Our world is split into two blocs. They hold contradictory ideologies, each backed by its own scientists and savants who, in a spate of pamphlets and books, prove it right and its opponents wrong. Each claims to be the sole sure road to happiness, and says its adversary is the sole cause of confusion and catastrophe.
Both cannot be right. Both may be wrong! Each may be missing a vital point. Yet both have made large contributions to human progress through the brilliance of some of their scientists and technologists. Progress in one field is no proof of equal progress in every field of human life, any more than an individual’s possession of one set of talents indicates a competence in all occupations. An outstanding physician is not ipso facto a brilliant musician! Nor does technological advance ipso facto imply equal advance in thought, wisdom, religion, government, morality .
Dr. Alexis Carrel writes (“Man, the Unknown” p. 27 and 28) : “The applications of scientific discoveries have transformed the material and mental worlds. These transformations exert on us a profound influence. Their unfortunate effect comes from the fact that they have been made without consideration for our nature. Our ignorance of ourselves has given to mechanics, physics and chemistry the power to modify at random the ancestral forms of life. Man should be the measure of all. On the contrary, he is a stranger in the world that he has created. He has been incapable of organising this world for himself, because he did not possess a practical knowledge of his own nature. Thus, the enormous advance gained by the sciences of inanimate matter over those of living things is one of the greatest catastrophes ever suffered by humanity The environment born of our intelligence and our inventions is adjusted neither to our stature nor to our shape. We are unhappy. We degenerate morally and mentally. The groups and the nations in which industrial civilisation has attained its highest development are precisely those which are becoming weaker, and whose return to barbarism is the most rapid.”
The perfection and subliminating of man in a whole series of different areas requires a body of sound and universal teachings based on realities of human life and free of all faults and errors. Such is only to be found in the teachings of the prophets of God to whom revelation was granted concerning the origins of the world’s being.
Morality, to rely on sanctions higher than the natural and to be inspired by what is beyond the material, must build solely on fundamental and basic instructions.
From the moment that man was set upon the globe and laid the groundwork of civilisation, a cry rose to heaven from his inward depths.
This cry we call religion. Its truth is indissolubly connected with a moral order.
Inhumanity, faction, inequity, tyranny, war, all testify to the truth that governments and their laws have never sufficed to control the sentiments and beliefs and feelings of man nor to establish an order of justice, happiness, peace and quietude in society. Science and knowledge can never solve the problems of human life nor prevent its derailment except in alliance with religion.
Will Durant, American sociologist and philosopher, writes in his “Pleasures of Philosophy” (pp.326/7): ‘”Has a government such power in economic and ethical matters to preserve all the heritage of knowledge and morals and art stored up over generations and woven into the warp and woof of a nation’s culture? Can it increase that heritage and hand it on to posterity? Can a government, with all the modern machinery at its disposal, bring the treasures of science to those depressed classes who still think of scientific utterances as blasphemy and witchcraft? Why is it that such small men govern America’s biggest cities? Why is our administration conducted in such a way as to make one weep over the lack of noble policies and true patriotism? Why do corruption and deception enter into our elections and make havoc of public property? Why has government’s basic task dwindled today to an attempt merely to prevent crime? Why do governments not seek to understand the causes of war and the conditions of peace? Churches and families ought to undertake the imposition of civilisation on such governments.”
Western society can only continue to tolerate moral confusion and its ways of destruction because of its limited powers to take reform into its own hands. But the continuation of this state of affairs already tolls a warning bell. Peril lies close at hand, for civilisation stays stable only so long as there is a balance between ends and means, between authority and aspiration. When this equilibrium breaks down, such violence ensues that no goodness can stop it. It rushes headlong to an inevitable disruption. You will find no nation throughout human history which survived the corruption of indulgence and permissiveness.
Rome perished. The glory of Greece collapsed. France, because of the indulgent lives of its citizens, turned soft and gave way to the first Nazi assault. One of their most famous generals himself wrote that the reason for their weakness was the inner erosion of character.
Spengler foresaw the downfall of Western civilisation and said that other lands would in the future see great cultures arise. Perhaps the East will be one of the first to return to its ancient heritage. This will not come by worshipping at the false shrine of misguided civilisations. But the decline of one civilisation can awaken men to the divine plan and inspire them to follow it; and so, by means of this sublime truth, to found an entirely new social life on sound foundations.