Jan 10, 2011

The Normalcy Bias and Bible Prophecy

Todd StrandbergBy Todd Strandberg
Rapture Ready

I've been in the business of warning people about the end times for several decades now. One of the hardest tasks is convincing people that danger is coming their way. They have fallen prey to what is commonly called the normalcy bias.

The normalcy bias occurs when people underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations in which people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster and, on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a catastrophe never has occurred, it never will. People judge their future according to how things have been in the past.

One of the most tragic examples of the normalcy bias is the experience of the Jews in Nazi Germany. Barton Biggs, in his book, Wealth, War and Wisdom, gave a very good description of what happened:

By the end of 1935, 100,000 Jews had left Germany, but 450,000 [remained]. Wealthy Jewish families...kept thinking and hoping that the worst was over.

Many of the German Jews, brilliant, cultured, and cosmopolitan as they were, were too complacent. They had been in Germany so long and were so well established, they simply couldn't believe there was going to be a crisis that would endanger them. They were too comfortable. They believed the Nazis' anti-Semitism was an episodic event and that Hitler's bark was worse than his bite. [They] reacted sluggishly to the rise of Hitler for completely understandable but tragically erroneous reasons. Events moved much faster than they could imagine.
We saw the same type of calamity occur with Hurricane Katrina. Even as it became obvious that the levee system was collapsing, thousands of people stayed in their homes, directly in the line of the oncoming waves of water. The residence of New Orleans had never seen a levee failure, so they simply didn't believe it could happen. As a result, nearly 2,000 of them died in the flood.

The recent housing crisis was largely triggered by a normalcy bias. Since housing prices had never declined on a national scale for more than a few months, everyone felt safe about buying a home. Even though home prices had tripled in some markets, people still believed that housing prices would only move higher.

This same mindset is playing out in our national debt. Despite the facts that spending is out of control and debt is at levels that have always led to bankruptcy, there is only mild concern from investors. They have only known bonds to be 100 percent safe - and unlike stocks, they always retain their face value.

The normalcy bias has a strong relationship to Bible prophecy. Because we've never had famine, nuclear emergencies, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions on a global scale, people assume these disasters will never happen. Most of the same people believe that there is a God, yet they refuse to believe the dire predictions made by Him.
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts. And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Situational awareness is the complete opposite of the normalcy bias. It involves having a full perception of your environment and a comprehension of what may transpire in the near future. Because other people may seek to provide you with false information, situational awareness requires you to be the guardian of your own life. Because we only have limited control over our fate, disaster can still strike from a thousand directions. The fault rests with us when we see danger coming and do nothing to get out of its way.

Humanity is facing a test right now that requires keen situational awareness. All the signs of the last days are coming together, and it’s important for everyone to know Jesus as the only One who can redeem them from the days to come.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

Related Links
Geithner Says U.S. Insolvent - LewRockwell.com
Normalcy bias - Wikipedia
What Jerry Thinks: Debt and Denial, Washington Style - BPB (Jerry Robinson)
'Bring Us Sugar!' - U.S. Inflation and the Rest of the World - DollarCollapse.com
Are You Rapture Ready?: Signs, Prophecies, Warnings, Threats, and Suspicions that the Endtime is Now - Todd Strandberg (Book)