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The World to Come: From Christian Past to Global Future by Lloyd Geering


Lloyd Geering is a Presbyterian minister and former Professor of Old Testament Studies at theological colleges in Brisbane and Dunedia, and Professor of Religious Studies at Victorian University in Wellington, New Zealand. He is author of Tomorrow's God (1994), The World to Come (1999) and Christianity Without God (2002). Published by Polebridge Press, 1999, Santa Rosa, California and by Bridget Williams Books Ltd, Wellington, New Zealand, 1999. This material was edited for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


Chapter 9: Humanity at War with Itself


Among the biblical myths of human origin, two are particularly relevant to the problems raised by globalization. One tells the story of Cain, the first child of Adam (humankind), who killed his brother Abel; when asked to explain what had happened to Abel, Cain made the well-known reply, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’1 This story symbolically describes the extremes to which the anti-social tendencies in the human condition can go, and indicates that humanity has been at war with itself from the very beginning. The other myth describes a time when all human beings lived in one harmonious society; ‘the whole earth had one language and the same words,’ says the story of the Tower of Babel.2 The myth then explains why, in historical time, there have always been many languages, many cultures and many societies. They are the result of divine punishment for the blatant hubris of humankind.

Whether there ever was a time when humans were so few in number that they constituted only one society and spoke only one language we cannot say. It remains possible that all belonging to the species of Homo sapiens are descended from the same two parents, such as the Adam and Eve of the biblical myth of Eden. In that case, their descendants would have formed the first extended human family or tribe, united genetically and linguistically. All that we can say with confidence, however, is that our earliest knowledge of humankind takes us back only to the point where humans were already scattered into groups, living a tribal existence, each with its own language and culture.

The oldest and most basic form of the human social group is the family -- not the nuclear family (which is largely a modern phenomenon) but the extended family. The family is bound genetically by blood ties and by a closely knit culture arising out of its common life. The family unit evolved in the far distant past into the dominant type of human society, the tribe. For a long time, most likely, the extended family and the tribe were indistinguishable, though gradually (it may be conjectured) the tribe grew to become a society of families.

The tribe is held together largely by a commonality of blood and culture. The bonds of the tribe started with blood ties and are instinctive in origin (as they are with all non-human gregarious mammals). This genetic base of tribalism remains strong even today, for ‘blood is thicker than water’, as we say. In the case of humans, however, the genetic ties have been supplemented by the bonding power of an ever-evolving culture. Each culture (or civilization) contains a common language, a shared view of reality, a shared set of values and goals, and common patterns of behavior, both moral and ritualistic.

The strength of tribalism lies in the personal bonds of mutual loyalty which hold the tribe together, give it an identity, endow it with strength and courage to overcome threats, and enable it to survive from generation to generation. So strong are the bonds of the tribe that its members vigorously defend its vitality and may even be prepared to die to ensure its preservation. There is much that is commendable in tribalism and it has been essential to human survival, at least until the present. The negative side of tribalism is that, manifesting the mark of Cain, it fosters distrust and antagonism to those outside the tribe, who are seen as a threat.

To this day the tribe remains the social base of the later forms of society which began to evolve less than 10,000 years ago, when the agricultural ‘revolution’ brought a more settled existence. This cultural change led to the establishment of walled cities, the cultivation of the various arts which city life makes possible, and hence what was called civilization. From that time on, the city, the nation and even a whole civilization have manifested themselves as particular forms of tribalism, and each has to some degree retained the loyalties and sense of social identity that constitute tribalism.

From the far distant past right up until the twentieth century, humankind showed a tendency to divide and diversify into ever more ethnic groups, all of them retaining the tribal type of social life. As we saw in the last chapter, it was this tendency to divide that Teilhard de Chardin labeled divergence. However, after the rise of the first civilizations some 5,000 years ago, powerful conquerors have forced a number of different social groups to enter into a compulsory form of unity. Because these empires were dependent upon the use of force, they had no great permanence and, in time, the original tribal or ethnic entities usually regained their independence. That process is still occurring; the twentieth century saw the British and other European empires gradually disbanding, and it has ended with the break-up of communist Yugoslavia after the death of Tito.

From the Axial Period onwards, a different and more permanent form of inter-ethnic social cohesion evolved. The strong commitment to ethnic or blood-related social groups came to be superseded by or subordinated to the formation of a multi-ethnic society of a religious kind. As noted in the previous chapter, Christianity and Islam each hoped to eliminate the negative aspects of ethnic tribalism by incorporating all of humankind into a new trans-ethnic community.

