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A Religious World in Turmoil
"decadent nations of Western
capitalism."
Religious superstitions have
virtually condemned many
people in the underdeveloped
world to lives of perpetual pov–
erty and deprivation. In some
areas of the world, prayer flags
are thought to be more impor–
tant than health or sanitary
measures in combating out–
breaks of cholera. Boiling drink–
ing water is often understood
more in terms of a religious rit–
ual than a biological cleansing
process. In the hills of Nepal,
iron ore is smelted using the
same process that was em–
ployed by the ancient Greeks
millennia ago. No attempt has
been made to improve existing
techniques. Instead, a small im–
age of a local deity molded into
the wall of the smelter is looked
to as a guarantor of successful
operations.
Cure for Woes?
To some, all this might seem
somewhat ironic. Traditionally,
men have always thought of re–
ligion as a powerful positive
force working for the better–
ment of the human condition.
Today the bulk of the world's
population adheres to some
type of religious creed in one
form or another. Millions of
Western Christians go to
church every Sunday, men in
9
office invoke the name of God in
public ceremonies, faithful
Moslems take their pilgrimages
to Mecca, and Hindus and Bud–
dhists diligently practice the
same precepts that were
handed down to their fore–
fathers generations ago.
In spite of all this outward
religiosity, though, the state of
the world's health continues to
deteriorate. Numerous nations
are either in a state of war, pre–
paring for war, or recovering
from the last one. Major powers
continue to accelerate a no-win
nuclear arms race. Govern–
ments rise and topple, leaders
are submerged in bloody coups,
and the majority of the world's
population still lives under the
ominous shadow of famine, dis–
ease, malnutrition and poverty.
Is all this occurring because
mankind has lost sight of his
original religious convictions?
Would
more
religion be the an–
swer to humanity's problems?
Can man's religion help solve
the monumental problems now
facing the human race? Or on
the other hand is religion the
cause
rather than the
cure
for
many of mankind's present woes?
Before we can answer these
questions, we need to go back to
the beginning and see how the
foundation of virtually all of
the world's major religions was
first laid.