Global Fear—An Evidence of What?
FEAR is included as part of “the sign” of what the Bible calls the “time of the end,” the “conclusion of the system of things” or the “last days.” (Daniel 12:4; Matthew 24:3; 2 Timothy 3:1) Jesus said that men would “become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” Giving us reason for hope, however, he said that this global fear would be an evidence that “deliverance” was “getting near.”—Luke 21:7, 25-28.
Is the fear that would signify imminent deliverance really in evidence today? Many people think so. Do you?
Consider the Facts
“As never before, the world is full of fear,” says the German newspaper Die Welt. It calls our century “the century of fear.” In view of this century’s outstanding advances in science, technology, medicine and psychotherapy, however, this increase is paradoxical. It should have been possible to curtail fear; instead the opposite has happened.
Fear has been likened to “a ghost on the roam,” to a disease “spreading like an epidemic.” Thus the German magazine Hörzu states: “Never before has mankind been as fearful as at present.” Pointing to some of the causes, it adds: “Brutality and terror, egotism and indifference, social injustice, war, foreign influences, drug abuse, envy, atomic energy, juvenile delinquency, professional failures—today’s fear has a thousand names.”
More and more people are agreeing that this is no exaggeration. What about you? Are these some of the things of which you, too, are fearful?
International in Scope
Fear is not limited to the inhabitants of any one country. Notice how Time magazine describes the situation in the United States:
“The air is full of a fear too large to grasp.” Why? It is due to the fear of atomic war.
Youth are not exempt from this fear of a thermonuclear disaster either. According to a recent study by the American Psychiatric Association, nuclear war is having a psychological impact on children. And The New York Times quotes Dr. R. J. Lifton, professor of psychiatry at Yale University Medical School, as making this observation about children growing up under the threat of nuclear war:
“They have another mind-set that includes the possibility of everything, themselves and their parents and everyone they have known or touched, being suddenly annihilated.”
Or, as one 12-year-old girl said: “I got very frightened that the world could blow up.”
Fear of nuclear war has even reached into countries that are not prime targets for nuclear missiles. Why? Because of worldwide fallout. Deadly radioactive particles entering the stratosphere after a nuclear war could fall anywhere on earth, contaminating everything they touch.
Other fears have compounded the problem. Fear of terrorist attack. Fear of environmental calamity. Fear of crime.
Wherever you live, we ask: Have you read similar statements in the newspapers and magazines of your country? Do you notice words like “fear,” “anxiety,” “dread” or “uncertainty” cropping up with alarming regularity in conversations and discussions, both private and public? If so, have you ever wondered what this means?
Is Fear Something New?
Quite correctly many persons point out that fear is as old as man himself. An editorial in the Süddeutsche Zeitung admits this, saying: “Fear of death, of pain and sickness, of material and immaterial losses have always been part of man’s makeup.” Showing, however, that fear has taken on a new dimension in our generation, it adds: “New, on the other hand, is the kind of potential danger man has now created, as well as its scope; also new, without doubt, would be the seriousness of the consequences should conceivable catastrophes actually occur.”
To serve as part of a credible sign marking the “conclusion of the system of things,” as prophesied by Jesus, there would have to be (1) a noticeable increase in the number of things causing fear and (2) an increase in the intensity of fear due to possible consequences. (Matthew 24:3; Luke 21:10, 11, 26) This is exactly the point being made by the quotations already referred to. In addition, nuclear fear is unique. Never before has man been capable of releasing the powerful forces within the atom—not until this 20th century. For the first time, people fear the complete extinction of the human race, in fact, the eradication of all life on earth.
But remember, when you see today’s evidences of increased fear you are really seeing much more. You are seeing that “deliverance is getting near,” in accordance with the promise Jesus made.—Luke 21:28.
Will any such “deliverance” come by means of the nuclear freeze movement? Many people think so. But what is a nuclear freeze rally like? And does it offer hope for “deliverance”?
A Freeze Rally—What It’s Like
One, Two, Three, Four
We don’t want a nuclear war
Five, Six, Seven, Eight
We don’t want to radiate
Sounds of chanting, rock music, slogan shouting and hymn singing compete for your ears’ attention against a background din of thousands of voices. Your eyes meet a kaleidoscope of images: banners with brightly colored slogans—many clichés, a few original in their humor or horror; demonstrators in bizarre garb with frightening masks; papier-mâché effigies; men dressed in business suits; ministers with clerical collars, Christendom’s monks robed in brown, Buddhist monks saffron-robed, the youth, the elderly, mothers cradling infants, and a dog with a one-word sign hanging from its neck—Peace.
Seven hundred thousand on the streets of New York City, all with one purpose—to prevent a nuclear war from ever happening.
That was the largest disarmament rally the United States has ever seen. The rally’s organizers picked June 12 to coincide with the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament, thereby providing a dramatic opportunity to force the nuclear freeze issue on the UN.
A carnival-like atmosphere dominated the day. Yet the pall of nuclear devastation kept reappearing in the sights and sounds of the crowd. It was a peaceful demonstration. And although the vast majority were Americans, a number of other countries were represented. One sight that added an international flavor to the rally was a Japanese delegation of young and old putting multicolored paper peace-dove leis around the necks of all they met, while handing out colored cards with personal messages of peace written in Japanese characters.
“Why are you ladies here?” One woman in her 60’s replies: “We want to make the world safe for our grandchildren.” Another answers: “We want to leave a world for our grandchildren.”
A nuclear scientist from the Argonne National Laboratory operated for the U.S. Department of Energy near Chicago tells why he came to the rally. “For the same reason as everybody else, because of the arms race. I feel that there is a very real threat of an accidental nuclear war and I would be killed. I don’t like to see human beings being killed whether they are Russians or Americans.”
Here is the head of nuclear medicine for a major New York City hospital. Why is he demonstrating? He answers in one word: “Scared!” He wants nuclear energy to be used peacefully in medicine, not war.
The pastor for a Kentucky college is marching because he thinks nuclear freeze demonstrations “will force the government leaders to bring about peace.”
The common citizen is—surprisingly—marching alongside organized groups of professional people and trade union members. Conspicuous everywhere are the clergy. Religious groups pepper the long throng of demonstrators. At first glance, a united body. But a closer inspection reveals fragmented support underneath. Comparing banner slogans and listening to their ideologies, one notes a difference of opinion as to what final shape the nuclear freeze should take. Also, a sizable number of demonstrators promote their personal peeves or pet political causes via the nuclear freeze issue.
Huge and white, the motorized cleaning machines wait for the demonstrators to end their march. As the ralliers leave, close on their heels come batteries of these mechanical mammoths devouring the littering literature and sweeping the streets clean. Whether the nuclear freeze movement will fizzle out and be swept away from politicians’ minds and whether such demonstrations will have any effect, such as increasing pressure on governments to make proclamations of peace, remains to be seen.
However, if we cannot look with confidence to human movements like the nuclear freeze, where can we turn for hope of lasting peace and security?
[Blurb on page 9]
“The air is full of a fear too large to grasp”
[Picture on page 8]
Fear covers the world