More Anti-Theism and Economic Disaster
Although I do not agree with his endorsement of High Criticism’s approach to the Bible, the early 20th Century preacher and homiletics teacher in Yale Divinity School, Halford Luccock, was on target when he addressed the extravagant materialism and secularism of the early 1920s and the seemingly hopeless depression days of the 1930s. Luccock described “The Great Depression,” during which he was living and preach, in the following words:
. . . The economic paralysis, which we euphemistically call ‘the depression,’ is a tragedy in ten million acts. . . . We are daily being taught the lessons that an order of life reared on the basis of unrestrained self-seeking, on an anarchy of feverish profit-making, is a house built on sands. They are lessons so painfully clear, with hunger and bankruptcy in the teacher’s chair, that one would think that a wayfaring man . . . could not escape their meaning. . . . Speculation—the taint in the blood which feverishly seeks something for nothing; over-production, from the insistent demand for immediate profits; the great financial prizes given most largely to exploiters of other men’s labor. . . . [T]hese are the fruits of our unbelief. We do not believe and we have as our reward, blight and ruin—economic damnation. . . . Yet we must not delude ourselves that this conviction of sin has even begun to do its work. . . . [T]he church must steel itself with the realization that this true preaching of the day of doom following the violation of ethical law will be resisted . . . by that old guard of privilege which dies but never surrenders . . . weighed in the balance and found wanting—to be read by every idle factory wall, on every stock exchange, on every bread line. . . .
In Philadelphia, the second week of November, I listened to a voice on the radio booming out of the city hall, appealing for contributions for unemployment relief. . . . It said: ‘You must give. Revolutions thrive on empty stomachs. We must fight to save civilization.’ And I looked about at some of the ‘civilization’ we must fight to save. . . . The long history of corruption in Philadelphia. . . . Christianity’s commission is not to save civilization but to save men; . . . to build a Christian civilization. Never was greater need or more fertile field for the preaching of repentance in the name of Christ. We speak not only to the heart and conscience of men, but to their minds as well. . . . In other words, to preach with ardor and concreteness, the gospel. (30-34).
We are seeing the rotten fruit of a culture that thinks it has outgrowm its need for God. Even Richard Dawkins, the militant British anti-theist, has admitted: “My own feeling is that a human society based simply on the genes law of universal ruthless selfishness would be a very nasty society in which to live” (3). Hello!?
Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene. 1976. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999.
Luccock, Halford. “. . . Shall Be Damned.” 20 Centuries of Great Preaching. Vol. 10. Waco: Word, 1971.