The World and Everything in It — April 27, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Lots of graduating students are missing out on the big ceremonies marking their achievement. Today, we’ll hear Justice Clarence Thomas talk about perspective and faith.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket. 

Also the Monday Moneybeat—today, our financial analyst talks with us about the latest unemployment and deficit numbers and explains that moment last week when the price of Texas oil went negative.

Plus the WORLD History Book. Today, an American military mission to the island of the Dominican Republic.

And the lure and fallacy of atheism.

REICHARD: It’s Monday, April 27th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Dine-in restaurants reopen in Georgia » Most dine-in restaurants can reopen for business today in Georgia, under certain conditions. Republican Governor Brian Kemp’s executive order makes clear that it’s not back to business as usual. 

Among the rules: workers must wear masks, parties of more than six people are prohibited, and parties must be separated by 6 feet. 

Georgia reopened gyms, nail salons and other businesses on Friday. Those businesses have to follow similar rules. But Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, says it’s still too early to reopen. 

BOTTOMS: To open up our state today is irresponsible. Simply because we have hospital beds and we aren’t at capacity, doesn’t mean that we need to work to fill them up. 

But Georgia resident and former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain told Fox News that business operators are largely acting responsibly, reopening only if they can do so safely. 

CAIN: Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. And people are showing that they’ve got enough common sense to figure out the right thing to do. 

Bowling alleys and movie theaters are also allowed to conditionally reopen. But most major theater chains say they have no plans to reopen right now. 

Multiple other states are taking steps toward reopening. Nebraska’s Republican Governor Pete Ricketts announced Friday night…

RICKETTS: I just announced some more restrictions we’re releasing today. For example, to allow for worship services, weddings and funerals, under certain circumstances, you know, doing that physical distancing, the 6-foot thing—do that statewide. We’re also, for about half of our public health districts, we’re going to be allowing restaurants to have dine-in customers.   

Those Nebraska restaurants will follow rules similar to those in Georgia. 

New Paycheck Protection Program money going fast » The Paycheck Protection Program is back online today. 

Yesterday banks started processing about 700,000 finished applications yesterday that were on hold since the program ran out of cash a week earlier. 

Lenders are set to start taking new applications today, but it’s not clear how much money will be left after processing the already-pending applications. 

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he’s not worried about the fast pace. 

MNUCHIN: So the first round impacted about 30-million workers. I think this round will be about the same. That’ll be close to about 50 percent of the private workforce. So I actually hope we run out of money quickly so we can get the money into the workers’ pockets. 

The latest aid package, which President Trump signed into law on Friday adds more than $300 billion to the program. It’s designed to help small businesses keep the lights on and keep workers on the payroll until the worst of the COVID-19 crisis passes. 

Navy’s top officer recommends reinstating Crozier » The top Navy officer has reportedly recommended the reinstating Captain Brett Crozier after an investigation into his firing. The Associated Press cites multiple officials in reporting that Adm. Mike Gilday wants Crozier back at the helm of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.

Crozier penned a letter stating concerns that the Navy had not done enough to protect the crew of his ship from the coronavirus. He was stripped of his command a short time later. Then Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who has since resigned, said Crozier violated the chain of command by distributing that letter too widely.

Hundreds of crewmen from the Roosevelt have contracted the virus, and one sailor died. 

Gilday’s recommendation is on the desk of Defense Secretary Mark Esper for final approval. 

Boris Johnson back on the job after coronavirus recovery » British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is back on the job today, two weeks after he left a London hospital following a bout with COVID-19.  

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been standing in for the prime minister. He said Sunday that Johnson was right to take time off to fully recover. 

RAAB: As you can imagine with the prime minister, he’s raring to go. And I spoke to him—I’ve spoken to him every day this week. We’ve made sure that he’s abreast of everything that’s going on. 

Johnson reclaims the reigns as his government faces growing criticism over the deaths and disruption the virus has caused.

Britain has recorded more than 20,000 deaths among people hospitalized with COVID-19. Thousands more are thought to have died in nursing homes.

Questions swirl around North Korea’s Kim Jong Un » A top South Korean official said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “alive and well.”

