A World Without Faith
“Faith is not a possession of all people.”—2 Thess. 3:2.
1. Who think world conditions have changed, and how can they prove it?
WHAT changes in half a century! The young generation may think conditions have always been as they are today, a world without faith in God, but senior citizens know better. Older members of society are well aware of the stupendous changes that have occurred in their lifetimes; and, whether their children’s children believe them or not, the historical facts prove that conditions have progressively gone from bad to worse. Turn the pages of history back half a century, if you will, and compare world conditions then with current times, and you will see why so many persons today have little or no faith in God or his Word the Bible.
2. What were some things that occurred in the wake of World War I?
2 Fifty years ago World War I had just concluded. History books call it World War One, for it was the first time in man’s history that there had been a global war. All the major nations at that time engaged in the most horrible war ever fought until then. Hundreds of thousands died on the battlefields, and millions of others were wounded. In the aftermath of that wholesale slaughter, millions starved to death. Tens of millions more died of pestilence and disease. All told, it was a terrible experience, and the world has never been the same since.
3. Describe political developments in both the East and the West following the first world war.
3 As the survivors staggered to their feet still reeling from the combined effects of war, famine and pestilence, they had a different outlook on life. The monarchies of Europe were practically all gone. A ‘red bear’ called “Communism” had raised itself up in eastern Europe to capture the imagination of many, and as it gained strength, it threatened to overrun the rest of the world. A “League of Nations” came into being in the West, and with leading clergymen hailing the birth of it as the “political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth,” millions began putting faith in it as man’s only hope for peace.
4. How were hopes for peace soon shattered, leading to what conflict?
4 The prospects for true peace and prosperity, however, soon faded in the minds of thinking people, for dictators began regimenting the people and nationalism again became the battle cry of strong nations. Armament factories around the world were soon pressed into full production, stocking arsenals with new and more lethal weapons; all too soon mankind found itself embroiled in another global conflict. World War II, the cold statistics prove, was nearly four times greater in mobilization, in costs and in consequences than World War I! With two such carnages befalling the same generation within a twenty-five year period, is it any surprise that many persons’ faith grew weak?
5. Describe the economic revolution ushered in by World War I.
5 In addition to these faith-weakening political and military developments following World War I, there was also an economic revolution that had a tremendous impact on man’s former way of life. As the nations started to rebuild industrially and technologically around new discoveries, the masses of mankind found themselves being bombarded with the high-pressure salesmanship of materialism, designed to sell them on the idea that man can create for himself a leisure world of carefree comfort and pleasure. Millions bought this philosophy and began worshiping the god of materialism. Even those people who tried to hold on to their former godly values and ideals found themselves being swept along with the great tide of commercialism. Cities took on new growth, and as more and more people moved in off the farms to fill jobs in commerce and industry, the difficult problems that city life creates were multiplied. Instead of building up hope and faith, many times these factors produced economic friction, agitation and even open warfare between labor and management, along with discontent, unrest, distrust, and other painful consequences.
6. What developments in the field of transportation caused some to lose faith?
6 Changes in two other fields have also been responsible for bringing people into closer contact with one another—transportation and communication—which in themselves can be a blessing to mankind, but which are so often contributing factors toward atheism. Someone proved that the Atlantic Ocean could be spanned nonstop on a solo flight, and soon commercial airlines were expanding travel in all directions. Conventional propeller-driven planes were replaced by jet-powered types, which, with their higher speeds, had the effect timewise of shrinking the size of the globe. Many boastful, high-minded persons look upon these developments in smug arrogance. To them the promised supersonic commercial liners of the future and the experiments in probing outer space are mere stepping-stones in man’s conquest of the universe—proof to them that there is no God.
7. Ironically, how have improvements in communication systems been used to destroy faith in God?
7 Startling changes also have occurred in the realm of communication. Radio grew from infancy to full stature in a matter of decades, only to take a secondary place to the more powerful medium of television. Both radio and television have been deadly weapons in the hands of the propagandists and specialists in mass psychology, who have molded the minds of millions in their faithless “No-God” doctrine.
