Channel: Adnan Rashid
BBC Big Questions (12-06-2016)
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Today on the big questions, are we facing the end of the world?
Morning. I'm Nicky Campbell. Welcome to the big questions. Today we're back at Brunel University London in Oxbridge to debate one very big question. Are we facing the end of the world? Welcome, everybody to the big questions.
The Apocalypse, the battle of Armageddon, the n times. This is the realm of eschatology, a theological study of where humanity and the world is ultimately headed in Christianity. It's the final judgment, the last trump damnation for some salvation for others, and possibly a new world to come. Nearly all religions have a prophetic vision of the end of the world, and who will survive and who will not. It's happened before. Long before humans walked this earth, there were five great mass extinctions, which destroyed most of this planet's life in the first 443 million years ago. 85% of the creatures which then lived on the seas, were wiped out in the fifth 65 million years ago, the
Cretaceous tertiary extinction of plants and animals. So the last of the pterosaurs, the end of Ammonites, and the death of the dinosaurs. Now scientists believe we're facing a sixth great extinction. This one is caused by us by human beings, destroying habitats, overheating the planet. So are we now facing the end of our world? as we know it?
Is this what so many religions for told? Well, to debate this very question? We've got it together, environmentalists, eschatologists, economists, writers, peoples of many faith and have none and you can join into on Twitter or online by logging onto BBC co.uk. Slash questions. Follow the link to the online discussion, lots of encouragement, contributions for are engaged but looking slightly concerned.
Audience here in Oxbridge. So let's just start off with some of the religious perspectives on this. We have Adnan who's a Muslim, and we have got plastic Clement, a koozie. From the eternity church in London, eternity. I like the cut of your job. And we've got Taiwan, Abuja who's from disgust Jesus. So what are the signs pastor, you believe that this this could come? It could come soon it could come in our lifetimes. What signs should we look out for? What signs are you perceiving? Well, we get our understanding of eschatology from Scripture, of course, and actually from the mouth of Jesus Himself, Jesus on these Olivet Discourse, he's approached by his disciples who asked him a number of
questions about when at the end of time be the first the End Times is precipitated by the return of Jesus Christ a second coming. Jesus begins to give them a list of things to look for walls, rumors of wars, nations against nations, earthquakes, pestilences, diseases, etc, etc. See It Now you see that stuff happening now? Well, those things have always been there. Yeah, I was gonna say I've seen though we've seen an increase in amount of them. If I think about in my lifetime, I mean, I'm still quite young. When I consider the amount of wars that I've seen in my lifetime, whether it's the Falklands War to Gulf wars, or Rwanda, of Bosnia, etc, there's seems to be an increase in wars.
Despite our growing wisdom in science and technology in aviation, we still seem to have a new viruses, new diseases forever coming up. We've had the Ebola, got the Zika virus, we've got all sorts of things happening. So yes, so those words of Jesus seem to so we're turning ourselves in a way you say Israel, this is significant. Yes, Israel is at the heart of it in for us, as we understand endtime theology, there's a difference between the church and Israel, Armageddon, that you mentioned, is meant to take place a place called Megiddo. I've been there or at least been to that area where they reckon all the world's armies are going to converse on to Israel, and Jesus
will return the second coming of Christ is going to defend Israel rescue Israel, and defeat her enemies. Yeah. Tyra. Is that how you see it? Is that similar theology going on here? Yeah, totally agree, totally agree with Jesus, when it's Jesus can come back, you think it's on our lifetime, the second highest, I believe the generation that seed that has witnessed the formation of the State of Israel will see the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. What will happen when the Lord Jesus Christ returns? Well, what will our experience of that be? Yeah, I mean, he's coming back to judge the world and to finish that which he started.
So when we look at the beginning, the whole idea was to create a garden of Eden and populate it
around the world. And the aim was not to kind of bring death and sin into the world. So what signs are you seeing? So there's four key signs, which we should keep in mind. So far we've seen 1.5. There's four signs. The first one is the sign in the church. The second one is the sign in the earth. The third one is the sign in the Middle East. And the fourth one is the sign in the sky. Well, this is well documented in the sign. And all this is documented Well, in Matthew 20. What is the sign in the sky? What's the silence guys? The latter aspects. So I mean, the Bible talks about the sun being dark, and the moon not given its light, and so forth, and see, and prior to his
imminent return, we'll see a sign of the Son of Man, prior to his coming, I could have easily passed it, could this be in our lifetime? Well, I mean, Jesus is very clear. Jesus says, No man know if the time nor the hour. So you should be very careful about trying to predict the actual return of Christ. In fact, there was a guy called Miller, who I think in the 18th century, said you can't get it wrong. And he had predicted return and price and so people were climbing up the mountains because they wanted to see Jesus before people would see him on ground level. So lots of people have constantly made these predictions. But you think besides Adnan, do you think there are signs?