That comes amid numerous reports that Kim is gravely ill following a recent heart surgery. A report over the weekend from a Japanese magazine claimed Kim is now in a vegetative state

North Korea’s state media have been silent about the speculation on Kim’s health, but Reuters reported that China has dispatched a high-level delegation to advise North Korea.

Some experts caution that rumors have abounded for years about Kim and his predecessors, and most turned out to be false.

If Kim is no longer able to lead, his influential sister Kim Yo Jong could become the country’s first female leader.

I’m Kent Covington. 

Straight ahead: Justice Clarence Thomas delivers a dedication speech at Hillsdale College.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: It’s Monday morning and we’re back at it for another week of The World and Everything in It. Today is the 27th of April, 2020. 

Good morning to you, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Today, we have a special Legal Docket featuring a talk by Justice Clarence Thomas.

He’s not a justice who speaks up much during oral arguments at the Supreme Court. It’s not that he’s shy;  he just has a different philosophy about the purpose of oral arguments than do the other justices.

EICHER: I’d agree: slow to speak, quick to listen. Probably a lesson in there for those of us who are talkers?

But before we get to that speech, a brief note about what the justices are up to. We expect opinions today and will bring a synopsis of those tomorrow.

And one week from today the justices will hold oral arguments via teleconference. Mary, I know you’ll have analysis on some of those the following Monday. And again for several Mondays until we are all caught up.

REICHARD: Sounds good. It’ll be good to finish those up.

And now before that speech by Justice Thomas:

We know a lot of students expected to walk across a platform and receive a diploma or college degree over the next few weeks. Those ceremonies have been canceled, much to the disappointment of so many. Including myself: my son graduates with honors from college in a few days. I was so looking forward to celebrating that with him. But it’s not to be, at least not in the usual way.

EICHER: Regrettable timing, and you remember my complaining about three sons’ graduations last year at about the same time: law school, college, and high school. Of course, you don’t hear that complaint from me—not anymore!

So in honor of all the graduates, not a commencement speech, but a dedication speech.

REICHARD: And that still seems so right, as we dedicate our young adults to their future lives. 

Hillsdale College opened a new chapel on its campus last year. Justice Thomas affirmed that achievement as a “public declaration that faith and reason are mutually reinforcing.”

We start with his reflection on the meaning of sacred spaces. Let’s listen to these excerpts from October 3, 2019.

CLARENCE THOMAS: This is a very special occasion—the 175th anniversary of Hillsdale and the dedication of this beautiful Chapel.

The Chapel’s enduring beauty highlights the transcendence, the sovereignty, and the grace of God. It truly illustrates how architectural design can reflect the character of God and evoke a sense of reverence for His majesty.

Everyone involved in the financing, planning, and construction of this Chapel should rightly be proud. It is a magnificent accomplishment. But we’ve gathered here today not just to admire this beautiful Chapel—we have gathered here to dedicate it.

The primary purpose of a chapel is to provide a place where man can enter the presence of God. For as Elijah learned on Mount Horeb, God so often comes to us not in the storms, not in the earthquakes or fires of life, but in stillness—in a “gentle whisper.”

Accordingly, men and women have long sought respite from the noise and commotion of daily life, where they can “be still, and know that [He is] God,” where they can seek an inner calm and a transcendent peace. Beautiful chapels, such as this one, provide that sacred space for stillness, a place for an encounter with the Divine. As the architect of this Chapel has written, “When you enter a church, it is as if you are entering through a gateway from the profane toward the sacred.”

Chapels also provide a space for other important activities that take place on a more regular basis. For example, worship services will be held in this chapel. If our highest purpose is to glorify God, what better resource to provide on a college campus than a chapel that allows students,  faculty,  and staff and visitors to gather together in worship and prayer?

This chapel also will serve as a setting for ceremonies and liturgical concerts allowing all who gather here to learn together and celebrate before God. And the chapel will be used regularly for personal prayers of reflection, meditation, confession, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

When life is difficult and seems pointless, we need a safe haven where we can escape from the storm and find solace. Chapels provide that setting. 

