During the course of the Second World War, over 12,000 Protestant ministers, Catholic priests, and Jewish rabbis left the safety of home to join the Chaplain Corps - yet this short article explains that in August of 1941 there were only 994 Protestants, 318 Catholics and 18 Rabbis enrolled in the Chaplaincy. Five months later, with the Pearl Harbor attack, these numbers would begin their climb. The article was written to mark the introduction of the prefabricated chapels that the military would be adding to each of the camps that would soon be dotting the American landscape.
Throughout the course of her life Lillian Roth (1910 - 1980) had lived the high life as well as the low, and during one of the darker moments she sat pining in the depths of her anguish crying out to God - even though she didn't believe He existed - a well-wisher approached her with a unique line of reasoning that was so pure in its simplicity it immediately lead her to realize that God does indeed exist:
"Lillian, you think of God. Why? Because God exists. If He did not exist, you could not have thought of Him - you cannot imagine anything completely non-existent."
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. - Ephesians 6:12
For the believers in this world, it is very easy to see World War II as a spiritual conflict waged against the righteous by the evil forces of darkness. The atheist Nazis were truly having their way with the lukewarm Christians who filled the ranks of the European Armies - up until the arrival of a particular North American army whose motto is "In God We Trust". Even to this day, the U.S. Military holds the record as having built more chapels than any other institution (every base, fort and naval installation had one). This article reports that the U.S.Army did not simply deliver weaponry to our Chinese allies, they delivered millions of Bibles, too.
The Christian concept of death is contained in this article by the ancient Greek author Athanasius (296 - 373).
"All those who believe in Christ tread death underfoot as nothing and prefer to die rather than to deny their faith in Christ, knowing full well that when they die, they do not perish, but live indeed, and become incorruptible through the the resurrection. Death has become like a tyrant who has become completely conquered by the legitimate monarch and bound hand and foot so that the passers-by jeer at him."
William Jennings Bryan (1860 – 1925) is best remembered today as the Christian who advocated for creationism in the famous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. In this 1923 essay he picks away at Darwin's evolution theory using many of the arguments that he would (victoriously) deploy two years later.
"When mobilization began, the government, as usual, undertook to provide spiritual ministry for the men. But many veteran clergymen doubted whether religion would catch on... But religion did catch on - and with such vigor that the chaplaincy services have been swamped by it. Army and Navy chapels are jam-packed. Demands for special services, for Bible study and for religious instruction, are more than can be met. Many men - Protestant and Catholic - are being baptized or confirmed. Some chaplains report an almost overwhelming interest in religion and church as a career."
Click here to read about the renewed interest in religion that existed on the home front...