Absolutely, yes. According to the Muslim eschatology, which mainly come from the Prophet Muhammad and his prophecies, he talked about increase in injustice, indiscriminate killing, in inequality, people will start to oppress each other, despite this has always happened, of course, but near the end of times, they will be specific signs such as escalation in
earthquakes, they will grow in the magnitude and numbers, environmental problems, wars, wars on a huge magnitude 20 century is the bloodiest century of the history of humanity. For example, we start from the year 1900, to 2000. This is calculate the amount of casualties we've had, you know, all of mankind put together previously 20th century was the bloodiest and most devastating centuries heard about the sky, what will happen in Europe? Well, I don't know what my friend there is referring to the sign in the sky. But we have specific signs, Prophet Muhammad said, when these things happen, then wait for the hour, which is increasing the increase in injustice, Jesus will come Yeah, that's
one of the signs that's that's part of Muslims, eschatology, he will come back and fight the forces of injustice, okay. Now, what are these forces of injustice, he will be physically here fighting before he will physically defend. We Muslims believe that, and he will fight the forces of injustice, things carry on as they are at the moment, but he will have physically settled things will deteriorate as we as we speak right now. We I think we all agree whether you are a religious person or not, we all agree that the world is in a bad state today. There is a lot of injustice, we have environmental issues. We have problems with our morality, for example, what do you mean
morality? Well, injustice?
You know, you're worried about morality and promiscuity, you know, not not even earlier on, you know, not specifically when I say morality, morality, I mean, lack of injustice. Yeah. But you said earlier on, we were talking that one of the promiscuity is part of injustice. It is injustice to humans, right? promiscuity? And what about this, just just the serpent comes out to see what he's asking for signs and just for food? How many heads is the serpent?
I mean, I mean, how many set heads is the serpent God? I can't remember, is it seven or nine becomes like the seed? Well, I mean, Daniel, chapter 10, to 12 talks about,
you know, a man of lawlessness arising, is this the Antichrist? Yeah, this is the Antichrist. But one point I will come back to.
I just wanna make this very, very quickly. Daniel, Daniel, chapter nine, talks about a messiah being cut off
after a certain period. Now, this is the Messiah, that many Jewish people, some have
not accepted as the true Messiah. We believe the Messiah that came
after the destruction of the second sample is okay that I've got you. It's very interesting. Those are the beliefs. Justin, at least these are core beliefs or not, of Christianity, beliefs, the seven headed Red Dragon with 10 horns, their beliefs that you can find recorded in the book of Revelation, written by as Bernard Shaw said, a man sitting on Patmos, you have taken far too many drugs.
Those images of n times being able to read if you'd like the prophetic clock in where are we in the history that's outlined in the Old and the New Testament we're here, okay. That means there are X number of years left, but it this is a very literalist reading of Scripture. You know, when I hear stuff about the skies,
mean we understand how meteorology worked? We know what a comet is, in the 12th century, in the 16th century, we didn't really so anything that changed in nature was regarded as a providential act, perhaps prophesizing. Something in any Shakespeare play incorporates that sort of understanding. Now we know what a rainbow is, you know, in both the Old and the New Testament, the rainbow is regarded as a miracle of God. Well, it's not it's refraction of light through water. Yeah. So I think that the key question for me is, to people really believe this? Yes, absolutely.
Want to come back to a few of the other signs that you've dismissed. For instance, one of the signs of the end times is that man will run to and fro throughout the earth. Now for 1000s of years, man traveled by horse, donkey camel. Now, at the time that was prophesied, they had no idea about aviation. I mean, I've been to Australia nine times, I've been able to get onto a plane and fly 11,000 miles in less than 24 hours. And so that's a prophecy says that knowledge will increase. The amount of knowledge that we have today, compared to just 100 years ago, is immense. I mean, you know, you can, you can have a flash drive, my parents had Encyclopedia Britannica on the shelf, you
know, huge. So all this noise is something that the internet, I mean, the internet's growing that at alarming rate on an hourly basis. And so there's a number of things that Scrabble, drama that comes across.
Problems with some of the things that have been said, probably not surprisingly, come from a Jewish perspective. Yeah.
I think what we decided in Judaism, and we decided that in the times that the Talmud was you cannot predict, you cannot say we've come to the end times. There's passages which say, look, we're going to come to a time indeed, of this chaos that we've heard from both the Christian and from a Muslim perspective, we're going to come from it to a time when parents are not respecting their children, children, not respecting their parents, and they kind of listed out and at the end of the debate, a rabbi called Raph Babylonia, third century says, you cannot calculate the end times all this one Rabbi says, you know, 2000 years, 2000 years, 2000 years, 6000 years, and it's all over, which
basically, in Jewish time means we got 230 years to go, yeah. All over. And he says, No, you can never do that. All you can do is repentance, good deeds, and try and make the world better. And that's what we're trying to.
Pastor, I'll come back to you, I promise you, I just want to spread it around a bit, because there's a point that, Richard, I'll come to you on a point in a minute, but but but Justin, actually, the pastor raised this, the Miller writes and, and other sects and other groups have made these predictions, and everyone's right up the mountain and marched very slowly back down again, what is the impetus? What has been the kind of psychological impetus, whether it be control or whether it be for power that has led to these, these groups over the estimate, failed predictions constant think it's an inbuilt sort of assumption of human beings that we're all going to die at some point. And
some people can come to terms with that and live a life that's constructive and enables others to be happy. Others panic, and other religious figures or authorities normally men, very rarely women join us. southcott was a prophetess. And her box is still hidden away somewhere only to be opened by 24 bishops of the Church of England, Lord knows what's inside them. But I doubt whether it's going to be very helpful. This the sociological charisma, that people like Miller or david koresh, or in the 1650s, there were more prophets springing up, then there were almost believers. And it was a time of crisis. 800,000 people died in the English Civil War. There were comments whizzing across the sky.
