(The following article appeared on Diadem Productions website in October, 1999, by Nathan Gopen)
Why Y2k is OK
Well, here we are with only a few months to go to the year 2000. Are you excited, looking forward to the new millennium? Well, don't hold your breath - the next millennium doesn't start until 2001 (there was no year 0 AD).
But that's not the reason Y2k is OK.
Y2k refers specifically to computer software problem that has been under scrutiny for the past several years. Historically, computer programs and databases that contained date fields have used 2 digits to represent the year, such as "88" for 1988. In many such cases, no provisions were made for what happens when the year "rolls-over" to the year 2000 - that is, when the date field is "00". In the cases where comparisons are made, there is the distinct possibility that wrong conclusions are drawn, and that "00" is interpreted as 1900, and thus older, than "99" or "97". Some humorous incidents have resulted, such as the elderly lady who received notification in the mail that it was time for her to enroll in kindergarten.
But the concern has been voiced that the impact will be much more serious when January 1st, 2000 hits. Many "disaster scenarios" have been predicted.
Will all of the power grids across the world fail? Will the banking and financial industries be able to convert all of their software and databases over on time? If not, will banks be closing down left and right? Will the panic cause a "run on the banks", resulting in a huge recession/ depression? Will hospital systems be failing? Airplanes crashing? Nuclear reactors melting down? Nuclear warheads launching by themselves?
Some will claim that these scenarios and more are likely, and that it is time to build shelters, stockpile food and ammunition, and prepare for the end of the world.
We would like to point out a few reasons why you should not take such extreme measures.
First of all, one of the key points of Y2k that is often overlooked is the fact that many, if not the majority, of problems connected with the year 2000 calculations have already surfaced and been resolved. Think about it for a moment. If you own a credit card, take a look at the expiration date. More likely than not, it will now be a date in the year 2000, 2001, etc. All merchants and financial institutions that process credit card transactions have already updated their equipment to be Y2k compliant, and have done this over the course of the last several years.
Secondly, to deal with the issue that people often bring up about all of the embedded chips in appliances, elevators, automobiles, and so forth. How many of these embedded chips do you believe are actually date-aware? When we first unpacked and set-up our microwave oven, we found a button to set the clock for time of day. In no place was there a button to set the month or year. And when my car is worked on, and the battery is disconnected and reconnected, I need to reset the car clock. All that is available is the time of day, not the month or year. And even if the clock is wrong, the embedded chip that controls the fuel flow doesn't care! And although I don't know a whole lot about nuclear warheads, I seriously doubt there is anything very date-specific embedded into the microchips inside the warhead.
I myself am a software engineer by profession, and I can state from experience that the very nature of software development is a dynamic and changing one. Programs and operating systems become obsolete all of the time, and bugs appear in all types and varieties. Modifications and updates are an integral part of the software process, and at times, for very old systems where the source code or the original designer is no longer available, it becomes easier and necessary to rewrite the system from scratch. The Y2k problem has been very well publicized and addressed over the past few years, allowing businesses who rely on date-based computer systems more than ample time to prepare and revise their systems. They have to do this periodically anyway. Do you believe that your bank is still running the very same software and databases they were using 20 years ago? What did they do when they introduced ATMs?
In summary, it is our belief that the year 2000 will be relatively noneventful in terms of computer failures. This was only a brief analysis, but an excellent and detailed series has been done by Steve Hewitt, editor of Christian Computing magazine. From their web site at www.ccmag.com, you can find a lot of excellent information that should help to quell any remaining worries about the subject.
So how does this fit in with our beliefs about Bible Prophecy? It doesn't. The Bible does not specify anything significant about the year 2000. There is no specific time given for the second coming (in fact Jesus specifically says it will be at a time when the unbelieving world does not expect it). However, we can state with certainty that Jesus will not appear in the year 2000, nor will the battle of Armageddon happen then. There is a well documented set of events, trends and courses of prophecy that need to take place before the "Grand finale" of God's plan. The multimedia study CD-ROMs we produced on Revelation, Daniel, and Zechariah give a great amount of information on rightly interpreting these prophecies, signs to watch for, and how to interpret current events in the middle-east in light of scripture. We believe proper education helps to quell fear, and dispel the false teachings of cults and supermarket tabloids.
We look forward to providing you with more information in the days and years to come, and welcome any suggestions or feedback.
- Nathan Gopen
Nathan Gopen is a professional software engineer and MIT graduate. He is committed to using his skills in software, multimedia and graphic design to create inspiring and powerful new ways of comprehending and studying the vast riches of God's Word. He and his wife are also involved in worship music ministry, more of which can be found at: gopenmusic.com.Website: www.bibleglobe.org
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