Sometimes we can be too smart for our own good. Not that it is bad being smart. There are many people who are using their heads to make the world a better place and good on them. But it sometimes seems like the more we know, the better we get at destroying ourselves, the world, and each other. Science is good and useful, but as Oxford Emeritus Professor of Mathematics John Lennox wrote, “Science can tell you that, if you add strychnine to someone’s drink, it will kill them. But science cannot tell you whether it is morally right or wrong to put strychnine into your grandmother’s tea so that you can get your hands on her property.”
Perhaps we have been so insistent that science will one day solve all our problems, and focused so much on that, that we have forgotten to ask some of the bigger questions in life. Maybe the study of history might be more helpful to us all in this area. As we have progressed, we have become more efficient at eliminating each other and hopefully if we can see where we have gone wrong in the past, it will help us from repeating it in the future.
Take for example Stanislav Petrov. He passed away in May this year aged 77. Not many people may have heard from him but he was an officer in the Soviet military who saved the world. While on watch, alarms came on that the United States had launched missiles at the Soviet Union.
This was a time when both superpowers had atomic weapons pointed at each other. According to a report in the ABC, “…the then 44-year-old lieutenant colonel trusted his gut, which told him it was it was merely a system malfunction. And after five nerve-wracking minutes, he made a decision that may have prevented a nuclear war.” Such a small thing, but with tremendous consequences. The Bible also reminds us that those who are faithful in little things, will be one day trusted with much (Luke 16:10). Let us not underestimate the little things we can do for each other today.