Archaeology Uncovering the Great Forgetting
For 13 days in October of 1962, our civilization was poised on the edge of nuclear destruction. American president John F. Kennedy and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev engaged in a faceoff. The world watched as the Cold War escalated precariously toward the brink of what was then called the Doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction. That was the tactic employed by both superpowers, called Second Strike Capability, that would enable them to destroy each other with intercontinental ballistic missiles, no matter who fired first. In the last 12,000 years, it was probably the closest human civilization has ever come to annihilation.
Imagine, for a moment, during those tumultuous days someone had lived in a small, primitive backwater of the world, perhaps high up in a distant mountain range, deep in the Amazon forest, or off on a small island somewhere in the midst of the sea. What if things had gone differently? One day that person would have been simply living his life, perhaps walking down a well-trodden pathway, thinking about whatever it was that occupied his days. The next moment, a far-off war, fought by countries he had never heard of, changed his world forever.
The effects of nuclear winter alter the climate, perhaps even the very air he breathes. Smoke and ash circulating through the upper atmosphere blot out the sun and his crops fail. A strange sickness devastates his family and the small community of which he is a part. How will he grow vegetables? How will he find food? How will he survive? Worse yet, if he is of a religious mind, he would have spiritual questions. Can he trust that this was just a cosmic accident, or has something he has done here on earth somehow influenced how he was treated by the gods of his universe? What did he do to deserve this? How to appease his deities so this won't happen again? Should he build an altar or a temple of worship?
All around him there are signs and signals that things will never be the same. As far as he knows, his life is starting over again. Even though he does not fully understand the immense repercussions, even though he may have never been aware of the majority of humankind who were once familiar with cars and telephones, who once flew the friendly skies and traversed the globe, who once gathered around TV sets and radios, who once took the good life for granted, much of that urban population is now gone.
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Jim Willis is author of nine books on religion and spirituality, he has been an ordained minister for over forty years while working part-time as a carpenter, the host of his own drive-time radio show, an arts council director and adjunct college professor in the fields of World Religions and Instrumental Music. He is author of Supernatural Gods: Spiritual Mysteries, Psychic Experiences, and Scientific Truths and Ancient Gods: Lost Histories, Hidden Truths, and the Conspiracy of Silence
By Jim Willis