Signs of the Times

[Dr. Frederick Lynch in the Christian Herald, New York, New York]

The Church Touring Guild, of which Dr. S. Parkes Cadman is president, ... offered a prize of five hundred dollars for the best essay on "Travel as a Means of Promoting International Good Will." ... Practically every essay said that "understanding" was the first condition of international peace. Wars come out of fears, jealousies, suspicions, and these all exist and influence us because we are ignorant of other peoples and do not understand them. We do not hate those we understand. Travel, if pursued in the right way, is the chief means of understanding other people. Many of these essays relate personal instances of how a short residence in some foreign land had completely swept away a lot of prejudices and misunderstandings and bred not only understanding, but appreciation and admiration. All people who do not read the literatures of other countries than their own, and do not visit other lands, are provincial. They think all other peoples strange, and do not trust them. Reading helps to dissipate this provincialism, but travel is better. I was interested in noting how many of these writers, who had evidently traveled themselves, urged that more and more groups of school children be carried to visit the school children of other lands. I have long urged that. I wish that arrangements could be made to take thousands of boys and girls to England, France, and Germany every summer. And with the present cheap rates of travel now obtainable it need not be a vain dream. It would work wonders for understanding and consequent good will.

Another fact mentioned by almost all these writers was that the consciousness of the unity of all mankind was growing, as witnessed to by the frequent international conferences of religious bodies, such as Stockholm, Lausanne, the World Alliance, the great conferences of Christian Endeavor, the Y. M. C. A., and the Sunday schools, also such permanent organizations as the League of Nations. But nothing increases this sense of the oneness or unity of all men as does travel. We learn that all men are very much alike in spite of their different nationalities; that fundamentally we are one in our desires, our ambitions, our joys, our sorrows, our loves and dreams. This growing oneness comes with acquaintance, and this sense of oneness leads us to put humanity above nationality. As one of the essayists said: "There is no such thing as a foreigner to a much-traveled man."

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May 4, 1929

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