Out of the original Christian hope for the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God evolved the institution of the church (in which there was to be ‘neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female’);3 this eventually developed into Christendom. The Muslims called it the brotherhood or Umma Muslima (Muslim people), and Islam dates its calendar from the establishment of the first Islamic state or society -- that at Medina. At their height, Christendom and the Islamic world were both impressive in overcoming tribal and ethnic animosity and establishing a form of international society. However, even these religiously based super-societies have been subject to divergence, tending either to fragment (as in denominational divisions) or to give way to the resurgence of ethnic tribalism.

Ethnic divergence, or the dispersion of humanity into ever more tribes, cultures, nations and languages, was possible because there was, until recently, always more land to which they could go. The Pilgrim Fathers set sail for what they thought was the relatively empty ‘new world’. The Quakers found freedom in Pennsylvania. The nations of Europe exported to their new colonies the surplus population that followed the industrial revolution. But this avenue for dealing with increased population no longer exists.

Because humans have not only spread to the limits of the earth but have also started to multiply at an alarming rate, the mythical story of the Tower of Babel is now being reversed. The whole earth has been reduced to the vicinity of the Tower; there is no more land to which we may scatter. Further divergence into more tribes and races is no longer possible, and is being replaced by what Teilhard de Chardin called convergence. Human societies of all kinds now find themselves being pushed more closely together. Minor languages are dying fast and major languages are in competition to become the one global language.

We are beginning to feel the birth pangs of what could be a new form of human society -- global society. But will it emerge successfully? Will we humans now form ourselves into one global society, or will we simply slide into social chaos and end up destroying one another? The truth in the myth of Cain and Abel still remains: the mark of Cain is upon us. Will our anti-social tendencies prevent us from becoming one global society? That is the question globalization is forcing us now to answer.

We humans are becoming a danger to ourselves, simply because of our natural capacity to multiply indefinitely on a finite planet. Globalization has been partly promoted by the population explosion. The basic instinct to procreate has always been essential for the survival of humankind, as it is for any species. That is why, in the biblical tradition, humankind was commanded to ‘be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth’. We are now filling the earth abundantly, even to overflowing, but we find it difficult to stop multiplying. The procreative instinct has become not only an asset for humankind but also a liability. It is tragically ironic that the very capacity required for survival is now that which threatens the well-being (even the future) of the species.

At the beginning of the Christian era (it has been estimated) the human population of the earth was approximately 300 million. Population growth remained relatively slow, so that by 1750 It had reached only about 800 million. Disease, epidemics, famine and high mortality among children took their toll. (Only about half of newborn babies survived to the age of five years.) Disease and early mortality, which were understandably judged to be evil, nonetheless kept in check the natural increase in human population. All that has been drastically changed by such otherwise beneficial developments as medical science, education in personal hygiene, better sanitation, and the improved economic conditions brought about by the industrial revolution. These factors reduced infant mortality, cured diseases, and prevented some plagues; the average length of life was gradually extended, and the population began to increase.

Population growth began to accelerate from 1750 onwards. As early as 1790 a Venetian monk, Gianmaria Ortis, declared that the human population could not continue to grow indefinitely. In 1798 Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), an Anglican clergyman and economist, published his seminal Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he argued that the human population has a natural tendency to multiply faster than the increase in food supply. Natural causes had long kept the population growth within sustainable limits; if these were removed, special efforts would be required to reduce the birthrate, either by self-restraint or by compulsory birth control.

By 1800 the world population had reached one billion, and it had taken some two million years to do so. But by only 1930 it had doubled to two billion. Then, partly as a result of the comparative peace and prosperity following World War II, a third billion was added by 1960, a fourth by 1974, the fifth before 1990 and the sixth by 1998. It has been projected that, on present rates of fertility, mortality and migration, the global population will have reached eight billion people by 2025. Since the size of the planet remains the same, the increase in human population will force people to live more closely together, as well as be more dependent on one another.

Until the 1950s the debate about human numbers remained largely academic. When artificial forms of contraception were coming into common use in the first half of the twentieth century, they were vigorously opposed by some on religious grounds. The debate was pursued purely on the basis of personal morality. Now that global population is reaching the limits of sustainability on the earth, contraception has become a social concern as well as a personal one. The traditional morality surrounding procreation and sexual relationships in the so-called free world is sadly out of touch with present reality: witness the Roman Catholic rejection of all artificial forms of contraception and the still widespread moral condemnation of clinical abortion.

