"We live in a multilateral world…but we have nothing to harmonize antitrust laws, tax laws, privacy laws…no international system to govern the information world." – Lloyd Cutler as quoted in the Greatest Generation page 368.
Years ago a number of over-the-top Christians started talking about the anti-Christ and 666 and how during the tribulation those who were “left behind” faced decapitation if they failed to follow the new world leader who demanded their worship. This was accomplished through some type of “Mark of the Beast” that those on earth needed to receive and have displayed prominently on their foreheads or right hand.
For young impressionable children this seemed real. The adults believed it, taught it and in some cases showed proof that world events were turning in such a way that it was inevitable. Decades later little is said anymore about those fears and in fact some Christians scoff at those ideas. In his film Lord Save Us from Your Followers Dan Merchant mentions how he too was taught the rapture and the barcodes and lo and behold nothing ever sprouted.
I microchipped my dog (who is no longer alive) sometime in the 1990s. Imbedded in the microchip, inserted under the skin and is about the size of a grain of rice, was a number so that any veterinarian in the country who had the necessary scanner could figure out my dog’s name and who he belonged to. It’s great technology and is responsible for the return of thousands of pets to their rightful owners. And of course, over the years, the conspiracy theorists put forth the idea that this technology was eventually to be used to control people, and those crazy Christians from yesteryear said “See! We told you so.”
Every now and then a news story pops up and discusses the use of microchips in credit cards, passports (RFID) and even in people, especially children. If every child was microchipped along with GPS technology imbedded in that microchip it’s a good bet that kidnappings would end at least until kidnappers figured out a way to remove the chip or scramble the signal. It definitely has the makings of some future action film.
Just a few days ago an article on NYDailyNews.com featured the headline “Human Barcode Could Make Society More Organized, but Invades Privacy, Civil Liberties.” The human barcode would actually be a permanent ID like a microchip implanted in humans. Science fiction author Elizabeth Moon recently advocated the use of these “barcodes” in infants during an interview on the BBC.
This farfetched idea of humans being barcoded that arose from suspicious, end-of-the-world alarming Christians is apparently no longer farfetched. The technology is already available – 10 years ago an implantable ID chip called VeriChip was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration though it has been discontinued.
Despite the perceived favorable appearance of microchips there is one organization that seems to be vehemently opposed to the idea and may perhaps become an unlikely ally of the Christian community. The American Civil Liberties Union, certainly no friend to Christian thought, believes this type of barcode society affects our rights to privacy.
“To have a record of everywhere you go and everything you do would be a frightening thing,” said Jay Staley, senior policy analyst at the ACLU. “Once we let the government and businesses go down the road of nosing around in our lives…we’re going to quickly lose all our privacy.”
The ACLU and Christians certainly make strange bedfellows but news flash to Mr. Stanley – human barcode or not I think we are already there. Ironically, the idea proposed by Mr. Cutler to have an international system to govern the information world combined with this proposed idea to implant humans with a microchip as a fast and easy way to identify individuals no longer makes those crazy Christians from the past sound crazy.
So, what to think of this idea of a world leader coming to power, engaging crowds and thrilling the masses with his speech and finally delivering sought after peace in the Middle East…who then demands worship and institutes an international system to govern the world…who then uses technology to track humans and control the buying and selling of goods...and if you don’t embrace this technology you cannot buy or sell?
"He also performs great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth before people. He deceives those who live on the earth because of the signs that he is permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who had the sword wound, yet lived. He was permitted to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he requires everyone – small and great, rich and poor, free and slave – to be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of his name." - Revelation 13:13-17
Regardless of your thoughts on the rapture, the antichrist, human barcodes or the year 2012, perhaps those over-the-top Christians were a little over zealous in their proselytizing the youth, but you can at least understand their fervency. Maybe they were just a little bit ahead of their time.
"Now learn this parable from the fig tree: As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near – at the door!" - Matthew 24:32-33