In the choice between two terrible evils, Western civilization may voluntarily submit to the Soviet tyranny—a tyranny of political wickedness and monstrous power run by purges and by secret police.
The frightening force backing our world into this predicament is, of course, the implications in the lethal might of “the nuclear threat.” People the globe over are afraid, and there is cause to be. The mind staggers as problems keep spinning out of the runaway potentialities of our atomic age. The survival of humanity is at stake. Those who know most are most fearful. Token samples of the awful possibilities numb the powers of thought. The harbingers of the future are ominous. “ ‘The ashes of death’ already poison many waters and beaches of the world.”
It is a time for greatness, but civilized leaders, baffled and clumsy, stand in human littleness on a precipice, gambling with catastrophe. They are not sure which way to go, nor are they sure what they should do.
It looks as if man is not equal to the demands of history. We are developing a structural complexity we may lack the powers to sustain. One of the last signs of a crumbling epoch is a general decline in moral appreciation and in moral values. As the atom bomb sounds alarms all over life, Nobel prize winners declare that “… we are no longer great enough for ‘problems of the spirit.’ ” Nothing is left but “a massive and universal physical fear.” We can only “temporarily arrest society’s lethal self-laceration.” Influences that should be spiritual are “a mixture of will-worship, egocentricity, nihilism, jargon, verbal mystification, ontological claptrap and pornography”—pagan wails in a pagan world. What a stage for people fumbling with nuclear explosives!
The issue right now ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more