CHANGES IN RELIGIOUS STANDARDS
8. Were children born after World War I given the same training as their parents, and what moral changes did this produce?
8 The past fifty years have also seen great changes in morals, virtues and religious thinking. During the furious ‘20’s and the depressive ‘30’s of this century, many long-standing religious standards suffered revolutionary changes, leaving indelible and permanent marks on society in general. The moral norms prevailing before World War I became a thing of the past. A new crop of babies arrived, many of whom were born out of wedlock to parents who had thrown off prewar moral restraints. During the formative years these postwar children were trained and schooled by parents and educators who themselves were cultivating new, and indeed, strange concepts, concepts that were watered and fed by the philosophic preachments of a hypocritical clergy who openly denied belief in God and the Bible.
9. (a) When the League of Nations failed to keep the peace, what was the result? (b) Tell what soon followed after World War II.
9 As soon as these children began reaching the draft age for military service they were thrown into the flames of World War II. Alas! these young adults found themselves in the midst of another global struggle, one which Christendom’s “messianic” child, the League of Nations, proved helpless to prevent in spite of all its religio-political backers. Emerging from this second world conflict, they witnessed the old League of Nations being revived and rechristened the “United Nations,” and many of them felt this new instrument would bring eternal peace to the troubled world. At the same time this young generation of active adults furnished the technologists and manpower for perfecting and stockpiling hydrogen bombs of such terrifying power as to make the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem by comparison like homemade firecrackers.
10, 11. (a) Describe the image of the young generation of a quarter of a century ago. (b) As for the youth today, what kind of image do many of them create?
10 Such then was the image of the young generation of a quarter of a century ago. Many were devoid of all faith, if not because of indoctrination by their parents and educators, then by their own shocking experiences before and during World War II. Here was a generation of young adults with little moral fiber, for the most part, who in the wake of the war began cohabiting, often illicitly, and bringing forth still another generation of babies. And it is these youngsters who, today in 1969, are reaching young adulthood.
11 Among these youths are found the explosive elements on the college campuses, the provocative protesters, the experimenting addicts, sex maniacs and young thugs of the 1960’s. This delinquent element lives only for “kicks” and thrills, takes no notice of what is coming, and cares less toward where this system of things is headed. Pity mankind when this godless breed attempts to seize the reins of government!
12. (a) What strange ideas do many of this young generation have about religion and morality? (b) In turn, how has this affected their cultural sense of taste?
12 Ask them and their parents, please, what they think of religion. “God is dead,” they say. To them the old conservative way of life is dead. They have new ideas. “Heaven” to them is the fleeting moment of sensual pleasure, which, perhaps, they enjoy under the hallucinatory influence of marijuana, LSD, or something worse. This is the age of violence! The age of rebellion, rebellion against anything and everything that has a semblance of law and order. This is a time when more and more people are cultivating a distorted and warped sense of what is decent, clean, upright, just, pure and true. This is the “beat” generation that throws restraint to the wind, and in its place cultivates a love for filth—a social group that is infiltrating society, that despises everything that is godly and beautiful in art and music, and in life itself.
WHY THE CHANGES?
13. Name some reasons sometimes advanced for these drastic changes in the matter of faith?
13 Many reasons are advanced for these drastic changes in the matter of faith during the last fifty years: technical advances that have created a materialistic world; industrial changes that have moved large segments of the population into cities; radical changes in the educational systems; corruption in governments; breakdown in law-enforcement and judicial establishments; social changes in family circles, home environment and neighborhoods; plus many other changes that have occurred since grandfather got out of his World War I uniform.
14. How do we know these developments are not the real causes for there being a world without faith?
14 However, it should be recognized that these environmental changes in themselves are only contributing factors, not primary causes. Many people today still have strong faith in God, even though changing their way of life (few persons in countries like the United States still ride in the horsedrawn buggy). This fact is proof that the industrial, technological, educational, social and environmental changes are not in themselves the prime causes for the lack of faith.