They invite us to draw near to God and to elevate our thoughts to seek his wisdom, to lay down our burdens at the foot of the cross, and to find that peace that surpasses all understanding.

This calls to mind Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel. When she came to the tabernacle to pray, she was barrened, but longed for a child. The Bible describes her as “deeply depressed.” But Hannah poured out her soul before the Lord at the tabernacle. And after a time of prayer and speaking with the priests, her face was no longer sad. She came to the Tabernacle in anguish; she left at peace.

Hannah’s story reminds me of a young woman I saw some years ago in a church I attend near the court. As I knelt saying the rosary after Mass, I noticed her crying, her shoulders jerking rhythmically as she sobbed heavily. We happened to leave the church at the same time and as we did I asked her if she was ok. Her face streaked with mascara she answered in a quiet peaceful voice, “I am now.”

I humbly offer my own story that is similar. Like Hannah, my life was changed through prayer at a place of worship. In my early adult (stumble here) years, I became greatly disillusioned with the church and made the mistake of angrily storming away—impetuousness of youth. Throughout law school and the early years of my career, I was self-reliant—so I thought—and gave little attention to God.

But not long after I joined President Reagan’s administration, I was in the midst of one of the darkest periods of my life. I was in my thirties, running a federal agency under significant public scrutiny and criticism. I had little money, I was raising my young son, and I was grieving the loss of the two most important people in my life, my grandparents. Life seemed hopeless and I felt like I had nowhere to turn.

In the midst of this hardship and grief, God drew me back to the Church, and he used a church building to do it.

Within those walls, I was able to elevate my thoughts beyond my circumstances and self-absorption, and set my mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, as Saint Paul wrote in the letter to the Colossians.

I am a changed man today and God began that transformation in a holy place, where I could temporarily leave behind the onslaught of life’s difficulties and bring my troubles before the Lord.

The college years require young people to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. They’re exposed to new ideas, new relationships, new distractions, and new temptations. They need a place where they can go to be relieved of their troubles and get their bearing, as so much comes at them so fast. In short, Hillsdale College has recognized the importance of equipping students not only intellectually, but also spiritually, for the many challenges of life in college and beyond.

The construction of a college chapel, in particular, is a public declaration that faith and reason are mutually reinforcing. 

By constructing this Chapel, the College upholds the continued importance of its Christian roots, even as it respects the rights of each person to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. Our country was founded on the view that a correct understanding of the nature of God and the human person is critical to preserving the liberty that we so enjoy.

John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Without the guardrails supplied by religious conviction, popular sovereignty can devolve into mob rule, unmoored from any conception of objective truth.

As I think about our political culture today, I am reminded of Ronald Reagan’s warning that, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if we fight for it, protect it, defend it, and then hand it to them to do the same.” 

Faith in God, more than anything else, fuels the strength of character and self-discipline needed to ably discharge that responsibility.

Hillsdale College’s Articles of Association affirm that “inestimable blessings” flow from “the prevalence of civil and religious liberty and intelligent piety in the land.” The College was founded on the belief that “the diffusion of sound learning is essential to the perpetuity of these blessings.” Thus Hillsdale College was founded on the understanding that the battle to preserve and promote freedom in our country will be waged in the hearts and minds of the people.

Rather than shrinking from the battle, Hillsdale is rising to the occasion by investing in the intellectual and spiritual development of its students, so they can provide God-honoring leadership in our country. Let it be said of them what was said of David, that he “served the counsel of God in his own generation.”

Students, faculty, administrators, and friends of Hillsdale, let this Chapel be more than just an impressive building. Let it stand as a bold declaration to a watching world that faith and learning are rightly understood as complements, and that both are essential to the preservation of the blessings of liberty.

Above all, let this Chapel equip and inspire us to honor God in whatever He calls us to do. For as Saint Paul wrote in the Letter to the Romans, “From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

May God bless each of you. And may God bless this wonderful country.

Thank you.

REICHARD: That’s Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas dedicating a new chapel at Hillsdale College last fall. To hear his full speech, look for the link in today’s transcript.

MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: The Monday Moneybeat.

