« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Great Utterances on Imperative Need of Spiritual
Forces to Checkmate Worldwide Moral Reaction
Mr. Wm. P. Hamilton, Editorial in Wall Street Journal, November 3, 1906, that has become famous :
The Wall Street Journal has no concern in theological discussions. It takes no part for or against any creed, but it is intensely interested in the economic and political effects of any change in the thought, the habits and the lives of men. If there has been a marked decline in religious faith, that fact must be of profound, far-reaching significance. It alters the basic conditions of civilization. It becomes a factor in the markets. It changes the standards and affects the values of things that are bought and sold. It concerns the immediate interests of those who never had such a faith almost as much as it does the lives of those who have had the faith and lost it.
The question, therefore, is of practical, immediate and tremendous importance to Wall Street quite as much as any other part of the world, has there been a decline in the faith in the future life, and if so, to what extent is this responsible for the special phenomena of our times, the eager pursuit of sudden wealth, the shameless luxury and display, the gross and corrupting extravagance, “the misuse of swollen fortunes,” the indifference to law, the growth of graft, the abuses of great corporate power, the social unrest, the spread of demagogy, the advances of socialism, the appeals to bitter class hatred? To find out what connection exists between a decadence in religious faith and the social unrest of our time, due, on one side, to oppressive use of financial power, and on the other, to class agitation, might well be worth an investigation by a commission of government experts if it were possible for the Government to enter into such an undertaking.
Whatever may be a man's own personal beliefs, there is no one who would not prefer to do business with a person who really believes in a future life. If there are fewer men of such faith in the world, it makes a big difference, and if faith is to continue to decline, this will require new adjustments. There are certainly, on the surface, many signs of such a decline. Perhaps, if it were possible to probe deeply into the subject, it might
be found that faith still abounded, but it is no longer expressed in the old way. But we are obliged to accept the surface indications. These include a falling off in church attendance, the abandonment of family worship, the giving over of Sunday, more and more, to pleasure and labor, the separation of religious from secular education, under the stern demands of non-sectarianism, the growing up of a generation uninstructed as our fathers were in the study of the Bible, the secularization of a portion of the Church itself, and its inability in a large way to gain the confidence of the laboring people. If these are really signs of a decay of religious faith then, indeed, there is no more important problem before us than that of either discovering some adequate substitute for faith, or to take immediate steps to check a development that has within it the seeds of a national disaster.
From COLLIER's Famous Christmas Editorial, “Back to the Bible," Dec. 13, 1913 (Isa. 5: 1-6):
Certain of our wise men have shaded away sin till it becomes an expression of temperament. They tell us that we sin because our grandfather sinned, and because our home is situated in the wrong block. These are clever words of clever comforters, and surely they ought to wipe away forever the tears from our eyes. But they do not speak to human need. They leave the life blighted and the heart ashamed. They leave the sinning one to continue in despair. He does not ask that sin be explained away. He wishes forgiveness and a fresh start. In the Book which is not read as it once was, there are no soft words about sin. But the way out is shown. And not only is forgiveness offered in this Book, but man's need of comfort is met. There is comfort in plenty. When again will any company of writers say the things they know in such telling words, such pictures of humble life: the boy far away from the faces of his home and far gone in shame—such true stories of lovely devotion breaking through into beauty ? Has the human heart changed under the wear of the centuries, so that sin no longer seeks forgiveness, and grief has no need of a Comforter ?
President Warren G. Harding, Address to Vaughan Bible Class, Calvary Baptist Church, April 9, 1922: There is a good deal of loose talk nowadays about the
cause of the spiritual demoralization of the community, which it has become popular to attribute to the abnormal conditions that were incident to the war. But in fact the war is not wholly to blame. Before the war started or was dreamed of we were already realizing the tendency toward a certain moral laxity, a shifting of standards, a weakening of the sterner fibers.
I think we should do well to recognize that intellectual and moral evolution of the community. It would be a grievous error to allow ourselves to feel too confident that this is only a temporary and passing aspect.
The failures of the past invariably have been preceded by contempt for the law, by spiritual paralysis and moral looseness, all of which had their earlier reflex in the weakened influence of the Church. We know the helpful, exalting influence of our religious institutions. We shall be made stronger as they become stronger, and we shall ever find greater pride and greater security in the nation which righteousness exalteth.
Mr. George Bernard Shaw, 1922:
At present there are probably more people who feel that in Christ is the only hope for the world than there ever were before in the lifetime of men now living.
Mr. H. G. Wells, summarized by Sidney Dark, 1922:
“Given a sufficient number of men conscious of the inspiration and assistance of God, the old order with its cruelty and its futility and its waste may be destroyed and all things may be made new. But God helps those who help themselves. The World State can only be. reached by education, by truer and fuller knowledge, by a new basis of thought which will overthrow parochial and national boundaries and will regard mankind as a whole, equally the children of God, equally the heirs of His Kingdom.”
Mr. Roger W. Babson, Commercial Expert, Babson Park Co., Wellesley Hills, Mass., in letter, Aug. 28, 1922:
We are giving altogether too much time and energy to things and too little to motives. Raw Material, Capital,
Labor, and even Education are but tools which can be used either to construct or to destroy. The future of our country and the world depends upon having people filled with right motives and purposes. This means that to have world peace and industrial peace we must give our children a religious foundation, and that this religious foundation must start in the home. We must come back to family prayers and those other customs to which America owes its all to-day.
Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick, in "Present Crisis":
One of the wisest and most picturesque explications of the present crisis is attributed to Bergson, the French philosopher. He says, in effect, that the chief work of science has been to enlarge man's body. Telescopes and microscopes have increased the power of our eyes; telephones have stretched our hearing to some three thousand miles; telegraphs have made voices sound around the earth; locomotives and steamship lines, better than seven-league boots of ancient fable, have multiplied the speed and power of our feet; and French big guns have elongated the blows of our fists from two feet to twenty-five miles. Man never had such a body since the world began. The age of the giants was nothing compared with this. But man's soul—there the failure lies. We have not grown spirits great enough to handle our greatened bodies. The splendid new powers which science furnishes are still in the hands of the old sinsgreed, selfish ambition, cruelty.
Mr. John Mott, in Peking address, April 29, 1922:
I come among you from world-wide travel and contacts to say that in my judgment not only new nations are springing into being, but all nations are being reborn. The world is plastic now. Soon it will become fixed. In what mold shall it be cast? Shall it be the old mold of disappointment and bitterness or that of unselfishness, altruism, brotherhood and co-operation ? Chastened nations and an expectant world await what Viscount Grey expressed in an interview I had with him: "What we need now is moral dominance in international affairs" ; in other words, the domination of international affairs by the spirit of Jesus Christ.