Chapter 2

One Last “Obituary” Look at Today’s World

From the booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like
By Herbert W. Armstrong

Before we look at what actually is going to come—the peaceful, happy, joyful World Tomorrow—let’s take one last “obituary” look at this world man has built upon the Earth. Take one last look at the corpses of education, science, technology, commerce and industry, governments, the social order, and religion.

Of course many see only the glitter, glamour and tinsel of today’s world and think it is good. They see the temporary pleasures, blind their eyes to the hard cold facts of reality. Others, more aware of the world they live in, seek escape to remote, unspoiled areas, where they can start anew, “away from it all,” and in harmony with the ecology. However, there isn’t really anywhere to go—remember the man who, before World War ii started, thought the safest place to be was Guadalcanal?

Education Is Decadent

But take a realistic look at this world’s civilization.

We look at modern education first, because it is the mother—the alma mater—which has spawned the scientists, captains of industry and business, the politicians and rulers, the leaders in the modern social order, and the theologians.

Today’s world is what its leaders have made it. And the leaders are the product of modern education. Education is defined by the Encyclopaedia Britannica as a system by which adult leaders of a society inject their philosophies, ideas, customs and culture into the minds of the growing generation. Education is, and has been through the centuries, essentially pagan in origin and character. The academic system was founded by the pagan philosopher Plato.

The 19th and 20th centuries have witnessed the absorption of German rationalism into the educational bloodstream—an approach that regards human reason as the chief source and test of knowledge. There has been a dangerous drift into materialism and collectivism. God is ignored. Revelation is rejected. The ancient belief of gnosticism, meaning we know, was succeeded by agnosticism, meaning we don’t know (we are ignorant!). This ignorance is glorified as knowledge. Professing themselves to be wise, have not the educated become fools? Compare this with Romans 1:22 in the Bible.

Modern education trains students to earn a living in the professions, occupations and vocations—but fails to teach them how to live! It commits the crime of developing the machine, but it fails to develop the man.

In modern education we find perpetuation of false values, the teaching of distorted history, warped psychology, perverted arts and sciences, worthless knowledge.

Recently a leading expert on educational philosophy, Dr. Donald M. Dozer (professor emeritus of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara), in an article titled “Educational Humbuggery,” wrote this about contemporary university education: “Ours is an age dominated by half-truths, and for this situation many causes can be found, not the least of which are attributable to the processes of higher education.

“American universities,” he added, “have succumbed to the cult of faddism, sensationalism, and even vulgarism. New courses in scatology, whether masquerading as sociology, anthropology, or literature, have been given classroom platforms and respectability …. As students have become increasingly involved in curricular planning they have encouraged the idea that courses rich in content inhibit their creative impulses and represent an imposition upon them. This has led to the multiplication of colleges of creative studies, which might better be called colleges of undisciplined studies where lectures are eschewed as ‘bourgeois’ and students educate themselves in ‘rap’ sessions” (The University Bookman, Winter 1978).

A tree is known by its fruits. A mixed-up, unhappy and fearful world in chaos, divided against itself, filled with heartaches, frustrations, broken homes, juvenile delinquency, crime, insanity, racial hatreds, riots and violence, wars and death; devoid of honesty, truth and justice; now facing extinction by man-inflicted cosmocide—that is the fruit of modern education.

This materialistic knowledge God calls foolishness—“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

So what’s the cause of this educated foolishness? This day of man—from creation of the human race to Christ’s coming back to rule—has been a period of 6,000 years during which God sentenced the human world—except for those specially called of God—to being cut off from God and His revealed knowledge. Human knowledge without the Holy Spirit of God has been confined to the physical and material.

The first man, Adam, having the opportunity to make a choice between being thus limited in knowledge, or yielding to God’s government (and hence receiving God’s Holy Spirit), chose the former. Actually, the natural human mind, with only the human spirit (discussed under explanation of human nature later), is only half complete. Man needs God’s Spirit as well as the human spirit given at conception.

