Questions About the Future
By Dave Breese
Amazingly, here we are at the beginning of another spring season! I am very delighted that you can take the time to read this special edition of The Collegiate Letter. One of the things that we are supposed to doespecially at this time of yearis slow down or even stop for a moment and think about things. Such cogitation soon comes around to, Who am I? and What does the future hold? The thousands of graduates, after the pensive notes of Pomp and Circumstance have faded, will soon be face to face with that thing called the future. Thinking about that future and how we fit into it is becoming a more demanding exercise in these days than in time now gone by. Our parents, when they were in this situation, thought that the normal course of events would continueand to a great extent, they were right.
We notice, however, that we are now in the midst of a society that is being overturned in many ways. Consequently, we ask, What is happening? and How can I keep from being swallowed up by the complexities of it all? To aid my thinking about this, I took the time to write a short list of what, in nearly everybody's opinion, will be some of the elements of concern for the future. The following answers are not in a particular order but they may produce a check list for your consideration. Questions about the future will certainly include the following
- Will the economy hold up? The United States now faces over five and one half trillion in obligations that it cannot now pay. In addition, the debt expands by billions per year. Therefore, more and more of the federal government's expenditures must go to pay the interest on the mounting debt. It, therefore, is a truism that the supposed prosperity of today is really built on the as yet unearned incomes of our grandchildren. That's you! Are you ready to put more than 50 percent of your annual income into taxes paid to the government? It may well be more than that because we are nearly at the 50 percent level today. Some new and ingenious thoughts are now needed to answer the pressing question about the economy of tomorrow. So far, no one has given us a believable answer. Do you have one?
- Will cybernetics depersonalize us all? Even now there is talk about a nationwide program to attach an identification number to everyone. Related stories are now being told of computer implanted numbers on the hand or even on the forehead. The idea of identifying and then organizing every individual on earth has been illusory up until now. As of now, we are well on our way to that goal. Think of it, who would be interested in organizing every living human being into a great and identifiable group? We hear the cry that individual nations are passe and world unity is alone our hope for the future. Do you believe this?
- Will democracy survive? The idea of individual autonomy and governments existing to serve the individualthese ideas are relatively new. Generally they came in with the founding of the United States of America and generally these ideas have been practiced and defended by Americans. They are called freedom. We now hear that this is a very inefficient way to have or control a nation. Therefore, individuals must sacrifice their freedom in order to have a planned, organized, and efficient society. Democracy produces anarchy, they say. Are you willing to be a part of a future anarchy in order to create efficiency?
- Will there be individual nations in the future? At the close of almost every small war in our time, voices are lifted that announce that nationalism is the problem. The idea of individual nations with their own personal heritage and destinythis idea is now considered archaic. It is said to be the cause of most wars, big and small, and must be dispelled. Because our problems are supposedly beyond the ability of individual nations to solve, we must bring world insight and power into the governments of individual nations. The nation must go is the voice we hear today. Do you agree?
- Can science save us? The great voice of science is being lifted in our time as the answer to everything. Indeed, science has clothed the world with lights, color, and the magic of high technology. Out of this, science seems to promise to be the panacea of the future, resolving all of our problems. Increasingly, the promise of science will grow, but the world will ask, Can science save us? What do you think?
- What will things like cloning produce? Is this an upcoming strange era? While we are impressed with the advance of science, we notice that the genetics manipulators have already produced a cloned sheep, a cloned cow, and a cloned catwhile others already claim the cloning of other things. Congress has passed a prohibition against human cloning but we can expect this will merely trigger greater interest. What about it? Will we be forced to accept all of the aberrant things that mad scientists would press upon us? Are there other guidelines than merely it is possible which will help? Is the nature of life finally in the hands of men or is there a God who has set the rules of it all? Are there ethical guidelines which we can pursue? We presently have much talk concerning values. Is there such a thing as a foundation against which we can decide what are true and absolute values? We would certainly agree that without values a culture will be destroyed. But who will decide the values of tomorrow where mere human beings are called upon to make life and death decisions? A battle of values is certainly to come. What are you doing to be involved in this battle?
- Is religion also changing? Will religion become an eclectic thing in tomorrow's world? Are new and sacred religious texts being written by some now which await being presented to the world as a new codification of authority? Does religious pluralism mean the pagan worship of many gods? Are we to respect all religions? What is a cult, where does heresy begin? You may soon have to decide for yourself and others.
- What will be the shape of evangelical Christianity in this generation? The influence of the Christian Coalition as a political force has waned in recent years. Will such coalitions be effective in the days to come? How does religion produce an influence in the political world? Is that what it is supposed to do? With a little thought, we can agree that these questions can have a profound effect upon your personal life and the life of a nation. This being the case, much discussion is going on now about the relationship between Christianity and the state. Secular politicians note with interest and apprehension the tide of evangelical Christianity that has grown remarkably in our time. Evangelical Christians, they tell me, produced a fairly large percentage of the vote in the last several elections.
Purpose of God In History
This is a time in which the curious citizens of our nation are thinking anew about patriotism, national purpose, vision, and the like. The last century saw two devastating world wars and several dozen smaller conflicts. Perhaps 50 million people died in the wars of the 20th century making them no small consideration. Can the overwhelming tide of ruthless war be avoided by the United States in days to come? Will our current campaign against terrorism in Afghanistan escalate into a regional or even global conflict? Does the survival of a nation merely depend on a capable army or strong economy or clever politicians? We have them today and have had them in days gone by and struggles for our nation's survival have not thereby been prevented. Perceptive individuals should, therefore, become much more well-versed on the components of a successful nation. Because many are curious about this question, you may want to get a copy of The Fate of a Nation and, after reading it pass it on to a friend. Millions of Americans are woefully ignorant of the purpose of God in history and why He brings nations to pass after all. To be ignorant of that thingthe purpose of God in historyis to have mental limitations that could be fatal.
Remember to be thinking about the questions raised in this edition of The Collegiate Letter. They are not mere words but are certain to become the serious issues of the days to come. You could certainly have a ministry as a spokesman for truth and reality if you were given of God answers to these programs that are developing before our very eyes. The most strategic person in our world today is the articulate person of our day who is also a Christian. We know that the Bible is the answer but it needs to be presented from the life and the lips of intelligent youth who, thereby, can make such a vital difference in the hearts and lives of many.
I would like you also to take away a verse for today. It is a wonderful promise given to the Church by Christ Himself when He said, Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it (Rev. 3:8).
The Gift of Opportunity
That means, of course, that opportunity comes from God and that it will never fail us so long as our hearts are right with Him. One of the great gifts which God gives to every personespecially the Christianis the gift of opportunity. Opportunity means that I can be something today that I was not yesterday. It means that the pathway to the fulfillment of great purposes in life is wide open. To every person in the world, God gives the opportunity to become a Christian. To know Jesus Christ as personal Savior is the greatest thing in life. Be sure that you have availed yourself of that opportunity. Remember, also, that to every Christian God gives the opportunity to serve Christ in the midst of great issues. Be sure that yours is a life committed to Christ so that, before life is done, you can say that you have fought a good fight and kept the faith. Opportunity that comes from God is a great thing. Don't miss it!