Mankind stands at a crossroad in history. Those words are no longer just the urgent cry of the evangelist. They are also the unforgettable text of the scientist, the politician, the militarist, and the philosopher.

In fact, they are quoted above from a spokesman for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

“In one direction lie the all-consuming flames of thermonuclear warfare; in the other, the full and peaceful utilization of science for the benefit of all the peoples of the world.” These are the alternatives, according to the nuclear scientists.

“In one direction, a totalitarian world ruled by atheistic Communism; in the other, a democratic society premised on human rights.” So the militarists and politicians chart modern man’s central concerns.

“In one direction, a secular or sensate society sunk in the mires of relativism and subjectivism; in the other, rediscovery of changeless truth and ethical values, a rebirth of moral earnestness and the ardent pursuit of justice.” So the philosophers and sociologists define the major issues.

These alternatives are awesome indeed. That the multitudes in the free world would prefer a future in which human rights are assured, and in which science concentrates on peaceful pursuits, goes almost without saying. But these same multitudes are much less eager to repudiate subjective preference and desire in the name of objective truth and morality.

We are blind. Nothing demonstrates our blindness so clearly as our willingness to reduce the world predicament to the foregoing alternatives, and our efforts to resolve the dilemma within the bare dimensions noted above.

Stated in this stark manner, each of these alternatives becomes a way of rejecting a connection between the crisis of our times and ...

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