Science in Christian Perspective
Responses to "A Call to Faithfulness"
Richard H. Bube, Editor
From: JASA 31
(March 1979): 55-56.
In Journal ASA, September 1978, we reprinted on pp. 100 and 101, "A Call to Faithfulness," which argued that "Our primary allegiance to Jesus Christ and his kingdom commits us to the total abolition of nuclear weapons." The following are the total number of responses received to this publication by the stipulated deadline of November 15, 1978.
Thank you for printing "A Call to Faithfulness" in the
of the Journal ASA. It sharply states the danger of the unbelievable
power of the nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union. It is
a heartfelt and sincere appeal for exercise of Christian
responsibility, and beginning
with prayer. I have been personally moved by it.
But ... ! This morning as I had read the article, I also heard on CBS that contributions to political campaigns in our country from ''single issue'' groups exceed by several times contributions to build up political parties. The ''Call to Faithfulness" comes more in the mode of "single issue" concern than in the context of political responsibility. It does not bother to articulate what consequences are likely and acceptable in the whole fabric of social institutions if their ''single issue'' of nuclear disarmament, especially in a unilateral form, were to be achieved.
My great disappointment with opposition to the American involvement in the war in Viet Nam was that reasoning of a genuine political nature so easily was overwhelmed by a spirit of single issue romanticism. Things really could be better in Southeast Asia; we really did give up one legitimate political concern for another.
All of us have something of the romantic inside of us. Romanticism has a real face in our culture (beginning with Jean Jacques Rousseau). It thinks that getting rid of burdensome institutional responsibility will release the ''happy native.'' My prayers are with the "Call." But they are also that all of us may see the difference between prophecy and romanticism.
Lynn Boliek Minister, the First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame Burlingame, California 94010
The Nuclear Declaration apparently advocates unilateral disarmament by the U.S.A. which would do just the opposite to promoting universal justice and peace. Is would either greatly aggravate the risk of nuclear war or, more likely, because of the spiritual and moral declension of our country, lead to progressive surrender and the ultimate establishment of a socialist one world government complete with secret police, barbarous prisons and concentration camps, torture and brainwashing, the liquidation of millions of innocent individuals, and the other terrors of Communist peace.
Freedom of religion would be abolished and the plight of the poor would be worse as universal poverty would be the lot of everybody except the commisars controlling the New World Order.
In view of the continued spread of Communism we must strengthen our defenses in order to regain military superiority. But to survive as a nation we must do much more; there must be national repentance beginning with those of us who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must repent of our selfishness, materialism, and indifference: then filled with the Holy Spirit and motivated by Christ's love, we must witness to the lost.
Compassionately we must help the poor, not relying on massive and inefficient government programs administered by faceless bureaucrats, but by sacrificial individual effort.
Our best hope of weakening the fabric of Communism and decelerating the arms race is to assist the Underground Church in Marxist lands to win souls.
The Nuclear Declaration is Fabian Socialism thinly disguised by a religious veneer.
Walter C. Johnson, M.D. 132 Pine Street Hanover, Massachusetts 02339
This brief letter is in response to the selective righteousness exhibited in "A Call To Faithfulness," a declaration of Christians who are committed to the total abolition of nuclear weapons. I am always amazed when otherwise intelligent people so selectively focus their vision that their resulting declaration becomes farcical. Such was the case in ''A Call To Faithfulness.''
It appears the authors have failed to realize that nuclear weapons are merely extensions of other military hardware. Christians have tended to support the killing of others by using nonnuclear weapons; why should Christians selectively protest against killing people by using nuclear weapons?
The authors state that "(nuclear) weapons are for winning, for maintaining superiority, for keeping control... Don't we use non-nuclear weapons for these purposes? Haven't we always?
They call upon the church to respond ''to the nuclear arms race,'' to ''make it clear that to turn to Christ is to turn from acceptance of nuclear weapons,'' ''to set forth to the United States government its responsibility to take ... initiatives toward the goal of complete nuclear disarmament.'' Christians are admonished so resist ''the nuclear arms race'' and the signers of the declaration commit themselves ''to non-cooperation with our country's preparations for nuclear war."
Does not this entire declaration beg the question as to the Christian responsibility toward war and killing in general? How can the authors imply that non-nuclear wars and killing are activities not worthy of Christian protest but nuclear wars and nuclear killing are?
