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There is no formal religious revival among the young. God, for most young Americans, is still a vaguely comforting thought, theology a waste of time, and denominations beside the point. To large numbers of them, religion is still merely an ethical code. But God (whoever or whatever they understand by that word) has once more become a factor in the younger generation's thoughts. The old argument of religion v. science is subsiding; a system which does not make room for both makes little sense to today's younger generation. It is no longer shockingly unfashionable to discuss God.
Church attendance among the young has increased, partly because churches have made strong efforts to win new followers through social and sport activities. But there is an unquestioned spiritual need at work, too. Says Dean Robert Strozier of the University of Chicago: "They all have a conscience." Says Historian Viereck: "They believe they believe ; they do not necessarily believe. Not many of today's young people say they have seen God, but they think everybody needs to see God."
They Will Serve
Beside a Quonset hut at Kimpo Airport, more than 100 tired, unshaven infantrymen lolled in the dust, waiting patiently for planes that would take them to Tokyo. For some, Tokyo meant the first leg of the trip home. For others it meant only a temporary break in the dirty business of war. They had no yarns to swap, no desire to learn any more than they already knew about war. From a few groups came the click of dice, and the only voices audible over the distant roar of engines were the urgent pleas of crapshooters. At one group, a Red Cross worker paused to chat with a sergeant who had spent 13 months in Korea. Said the sergeant: "For 15 months the guys have been running up and down these mountains getting their fannies full of lead. And what have we proved? I got news for you, Mister; the next time this boy fights to defend anybody's country, it'll damn well be his own." But an officer said: "You seen Seoul? We11.. I'd hate for that to be Decatur, Illinois."
The soldier in the combat zone is too preoccupied to do much thinking about the underlying reasons for his presence in Korea. He is concerned almost exclusively with personal problems, and the personal problem that overshadows all others is the problem of getting home. To justify his personal yearning to go home, he often subscribes to the thesis that Korea was a mistake (once back in the States, he will probably change his mind). In Korea, he does his job-because of his sense of duty to his country and his buddies, and because of his pride in his country and himself.
G.I. Joe's younger brother is better informed and educated, much better trained, and less sorry for himself. Mauldin cartoons today would not find the popularity they did in World War II. The AWOL rate is down, even the use of profanity has fallen off (at least in Stateside camps). "Little Joe" gripes about his officers, distrusts politics and government (it is universally believed that "Harry Vaughan can transfer any man"). He does not go in for heroics, or believe in them. He is short on ideals, lacks self-reliance, is for personal security at any price. He singularly lacks flame. In spite of this, he makes a good, efficient soldier-relying on superior firepower.