What Children Think About NUCLEAR WAR
Plain Truth Magazine
September 1983
Volume: Vol 48, No.8
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What Children Think About NUCLEAR WAR
Michael A Snyder  

It's time we faced the issue most parents avoid!

   "NUCLEAR WAR? We don't talk about it in our family. I don't want my children to think about it — they have enough problems growing up as it is."
   Maybe you, too, have heard your neighbor say similar words. Maybe you yourself have said them.
   We cannot hide the reality from our children, try as some may. Most parents would be shocked to learn how well-acquainted their children already are with the horrors of nuclear warfare.
   Would you have expected the following teenage view of a possible nuclear exchange?
   "I believe I was in high school when I first became aware," wrote one American high school student. "Of — course, I found it terrifying, as every human being, in that our whole world, my whole world, could be destroyed by one bomb that our nation had discovered. A bomb that every advanced civilization sought to obtain.
   "To destroy our whole race, to destroy people, culture, life and earth is essentially the outcome of the A-bomb."
   This remarkable comment, from a special task force study performed under the auspices of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), is typical.
   In the same survey, another teenager was asked if he thought he would survive a nuclear attack. His response? "I think about that often. I really don't think they [the citizens of the United States] could survive one .... My city would be demolished and the country in big trouble. We really don't know. It hasn't happened yet. Let's hope and pray that it doesn't."
   Children and teenagers understand-and are often more honest than adults in facing up to the future.

One Parent's Solution

   Thomas Powers is a respected essayist and journalist. He has covered the continuing development of international nuclear policy. He is also a parent. On one occasion, he was startled by his own little daughter's detailed response after asking her what she thought nuclear war would be like. Her answer? "It [nuclear war] would probably be very smoky, and not many people, and lots of things ruined, and dark."
   Mr. Powers now admits: "When other people bring up this subject [of nuclear war] when my kids are around ... I grow acutely uneasy. Don't they realize that there are some things you just don't tell kids?" (Thinking About the Next War, page 63).
   Mr. Powers asserts, "I don't want to tell my children what nuclear war would do to them. I don't want them dreaming about it. I don't want them burdened with terrifying images that never fade."
   His solution? "They need to grow up first, and get some practice in ignoring things they can't do anything about. They need to learn to hear without hearing, as adults do" (ibid., page 61, emphasis added).
   Yet "hearing without hearing" is the chief problem most adults labor under, especially with respect to the future! While Mr. Powers is expressing his own personal view for his children's mental well-being, he does point up the major obstacle to adult understanding of the problems facing humanity!

Today's Emotional Denial

   The time to ignore the awesome problems of nuclear war is past. Not telling children—or ourselves—of the horrors of man's scientific ingenuity will only prevent the discovery of the one and only real solution to nuclear catastrophe.
   Robert Jay Lifton, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University, coined the phrase "psychic numbing" to explain the phenomenon of consciously denying possible death and destruction in nuclear war.
   There was a time when parents sought to teach their children how to face reality. Today, it is different. As Dr. Lifton states, "Undermined now [by the ever-present threat of nuclear war] is the fundamental parental responsibility, that of 'family security.' In the face of nuclear extinction, parents must now doubt their ability to see their child safely into... adulthood."
   "And," he adds, "the child must also sense, early on, not only those parental doubts but the general inability of the adult world to guarantee the safety of children."
   What promise of life does that third of human beings have who are under age 15?
   Can these maturing young people continue to accept a radioactive fate?

What Does the Future Hold?

   Young people do not wish to accept nuclear disaster as their ultimate fate anymore than do adults. On my desk, as I write, are numerous tracts, buttons and other paraphernalia urging peaceful settlements and negotiated arms reductions. Barely concealed anger laces the tone of most of the tracts.
   The authors articulate the issues clearly and intelligently. Simply put, they don't want to see nuclear evaporation of their cities and neighborhoods. And they no longer trust authorities—parental and national — to prevent such destruction.
   Can humanity, cut off from contact with an all-wise God, solve this nuclear dilemma and provide the children—the next generation — with real hope?
   Turn again to Mr. Powers for his comment: "... until now the world's great armies have always [his emphasis] gone to war sooner or later. The great fleet of Darius, the Roman legions, the Spanish Armada and the Wehrmacht were all intended for war and that is what they were used for. Why should the present situation end any differently?"
   The qualifier? "Of course we all hope it will end differently," he sadly adds, "but is hope enough?"
   That's a realistic, honest question. Is hope enough?

