“Religion Faces the Atomic Age.” This was the title of a conference called Feb. 2 and 3 by the University of Chicago through its Federated Theological Faculty to “consider comprehensively how the spiritual resources of this country must be mobilized to save us.” It was further stated that though we must meet the Soviet scientific challenge, science “can only offer us a protracted and exhausting armament race. Victory and survival will only come through a deeper understanding of the laws that govern the hearts and minds of men and the practical application of these laws in our national life and our international relations.”
Facing The Right Fears
For this purpose an outstanding array of speakers was gathered from the fields of religion, education, and business. The initial topic considered was “Facing the Fears of the Atomic Age.” Dean of the Federated Theological Faculty, Jerald C. Brauer, explained that it was felt best to build what should follow in the conference upon the “personality sciences.”
Delegates were told bluntly that one of America’s greatest failings today is that she lacks a proper fear of the right things. Dr. Gardiner Murphy, Director of Research of the Menninger Foundation, stated that the first psychological problem is “why apathy, hopelessness, irresponsibility, evasion, business-as-usual, or the most pathetic and trivial toying with momentary escapes or palliatives, should dominate the thought of the Western world.” He defended certain “rational fears” in an “age of potential devastation,” such as fears of smugness, hypocrisy, self-deception, and aimlessness.
Dr. Seward Hiltner, Professor of Pastoral Theology of the Federated Theological Faculty, pronounced our situation “unprecedentedly fearsome” and indicated ...1
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