President Barack Obama’s visit this week to Hiroshima once again brought to the surface the deep antagonisms that still exist over the significance of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan at the end of World War II.
Was the dropping of the bomb necessary? Was a bomb that annihilated instantly 140,000 innocent innocent men, women, and children necessary?
Japan was already defeated and utterly in ruins. The argument that the dropping of the bomb ultimately saved millions of lives was a fiction.
President Dwight Eisenhower, who was Allied Commander during the war, stated:
“I voiced my grave misgivings, first on my belief that Japan was already defeated, and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly, because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment, I thought, was no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.”
Admiral William Leahy, Chief of Staff to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, stated:
“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated, and ready to surrender. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the dark ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”
At the same time, Japan attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor and undoubtedly inflicted brutal death and destruction upon millions of innocent people in China and elsewhere.
So, two leaders – one of Japan, and one of America – stand together this week and offer prayers for the deceased at ground zero, causing reflections, both negative and positive, to ripple around the world.
It is the same as ever. We have not grown beyond atomic bombs. The missiles stand at attention, every ready to do their dirty work.
America sometimes calls itself a Christian nation. But no nation based upon the core principles of the founder of Christianity, as echoed in the non-violent principles of the Sermon on the Mount, could ever possess such weapons, could ever imagine employing such weapons.
Therefore, America is not a Christian nation.
So what is America? Certainly not Muslim, certainly not Jewish; for all three religions – Christianity, Islam, Judaism – are locked in mortal combat in the home of their birthplace, the Middle East – Muslims ready and greedy to use these horrific weapons if only they had them, or, like Israel, holding them at readiness for the right and proper moment.
Our current religions are powerless to tame the devils that lie at the root of human nature. They are powerless to break down the barriers of prejudice and hatred we see everywhere erected in the human heart.
We need a new religion. It is time for a new religion. A new religion is here.
This new religion is being spearheaded worldwide today by the Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world today, with 12,000,000 members in 192 countries and territories around the globe.
At the heart of the Soka Gakkai is the Lotus Sutra, a teaching of unsurpassed humanity, revealing the sanctity of all life, providing a simple means of uncovering the limitless potential for happiness of each individual on the face of the Earth – a teaching grounded in the affairs of daily life, here and now, in this world, yet revealing our connection to the universe. A teaching of eternity.
James Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and author of ten non-fiction books that are opening up the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.
To arrange speaking engagements, contact the author.