NICK EICHER: Well, a down week on Wall Street, but only slightly. Those wild swings up and down were still present, but—and this analysis is a sign of the times, too—but the swings were in the hundreds of points instead of in the thousands of points. So in that sense, a little bit of stability in the capital markets.

It’s time now to turn, as we do during this economic crisis, to financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen. He’s on the line now for our weekly conversation.

David, good morning.

DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Good morning. Good to be with you.

EICHER: Well, let’s talk from the top, let’s begin with jobless claims. We’ve been talking about that week by week. The number is—I never thought I would hear myself say this—the number is down to 4.4 million this week. Terrible number, but it’s going the right direction. What do you say?

BAHNSEN: Well, and that’s expected. I mean, you assume in a kind of multi-week shutdown that the worst week will be that at the very beginning because this is measuring initial jobless claims. And so we have gone down by a little over a million per week for the last several weeks. 

But the aggregate number, which, again, you have to remember–it’s at least this many. Let’s call it 26 million now in aggregate. But in reality that’s probably understating the total number of unemployed because of those who either haven’t made a claim or couldn’t make a claim for whatever reason. Or states that maybe are behind in their processing. 

So the number is really bad and yeah, certainly on an initial-claims basis, declining and will continue to decline now as we get ready for more re-openings.

EICHER: Let’s talk about that kerfuffle in the oil market where the price of West Texas crude for, what, the end of May, delivery the end of May dropped to a negative level at one point this week? Can you explain all of that?

BAHNSEN: Yeah, it’s the West Texas Intermediate, not the Brent Crude. But the key distinction there is this is the oil that is primarily being stored in Cushing, Oklahoma. It’s largely the oil that is being produced in Texas and Oklahoma. And it is, I guess, very complicated. It sure could have been a lot simpler if they could have just simply presented it as storage costs were going higher, not oil prices were going lower. 

Because by talking about negative oil, they actually pretend as if there was someone out there who was buying oil at minus $40, where all we’re referring to is the cost that those who in the physical oil market, who had no ability to store it, were paying to go find storage. 

The hard part is that unlike the past years, past decades, we have a significant amount of financialization in commodity markets. It’s a stock that is supposed to reflect the price of oil. But it isn’t doing anything of the sort. And obviously all these mom and pop investors buying this little stock have no intention of taking oil delivery in their house. So the whole thing is a mess and it kind of skewed, I think, the more important conversation, which is that our energy sector is in real trouble and we’re sitting here talking about whether or not we have -$40 oil or not around the complexity of futures delivery. It was just a silly couple of days.

EICHER: And, of course, the real story there, I guess, beyond the issue of storage is the fact that there’s just so little demand right now for oil, right? It has to do purely with economic activity, does it not?

BAHNSEN: Well, that’s certainly the reason why you have such a glut of supply is that in the month of March we had a significant increase of supply at the same time you had a total erosion of demand. But, ultimately, there is nobody who sensibly believes that demand is not coming back. We don’t know to what level and at what speed, but obviously the world cannot function without oil. And so the demand part will resume as normal economic activity resumes.

EICHER: Let me move on now, David, to the CBO report—the Congressional Budget Office. There were some economic projections that were interesting. I’d like to get your comment on those. Basically what the CBO economists predicted is a 12 percent contraction in the second quarter of economic output. So, minus 12 in quarter two, they believe. They project a jobless rate about 14 percent. 

Those numbers are just huge. Deficit spending, $3.7 trillion. That almost quadruples where it was at the end of March. Deficit 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product. So, of the overall production of the economy, the deficit is equal to 18 percent of it. Versus in 2019, 4.6 percent, just to give a sense of context. The highest deficit spending since World War II. Take your pick.

BAHNSEN: Well, it’s interesting. I think in some cases, the numbers are overly optimistic. 

The federal debt, they’re predicting, will equal 101 percent of GDP by the end of this fiscal year and I think that that is entirely possible. It could be worse than that. 

That 106 percent level around World War II, you know, we’ve seen it before and that’s sort of the analogy that lawmakers are making is considering COVID a kind of wartime pandemic and then when things normalize naturally those ratios will get much better. 