15. Who, then, is chiefly responsible for this world’s lack of faith?
15 If an accusing finger is to be leveled at the greatest single cause for the breakdown in faith, it would point directly and unmistakably at “the god of this system of things,” Satan the Devil, and his world empire of false religion, in which the official clergy class of Christendom play the leading role. (2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1 John 5:19) No other single group of men bear such a heavy responsibility for this world’s sad state of affairs.
16. (a) But what objection is raised in this regard? (b) How may the objection be answered?
16 Such a forthright statement as this is bound to raise a quick protest from those who jump to conclusions before calmly considering the evidence. A protester may query: “How can the pious clergy be held responsible for the attitudes and misconduct of Godless nonchurchgoers, atheistic scientists and agnostic politicians, or for the immorality of the ‘hippies,’ all of whom are beyond the voice and reach of the pulpit?” In reply, let the historical facts answer. The forefathers of the Bolsheviks were members of the Russian Orthodox Church, even as the foreparents of Communist party members in France and Italy were children of Roman Catholicism. Similarly, the majority of parents and grandparents of the current Godless teenagers and young adults were churchgoing members of Christendom’s flocks in their day, and still are in many instances. It is an old adage: adult delinquency breeds juvenile delinquency, and not the other way around. The child’s course is greatly influenced by what he sees and hears in the home and school, even as the vine’s direction of growth depends on its bent and training when young.
17. What kind of a record did Christendom’s clergy make for themselves during World War I, and with what consequences?
17 How can the clergy of Christendom expect their parishioners to have faith in God when they themselves in their sermons display such a lack of faith? It is no secret, the pulpits of Christendom during World War I were used as recruiting stations for that bloodletting orgy.a What would the returning soldiery of that struggle think of God after observing the battlefield conduct of their chaplains, men who claimed to be God’s servants and ministers? What would those disillusioned people tell their children about the God Christendom claimed to worship? Their children were bound to have less faith in God than their parents had when they were young.
18. How could the clergy have prevented a global war thirty years ago?
18 Then came World War II, a war that could not have been fought without the cooperation of Christendom’s leading clergymen. If Hitler, Mussolini and Franco had not been greatly assisted by the concordats and secret deals made with the Vatican, and if the Catholic bishops of Germany had excommunicated Hitler and his Catholic henchmen instead of supporting their war machine, there would have been no global war at the time.b Clergy support of that war was not one-sided either; Christendom’s pulpits on all sides joined the struggle and urged their parishioners to do the same.
19. Have the clergy inspired faith in Jehovah since World War II?
19 And what about the past twenty-four years since World War II ended? Have we seen any reversal in the faith-destroying sermons from Christendom’s pulpits? To the contrary! Openly and freely the clergy deny belief in the Bible’s inspiration. The Garden of Eden and the events of the Noachian flood, they say, are folklore. The virgin birth of Jesus and the ransom sacrifice of Christ to them are mere myths. Many clergymen, like the proverbial fool, parrot that “there is no God” for ‘he is dead.’ (Ps. 14:1, AV) What hypocrisy on their part, then, even to claim to be ministers of religion!
20. (a) According to Jesus, what miserable condition does the world of mankind find itself in? Why? (b) But what caused the highly educated clergy to become so blind?
20 How true the words of Jesus: “Blind guides is what they are.” “If, then,” Jesus continued, “a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matt. 15:14) And what a miserable pit of darkness and despair all those are in who have followed these blind religious leaders! It is understandable how great masses of the common, often illiterate, people are led into the wrong way by following their leaders in blind trust. But how could such educated, intellectual leaders themselves be so blind as to stumble into the quagmire of darkness in which they find themselves? Certainly it would take a power far superior to theirs. Explaining how this comes about, and why both the clergy and their followers are in such mental darkness, the apostle Paul says: “The god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.”—2 Cor. 4:4.
