Aug 9, 2011

Reflections on Saving the World

After another night's dreams of zombie-filled apocalyptic despair, I decided on two things: 1) I've got to stop watching horror flicks before bed and ... 2) Stanislav Petrov deserves his own private island.  

For those who do not know who Stanislav is, the saying goes that we all owe him our lives. On September 26, 1983 Petrov, a Soviet ballistics officer, noticed all the flashing monitors indicating that 5 nuclear missiles had been launched by the U.S. and were heading toward Russia. He, knowing the greatness, or lack thereof, of Russian technology, decided to do nothing.  He determined that it must have been a glitch of some sort and declared it to be a false alarm. Had he decided to go along with what the alarms were telling him he would have given the "all clear" to retaliate--ergo, setting in motion a holocaust of the nuclear persuasion.  Stan is the man who did nothing and saved the world.  What a guy.  

As a preacher, I am quick to see all of the sermon fodder that such a story creates. I could discuss how seeing is not always believing and that we should be patient, using discernment in troubling situations. Or I could even bash believers who take the Stanislav approach to evangelism, in these Last Days, and admonish those who choose such an attitude not to sit around and do nothing but, rather, to get their little keester melons out there and proclaim the Good News.  

Today, however, I am just taking the story at face value.  Petrov found just reason to declare the incoming missile alert as false.  He knew that Russian early warning missile detection technology was subpar. Coupling that with his belief that if America were going to launch missiles at his country, they would launch thousands down upon their ushanka wearing heads instead of a measly five. Petrov did not really do nothing, as many like to talk about. Stanislav chose to risk his country's safety by using his logic and gut instinct and declaring the warnings as false. That man deserves an island.