Yes, today’s educational intellectualism is ready to die. It will be replaced by the right and true educational system of the World Tomorrow. This new-day system already has been introduced, and, like the proverbial grain of mustard seed, already is beginning to spread around the world—teaching young men and women the true values; the purpose of human life; the way to peace, prosperity, happiness, abundant living. All this is made possible only through the Holy Spirit, providing spiritual comprehension. In the World Tomorrow this true education will banish illiteracy, and cover the Earth as the ocean beds are covered with water!

Science and Technology

Today’s world looks with awe at modern science as the messiah trusted to deliver it from poverty, ignorance, disease and unhappiness—to solve all its problems.

Science and technology, teamed with commerce and industry, promise the magic, push-button dream world of leisure, luxury and license.

But modern science has failed utterly to reveal to the world the purpose of human life or explain its true meaning. It remains ignorant of the true values. It does not know the way to peace! It has failed miserably to deliver the world from poverty, famine, disease, fears and worries, unhappiness. It has not rid the world of broken homes, crime, insanity, immorality.

A realistic look at the fruits of modern science leads only to disillusionment. Science and technology confine their attention to the realm of the material and the mechanical. Purpose and meaning of human life? The true values? Finding the way to peace, happiness and joy? We find these basics to human welfare are not their concern! These essentials are outside their field.

Look again to their fruits. True enough, we find the accelerating invention and production of intricate mechanical devices, labor-saving mechanisms that inspire admiration, and spectacular entertainment and amusement devices.

But, then, we also observe that people have not been taught to put added hours, days and weeks of leisure to beneficial uses. The fruit here is increasing idleness, aversion to work, covetousness, desire for more and more—and dissatisfaction with it when it is acquired! These turn out, in practical application, to be false values, which only increase unhappiness.

Also we find an increasing segment of adolescents who, with money to spend and nothing but idleness on their hands, become frustrated, staring a hopeless future in the face, turning to immorality, drugs, violence, and—too often—suicide!

And, after all, the principal contribution of modern science and technology has been the production of constantly more terrifying weapons of mass destruction. Push-button world? Yes, today a number of men could push a button, and destroy two whole continents, probably culminating in the total extinction of mankind.

Modern science stands exposed as a false messiah—the Frankenstein monster threatening to destroy the mankind that created it.

Commerce and Industry

Turning to the realms of commerce and industry, surely, here, we find a spectacle of development that excites our enraptured admiration. Here we find an astonishing condition that would cause people who lived a century ago—could they suddenly come back to life—to gasp in amazed wonderment.

The telephone, radio, television, the motion picture in full color, the motor car, hundred-mile-an-hour railroad trains, mammoth oil-tankers, jet planes, spacecraft hurtling astronauts around the Earth in outer space in 90 minutes, and that send men to the moon and back, unmanned spacecraft that take close-up photographs of the surfaces of Mars and Jupiter, the gadgets and modern electrical devices, the incredible modern computers—just to name a few.

Commerce and industry each is a world within a world—a fast-moving, pulsating world of high-geared activity. Surely all these magic productions cannot be bad? No—but most of them are being made to serve bad purposes, as well as good.

And, if we look further, we find these vibrant, high-pressure fields of activity based on competition and greed, appealing too often, in marketing their products, to vanity and wrong desires, utilizing dishonesty, misrepresentation, deception, unfair dealing. The motivating incentive is to give less, while charging more!

“Is honesty the best policy?” A magazine survey some years back put this question to 103 business executives—all high in their fields. An overwhelming majority doubted whether a strictly honest policy would enable a man to rise to the top in the business world. Only two answered “Yes,” and one of these said he knew he was being naive.

Said one: “People who don’t get dirty don’t make it.”

“In 30 years,” said another, “I’ve known of only three men who’ve reached executive positions cleanly, and I admit I’m not one of them.”

“The higher the executive is in the management ladder,” said a third, “the more likely he is to do some dirty work.”

An appraisal of the field of modern business reveals selfish motivation, disregard for public good, sharp practices, dishonesty, dog-eat-dog competition! We emphatically do not find here the true values and the outgoing concern for others that would give happiness to the world.

The Field of Government

The politicians in the field of government are said to be in public service. They profess to be “public servants.” They are installed in offices of authority and power. They execute the laws that regulate and govern the people. Theirs is the power to regulate society, guide it, and make it what it is. They are the leaders of the people.