Everybody thought it's all over. A lot of people said that, well, we've got the crops to take in. I'm going to write fantastic poetry. Instead, Isaac Newton said, let's do the math. And he wasn't entirely a rationalist. There was a Isaac No, no, he spent millions of words trying to calculate the number and the name of the beast. Well, he was obsessed with the book of Revelation. And we like to forget that, you know, science isn't the product of some divine or authority mediated through Scripture. Scripture is a book that guy behind you as you've been shaking your head, and you're I think you were you want to bring the microphone to
you quickly, you know, the analogy, especially when you make the comments about the rainbow being.
How can I put it? Obviously, refraction of light? Yeah. refraction of light. Yeah. Scripture doesn't say that. And Scripture says it was a sign that God won't flood the world with a what destroyed the world with a flood. Do you think the end is soon? Yeah, I do believe and is saying yes. in your lifetime, like the pastor said, Jesus said, no matter
The hour, but the signs are there. You know, what's the biggest sign for you? I think it's lawlessness, the rise of selfishness, selfishness, there's always Yeah. But it's not a scale whereby, you know,
you know, like I forgot to Richard, because I've seen you moving in your seat like you want to say something. I know you. I know you very well, because we heard earlier on from the pastor, and you can come back here by all means. We heard from the pastor that, you know, an unprecedented amount of wars, unprecedented amount of diseases. We've had lawlessness, we've had immorality. Are we the worst point in our history? Absolutely not. I've got no beef against religion, and they have a hotline. But I think the business of the signs that aside, now, the signs are pretty good. He's got an enormous human population, perhaps too big, but it's extraordinarily do it's a much, much better
than anybody thought that it would literacy up.
Life expectancy up child survival at birth.
Yes, South America, India, yes.
The world is living in poverty, the majority of poverty, the majority,
then I can easily say that the bottom 10%, the bottom 20%, the bottom 30% are in our time, in spite of extraordinary pressures, doing much better than they could ever believe.
Do you want to come back and get somewhere I believe the minority in this world.
Very big, very, very huge. In terms of financial capacity, this minority is very, very rich, is well off, the rest of the world is actually suffering. I've been to Africa, I've been to many countries around the world. I'm, I work with charities, and I've seen how people live they live in they live in boxes. That
is that because there are too many people,
possibly or due to injustice, financial injustice, because we're not distributing world, the wealth we have to the rest of the world, we need to distribute our wealth equally so that we get rid of this poverty we're facing right now in the world, to many
people. There may not be too many right now. But there certainly will be too many, in my view by at the end of the century. At the end of this century, the UN predicts that the human population will rise from 7.4 billion, which is where it is roughly now to 11 billion by the end of this century. Can you imagine seven for every seven people alive today 11 people alive at the end of the century. And I look at it from a non theological point of view. And I look at the evidence of desperate people traveling halfway around the world to try and find a living that makes some sense to them. enormous amounts of corporate and institutional corruption, and politicians that we no longer trust
to actually deliver a better life for our own citizens, let alone for the citizens of the world. And I'm sorry, and that and the final point is whether you believe that the world is coming to an end, I think the natural world is coming to an end, I think we will end up in a sort of spinning top full of people all fighting each other reaching a mouth using limits, and then destroying ourselves. But long after we've got rid of the natural world if we don't take action now.
Okay, say that 30 or 40 years ago, people thought exactly that was going to be true. And, and goodness me it's been a tight squeeze. But we have had that prediction exactly before we have extraordinarily risen to the challenge challenge. And there is a perfectly good reason to suppose that will rise to the next half of how have we risen to the challenge when there's still two and a half million.
Does that represent rising to the challenge is that
living standards for the bottom 10 and 20% on this planet have risen, not fallen, the UN moves the figures.
Well, I look at the data pretty carefully and I don't see this fiddling going on I what I see is pretty amazing improvement and fair prospect of that continuing and I do not see this descendent of violence. It will be a tight squeeze. That's the human nature that we push on. Very tight squeeze rollers people.
Even that can be exaggerated since we are looking at a population peak by the United Nations overview. We've already seen this, this curve flattening out and it will fall thereafter lady that has been trying to come in Don't worry. I'll be with you everybody. Yeah, I just want to acknowledge the you know, the fact that there is lawlessness, there is violence. There is reduction in morality. All the things that were said on that side. Yes, they are true, but to say
That we have risen up to the challenge is to be living in the cloud cuckoo land. Now I've worked with food banks, food banks across London for the past seven years now I didn't have to do that. It was because there was a need. And if you've been living in this country, you will realize those numbers have done nothing but keep rising. If you've been living in Victoria, yes. So the thing is, if we say the question is, is the world coming to an end? Yes, it might lead us to fear. And to sort of say, you know, let's throw up the towel and do nothing. What we do have to do is, first of all, ask ourselves, where will we end up as individuals, and also do the best we can to make it a better
world? But we're not there yet.
