This is a meditation practice, actually more of a reflection than a meditation, which can be engaged by Atheists and believers, and those who are not sure what they believe.
It is a meditation on the nuclear weapons possessed by America, Russia, China, France, England, India, Pakistan, North Korea and probably Israel.
What can be done to reduce the nuclear arsenals of the world?
How can America demonstrate leadership in dramatically reducing the numbers of nuclear warheads we possess? Approximate numbers for the US are 4800 strategic and tactical nuclear warheads. That number includes 2800 strategic and 500 tactical warheads that are not deployed.
Russia has about the same size arsenal.
As for the other nations: China 300, England 225, France about 200-300. India and Pakistan have 100-125 each. Israel may have as many as 100-200 warheads assuming the widespread rumors are true. Iran and Syria are attempting to develop their own nuclear warheads. I did not see figures for North Korea’s arsenal.
These figures are drawn from armscontrol.org’s web site and are assumed to be accurate.
What is the responsibility for spiritual people and atheists regarding these issues?
Could the Pope and the Dalai Lama and other major spiritual figures hold a press conference and get this issue on the front burner of public attention?
Can anyone claim they do not need to do anything?
The point of this reflection is to spend some time contemplating hundreds of thousands of people dying from a single bomb, or tens of millions or more in a full nuclear war between countries with large arsenals.
Can anyone feel safe knowing the knowledge and materials are widely available for both mainstream and rogue nations to build nuclear bombs?
Is there any doubt that someday fanatics may take over a country like Iran or Pakistan and threaten to use, or actually use, nuclear weapons in a showdown with the west? Come to think of it, fanatics in North Korea already have the bomb and are testing long range delivery systems.
After the very tense days of the nuclear arms race of the 1980’s in particular, when the Cold War ended or at least subsided, most people more or less forgot about the menace of the thousands of nuclear warheads in the world.
I was one of them until I read a biography about Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who led the team at Los Alamos to build the bombs that were dropped on Japan. I feel America was justified to build these bombs to make sure they were not beaten to the punch by Hitler. After all can you imagine if Hitler or the Japanese had built nuclear weapons first? But I am less convinced than ever that we needed to actually use the bombs. A very real option that was passed over was to demonstrate the atom bomb’s destructive power away from civilian population centers. This could have been done to show the Japanese leaders the futility of continuing the war. In addition to this, there were very real military alternatives other than a full scale invasion by troops of the Japanese mainland.
But the bombs were dropped. Did America think that other nations would not also start to build atom bombs?
After the war Oppenheimer and many others made great efforts to prevent a nuclear arms race but lost out to the likes of Harry Truman and his advisors who blocked his efforts at every turn. Reading the history of these efforts in the years after WW II is like listening to the first act of a tragedy which you already know how it ends.
Sadly, these many decades later, President Obama has done nothing to reduce the nuclear arsenal of America.
In fact he has set in motion a major program to modernize America’s nuclear arsenal over the next three decades that could cost as much as 1 trillion dollars.
Oddly enough as Commander in Chief he has the power to simply disarm and destroy as many nuclear weapons as he wants to. At least I think the constitution gives him that power but I could be wrong.
But where is the President who in 2009 called for a nuclear free world?
Where is the outcry of conservative and progressive Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus? Where is the outcry of Atheists, Socialists, and Secular Humanists?
These are all good subjects to reflect upon.
More information next week on organizations that are working towards a nuclear free world. In the meantime please consider a letter to the White House asking the President to dismantle at least half of America’s nuclear bombs.
Will Raymond Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” host of Meditationpractice.com
will at meditationpractice dot com ( Spelled out to limit spam)