100 Years of Paradox

From the December 1999 Trumpet Print Edition

Crossing the threshold into the year 2000 has everybody looking back, evaluating. How did we do for the last 100 years? Then comes the tidal wave of information, timelines, facts and figures. Never was a century so thoroughly documented, so open and bare to scrutiny as the one we have come through.

Next is the inevitable follow-up question, What does it all portend for the next century? Then, again, follows a torrent of projections, speculations, guesses and prophecies.

This issue of the Trumpet asks the same questions—but with a difference. The difference is in its perspective.

How did we do for the last 100 years? The short answer is that it was a century of good and evil. That is the paradox. Unparalleled achievement and frightening calamity. Penicillin and aids. Economic boom and numbing depression. The civil rights movement and the holocaust. The computer and the bomb.

The 20th century witnessed humanity pushing its major avenues of endeavor—education, government, business and industry, science and technology, religion—to previously unknown extremes, experimenting, searching for answers: Does this work? How should we live? What should be important to us? Can we achieve peace?

Now, as we barrel into yet another century, mankind still finds himself without satisfying answers, and these relentless pursuits continue to accelerate.

But wait. Can we really afford another century like the one we have just come through? Before this race proceeds at its frantic pace, should we not stop and ask the question: What are the results of these experiments?

The purpose of this Trumpet issue is to do just that. It is not meant as a harangue against humanity. But honest self-examination is never easy. This issue is intended to show how our adamant pursuit of material knowledge—the improvement, the advancement, the innovation—ultimately must end when the evils we have ignored or encouraged overwhelm us.

But that is not how things will end. We conclude this issue with genuine hope—hope in a sure future of solutions brought about by an inventive mind far superior to man’s.

Mankind’s problems, as well as the ultimate solutions, are spiritual in nature. Thus, this Trumpet, the last issue of the 1900s, provides an appraisal of the 20th century—from a unique perspective, a spiritual perspective.

God’s perspective.