However, drastic attempts to curb the population explosion, such as very strict forms of birth control and clinical abortion, do not offer any simple solution, for they have alarming social consequences. Any sudden decrease in the birth rate brings serious dislocation to the age composition of human society, so that (for example) too few working people have to provide for the material needs of too many old people. Programs of enforced birth control also come into conflict with long-standing cultural customs and religious convictions, cause considerable anguish and are often strenuously opposed. Harsh and rigid methods of birth control, such as those instituted in China, can seriously upset the gender balance.

The population explosion has also changed patterns of land occupation and, in latter years, brought a dramatic increase in urban density. It was not until about 10,000 years ago that humans began to live in permanent settlements. Even up to 5,000 years ago such settlements were small, consisting of semi-permanent villages of peasant farmers. Only during the great empires of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome did cities have more than 100,000 inhabitants. Even then, and for a long time thereafter, human existence was still predominantly rural and village-like. In 1800, less than 3 per cent of the world’s population were living in cities of 20,000 or more. This percentage has rapidly increased, in line with the population explosion; it reached 25 per cent by the mid-1960s and 40 percent by 1980. In the year 2000 about half the world’s population will be living an urban existence. What has been called the ‘global village’ is turning out to be one global city.

How will life in the global city be different from earlier human experience? First of all, as Harvey Cox pointed out in The Secular City, in the modern city human existence is becoming more rootless and mobile on the one hand and more anonymous on the other. Our neighbors may remain strangers and our closest friends may be found in various scattered net-works or sub-societies that we have chosen. Cities spring up like mushrooms, flourish, then show signs of decay. A flourishing suburb may, a generation later, turn into a slum.

Secondly, human existence will no longer be lived exclusively within one culture with its own identity and language. The embryonic global culture is already relativizing both the trans-ethnic cultures (such as Christendom and the Islamic world) and the many ethnic cultures. The global mix will not necessarily destroy the values and goals found in these cultures, but it deprives them of their absolute status, and makes them closer to personal options.

The global city could provide exciting new possibilities for humankind but it also presents challenges far exceeding any that the human species has yet faced. Not only is there the pressure of the population explosion and its increased needs, but there is also the fact that the various nations (with their burgeoning populations and their diverse cultures) are being pushed together rather like the continental plates on the earth’s surface. Just as the clash of these geological plates causes earthquakes, so we can expect massive cultural earthquakes as the great cultures are forced into closer contact. The recent troubles in the Balkans, the Holy land and East Timor, to name but a few, may be small compared with what is yet to come.

In 1996 Samuel Huntington, director of the Harvard Institute of Strategic Studies, published The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. He argued that the phenomenon of globalization is bringing new pressures of such magnitude that they could easily result in disastrous human conflicts, and that a global war of civilizations can be avoided only if world leaders accept the multi-civilizational character of global politics, and learn to co-operate. Among the factors contributing to global instability he cited the following:

• For the first time in history, politics have become global, being both multi-polar and multi-civilizational.

• The influence of the west is declining.

• The patronizing superiority of the west is bringing it into conflict with other civilizations, particularly Islam and China.

• Asian civilizations are expanding, economically and politically. Islam is exploding demographically and destabilizing Muslim countries and their neighbors.

• Modernization is not currently producing a universal civilization.

Huntington sees major fault lines appearing between what we may call the earth’s ‘civilization plates’ -- between the Muslim and Asian societies on the one hand and the West on the other. These fault lines are being exacerbated by ‘Western arrogance, Islamic intolerance and Chinese assertiveness’.4 As Huntington writes:

The West . . . believe[s] that the non-Western peoples should commit themselves to the Western values of democracy, free markets, limited government, human rights, individualism, the rule of law and embody these values in their institutions . . . What is universalism to the West is imperialism to the rest . . . The West is, for instance, attempting to integrate the economies of the non-Western societies into a global economic system which it dominates.5

This impending civilizational conflict indicates the fact that tribalism is so deeply entrenched in human behavioral patterns that it not only refuses to wither away but, in times of mounting tension in the face of threatening world crises, it is likely to intensify.

