Takashi Nagai- “The human race, with this discovery of atomic power, had now grasped the key to its future destiny- a key to survival or destruction.”

bedridden Nagai with his two children

“Below us the insects chirp and sing.

Will the human race be happy when it enters the atomic age? Or will it be miserable?

God concealed within the universe a precious sword. First the human race caught the scent of this awful treasure. Then it began to search for it. And finally it grasped it in its hands. What kind of dance will it perform while brandishing this two-edged sword? If we use its power well, it will bring a tremendous leap forward in human civilization; if we use it badly, we will destroy the earth. Either of these alternatives can be taken quite simply. And to turn to the left or to the right is entrusted to the free will of the human family.

The human race, with this discovery of atomic power, had now grasped the key to its future destiny- a key to survival or destruction. This is a truly awful thought. I myself believe that the only way to the proper use of this key is authentic religion.”

Takashi Nagai, trans. William Johnston, The Bells of Nagasaki (New York: Kodansha International, 1984), 116.

Originally published in 1949 by Hibiya Shuppan under the title Nagasaki No Kane.

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