The boneheaded carnality of man

Will China overtake the U.S.? Biblical prophecy says yes

Published January 19, 2006 7:59PM (EST)

Beware "the increasing camaraderie among the nations of the Orient." For the Bible prophesies the rise of a new military power in the Far East, with an army 200 million strong. And with the U.S. economy in an ever expanding bubble, all the while outsourcing its industrial production to a declared enemy, the Bible's truth will be known. The United States is in peril. "The facts speak for themselves."

I quote, and paraphrase, from the Trumpet, a publication put out by the Philadelphia Church of God (headquartered in Edmond, Okla.). I heard the Trumpet's blast this morning, courtesy of a wayward link from Google News, where I was trying to research a recent agreement between India and China to cooperate on oil development. The Trumpet cares about such current events, and I was almost to the end of a decent summary of what was going on before I realized I'd fallen down an evangelical rabbit hole. Maybe it was the sudden reference to how "Bible prophecy tells us that Asia will align both politically and militarily" that tipped me off.

Among other areas of interest, the Trumpet includes sections covering China, India and globalization. To wit, in an article titled "China Outsells U.S. in Tech Goods": "The U.S. is allowing itself to be marginalized by the Chinese economically. Does Washington place enough value on technological leadership to prevent future disasters? Bible prophecy says no."

The Philadelphia Church of God is an offshoot of the Worldwide Church of God founded by Herbert W. Armstrong. Even among evangelical groups, it has an offbeat reputation, existing somewhere between cult and legitimate Christian theology. It probably wouldn't be wise to take its gospel as representative of conservative Christian attitudes toward globalization (a topic that How the World Works has suddenly put on the front burner, as a result of this morning's accidental encounter). But it is instructive nonetheless -- the news analysis in some of the articles is pretty spot on, minus the biblical gloss tacked on in the end. And given the increasing influence of evangelical Christian ideology on the U.S. government, it's worth paying attention to. The Trumpet and the neocons agree: China is the anti-Christ.

Who knows, maybe they're right: My favorite observation gained today came in a pessimistic piece about the G20 meeting in China last summer:

"There's simply something missing in man that would lead him to a spirit of genuine cooperation and unity at these conferences. There's always someone willing to break a treaty, flout the law, treat any agreement reached by the members of such institutions with mere impunity. It's a fact of human nature ... This very bone-headed carnality of man stands in the way of humankind achieving the system to solve this world's unbelievably complex problems."

Kind of hard to dispute that.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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China Globalization How The World Works U.s. Military