Is there a has there been a rise in immorality? Are we seeing a Are we a more immoral world, and we have a clarion call of the religious voice since about the year taught? Yeah, the world is in a state of decay were immoral. What what really Peeves me about the debate that we're in a catastrophic time now is that I don't see the gathered churches of the universe of the world doing very much about it at all. What we need is radical social change that redistributes the wealth of the very few to the many, and that will change your life. We're inheriting at the moment, the consequences of a long form of decolonization, the British Isles throughout the 18th and 19th. And
most of the 20th century, colonized the world raped it in one sense, and we are now confronted with the consequences of that. Tell me how, okay, the pope accommodated 12 families, that's a good start, but 12 families, this is poor. Yeah, tell me how worrying about in times is going to resolve those problems when human beings can do something. What about population, Caroline? You know, you heard your your fellow Christians here, I'm looking forward to hearing from them again and also from Adnan, you're basically saying we're up the proverbial creek without a proverbial paddle, for once of a better phrase.
The waters rising?
Yeah, you don't have to be, you know, sentimental about species, I believe you would be passionate about it. You don't have to be sentimental about the natural world to know that in practical terms, you know, if animals die, forests will die. If forests are the lungs of the planet, they're part of ecosystems, it's very bad for the planet. And as the habitats inroads are made upon those habitats, that becomes even worse, will lose the poetry of the natural world will lose beautiful, wonderful things. But apart from that, it's because there are too many people over to you, one Catholic voices. Hello,
is interesting. You're talking about the UN population figures. I was just reading on the way here. There's a new model, new research done by the University of Madrid who've been looking at the UN population figures who say that actually, they're going to peak and stabilize in the next 50 years, and they have the world's population as peaking and stabilizing as around 7 million. Now, this hasn't, sorry, 7 billion. This hasn't. for one moment, I thought we were about an hour or something. Now, this hasn't garnered major headlines, but there is there is a demographic crisis. Are there too many people now? No, there aren't. But what we do have, which is a real problem, and a very
problematic is we've got population implosion. So we see it in the Asia tigers. We see it in Italy,
the US, Japan, around Europe, basically people are not having enough children to replace those who are dying. We've got an aging demographic, and we haven't got enough people enough of the population who are productive enough to help pay for our aging population, that this is this is a this is a proven phenomenon. Does it mean we're in the end times? No, I don't think it does a difficult time. We're in difficult times and we need to take action. But we've had a lot of talk about signs in the book of the Catholic Church gets a lot of flack for this because of the Pope's view on birth control. But it's not the Pope's view it's church doctrine. But the doctrine of the Catholic Church
asks people to consider being generous in terms of their families. And it says that sex is about
procreation is one element and bonding about condoms and pills and effective protective birth control. The Pope also said recently, the new pope relatively new pope, he said recently that protection of the environment is actually yeah, that's absolute ocean of animals is absolutely vital. And yet, you can't have all those people exponentially expanding populations and do that they're irreconcilable. They're they're not they're not they're not they're nickim because
there is no method of contraception that is, you know, 100% failsafe, and actually if we're talking about them,
vironment and stewardship actually, you know, when we produce, you know, massive amounts of synthetic hormones, which we then sort of excrete into the, you know, the atmosphere in the ecosystem that's not environmentally friendly either. It is completely possible, you know, and lots of women now are discovering that. Actually, hormonal contraception is not right for them, you know, it's damaging them. And in fact, yes, you can regulate your families. Nobody is saying that every time we have sex, you need to have a baby? Of course not. And of course, people need to be responsible when they think about Parenthood, they need they need to think about, you know, have
they got enough resource? Okay, so you're not quite supposed to messing about population, let me bring in you. Now, Fiona, is not so much book of relevation revelations for you this environment correspond to the guardian. So perhaps in your terms, we are a bit a little bit more down to earth as you would see it. And of the world. We're talking perhaps, in your mind about the end of our way of life? Is it sustainable, is population at its current rate of exponential growth sustainable? Well, I think it's very difficult to pin down future projections about population, we've just heard a very, very low future prediction, their projections that have a great deal of credibility would
suggest that we will have about 12 billion people, and by mid to late of this century, and that represents a doubling since the mid 1990s, which, you know, by any reckoning, is pretty huge. So how you actually get enough food, and enough water, and a decent way of life, for all of those people, is a really, really key question. And but going further than that, what we seem to be missing in this debate is that this planet will carry on quite happily without us, we will not destroy the planet, we can destroy a lot of the natural world, we can destroy the forests, we can pollute the oceans, we continued the fish, we can destroy biodiversity and wipe out species, but we will never
actually end the life of this planet, we will be destroyed before the planet is this rock will continue spinning in space, and will continue to regenerate life long after we are gone. And that I think is a key point here because we're not just talking about what happens to this whole natural world that we live on. We're actually talking about our way of life, and is our way of life sustainable.
Long after we're gone, there will be cockroaches and rats like creatures crawling around when that is our way of life sustainable. Yes, our way of life is sustainable. But what I would the whole population question in a way unites the religious view of, of the end of times with what became a scientific view that civilization is not sustainable when it was first popularized by the Reverend Thomas Malthus in the beginning of the 19th century, a famous man who said, If you reproduce indiscriminately and wantonly your children, grandchildren will suffer. So we'll have more pestilence and famine. And that's there's obviously a religious substructure to all that. And we saw
scientists adopt that in the late 1960s, early 70s, where they came out with all sorts of forecasts that
that that society was unsustainable, the economy is unsustainable, growth had to be stopped. And they turned out to be false prophets. They turned out to be completely and utterly wrong. And so when we listen to this debate, it is worth noting that these people have been wrong before completely and utterly wrong. Well, I completely challenged the notion which you quickly pass by there that, yes, our way of life is sustainable. I absolutely don't think it is, if we want to retain a sort of an elite, a third of the planets living off the backs of the other two thirds of the planet, which is broadly
a case we can do that and you can sustain that model up to your 12,000,000,011 figure you want by keeping that seven 8 billion people at feeding clothing and providing resources for
I could see it happening in America right now. That is that is rhetoric that is rhetoric is completely is completely devoid Where's your scientific basis?
