This is my own opinion, and should in no way be taken as a prediction or prophecy, as I am an atheist. There will be an Armageddon, and it will be what it has been traditionally viewed as in apocalyptic writings, namely, it will not just be a world war between nations, over Israel or otherwise. But there will also be warring dissenters of different factions within each of the nations.
Just within the past days (today: 6/9/2014) there was that murderous couple who killed two police officers and a woman in Las Vegas, shouting about revolution. We are seeing more and more of this phenomenon in Countries throughout the world. In every nation on earth there are extremists and militias of dozens or scores of different ideologies, including extremist Political ideologies.
These ideologies have their roots in ancient religious writings, particulary the Jewish Torah and Tanakh, the Christian New Testament, and the Muslim Koran, the offspring of the other two. All three claim to be the one true word of the one true God (except that Christians also claim the Jewish Scriptures as part of their faith in their Christian Bible of Old and New Testaments). All three tell the tale of a perpetual state of war between three ancient Middle Eastern peoples that rages to this day.
Racism, which is illusory (because we are all one race despite ethnicity), also has roots in ancient religious writings, but also in natural prehistoric xenophobic mistrust or caution. Slavery is approved in the Bible and never condemned or abolished, the same for the Koran, this based on ideas of racial superiority, or other races not being completely human and possessing no soul.
What I think is going to happen is that, perhaps in a domino effect, discontented dissenters in some nations belonging to various revolutionary and anti-government extremist groups will begin wars with their own governments, and eventually war will break out in the Mid-East, and each players allies and enemies will join in. It will be a war that likely calls for Martial Law to be declared and deploys nuclear and atomic weapons. And now think of the likelihood of the chances of all this happening at least partially due to worsening catastrophic climate change and consequent shortage of clean air, water, and food, not to mention other shortages and the super storms that worsening climate change will continue to spawn as it does now. It will be a war of the believers of the world own making. Something must be done to teach people to think rationally and be skeptical of any and every fantastic idea, and look into it for themselves.
Edited. Proof read Tony, proof read !
Crazy things do happen in this world, Tony. Today I was in town and learned of some old man who is convinced that something like you describe is going to happen, so he is preparing by stockpiling and burying all of the can goods that he can get his hands on. Others equally convinced might be killing police and shouting about revolution. So much more of this insanity is happening today. I'm convinced that most of it happens because of uncertainty. Everyone wants to know, and some groups claim they do know what will happen next. It's possible for the believers to make a move they may think will hurry things up and hasten the appearance of their god. With all the uncertainty from every angle today the believers think we need a god to step in and save us. This could get very scarey.
One thing is for certain, of course. The rich will get richer as they step in to exploit this situation to the fullest. Meanwhile, they get richer while we worry about Armageddon and get poorer.
Escapism -- not just a delusion for the religious.
It worries me that religious psychos are trying to hasten the end of the world because they actually believe all that crap. Esp. politicians that vote according to their religious beliefs. It would seem like in this day and age people would be smarter. Not. And, pessimistically, I don't believe the world can come together to stop global warming. It's already happening, and there aren't enough smart people to stop it.
Anthony, your hypothesis reads like a bad novel. Unfortunately I don't mean bad in the sense of poorly written; I mean nightmare-inducing. To me it seems the world's people are divided approximately in half: one half operating on fear and fear-induced hate, the other half on love and hope. Most folks on this site seem more the latter than the former; Progressives live in that camp also. But to those near the center, fear is an easier sell than hope. Fear starts wars, generates arms races, and is stoked by religion. And religions are running rampant at this time. So what you propose is frighteningly believable. The world needs more skeptics.
Anthony, I have respect for your concerns, and will comment on a couple of items.
The world seems perched on a tipping point to chaos. It has felt that way in the past, and I think sometimes more so. Such as, WWI, WWII, Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis. The current precipice is no less worrisome, and the obsession of some with race war, sectarian war, ideology war, does not make it easier. There is also climate change, as you discuss, which adds a wild card to the issue - what will happen as continents and regions warm up, become more stormy, the ocean currents change, disasters become more vast, and people starve in greater numbers, fight wars over resources, and generally create misery.
With climate change, what will happen in the Middle East? Will be become more arid, less habitable, and lead to more refugees? Will it rain more there, and become an oasis? I suspect the former, not the latter.
History is filled with vast and catastrophic crises. Homo sapiens has come to dominate, and change, the world because of our cleverness, adaptability, and fecundity. I have no doubt that will happen again. There might be eruptions of misery and chaos, or it may be continued punctuated evolution of the species and our culture. But not necessarily Armageddon.
As a culture, we in the West are Eurocentric and, when it comes to our religious obsessions, Middle-East-centric. I don't think the area is in worse shape than Africa, although they seem to be in competition for the title of most dysfunctional. Taking a point of view from other places, how would the problem look, looking from China? Argentina? Mongolia? I don't know if they would have the same kind of concern. That outsider perspective might be useful.