It’s important for people to understand when they start using analogies to Europe or Japan that Japan is run at about 260 percent debt-to-GDP. Many western European countries are running 150 to 220 percent debt-to-GDP. So it’s brutal levels of indebtedness, but it isn’t abnormal right now, sad to say, in the developed world. 

I’ve talked on your show already—and I’m going to be talking about it as long as I have to, even post-COVID— that this story is a set-up of the story that I think is going to be most important to people in the years ahead. This is the story that paves the way to the central bank’s command and control of the economy and the desperate need for a central bank that will sort of use monetary policy to monetize the debt of our country.

When you have that degree of government spending as a percentage of your economy, you have what’s called a crowded-out effect. The private sector, where more productive activity takes place, is diminished by the role of the excessive government spending and it contracts from productive economic growth. And so they’re not flourishing. That’s the goal of economics, certainly, for myself as a Christian economist.

EICHER: David Bahnsen, financial analyst and advisor. He’s the Chief Investment Officer at the Bahnsen Group. David, thank you. We’ll talk to you next week. 

BAHNSEN: Thanks so much.

NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, April 27th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad you are! Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Next up on The World and Everything in It—the WORLD History Book.

Today, the fifth anniversary of the first “fanless” baseball game in major league history. Plus, 55 years ago President Lyndon B. Johnson commits troops to the Dominican Republic. 

EICHER: Up first, the governor of New York creates one of the nation’s first official state parks—it’s a watershed moment. Here’s Paul Butler.


PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Today we begin on the Niagara River. The waterway links two of North America’s Great Lakes: Erie and Ontario. The strait is nearly 36 miles long and descends over 326 feet between the sister lakes—more than 200 feet of that occurs all at once at Niagara falls.


In the 1860’s a visionary park designer and land planner named Frederick Olmsted, begins lobbying New York state officials and businessmen to protect Niagara Falls. He argues for limiting industrial development along the river so that it can be set aside for public enjoyment.

It takes 20 years, but on April 30th, 1883, New York Governor Grover Cleveland signs legislation authorizing eminent domain—granting Olmstead authority to locate and set aside private lands for state preservation. 

In 1885, they create the Niagara Reservation, and in the process, start one the first official state parks in the United States. 

TOURISM FILM: Getting that close to the American falls is exciting. It does wonderful things to hairdos, glasses, and human egos…

The Niagara Reservation is the longest continually operated state park in the nation. The popular geographic feature hosted more than 30-million visitors last year. 

Next, April 28th, 1965. President Lyndon B. Johnson addresses the nation:

JOHNSON: The United States government has been informed by military authorities in the Dominican Republic that American lives are in danger. 

The political tensions on the island had been brewing for years. 

In 1961, the president of the Dominican Republic had been assassinated. After two years of military rule, the U.S. facilitated democratic elections. An educator and historian named Juan Bosch won that election, but was overthrown by the island’s military a few months later. Military leaders installed their own president who proved very unpopular, and splinter groups began attempting their own political coups. 

The U.S. ambassador to the Domincan Republic informed Johnson’s White House that the instability was becoming a threat to the more than 1,000 Americans residing there. 

JOHNSON: I have ordered the secretary of defense to put the necessary American troops ashore…

Behind the scenes, U.S. intelligence believed Cuba was trying to leverage the situation to install a communist government: leading Johnson to defend the American military presence.

JOHNSON: The American nation cannot, must not, and will not permit the establishment of another communist government in the Western Hemisphere. 

NEWSREEL: President Johnson ordered the troop movement when it appeared doubtful that a stable government could be established immediately… 

The military operation was at times quite bloody. Forty U.S. servicemen and as many as 3-thousand islanders died during the summer of ‘65. American forces withdrew in the fall after a new election. Juan Bosch lost to Joaquin Balaguer, who had formerly served in the government in the late ‘50s. 

During his 12 years as president, he rebuilt the island nation’s infrastructure and schools but ruled with an iron fist—imprisoning and sometimes even killing political rivals.

And finally, April 29th, 2015:

THORNE: It’s the Orioles and we welcome you to Camden Yard in Baltimore. 

The Chicago Whitesox and Baltimore Orioles make Major League Baseball history. 