30 years, I've seen the biggest uplift out of poverty the world has ever seen. I mean, you've seen a massive decrease in poverty in China, for example. I mean, China in the last two, three decades, has been transformed. Not say that about 200 million, and it's denuding Africa of all its resources and all its wildlife is
Richard, I mean, this denuding Africa of all its resources and wildlife, and I don't think there have been that many extinctions in Africa have
large mammals, let's say that we've been worrying about, really for 100 years, and I hope to goodness, there never are. But they're not being denuded at this moment. The species are doing well. With any luck at all. We'll have vast amounts of rain forest alongside this large population. I don't get that this is an inevitable crunch that we that we cannot avoid. Well, first because it's so so West Africa's first palm oil plantation wipes out 2000 square kilometers of rain forest and turns it into palm oil. And you say there's loads of wildlife left well 400,000 African elephants, yeah, 170,000 western lowland gorillas, three and a half 1000 Eastern lowland gorillas, 1000,
mountain gorillas, and you keep on going, you want to look at lions, do you want to look at rhinos, you want to look at pangolin Do you want
that is a very charismatic and telling and important list. But if we decide that Palmer is really not the way to use, what is what used to be reinforced, then I think we will only in the nick of time, stop using so much power. But I also Hurry, hurry, hurry,
make sensible decision, I also think that it is very likely that we'll be less pure wilderness than we inherited in our grandparents inherited, and that won't necessarily matter to the extraordinarily vital services that habitat good habitat provides. I mean, there is some there's a difference between absolutely fabulous virgin habitat and goodness knows we want plenty of it. But we can't probably have as much as we inherited, and what remains can be pretty decent stuff. Secondary forest, forest, which is not perfect here isn't bad. This is actually right on the broader issue for for our friends from the church from a friend from the mosque, because it's about actually habitat
loss, species loss, the deforestation, it is about our greed. It's about our selfishness. And that's where everybody's certainly on this side of debate, and quite a lot on that side of it. They are in total and utter agreement. It's symptomatic, isn't it? Yes. Well, one of the problems that we've got is that, you know, habitat loss is something that we could deal with, we could stop habitat last night, we could save all the animals that we want to save, we could stop these extinctions. And we could also bring billions of people out of poverty. And we could stop climate change. And we could stop polluting our oceans, we could stop overfishing. The problem is, we need to stop all of them at
once. And that's where we run into difficulties because you know, mission problems. Yeah, problems that are soluble in themselves, you know, climate change, we know what needs to do, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, you know, overfishing, we know what we need to do, we need to leave some some areas as conservation zones, where they can regrow, every single one of the problems that we've heard about and that we're facing as a planet we have solutions to the difficulty is that we cannot just do them one by one, we need to solve all of them. That's what religion does. Religion is a way of agreeing that we must do things to change things, because
marriage is losing. What we have a Jewish doctrine of tikkun olam of repair of the world is all about that, we should be doing that because well in the Jewish idea, because we've got no idea when the world becomes going to be. So therefore repair the world where we are. But I think all of our religions have the idea of stewardship. So we could do that. As we have the symbol of religion as the answer. I think it does. I really do think it does. The rainbow covenant, for example. So we have this idea of the rainbow as the symbol. Yeah. And yes, okay, maybe about perfection, not perfection, other things. So it's about a symbol of the rainbow, which says that God says God will
never destroy the world. But that doesn't mean we can't, we can destroy the world by a doctrine which all religions share of stewardship of the world. And if we could only get our message across better and better and using the fact that in this world right now, we're at the point where we can communicate with each other on a global way. We know what's happening in Africa, we know what's happening in China, a point at which we got the technology to make these things work. Perhaps we can make better times not just religion isn't the answer. I mean, this is this is quite a debate, this particular one. That's a very positive outlook. But I think that you have to look at the other side
of that, that if there are some religions or some people in some religions who believe that we are at the end time, then what on earth is the point of Stuart's, you know, this is
what we're missing the point.
The point that we are nearing the end doesn't mean that we give up. It means it means we fix our affairs, can we can we give ourselves a stay of execution? What we do we extend it? No. It's not a
extension is about fixing your behavior, you are clearly not behaving right. There is something wrong with the world. We need to fix that we need to basically escalate the good work, we will well i'm saying is can we delay the end? That's what I mean. Well, it's about delaying the end. Yes. Yeah. Yeah, to the world, even scientifically speaking will come to an end because a billion solar system, whatever happens, it will eventually end. How can we actually delay that process? Right now we're facing global warming, we're facing poverty, we're facing destruction on a globe, astronomical magnitude, what are we doing about it? That's the question. So believing in the end of the world
doesn't mean that you give up and sit back and say, Okay, I'm going to be destroyed. Now. Anytime this room will clap for me. It's not that attitude. Rather, we need to do something about it, fix our affairs, and do some more. Let's talk about our standard of life. Let's talk about whether we need to adjust that. Let's talk about whether some religions think it's inevitable for download within a second to get the behind perspective. But very quick question, do you want the world to end? Do I want the world Yeah, and it's not my decision?