It seems to me the biblical references they use to support their selective righteous indignation would more accurately be used to support a general righteous indignation toward all nationalistic ssars and killing. After all, it doesn't seem quite consistent to interpret "Love your enemies" as meaning "You may shoot your enemies with a bow and arrow or a bazooka but you may not nuke
Michael V. McCabe Center for the Study of Higher Education University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
1. Between the World Wars, the Western democracies clung to the concept that disarmament in itself would bring peace. Great bodies of well-meaning people firmly believed that no arms meant no violence. So the Axis powers felt there was neither will nor capacity to enforce the peace.1 Therefore, Japan, Italy and Germany undertook wars of aggression even though each had signed the 1929 Kellogg-Briand pact which renounced war as an instrument of national policy.2,3
2. In 1946, the United States' representative to the United Nations, Bernard Baruch, presented a plan to the U.N. placing atomic energy under international control. The Soviet representative, Andrei Gromyko, denounced this unilateral proposal.4
3. As far as the arms race is concerned, Russia tested the first thermonuclear device (1951) and the first deliverable hydrogen bomb (1953).5
4. Combining conversion to Christianity and a given position on nuclear arms creates a false issue. The real issue for any human, anytime, any place, is Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.
5. We live in a fallen world; let's not kid ourselves that no arms means no violence. Look at Cambodia today. Who would wish that kind of "peace" on his worst enemy?6
6. Until Christ comes, there will be wars and rumors of wars, nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.7 True peace will come only when He returns. Then men will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.8
1Section under "World War II - The Origins," Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., Chicago, 1966, Vol. 23, p. 791 A.
2Ibid., Vol. 13, p. 273.
3Henry Fairlie, "An Idea Whose Time is Never," The New
Republic, January 14, 1978, pp. 12-13,
4Lansing Lamont, Day of Trinity, Atheneum, N.Y., 1965, pp. 279, 280, 292. Also, in the 1950's, the U.S.S.R. blocked every multilateral attempt to control nuclear arms - usually over the inspection terms.
5Stanley A. Blumberg and Gwinn Owens, Energy and Conflict,
The Life and Times of Edward Teller, G.P. Putnam's Sons, N.Y., 1976, p. 268.
6George McGovern has called for an international military force to invade Cambodia. "What's News - World Wide," The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 22, 1978, p. 1.
7Matthew 24:6a, 7a.
E.T. McMullen Major, USAF School of Systems and Logistics Air Force Institute of Technology Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45431
The "Declaration" states, "Our primary allegiance to Jesus Christ and his kingdom commits us to the total abolition of nuclear weapons. There can be no qualifying or conditioning word."
"Nuclear" is a qualifying, conditioning word. Why persist in excusing the genocidal tyrants in Cambodia, parts of Africa, etc.?
Nuclear war certainly threatens us, but would Jesus be silent about Soviet tanks or "psychiatric" torture just because they aren't hurting us? Would germ warfare be merciful?
How nationalistic it is to limit our criticism to our nation and its allies! (The usual answer, effectiveness, is a cop-out and a misrepresentation.) Our call should indeed be to faithfulness.
Ronald L. Rich Bluffton College Bluffton, Ohio 45817
Has the nuclear nightmare robbed us of our senses? Is it to gruesome insanity
or to moral evil that we should react? Nuclear stockpiles are but an
to a wicked end: the pursuit of power. Are we to forget the end in
with the latest means?
Can nuclear arms be morally worse than bows and arrows? Or Nazi concentration camps? May Christians be divided about war in general but united about nuclear war? Or do we panic because humanity has run its course? If war in defense of the West is evil, it is reprehensible whether nuclear weapons are used or not. Mass murder may be uglier than discrete murder, but is no more detestable.
And let us be practical. If we Christians by reason of our "allegiance to Jesus Christ and his Kingdom" are committed "to the total abolition of nuclear weapons" we are committed to no small task, but one demanding exclusive attention. It is one thing vehemently to protest nuclear weapons. It is quite another to dedicate ourselves to their "total abolition."
As a Christian outside the U.S.A. I sympathize with the deep concern the Declaration expresses. I share a sense of responsibility. We cannot conceive the horror that threatens to engulf us. The question then becomes: How best shall we expend our lives in the shadow of the mushroom? Our efforts might postpone judgment but will not avert it. The damage is done now.
Let us protest ills that surround us and do what good we may. But let our main task to be call men to repentance from the power lusts that have brought our destruction about.
John White Department of Psychiatry University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E OW3 Canada