Tribalism was an asset for human societies before globalization, but its persistence now constitutes a threat to the future race, if it prevents the evolution of one global society. We have reached that point in the evolution of the human species where traditional tribalism must be superseded by the acceptance of the essential unity of all human society. The distinctive strengths of tribalism need to be transferred to the whole human race; tribalism needs to be transformed into globalism.

Yet, in spite of encouraging signs in international and global activity (as described in Chapter 8), we are also witnessing an alarming resurgence of tribalism. In Europe during the last four centuries the disintegration of Christendom has led to the rise of nationalism, a modern form of tribalism. On the global scale, however, tribalism can operate in whole civilizations. As Huntington has stated: ‘Civilizations are the ultimate human tribes and the clash of civilizations is tribal conflict on a global scale.’6 And he predicts: ‘Cold peace, cold war, trade war, quasi war, uneasy peace, troubled relations, intense rivalry, competitive co-existence, arms races: these phrases are the most probable descriptions of relations between entities from different civilizations. Trust and friendship will be rare.’7

It is much the same, if not worse, when we turn to the conservative defenders of the various religious traditions. An original goal of those traditions was, among other things, to overcome tribalism. But the old tribalism dies hard. Not only did ethnic tribalism spring to life again with the fragmentation of Christendom, but Christianity and Islam have each tended to develop further forms of tribalism -- religious tribalism. Christian tribalism took the form of denominationalism. During the twentieth century, as denominationalism has lost its vitality, religious tribalism has taken the form of animosity and unco-operativeness among the conservative, liberal and radical wings of the ecclesiastical organizations, with the conservative wing being particularly militant.

In 1993 there appeared two books with a similar theme, Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-first Century by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics by Daniel Moynihan, who had had a distinguished career as a Harvard professor, US ambassador to the UN, president of the Security Council and then senior US senator. They both argue that the world is heading for chaos as a result of the breakup of nation states; the intensification of tribal, ethnic and religious loyalties; the spread of international terrorism; and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Senator Moynihan rightly concedes that one’s ethnicity or nationality can be a legitimate source of pride, but warns, using the words of the Christian ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr, that it can also be a form of collective egotism, potentially very destructive.8

Brzezinski, who was formerly national security adviser to US President Jimmy Carter, published a book in 1989 called The Grand Failure, in which he prophesied the collapse of communism. In Out of Control he suggests that the world today is ‘like a plane on automatic pilot, with its speed continuously accelerating but with no defined destination’.9 The idea that humankind is in control of the various forces promoting change is an illusion:

Man does not control or even determine the basic directions of his ever-expanding physical powers. The plunge into space, the acquisition of new weapons, the breakthroughs in medical and other sciences are shaped largely by their own internal dynamics . . . The human being, while being the inventor, is simultaneously the prisoner of the process of invention.10

In the same year, 1993, Alvin and Heidi Toffler published War and Antiwar: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century, in which they said:

For the past three centuries the basic unit of the world system has been the nation-state. But this building block of the global system is itself changing . . . Many of today’s states are going to splinter or transform, and the resultant units may not be integrated nations at all, in the modern sense, but a variety of other entities from tribal federations to Third Wave city-states.11

Many have noted that while globalization has been drawing people together into worldwide unions and federations, opposite forces have been focusing attention on individualism and on small, tightly knit groups and movements. There is therefore a strange ambivalence present in globalization. On the one hand, it is drawing all nations and cultures into one global conglomeration which has the capacity to formulate some common moral standards that might enable us to eliminate the wars of the past and establish a stable global society. On the other hand, it has stimulated a resurgence of both ethnic and religious tribalism, which is causing new pressures, and their accompanying tensions and hostilities, to emerge.

Religious tribalism is exemplified in the twentieth century by the rise of fundamentalism. Although the term fundamentalist originated in Christians circles (see Chapter 4), it is now used to refer to any person who tries to hold at bay the impact of cultural change on their traditional beliefs and practices. So today there are Muslim fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists, Hindu fundamentalists and ethnic fundamentalists, each trying to preserve and revive their traditional rites, practices and beliefs. All of these reject some or all of the various values which we have earlier sketched as modernity. Modernity is for them a blind road; and while they are not necessarily wholly opposed to entering a global society, they are adamant that they alone hold the key that will enable that society to eventuate.

