Monday, July 23, 2007

On The Front Page of Revela... Errr... Yesterday's Newspaper

I'm not much of a newspaper reader, but I do pick up the Sunday paper for the coupons. Normally I'll glance at the front page and maybe read a couple articles if they sound interesting. Yesterday, in the lower half of the front page, I saw a headline that could have read straight from the book of Revelations:

Microchips implanted in workers

Two employees from, a surveillance equipment company, had the chips implanted last year. Yikes. The chief executive compared it to fingerprinting or retina scans.

Uh... no.

I have personally been following this whole chip thing since 1995 or so. Back then I learned about how they were starting to put microchips in pets... a revolutionary concept at the time... and I remember writing a paper for my college composition class about how it could eventually lead to its use in humans.

I ended up getting a C. Not sure why, perhaps the TA grading my paper thought that it was a stretch to think that microchipping pets could lead to microchipping humans. Or maybe it was a C quality paper. Not really important... but I guess I was right.

12 years later, of course, microchipping pets is common, and in some places is required. It was required in the military housing complex that I lived in when I was in Italy, but I partook in my own little silent disobedience by keeping my cat microchip-free. Even the Amish are being forced to get into the whole RFID/microchipping bandwagon. I just have an ethical problem with a technology that so obviously could fulfill the prophecy in Revelation 13 (regarding the Antichrist):

And it causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark on their right hand, or in their foreheads, even that not any might buy or sell except those having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of its name.

~ Revelation 13:16-17

Similarly, I had some friends that invested in Applied Digital (the guys who make the most popular chipping product) but I couldn't in good conscience invest in such a technology, even though anybody who knows anything about end times prophecy can recognize that it would be a pretty good investment. But there's more to life than finances. The Antichrist will end up killing a lot of Christians. Anybody who takes the mark of the beast will be damned to hell for all eternity with no hope of salvation. Ouch.

I don't think that any microchip product on the market is the mark of the beast. Some of my friends made comments when I told them that I refused to microchip my cats... "what, do you think you'd be sending them to hell or something?" No. For one, I don't think that animals go to hell... for another thing, if animals did go to hell, I don't think God would send them there for my actions, and for another thing, it's not the mark of the beast... yet. However, they don't hand out these things for free, and I don't want either my money or my tacit approval going towards this product by accepting this.

It's like Harry Potter and witchcraft, or pornographic drawings... you just don't mess with it. Neither of them might be real, but both are inherently wrong. I suppose that there are some people that don't feel that getting a microchip now is wrong, but it's not for me. It's too close to playing around the edges of damnation. My philosophy towards my soul is: I don't want to take any chances. The stakes are just too high.

But back to the article and the chipping being done today. Even if there was no moral dilemma surrounding this chip, is this really something that someone would want? There are so many drawbacks:

  • Once you get implanted with a microchip, it's pretty much in there. There's no going back. You could technically have it removed, but not easily. The microchip can shift around under the skin, and scar tissue develops around it.
  • The long-term effects of the microchip is not known. The shelf-life of this microchip is only considered to be 10-15 years. So if you live to be 100 or so, you could end up with an arm full of these things.
  • Microchip implants can be "spoofed". Someone can get next to you with a card reader in their pocket, read your number, and technically steal your identity. People cite security as an advantage to getting this microchip, but don't believe them. Sure, you can't lose your identification, but people can still steal your identity. Do you really want your identity stolen when it's embedded in your hand? No thanks.
  • You lose your anonymity if you get the microchip. Anyone with one of these card readers can find out the number in your hand... card readers start at only $300. Sure, they might have to have some way to get into the database, but do you really think that this database is and will remain hackerproof? Hardly. I've read enough history to know that life (and even governments) can turn upside down literally overnight. I'm glad that we live in a country that is relatively benign, but can I say with 100% certainty that I will feel that way 10, 20 years down the road? Do you think the Jews could have told you in 1920 that a Holocaust was on its way? If there were some that did, they probably found some way to hightail it out of Europe before Hitler took over.
  • You have to pay an ongoing fee of $20 a year for the privilege of staying in the database once you get this microchip... no thanks.

I don't mean to be a Luddite, but this is one technology that I can't get behind.

I received my Honorable Discharge papers from the Navy Reserve a couple of weeks ago. Now, I have nothing against the government or the military, but in some ways, it was good to get. Especially when I read about this microchip and how I always seem to be rumors about how great it would be to implant this chip into soldiers so they could be identified on the battlefield. I've also heard how they might want to use this technology on the mentally ill, alzheimer's patients, children in case they get kidnapped, prisoners, illegal aliens...

It may sound far fetched to some. But then again, it sounded far fetched in 1995 when I wrote a paper for Comp class on microchipping pets.

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