,200, and more than 300,000 people were displaced by violence.
Guatemala : 200,000, 1960-96; Civil war ended with a peace agreement between leftist rebels and the government.
Kosovo : 2,000, 1998; A death toll that has risen this year to unknown heights since Serbs intensified their ethnic purge of Kosovars and NATO started bombing to stop the repression. Mass graves have been reported in Kosovo. NATO has acknowledged bombing a passenger train and possibly a refugee convoy; Serbs said that about 75 died as a result.
Liberia : 150,000, 1989-97; Civil war sparked by rebellion to oust ethnic dictatorship. Democratic government installed, but sporatic armed clashes have followed.
Nothern Ireland : 3,250, 1968-98; Street clashes between Catholic protesters and Protestant police, leading in 1970 to the start of bombings and shootings by the IRA and then random killings by Protestant groups.
Rwanda ; 500,000-1,000,000, 1994; A 90 day slaughter of Tutsis or moderate Hutus by soldiers, militia and others under the influence of the Hutu government, finally put down by Tutsi-led rebels.
Sierra Leone : 14,000, 1992-99; Continuing war between the Revolutionary United Front and the government, with the rebels backed by an ousted military junta and the government by a UN-led intervention force.
Spain : 800, 1961-69; Basque seperatists broke a truce in their armed campaign for independence and resumed a campaign of assassinations and car bombings.
Sri Lanka : 57,000, 1983-99; Tamil rebels have been fighting the government for an independent homeland in the small island nation.
Sudan : 1.5 million, 1983-99; Rebels from the Christian and animist south have been fight for autonomy from the Arab and Muslim north in a conflict marked by famine.
Turkey : 37,000, 1984-99; Kurdish rebels have been fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey, using guerilla bases in northern Iraq.
"...there will be famines... " (Mt 24:7)
A famine is a drastic wide-reaching shortage of food. The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that about 4 million people a year die of starvation, or about 30 people every minute.
" Some 40,000 hunger-related deaths occur every day, mostly in rural regions, " according to World Bank vice president Ismail Serageldin. It is estimated that one third of the world is well-fed, one third is under-fed, and one third is starving. More than 800 million people are chronically undernourished. (WHO)
Water shortages in parts of the world in the next 25 years will pose the single greatest threat to food production and human health. 1.3 billion people worldwide have no access to clean water. (World Bank)
The terrible irony is that the world can produce enough food to feed it's expanding population. While some famines are caused by drought or other natural disasters, most starvation in the world today could be avoided
were it not for man's selfishness and inhumanity. War, embargoes, government corruption and economic opression are all symptoms of the real problem. While innocent children starve, some rich nations destroy
millions of tons of food in order to keep prices artificially high.
"...and pestilences.... " (Mt 24:7)
Pestilences also known as plagues : At least 30 previously unknown diseases have appeared globally since 1973, including HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis-C, Ebola hemorrhagic fever and others.
Twenty well-known infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and cholera have reemerged or spread since 1973, some appearing in "deadlier, drug-resistant forms". Less than 20 years ago the medical profession claimed victory over a wide array of bacterial and viral killers. But instead of fading, the cases of infectious diseases have skyrocketed throughout the 90's. Doctors now warn that the current resurgence of drug-resistant bacteria strains could prove to be more deadly than AIDS. Drug-resistant strains of microbes are having a deadly impact on the fight against tuberculosis, malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia which together kill more than 10 million people worldwide each year.
AIDS is the fourth leading global cause of death, acoording to UNAIDS. At the end of 1999, 34.3 million adults and children worldwide were living with HIV / AIDS More than five million people are newly infected each year. There are now 16 countries in which more than one tenth of the adult population aged 15-49 is infected with HIV.
In Africa, AIDS now kills 2 million people a year. At least one of every two 15-year old boys in Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana is on track to die of AIDS. Half of all babies in Africa are born infected with HIV.
In 1993 AIDS became the leading cause of death of US males between the ages of 20 and 45.
Aside from the above-mentioned plagues, theere is, of course, cancer, which is considred non-infectious. Over 100 different kinds of cancer now kill over 6 million people every year.