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Progress makes perfect?

"Progress makes perfect?" Continued...

Issue: "2000: The Millennium," July 31, 1999

This is not the first era in which such thoughts have been popular. The "enlightenment" of the 18th century was the outgrowth of just this sort of thinking. Voltaire and Rousseau saw mankind as frustrated and held in an ideological and social straitjacket. William Godwin and the Marquis de Condorcet prescribed their own versions of utopias in which men and women were set "free" from the mindsets, habits, traditions, and religions that kept them from "advancing." The explorations and writings of Charles Darwin 150 years ago, which postulated the "evolution" of species, gave a new emphasis to this idea of human perfectibility.

For the past century philosophers and scientists who believe that we really are getting better and better have had an uneasy coexistence with skeptical religious believers, particularly Christians, who do not see progress in rising crime rates, "holocausts," and the transition from the Hippocratic oath to wholesale abortion and euthanasia.

Regular WORLD readers will recognize that this is not a typical issue. WORLD is a weekly newsmagazine, and the other 49 issues that have been and will be published during this last year of the millennium report and comment on current events. In this special issue we take a much longer view and, in so doing, we attempt to establish a foundation or perspective which will enable all of us to understand more clearly the events that grow out of what has gone before.

No effort to catalog 1,000 years of the people, events, and trends that have given shape to the world as we enter the 21st century can hope to be complete. We have chosen aspects of human existence that touch our lives today, from medicine and technology to the church, government, and economics. We have invited writers with real expertise in their fields to trace the development of their fields of interest over the past millennium. We believe that the result is an issue of WORLD that is both unique and valuable.

The shortcomings and omissions are the fault of WORLD's publisher and not of its writers. We look forward to hearing from many of our readers, and we are confident that reading this special issue will give you a clearer picture of where we have been and a better idea of where we may be going. In the final analysis we need to remember that this is God's world and that His will will be done.


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