Finding REAL Hope

   The consensus is widespread among this world's thinkers—and it is predicted in another place, unless a change in the thinking of humanity is effected—that nuclear war will come. And when it does, it will be "a calamity unprecedented in human history," according to the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment (emphasis added).
   At the last moment however, when humanity has no other place to turn, an all-wise, all-powerful Creator will step in, forcibly halt the self-obliteration of human beings and reestablish his government over the nations!
   That's the good news that Jesus brought nearly 2,000 years ago! For, "if those days had not been cut short," said Jesus, "no human being would survive" (Matt. 24:22, Phillips translation).
   But we have the promise, "those days are to be shortened" (verse 22).
   The carnage will be STOPPED. The Creator God, who has kept hands off the world for almost 6,000 years, will not allow humans to eradicate all life from off this planet.
   The fact is that humanity need never suffer the horrors of a future nuclear war. But humanity is going in the opposite direction — away from peace and cooperation — in the kind of competition and greed that produces war.
   Perhaps you have not realized that the Bible describes two general ways of life. These two ways were set before the original two humans. They were set before the ancient nation Israel. And today, in your sight, they are set before you.
   Listen to these words: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE, that both you and your descendants may live" (Deut. 30:19, RAV).
   The Bible is simply God speaking in print. The command to choose life points humanity to a way of life that, if fully practiced, brings real happiness and prosperity.
   Unlike the temporary efforts of civil demonstrations, living this revealed way of life would absolutely guarantee humanity the avoidance of nuclear extinction. Choosing the way of greed, selfishness and death, on the other hand, virtually guarantees ultimate nuclear war! Why? Because nuclear war is the result of the collective choice of individuals in pursuit of the way of competition.
   That's why God himself cries, "'As I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way [of competition, greed and self-will] and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die...?' "(Ezek. 33:11, RAV).
   God's way of life, the way of living free of disaster, is simply summarized in 10 points known today as the Ten Commandments. As Jesus himself stated, "If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt. 19:17, RAV).
   It's that simple. The Ten Commandments explain why humanity is in such an unsolvable mess.
   But, some may say, what if I obey these commandments and the people living in the nation next to us don't? What's to stop them?
   Simply, God makes promises in the Bible to those who obey. What kind of hope can a person who obeys God have?
   Note these words! "Thus God, determining to show more abundantly... the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable [not changeable] things, in which IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD TO LIE, we might have strong consolation .... This hope we have as an anchor... both sure and steadfast ... " (Heb. 6: 17-19, RAV).
   Now what is one of God's many promises to those who obey? "You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
   "A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it [including nuclear war] shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked" (Ps. 91:5-8, RAV).
   Why? "Because you have made the Lord ... your habitation" (verse 9).
   Even if there be nuclear war, even if humanity as a whole doesn't embrace the way, there remain promises for the children of the obedient. "'There is hope in your future,' says the Lord, 'That your children shall come back to their own border,' "that is, their own homes, their own land (Jer. 31:17, RAV).
   If you'd like to learn of real, exciting knowledge that reveals your personal ultimate potential and gives hope to today's fear ridden children, read our free booklets The Wonderful World Tomorrow - What It Will Be Like and Never Before Understood - Why Humanity Cannot Solve Its Evils. They're free to you.
   You can chase the fear of nuclear extinction out of both your and your children's lives. But to do so, you must cease the practice of "psychic numbing" and begin to really discern the signs of the times (Matt. 24:32-33).

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Plain Truth MagazineSeptember 1983Vol 48, No.8