Gilles Kepel, after studying the rise of fundamentalism in Islam, Christianity and Judaism, particularly from the 1970s onward, warned of its dangers in his book The Revenge of God. All fundamentalists have much in common, according to Kepel. They all reject secularism, which they attribute to the influence of the western Enlightenment. This secular rejection of the traditional form of religious faith they see as the reason for the rise of both Nazism and communism. They reject what they see as the immoral mode of life in the modern secular city. But, by the same token, they also diverge sharply from one another. Each looks for the reorganization of society in accordance with its own specific set of holy scriptures. That is, they aim to re-Islamize, of re-Judaize, or re-Christianize society, and so their ideals clash. Thus fundamentalists are not only at odds with the more liberal sections of their own religious or ethnic community but they disagree also with fundamentalists of other persuasions, although they share a similar mind set.

Fundamentalism, in its various forms, is a force that can no longer be ignored, for it constitutes one of the most serious obstacles to the evolution of a global society. Global society calls for flexibility of thought and practice, for empathy with those who differ, for compromise in a spirit of goodwill; it requires mutual co-operation for the common good. Fundamentalism, by contrast, is socially divisive, calling for absolute (and even) blind loyalty to a holy book or a set of fixed principles. Fundamentalism leads readily to fanaticism, for fundamentalists are so sure of the truth that they are not open to dialogue or other human reasoning. Fundamentalists insist on remaining loyal to the fundamentals, even if this leads to their own death or the death of others. Indeed, Muslim fundamentalists sometimes see martyrdom as the fast road to eternal bliss. Such fanaticism soon leads to terrorism and suicide bombings, as in the Muslim Hizbollah and the Jewish Gush Emunim. Fundamentalism is an intense form of religious tribalism which can lead to social chaos in today’s world.

Alternative to the road to social chaos is the evolution of a global society. Globalization offers the opportunity for the rise of a new kind of human society, an open society on a global scale. The global economy, which is already emerging, will form a natural part of this. The dominant part played by the global economy in globalization is, however, no guarantee of a secure future. By virtue of its very size and complexity, the global economy is also unstable and vulnerable. Most of us know from personal experience that the more complex the technological gadget, the greater the consequences when it breaks down. So it is with the global economy. A sudden change or disaster in one place sends shockwaves around the world. A rapid economic success story in one country may put thousands of people out of work on the other side of the globe. The stock markets around the world respond within moments of hearing a particular item of news.

Another reason for regarding the global economy as unstable is the expanding gulf between rich and poor nations. Immediately after World War II, the acknowledged disparity in the wealth of nations led to the establishment of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; it was then widely assumed that the so-called developing countries could be brought up to some sort of parity with the developed countries by lending money and promoting economic growth. Indeed, economic growth has become the chief goal of most national economies; governments use it as a barometer for their political policies. Yet even Adam Smith, whose book The Wealth of Nations (1776) has become the bible of today’s protagonists of free trade, conceded that his theory of economic growth broke down at the point where human expansion reached the limits of the Earth’s resources. Writing more than 200 years ago, he believed this point to be only hypothetical; we know that we have now reached it.

In 1972 the Club of Rome, an international assembly of business leaders, published The Limits to Growth. Just as Thomas Malthus had shown how population had the capacity to increase faster than the food supply, so this computer-based report concluded that world order would collapse if population growth, industrial expansion, increased pollution and the depletion of natural resources were to continue at current rates. The Club of Rome called for ‘a Copernican revolution of the mind’, which abandoned the commitment to endless economic growth and set instead as its goals zero population growth, a leveling-off of industrial production, increased pollution control, and a shift from consumerism to a more service-based economy. The recommendations of the Club of Rome were heavily criticized by business interests who had most to lose, but their claims served only to illustrate how much political and economic ideology is driven by self-interest.

The promotion of economic growth has not reduced the economic gap between the developing and the developed countries, as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund assumed it would. In 1960 the wealthiest 20 per cent of the world’s population had a per capita income 30 tunes that of the poorest 20 per cent. By 1989 the disparity had doubled to 60 times more. Third World countries now find themselves so heavily in debt that they have become economically enslaved to the developed nations. The old colonialism has gone, only to be replaced by a new kind: economic colonialism.