Are you looking forward to ending my understanding God, create if you are on let me finish?
God created the world God ultimately will destroy in his own time, right? We know, you'll be quite happy when it happens. Because Well, I don't imagine I'll be here on earth when it happens. That's not to say we shouldn't be good stewards of the earth.
My understand when it comes, you'll be quite pleased because it will mean the new kingdom. Yeah. Yes. I mean, Jesus Christ is coming back. We believe that we believe that Jesus Christ is coming back to write some of the wrongs that have happened in the world. We believe that Jesus Christ has come back to establish His Kingdom on the earth is it just is this a problem that there are those who think you know what it's gonna come? It's inevitable. It's, embrace it. It's a major problem. And historically, there's absolutely no evidence that religion has ever benefited society at all.
I'll see you later.
What happens to all the university's
character, character people on the panel?
We have these debates a lot. Next year, we're gonna have you back.
Because not everyone is
taught to, let's talk to we've had a debate before and it's always fantastic. And we nearly had, again, it's a little side road in the highway that we're on at the moment. fidelma Meaghan from the Bohai national Spiritual Assembly, it's an absolutely fascinating religion, and worldview, yours, universal view, can you explain your position on our road to destruction, what we can do about it, or whether it's inevitable? Is there another way? Absolutely another way bahala, founder of the Baha'i Faith, explained what's happening really in the world in a very rational way, in a way that I think satisfies the scientific mind, the religious mind of a completed like that. But our law said
that we are, we are going through a transition, a big change, where the world is changing where it's been seen as maybe all of these separate countries at each other's throats, seeing the you know, the district based on self interest, can I stop you though, we've always had separate countries, separate tribes, separate nations separate groups at each other's throats, nothing has changed. And that's what bahala said, to reflect on this idea. To see the earth as one country and mankind its citizens, to actually have a word embracing vision, I was really taken by her Fiona
depicted all of these problems and saying it we can, we can find solutions. According to the by faith, the solutions will not be found, unless we first of all, see the world as one planet, we can still celebrate diversity, it's very much about unity in diversity. And bahala said, the well being of mankind, it's peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is is firmly established. So these problems we're facing that we've heard this morning are our economical, environmental security, to name but a few. Are there not global issues that need a global response? Richard? No, I think lots of the problems that Fiona and we'll talk about in extraordinarily
important problems are mostly governmental problems within countries. If good countries are better governed, they can better get a grip on deciding they won't Will's agreeing with you. Why not? Why
knocked down their forest for palm oil, that they might even come up with a rational policy about climate change. But that is extraordinarily difficult and another different matter. But it's not we all need a New World Vision, we probably don't even need the United Nations, we don't need some big socialistic view about this stuff. Mostly, what countries mostly suffer from is poor government, kind of socialistic is cooperative, we're looking at the future, and that can get very, very bossy.
As capitalism back, then it will almost certainly do more harm than good. I stick with good government by countries can solve a huge amount of these problems. Okay, first of all, is a second, but then over here sooner, I mean, if the problem is we have we have climate change with the problems, the population will have migration on the scale that we cannot even imagine, at the moment, we'll have instability, we'll have tensions, we'll have war, and then the whole cycle, the whole cycle will go on again, and get worse and worse and worse. And we'll go faster and faster and faster, and it'll spin out of control. Massive famines are predicted for next year, save us fear,
what can we do about it? What are the practical steps that we can take, apart from sitting in a studio and talking?
I think that good government would help Hello, what you seem to be describing as a sort of political vacuum. So I don't see how getting rid of things like the United Nations would help. But I think what we need to do is to look hard at the solutions, grasp the solutions and grasp the fact that they will require changes to our life, changes to our lifestyle, they will require us to use less stuff, and to use stuff more efficiently, and to live perhaps less glamorous lives in in the case of in the case of the famous 1% of the population. And, and they will require us most of all, and to actually cooperate with one another. It's not just something that single governments can do single
governments can do very well within their own confines. But we've seen with big challenges, like climate change, big challenges, like pollution, which crosses borders, big problems, like like biodiversity, desert, desertification, and water scarcity, all these issues are ones on which we need to cooperate. We know that we need to do this to the gentleman, he went into the street and said, you know what we need to do? Do you know how bad it is wood, wood, wood, the ordinary Joe and Josephine know, all of these. It's well documented. It's not just a middle class. Well, I think the people may may know about it, but are they willing to do something about it, and that and the
One of the single biggest challenges is while British citizens expect a standard of living, as we currently have it, they use nine times the global resources of their equivalent in Africa. And while we have that disparity of resource use, we will never get the kind of common sense that so many people around here have been talking to Caroline in the audience for a while, put your hands up and always round him for quick points. What I find really interesting about this debate is I'm listening to Fiona. And I'm agreeing with most of what she's saying, if not all of almost all of it. And I'm agreeing with you to about, you know, I think about population figures. But what's what's
interesting is that there seems to be a really false dichotomy being set up here, between science and religion. So we've got, you know, science telling us this a lot, you know, it's the free market. And what that's the point, I think the point I'm trying to make is that actually, none of what you are saying, is incompatible with religion, faith and reason are completely compatible. I mean,
we need to kind of move away from this idea that, you know, we're looking for signs in the sky, and this is happening and sort of apocalyptic fundamentalism, certainly from a Christian perspective, although I do believe that Christ is going to come back in a blaze of glory at the end of the world.