When we turn the searchlight on government in today’s modern world, we meet, once again, with sad and discouraging disillusionment. Today, as in ancient times, too many of those who seek offices of power over the people of cities, states, districts or nations, promise great benefits, pose as public benefactors, while their inner motives are ambitions for personal power and wealth.

The modern world has produced three more-or-less new forms of government. Each promises peace, happiness and prosperity for its people. They are: 1) French and United States republics; 2) Swedish- and British-type limited monarchy; 3) atheistic communism.

All three are based on a system of industry, and on diffusion of education, and all three are predicated on the theory that every individual has the right to share in the benefits of science, industry, and the modern life.

But actually too often what we find is selfish, greedy men of excessive vanity, ambitious in their lust for rule, scheming to get their hands on the throttle of power for personal aggrandizement and monetary gain. We find secret deals, graft, immorality, deception, dishonesty, running rampant in high places.

Governments promise peace—but bring wars. They promise benefits for the people, and then extract from the people the cost of the benefits plus excessive costs of government. Government promises are empty. The people are the pawns who fork over the money, in order to get a part of it back. We fail to find in human government any knowledge of life’s purpose, or dissemination of the true values.

The Social Order

What about civilization? Let someone suggest a possible stupendous worldwide calamity that might destroy civilization.

People would exclaim, horrified, “What? Destroy civilization?” as if that would mean the destruction and ending of everything worthwhile—everything people have to live for.

People think of civilization as the sum-total of everything good that mankind has struggled from the dawn of history to establish. People think of civilization as the far-advanced, intelligent, well-ordered human society that is good to the point of perfection. The acme of human progress! Perhaps you have accepted this popular assumption.

But is this world’s civilization really good?

If the facets of human life and organization so far examined have brought disillusionment, surely, we would think, the social order ought to be good—evidencing great human progress—a proud monument to human advancement. So now we look behind the scenes. Now we turn the searchlight of truth on the social order of civilization.

We look first at the most populous nations, where far more than half the world’s population lives—China, the countries of Southeast Asia and Indonesia, India, the Arab countries of the Middle East, and most of Africa—as well as much of South America. And what do we see here? Illiteracy, ignorance, retrogression, famine, disease; people living in unbelievable poverty, filth, squalor, stench beyond description. Victims of famine and widespread epidemics of disease—in many places half of all babies die during their first year of life. Wretched beings, ill-housed, ill-fed, ill-clothed.

Is that part—the biggest part—of this world’s humanity an example of progress, and a culture worth preserving?

But now focus the floodlight of truth on the affluent “have” nations. Do we find the social order of the Western world based on understanding of life’s purpose and true meaning, pursuing the true values that produce universal happiness?

Regretfully, quite the contrary. In purely social functions and contacts—especially among the elite of high society—we find an unhappy competition in snobbery and vanity, with class distinctions, racial discrimination, religious bigotry, selfish motives.

Look at amusements and recreations. The prevailing format in motion pictures and television is illicit sex, violence and murder. Young 12- to 15-year-olds hear the beat and see the wiggle, and give themselves over in a virtually possessed frenzy to rock music. Children start going steady about age 12 or 13, and a theologian-labeled new morality becomes “understanding” about premarital sex, adultery and perversion.

Juveniles stare in the face a hopeless future, descend into delinquency, and in rebellion against society, organize into gangs.

One in 10 today is mentally sick. Crime and violence are on the upsurge. Divorce stalks the Western world (one for every three marriages), leaving broken homes and frustrations in its wake. Even those who “mount the ladder of success”—the millionaires—relentlessly seek more millions; and are never satisfied with what they acquire when they have it.

This world’s civilization is mentally, morally and spiritually sick! It supplies no purpose for life, knows nothing of the true values, has no concept of the right meaning of the word “success.”

This world’s civilization has been making progress in reverse. It has become decadent, putrid, rotten, filthy, and is now bringing about its own destruction!

But the future is not hopeless. This present evil world is to be replaced—in our time—by the happy, joyous, peaceful World Tomorrow.

What Has Religion Contributed?

Well, surely we should expect to find, at long last, in religion the knowledge of life’s purpose, the true values, and the right ways that should make this world a better world—a happy world—a peaceful world.

