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Problems of Humanity - Chapter V - The Problem of the Churches
II. The Opportunity of the Churches

Something of great moment has happened in the world. The spirit of destruction has stampeded through the earth, leaving the world of the past and the civilization which controlled our modern life in ruins. Cities and homes have been destroyed; kingdoms and rulers have disappeared in the aftermath of war; ideologies and cherished beliefs have failed to meet the need of people and have broken down under the test of the times; starvation and insecurity are rampant everywhere; families and social groups have been disrupted; death has taken its toll of every nation and millions have died as a result of the inhuman processes of war. Broadly speaking, everyone has known terror, fear and hopelessness as they face the future; everyone is questioning what that future has in store and there is no surety anywhere. The voice of humanity is demanding light, peace and security.

Some seek it in the formation of new ideologies; some look for it along political lines and hope for relief and release through some form of government action or some political creed or party. Others demand the emergence of a leader, and there are few leaders anywhere to be seen at this time. The leadership provided is coming from groups of well-meaning people and a few statesmen who seem as bewildered as those they seek to help; they are rendered well-nigh impotent by the very magnitude of the task with which they are faced, [135] for the issue at stake is the rebuilding, the reconditioning and the re-educating of the entire world. Still others, more patient, are planning new educational processes and systems which will attempt to prepare the present generation of children for full living in the world of tomorrow, a world whose faint outlines are only dimly to be seen. Some are inking back into a state of despair, escaping into isolationism and waiting, as philosophically as possible, for the release which death will bring, asking only a little food, some warmth, a few books and sufficient clothing. Many are refusing altogether to think and are instead filling their lives with relief work. All are experiencing the reaction which follows in the aftermath of war and are not familiar with the processes of peace, because peace has never truly been known and is obviously still far away.

Above everything else, men throughout the world in their countless millions are registering a deep spiritual need, are conscious of the stirrings of the spirit and are recognizing it for what it is. They may express this need in many forms and use many differing terminologies; they may look in diverse directions for the satisfaction of their longings, but everywhere there is a demand for things of truer value than those which conditioned the past and for the appearance of those virtues, spiritual impulses and incentives which men appear to have lost and which are the sum total of the forces which drive humanity on towards spiritual living.

Everywhere people are ready for the light; they are expectant of a new revelation and of a new dispensation. Humanity has advanced so far on the way of evolution that these demands and expectations are not couched in terms of material betterment only, but in terms of a spiritual vision, true values and right human relations. They are demanding teaching and spiritual help along with the necessary requests for food, clothes and the [136] opportunity to work and live in freedom; they face famine in large areas of the world and yet are registering with equal dismay the famine of the soul.

The great tragedy is, however, that they know not where to turn or to whose voice they should listen. The hope within them is spiritual and undying. This hope and this demand have reached the attentive ear of the Christ and His disciples in the place where They live, and work and watch over humanity. Through what agency will these forces of the spirit work for the restoration of the world? By what means will the spiritual Guides of the race lead men forward into greater light and the opportunity of the new age? Mankind faces towards the Way of Resurrection. Who shall lead him on that Way?

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