Earth Currents, The Struggle for the World's Soul


by Howard A. Snyder Abingdon Press, 1995
Reviewed in Sea of Faith Network New Zealand Newsletter 25 by Lloyd Geering

I had not heard of this book until I picked it up last year in Blackwells at Oxford; many American books never seem to reach New Zealand.

The author, an academic in Ohio, is a liberally minded Christian and is probably a Methodist. He does reveal from time to time a more conservative background, particularly in his use of the Bible. He has written several books and this arises from his recent opportunity to travel to some 13 countries in 6 continents.

Snyder here analyses in a very readable way the current human predicament. The book has three parts. In the first he examines the question of where the world is currently going and he discerns and discusses some eight trends: an emerging global culture, an emerging world economy, the feminist revolution, the environmental risk, the new genetics and physics, artificial intelligence, America's current decline, the possible coming clash of civilisations.

Then he looks at the prevailing world views: the current dominance of economics, the significance of quantum theory, the Gaia hypothesis, the theistic view of the universe, determinism and blind fate, and post-modernism as the end of all world views.

Finally Snyder looks briefly at five possible scenarios of the world's future: environmental disaster, friendly fascism, Armageddon, nuclear terrorism, world spiritual renewal. He goes on to expound what he sees as the only adequate response to the current challenges.

What is attractive about this book is that it reflects very wide reading, is very comprehensive in its scope, is fairly realistic about the present global situation and is genuinely attempting to look for a worthwhile outcome. One may not agree with all he says and I believe he assumes and finally promotes far too much of the traditional Christian teaching, which he does not look at with sufficient criticism. Yet it is an interesting book, which alerts the reader to ideas and books which may have been previously unknown.

Lloyd Geering