Somewhere deep in the hearts of many people lies both a longing and a fear. There is the longing to possess a faith that is personal, sound and adequate. Countering this desire for a genuine and useful faith is the fear that such a faith is not attainable, or at least not by them.
The need to believe is more than obvious. The promises made by education, science and philosophy for a new humanity in a new age within a new world have not materialized, nor are there signs that this will be achieved by these means in the foreseeable future. Take education first. Our industrial society is being developed more and more into an information society. The increased use of computers is uncovering a major problem of illiteracy. Those who could hide their inability to communicate are now being found out because they can't read the simplest computer printout. Illiteracy, if found out, will not help you get or keep your job. Here is another strain, to be added to those already arising from a confused economy.
Or, take the advances in science. New ways of treating formidable diseases are being discovered. That can only be considered helpful and humanitarian. But with these advances also come problems. People that once would have succumbed to certain diseases will now survive and have children. Those children may carry and transmit a predisposition for that disease to future generations, with all that means for diagnosis, treatment, and further complications. More ominous than this is the ability we are developing to alter the codescript of genes and to alter mental development and human behaviour. What we once criticized extreme practititioners of behavioural psychology for attempting we are now faced with in a much more serious way from biology. The ability to make basic changes brings us face to face with ethical problems the immensity of which we are only beginning to understand.
Or again, there is the ubiquitous presence of secular humanism. Its influence has penetrated education, politics and the mass media. And not without problems resulting. In education it has produced a system of values without ethical content. In politics it has produced a bias in favour of what is popular rather than what is right. In the media it has led to moral aimlessness and a general preoccupation with present crises to the exclusion of any serious analysis of the causes of the dilemma. In spite of everything , we are encouraged to hold the basic New Testament faith , and then to grow within that faith. May the Lord direct your hearts into Godís love and Christís perseverance. ( 2Thessalonians 3: 3-5 )