THORNE: Hi everybody, I’m Gary Thorne, and welcome, circumstances all of us wish were different, this ballpark today is going to be empty for the first time in Major League history a ball game, a regular season game, will be played with no fans in attendance. 

The reason for the empty stadium was social unrest in Baltimore. Two weeks earlier, Freddie Gray died in police custody. Video footage during his arrest showed the 25-year old man being tossed into the back of a police van—not buckled in. He later died of traumatic spinal injuries that many believe occurred during what’s known as a “rough ride”—when police stop and start suddenly, bouncing the person around in the back. 

After Gray’s funeral, some protestors looted and burned cars. The violence intensified, leading the mayor to enforce a curfew and restrict groups in the city. 

AUDIO: This preliminary curfew will last for one week…

Major League Baseball decides to go ahead with the game between the White Sox and the Orioles, but prohibits fans from entering the stadium. 

GAME: 1-1 delivery and he got ahold of that one! 

Camden Yard isn’t completely empty though, as there are three times the usual number of reporters. Footage of the game is surreal as player introductions and organ themes echo unheard and athletes make plays without cheers. 

GAME: 1 ball, 2 strike count. Britton’s delivery to him, swung on and missed. The ballgame is over. 

The Orioles win the game 8 to 2, but the team is subdued after the victory as the events happening around the stadium weigh heavily on the players.

That’s this week’s WORLD History Book, I’m Paul Butler.

NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, April 27th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. G.K. Chesterton once said that for Christians, their faith says the world has a meaning and direction. Not so atheism. Here’s WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney.

JANIE B. CHEANEY: In a satirical epilogue to The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis imagines his cagey old demon rising to propose a toast after the annual Tempter’s College Dinner. While commending his hosts, he complains about the disappointing dinner—that is, the poor quality of sinners that comprised it. That Municipal Authority with Graft Sauce was barely palatable, much less the lukewarm Casserole of Adulterers. 

Goodness me, what’s become of the brazen sinners and brawny atheists of yesteryear?

If Lewis had been writing 10 years ago, he might have Screwtape smacking his lips over the so-called “four horsemen” of outspoken atheism. But Christopher Hitchens has passed into eternity, Daniel Dennett into obscurity, Sam Harris is still dreaming about a rational society and Richard Dawkins wondering if that dream is D.O.A.

Dawkins has been the scourge of what he understands as traditional Christianity. Only a few years ago he applauded Dennett’s proposal to separate children from their fundamentalist parents. But lately he’s expressed some doubts whether the loss of Christianity would be an unvarnished good. 

His latest book observes that, quote, “Whether irrational or not, it does, unfortunately, seem plausible that, if somebody sincerely believes God is watching his every move, he might be more likely to be good.” 

Though he hates to admit it, Dawkins has run smack into the notion of Original Sin, which G.K Chesterton described as the most verifiable fact of human history. Other atheist/agnostics, such as Douglas Murray and Jordan Peterson, are even less sanguine about the basic goodness of humanity. 

Some atheists see themselves as heroes in the story of mankind’s relentless march toward the bright dawn of unbelief. The world is richer, they say; lifespans are longer, and wars are shorter because, sometime in the mid-eighteenth century, mankind began building an intellectual framework that excluded God. And, because humans are fundamentally decent, things can only get better from here. 

Yes, about that, Dawkins and others seem to be wondering: what if we humans are the bad guys? Or, if only a few of us are really bad, how will the rest of us gin up the moral courage to stop them?   

Screwtape concluded his toast by looking on the bright side. Half-baked sin is barely palatable, but thank Our Father Below, unrepentant sinners abound. Their atheism owes nothing to intellectual rigor; it’s more a default setting. Rather than reshape outmoded moral barriers, it simply removes them. 

To their credit, serious atheists are beginning to question whether that’s a good thing. They should have questioned sooner.

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: COVID-19 has put a kink in just about every link of the U.S. food supply chain. We’ll tell you how that could affect what’s available at the grocery store in the next few months.

And, we’ll talk to WORLD’s Onize Ohikere about what life’s like in Africa right now.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Jesus told the fearful: “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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