I don't I don't subscribe and that, you know, the Catholic does doesn't believe in all this sort of apocalyptic visions. And the most important thing we can do is appreciate that actually, we could die leaving the studio, we could be run over by a bus. Are we ready for that?
Lady in the middle with a black jumper on Good Morning, morning, and I have two points. First, I think it's important that we don't ignore the fact that the Western world is draining the world's resources. So I don't think it's a matter of too many people being on earth because we're human. It's our right to reproduce. But I think the issue is the standard of which the Western world is living that is draining us and making it difficult for us to reproduce for the 7 billion of us and there's 20,000 lions, give them a chance.
So yeah, I just think that the standard of living will have to change the Westwater that the rest of the world
can live a decent standard of life. And the second point is across the different Abrahamic faiths, they all have similar opinions on how the world will end or what science will come about. And I think they're just simply for me, metaphoric predictions of what will happen is cause and effect, its reaction and reaction. You know, if we keep, you know,
making plastic, you're gonna lose the plastic, so it's gonna see I mean, it's, it's predictions.
Anyone else across here, let me just let us say this.
Firstly, I think rainbows are beautiful, however they arrived. We know how that arrived. But in terms of solving this problem, I think faith is actually very, very important. Whether your faith is religious or human. We have to get away from this idea of believing in ourselves as an our ability to buy iPhones and cars and have everything and have the most amazing life at the detriment of others, and start realizing that our happiness lies not in what we have individually. But what we have together. It's also evidential
pastor, we've had massive extensions before, where the late Devonian 360 million years ago, we had the Permian Triassic extinction 200 million years ago, we had the dinosaur dinosaur extinction 65 million years ago. Why does God keep doing it?
I was around back then. So I can't talk very much about
Okay, I'm not so sure that all of us would agree with some of those timelines that you just given how old they
were. Okay. Good luck with a Nobel Prize.
Like, give me the website.
For Science. Why does God keep doing? Well? I don't know. Again, I can't look backwards. I'm looking forwards. For me knowing that Jesus Christ is coming back. Makes me so these these are? These are facts. Why has why it is. It's God's plan. We are about to we are in the sixth grade extension. Why have they been five already? Why has that been God's plan? Well, I don't know about what I don't know. Why do though. And you keep asking me about things. I know you know this.
As a Bible believing Christian, I understand scripture. I understand that Jesus Christ, there's been prophetic revelation that he will return. And certain things will happen when Justin's. I mean, if we take this literalist approach to Scripture, we really are going to end up in some very peculiar places. James are
a devout Calvinist looked at scripture, and he claimed with absolute honesty and sincerity that the world was in 1656, only 4004 years old, the world was created on in the afternoon on November the 22nd. Now, everybody that's not in the Bible, this was using the chronology.
with you this, this debate is over 170 years ago, yeah, it's a killer debate. Now, let's move on to what we can do about it. Well, you say that we need a new way of living, I want to get back to the point about people aren't going to shift, are they? We like our mobile phones. We like our way of life. It's not what's going on? how's it gonna change? Well, I believe in a grant, I believe in a grassroots driven society, I think, I think our political leaders and our business leaders to an extent who have badly let us down and we look around ourselves. And there aren't great figures in history that are setting an agenda that we can all buy into. In fact, it's more divisive now than it
seems to have been for a very long time. And the rise of radicalism is an example of that. And as I said before, the desperate millions of desperate people who are fleeing parts of the world just to try and scrape a decent living is very, very significant. In my view, I don't think we should ditch the United Nations by any means. I think we should I think that the United Nations has got to grow up. And I think the United Nations has got to
be really important we hone in on what this business is a lifestyle change that we wicked Westerners need, it is not giving up on mobile phones, which are not hugely energy expensive, and are transforming Africa as a matter of fact, because that's the communicating world and that's great. I'm all for it. We may have to travel less, use less jets,
etc. We may be ought to consider being vegetarian, because there's much more food efficient. There are various things we can do that, don't atoll stop the hugely valuable
One is going to make us do an adventure quest as well as you don't want to stop the beautiful, exciting human adventure. Now what's going to stop us over consuming? Well, at this moment, we are trying to work out how to use less fossil fuel. And some of the things we've done have been a tad irrational, but we are slowly and decently fairly decently getting there. But we could do the same about food, we what we would need to be seeing is we'll making a serious connection between a thing I know you can make connections, what I'm saying is those connections get made, they influence consumers, they influence politicians, we do get that and better government in the country that's
got the land that's got the palm oil and make sure that they sorted out better better land control.
pressures on the growth of palm oil plantations is is in from environmentalist say we need renewable fuels, we don't want fossil fuels. So we grow palm oil to use in for motor transportation, food,
to the to the jungles, in the Far East Asia and so forth. In fact, environmentalists are to blame for a lot of the destruction that's been happening, because they insist fossil fuels are bad. We need renewables. Similarly, the wind farm scattered all over the Scottish hillsides, killing Raptors and migrant birds. They're called into place by environmentalists who are perpetrators of environmental impact to destruction.