21. What unseen forces are leading this faithless world, and where are they headed?
21 It is, then, Satan the Devil, “the god of this system of things,” who has blinded Christendom’s religious leaders, and he has accomplished this by and through his hordes of invisible demonic forces who are leading this wicked system toward Armageddon, the battle of God Almighty. Given a vision of this in advance, the apostle John describes this state of affairs, saying: “And I saw three unclean inspired expressions that looked like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.”—Rev. 16:13, 14, 16.
LAST DAYS OF A FAITHLESS WORLD
22, 23. (a) What evidence is there that we are living in the “time of the end”? (b) Describe what occurred in heaven that had a direct bearing on earthwide conditions today.
22 The prime reason for this great increase in Godlessness and lack of faith during this Twentieth Century is due to the very special time in which we are living. It is the “time of the end.” It is the time when the Devil and his demons have been cast out of heaven down to the vicinity of the earth, a time when this wicked one is bent on doing everything possible to destroy all belief in Jehovah and his precious promises. Bible chronology and the historical facts combine to show beyond a question of doubt that since the outbreak of World War I in 1914 this world has been in its time of the end. The book of Revelation, chapter twelve, verses seven to twelve, describes what took place in the invisible heavens, which event resulted in the conditions so manifest in the earth since 1914 as follows:
23 “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.”—Rev. 12:7-9.
24. In contrast with the rejoicing in the heavens, what conditions prevail on the earth, and why?
24 With Satan’s ouster it would, of course, mean a time of great rejoicing in the heavenly realm, even as the vision foretold: “And I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! . . . On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them!’” But what about the world of mankind living here on the earth, down to which the Devil and his demons were hurled? For them, the prophecy says, it would be an altogether different matter: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Rev. 12:10-12.
25. How do we know not all people lack faith in God?
25 The Bible, therefore, gives sound reasons why the world today is without faith in Jehovah God. However, when the Scripture says “faith is not a possession of all people,” it implies that some people would possess faith. Furthermore, the apostle continues, saying: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will make you firm and keep you from the wicked one.” (2 Thess. 3:2, 3) How the Lord does this, and what is required on your part to be made strong in faith, are some of the important matters discussed in the following article.
a After World War I, the Rev. George Willis Cooke, in an article published in the Chicago Unity, declared: “The attitude of the churches in this country, and in even greater degree in the other countries, has not been such as to inspire faith in their sincerity. To a very large extent they have abandoned Christianity for patriotism. They have been committed to a brutal revengeful, and savage lust for war and all the worst that war demands. . . . The most cruel, heartless, and revengeful demands made in behalf of war have come from Christian pulpits on both sides.”—See The Watch Tower, 1919, page 356.
The Detroit Free Press, August 6, 1919, in speaking of the responsibility of the clergy for World War I, said: “They joined the most rampageous of our jingoist and war-at-any-price patriots in arousing the belligerent passions of the people . . . Nearly all of them could be brevetted for distinguished service in boosting the human slaughtering game . . . Indeed the ministers in all the belligerent countries engendered so much passion and violence that it might be called their war.”
b On December 7, 1941, the same day Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese axis partner of Hitler and Mussolini, the New York Times, under headline “‘War Prayer’ for Reich” and subhead “Catholic Bishops at Fulda Ask Blessing and Victory,” published the following:
“FULDA, Germany, Dec. 6—The Conference of German Catholic Bishops assembled in Fulda has recommended the introduction of a special ‘war prayer’ which is to be read at the beginning and end of all divine services.
“The prayer implores Providence to bless German arms with victory and grant protection to the lives and health of all soldiers. The Bishops further instructed Catholic clergy to keep and remember in a special Sunday sermon at least once a month German soldiers ‘on land, on sea and in the air.’
“The German Catholic clergy, while strongly objecting to certain aspects of Nazi racial policy, has always taken care to emphasize the duty of every Catholic to his country as loyal Germans in the present war.”
[Picture on page 526]
The philosophy of materialism, along with changes in transportation and communication, has induced millions to accept the faithless “No-God” doctrine