What we should be aiming for today is not economic growth but greater social cohesion. Between about 1870 and 1970 many countries of the western world did focus their attention on economic policies that promoted social cohesion at the national level. They did this by means of social welfare schemes, and by making education and health resources freely available. These welfare state economies are now mostly in disarray or are under great strain, particularly since the collapse of communism. The move to a global economy is partly responsible; globalization has intensified the interdependence of economics, health, education, culture and religion. Increased pressure in one area soon causes tension in the others, both nationally and globally. Any attempt to plan the future of one area (such as health or education) in isolation from the others, soon encounters insuperable difficulties.

What we need -- and what we lack -- is the vision of an ultimate goal, such as the promotion of social cohesion on a global scale and the realization of a global society. Globalization is challenging us to exercise a greatly increased sense of responsibility to our fellow humans. Today’s answer to the rhetorical question ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ has to be a resounding ‘Yes’. We humans must learn how to live together in harmony, goodwill and mutual responsibility.

The vitality of human society has always rested on bonds of loyalty that were both genetic and cultural; now both need to widen their framework. The genetic bonds of globalism are to be found in our common humanity, irrespective of tribe, nationality, culture and religion. For we humans are all genetically linked; we share nearly all of the DNA formula peculiar to our species, and we are already bonded as blood brothers and sisters. Our cultural bonds must now become global rather than regional. Our common humanity has been acknowledged, for example, in a declaration of human rights and a growing recognition of racism as an immoral attitude. What separates us and makes us all different is our cultural conditioning, which still strongly reflects the diversities and tribalism of the past. We have yet to evolve a common human culture, and this will be essential if there is to be a global society.

Yet some faint outlines of a global human culture are already appearing. The recognition of our common humanity is leading us, if haltingly, to a set of common, humanly based values, which arise out of the human condition we all share. We increasingly feel a moral obligation to treat all fellow humans as equally as possible.

One of these common values is personal freedom. For the first time in human history, people are being encouraged to think for themselves, and to challenge any beliefs and way of life imposed upon them. This freedom to think for oneself, to make personal judgements and decisions, good though it may be at the local and individual level, can unfortunately prove a liability at the global level. Individual autonomy places on human shoulders much greater responsibilities than the majority of people have had to bear before. It may well be asked whether, as a species, we are ready to shoulder that responsibility.

Thus what has emerged as a great human gain at the individual level may well prove to be a further threat at the collective level. It is entirely possible that, at a time when very important decisions have to be made and acted upon for the good of humankind and the planet as a whole, far too many people will focus their attention on their own immediate vicinity and insist on claiming their individual right to act within it as they wish. They may end up going in different and conflicting directions, thus producing anarchy and social chaos. Huntington, for example, contends that ‘far more significant than the global issues of economics and demography are problems of moral decline’, an ‘increase in antisocial behavior’, decay of family structures, weakening of the ‘work ethic’, and decreasing commitment to intellectual activity.12 Similarly Brzezinski refers to a current global crisis of spirit which has to be overcome if the human race is to regain some control over its destiny.

This dilemma is far more important as we enter the twenty-first century than economic theories of how to achieve economic growth. Either we learn how to live in harmony with one another and in harmony with the earth or else the human species goes the way of the dinosaurs. The twenty-first century will be a severe test of the human species. Instead of finding our enemies in other ethnic groups or in spiritual principalities and powers such as the Devil, we humans are just beginning to realize that we are becoming our own worst enemies. We are at war with ourselves.

After a long period of dispersion over the whole earth the human race is now being pushed together, whether we are ready for it or not. We find that, with millennia of civilization behind us, there is much primitive tribalism still beneath that veneer. We live in a global world and we have a common destiny on this planet, but our decisions are hampered by narrow-mindedness and short-sightedness. The majority of us are so immersed in our personal affairs in our own small part of the world that we are unaware of the sword of Damocles now suspended over our heads -- a sword that hovers because of the continuing tribalism which keeps us in a state of war with other humans, and because the very earth on which we live is now issuing its own a set of warnings about the limitations on a human future.

 

Notes:

1. Genesis 4:1-16.

2. Genesis 2:1-9.

3. Galatians 3:28.

4. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, p. 183.

5. Ibid., p. 184.

6. Ibid., p. 207.

7. Ibid.

8. Daniel p. Moynihan, Pandaemonium; Ethnicity in International Politics. pp. 46, ‘73

9. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Out of Control, p. xiv.

10. Ibid., pp. 204-5.

11. Alvin and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-war, p. 242.

12. Huntington, op. cit., p. 304.

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