Don't think the environmental movement has been perfect by any means, but the charge that you're leveling that they're destroying the world through pursuing biofuels? That's not true. The environmentalists have called on biofuels for more than a decade, and I'm being very, very wary of the expansion of them. So I think on that particular issue, I don't think we can blame the environmental movement. I don't think that we've done enough environmentally. I think that environmentalists have not really articulated solutions sufficiently. I think what they've done is is bereaved people and talk about problems, problems, problems, without talking about solutions. And
I think that's been a real issue, because everyone's got environmental fatigue because of that, Robin, Mr. Adnan first. I mean, we have to really rethink how we live, you believe in the West? Yeah. Richard says, No,
no, I believe all over
the Arabs, Western countries, wherever people are wealthy, they need to rethink because their mobile phones, their cars take fuel.
And this oil money, which is coming from from the Middle East, there are wars caused because of oil that was caused in Africa because of resources. Okay, we need to rethink our living. In that sense, we need to be more just, we need to distribute the wealth we have. We all enjoy nice cars, nice food, nice living standard, we need to share this for the rest of the world. And then we will stop this migration. My friend had talked about, you know, all these millions of people trying to get to Europe, why are they coming to Europe? What's the problem? Why? Because they, they actually believe there is injustice.
They think we're doing better and they want not
that that that is very true. To be fair, they actually do believe that the living standard on the other side of the channel is better. So why don't we take that living standard, even 10% of it to the other side of the channel, so that we stop this migration? How about that?
The reason why we're better off is because as Richard has said, it's partly to do with governance, its markets and so forth. All the things that you ignoring all the political problems recalling around the world, just because we want to live happily, all the case, our
politics, because because your assumption or presumption that our consumption is mean someone else agreed agreed is causing problems in the world. It's clear, completely wrong. That is completely wrong. We disagree. But I mean, what unites the the environmentalist and religious folk is the sort of mankind is over consuming, consumption is bad, we should therefore take on a vow of poverty. And that is a big driver for this debate. But what it also the corollary of that is, it's not going to happen because people want a better standard of living for themselves now.
Our self discipline, actually, it's not about a new way of living. It's an old way of living. It's one where I mean, where you have a Sabbath where you have a day when you are not consuming, where you have Ramadan when you have a time when you are not just feeding yourself, when I'm sure there must be a Christian equivalent to that.
religions have this idea that we've got to discipline ourselves who said earlier piano is grass roots. You said that as well? Well, it's grass roots. It's from people. The government's idea, Yeah, fine, but you need people underneath that actually changing what they want. If you're going to change this world.
Give us a future.
I really feel it's about attitude change. It is about seeing the earth as one country, and, and seeing how we can work together. As I said earlier, bahala said the earth is both one country and mankind its citizens. This is a statement of reality, reciprocity and cooperation works in the universe, it works in the human body. Could we give it a try? Could we not give it a chance, starting at the grassroots, as I think this debate is going to the grassroots with all of us reflecting on what are the attitudes is going to happen in this world, to build a better world a more sustainable world? Most importantly, a more just world? What is that going to be like for our,
for our grandchildren's children? Well,
I think it's, it's been said many times, actually, just recently that the next generation is going to be the first generation for for many, that will be worse off than their parents in our in our western world. And I think that that's likely to come to pass. So well, if we're going to survive, it will have to be you be calling for that. Indeed, indeed. So So in other words, what I would suggest is, the UK I think, is the only one of the of the Big Five economies in the world that puts point 7% of GDP into Overseas Development. Now, some people think that Overseas Development some mistake, I fundamentally believe that last week, but yeah, yeah, so what we need is we need like a
Marshall Plan for the world, we need need to build capacity, resources and opportunity in countries that currently are deprived of those so that we can share as my friend here says, the world in a more equitable way.
is interesting, because this all comes back to a really fundamental and interesting question, which is, you know, why are we here? And what are we on this planet for? earlier? You talked about, you know, the extinctions, the mass extinctions, and why do you go create dinosaurs? Oh, my God, get rid of that. Yeah, I want you to my answer to that is and and it's just go go created the world to give glory back to him. Why did he create the dinosaurs? Because they're cool, why not? Wasn't rigorous with Atari Dark Souls, when they there was it? Well, you know, Earth is cyclical, but what what we as Christians believe, and I'm sure actually,
Muslims and Jews would agree, we're all here to reflect and give glory to our Creator. And we need we need to get away from you know, selfish consumerism where, where the individual is king, I think what we are, we are, we are, we are scraps of stardust, to produce consciousness. And we're about to be able to reproduce probably the means of powering ourselves, the way the sun started, or for us, and what future generations will almost certainly find it less things go very, very weirdly wrong, is that human life goes on being extraordinary, fabulous, fascinating, and very, very interesting to be around. And in a great span of time. 4.5 billion years. We are just we're a tiny pinprick in the
ocean. But but we are consciousness. Out of all those billions of years. What happened was us and I find it very hard not to celebrate the fact of peace of stardust becoming consciousness and its global. Thank you all very much. Indeed. As ever, the debate will continue on Twitter and online may not be the end of the world. It's the end of the series of the big questions back in January, God willing, until then, goodbye from everyone here in Oxbridge. Have a great summer.