September 3, 2013

Was this supercomputer named in prophecy?

"With respect to [the Antichrist's] name, it is not in our power to explain it exactly, as the blessed John understood it and was instructed about it, but only to give a conjectural account of it; for when he appears, the blessed one will show us what we seek to know. Yet as far as our doubtful apprehension of the matter goes, we may speak. Many names indeed we find, the letters of which are the equivalent of this number [666]: such as, for instance, the word Titan..."
St. Hippolytus
(d. 235)

In June of 2009, I suffered a serious injury while playing tennis. Fortunately, though, the rupture of my Achilles tendon produced a blessing for me. While recuperating, I finally found the solitude I needed for writing the spiritual thriller I had contemplated for over a decade. So, by the end of the year I had finished the novel that eventually became known as The Rise, along with plotting the remaining two books in The Trials and Triumph Trilogy.

Now, based on recent headlines, these works of faction (fact-based fiction) have proven surprisingly predictive. For example, on a single day this summer the Drudge Report featured 49 news reports that were relevant to the dominant warnings of the trilogy and, since then, many more related stories have been identified by Christian news aggregators like Spirit Daily.

Coincidence? Not at all.

The trilogy is based not only on prophecies of Scripture but, more pointedly, on detailed prophecies of saints over the past two millennia. The story can be read and appreciated simply as an epic Christian thriller. However, with almost 1,000 end notes documenting its prophecies, inquisitive readers have the option to delve deeper in order to separate fact from fiction. They can discover that the world in which we live was foreseen by prophets.

This is no "conspiracy theory." Each day's headlines reveal it is a "conspiracy fact."

For example:

The trilogy tells of a world, in the not too distant future, in which advancing technologies enable a powerful few to centralize power, violate privacy rights, manipulate public opinion and even tinker with human life. It describes how environmental, economic and security fears can be used as pretexts for those who hope to benefit from ever increasing government control. Finally, it reveals that the true battle is "...not against against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

One prophecy that particularly stands out, in The Trials and Triumph Trilogy, is the above observation from St. Hippolytus, suggesting Titan is a name that might be associated with the Book of Revelation's Antichrist and his sinister number 666. Even before Hippolytus, however, St. Iranaeus also focused on that name, writing:

"Inasmuch, then, as this name Titan has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many [names suggested], we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called Titan. We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by [St. John] who beheld the apocalyptic vision."
St. Iranaeus
(d. 200)

Because of those prophecies, I chose Titan as the name of the trilogy's technological umbrella that centralizes unprecedented power by data mining seemingly private communications, Internet searches and computer hard drives. 

I was quite surprised, however, when I read of the unveiling of the world's fastest supercomputer at the end of 2012. It is ten times faster than its predecessor and capable of 20,000 trillion (that is 20,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second. (To put this mind boggling speed into perspective, it is equivalent to 3 million calculations, for every person on the planet, every second.)

Its name? Titan.

At that time, however, the relevant headlines were only beginning to stream out. We read of the Utah surveillance data center that, when finished, will be 7 times as large as the Pentagon. We saw stories revealing that the National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on U.S. citizens without warrants. Some reports cited at least 1.7 billion emails, phone calls, and other types of communication being intercepted every day. However, that was not the end of the matter. Soon after, we learned that the illegal surveillance program was even bigger than had been admitted by government authorities.

Defenders said that the unprecedented domestic surveillance was necessary for our protection. But critical reports showed that revealed examples of so-called spying successes had been misleading, at best.  

For months, now, the cascading headlines of government abuses seemed to fall so fast that Americans could hardly keep up with the news. In fact, we seemed to be like the proverbial lobster, in increasingly hot water, always trying to adjust to the new normal.

Never before has the term, "Knowledge is power," carried such significance.

All in the name of doing good, our government has continued to harness the power of amazing technologies in order to seize unprecedented levels of power and control. For examples:
  • The Federal Services Data Hub will hold comprehensive personal information on Americans, such as income and financial data, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, social security numbers, and private health information. Thousands of low-level contractors and federal bureaucrats will have one-touch access to the data. 
  • That gives cause for concern since, after the exposure of so-called "rogue" IRS employees abusing their power by targeting conservative groups, government officials were not only unpunished, but the one in charge was promoted.
  • Also, the NSA is not the only agency spying on Americans. In fact, the Drug Enforcement Agency has a bigger telecommunications tracking program than the NSA.
  • The U.S. government has used our own tax dollars against us. The compliance of tech giants has been purchased with taxpayer dollars.
  • Even domestic drone surveillance does not require a warrant, now.
  • Journalists around the globe have condemned this administration's "Orwellian" abuses of privacy rights.
  • Yet, the NSA offers a stunningly ridiculous defense for itself when it claims it cannot comply with Freedom of Information Act requests because it does not have the technology to search its own employee emails.
Is it time to start fearing our government... or, rather, the principalities and powers that control it?

Today, we do not know whether the Titan supercomputer was foretold in prophecy. But it will be a major factor in our government's effort to access once private information and communications. The grand irony is that no president has been more committed to abortion rights, conceived - so to speak - from the legal argument that there is an implicit Constitutional right to privacy. By the time this president is done, however, abortion may be the only privacy right Americans have left.

Have we passed the point of no return?