Here, at last, we must surely find a stabilizing and uplifting influence for society.

Yet, shocking though it be—incredible though it is—if we put the searchlight on the facts, and view them realistically with an open mind, we find here the most sickening disillusionment of all.

Reluctant though we are to recognize it, we find the established religious organizations which profess the name of Jesus Christ teaching the diametric opposite of His teachings—condemning the customs He practiced—following, instead, the pagan customs He condemned!

The churches of the Western world are divided and in confusion. They have not converted, saved and reformed the whole world as they profess to have been commissioned to do. If that be their mission, they have failed miserably.

Methodist Bishop Hazen G. Werner once said: “We have been dried out by the hot winds of secularism. We who are to overcome the world have been overcome by the world.”

“The church,” said Harvard Divinity School’s Dean Miller, “simply does not have a cutting edge [it has thrown away the ‘two-edged sword’—the Bible]. It has taken the culture of our time and absorbed it.”

To this, Yale’s Chaplain Coffin agrees, “We churchmen are gifted at changing wine into water—watering down religion.”

This world’s so-called Christianity has taken the name of Christ—has proclaimed to the world that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ—has preached the name of Christ with a message about His Person—but they have rejected His gospel—the gospel God sent for all mankind by Him—the gospel He taught.

Look at the other religions of the world—Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Confucianism, Moslemism, Hinduism, and the others. In most countries where these religions are embraced, we find illiteracy, poverty, degeneration, misery, suffering, despair—general unhappiness. None of them has produced a happy world. They have spawned communal wars, hatreds and violence.

Where, Now!

So we have appraised the major facets of modern civilization—this world’s education, its science and technology, its commerce and industry, its systems of government, its social order, and its religions—the civilization man has developed, swayed by Satan. And we have found them all wrong—all evil—all decadent. They are ready to die. The 6,000 years of man is ending. But the Eternal God will soon usher in the utopian world of peace and happiness!

And where have these major branches of civilization brought us? Just what is the status of our modern “progress”? What is the actual state of the world today?

Just this.

When we take a hard, cold, realistic view of conditions and trends, they do point inevitably to a fast-approaching world crisis of combined nuclear war, starvation, uncontrollable disease epidemics, crime and violence, and the extinction of human life on this planet.

Man has no solution!

The farther he goes, the more destructive are his efforts.

And yet—absolute utopia is soon to grip this Earth in our time, and we shall see world peace. We shall see sickness banished; vigorous health restored; ignorance replaced with universal right education; poverty replaced with universal prosperity; weeping and wailing turned into happiness and joy!


Why should it be?

Why?—yes, why should we have a world where more than half of the world’s people are living in abject ignorance and poverty, wracked with disease and pain, living in filth and squalor and wretchedness? Why, even in our prosperous Western nations, should our lands be filled with sickness and pain; plagued by crime, violence, riots; broken and unhappy homes, juvenile delinquents of delinquent parents, frustrations with no hope for the future?


Does it make sense?

Do we not realize that there is a cause for every effect? Why are people blind to the cause of all this degeneration?

The Two Alternatives

Let’s face it. Right now there are two alternatives. Either there does exist a living God of supreme mind and total power, who very soon will step in and intervene in the affairs of this world, and save humanity from itself, or else the threatened extinction pictured above must inevitably soon occur.

There is no other alternative.

One may blind his eyes to existing facts, and trends, and say, “Now, come on! I can’t see that this world is any worse than it ever was—nothing’s going to happen. If we just ignore the conditions and don’t worry, perhaps they’ll just go away.” But these conditions and trends won’t just go away. Not unless they are caused to go away!

The Scriptures of the Holy Bible, the inspired revelation of that supreme God to mankind, have foretold today’s world conditions and trends—and give us the advance news of coming peace on Earth—of universal prosperity—of happiness and joy—of veritable utopia!

This is the good news of the World Tomorrow.

And it is absolutely sure. It is sure, because it does not depend on men, or anything men might do. God is going to do it, in spite of rebellious man. Man would fail. Man always did fail. God never fails!

Continue Reading: Chapter 3: The Cause of All World Troubles