Insight on the News
China and Confucius
● Red China has started a campaign against Confucius. For weeks Chinese newspapers have been filled with harsh attacks against this philosopher of the sixth century B.C.E. “His corpse continues to emit its stench among us today. Its poison is deep and its influence extensive,” a broadcast from Kweichow Province declared. But why this campaign?
Apparently because many of Confucius’ ideals run counter to Chinese Communism. For example, he did not favor unification of China by one administration and one set of laws; Communism does. He accepted ranks in society, like slave, master and emperor; Communism advocates a classless society. Why, then, did Communism tolerate Confucianism for so long?
It seems that its popularity with the Chinese people was a factor. But now some see current attacks as part of China’s continuing campaign against anything religious. Taoism, Buddhism and “Christianity” have been strongly discouraged since 1950. But while Confucianism has been called an ‘ethical system,’ it has definite religious overtones.
Does the Bible have anything to say about this seemingly antireligious attack? It is noteworthy what is said about the “king of the north,” which king history identifies with totalitarian governments. Of him we read: “To the god of his fathers he will give no consideration.” Rather, “to the god of fortresses . . . he will give glory.” (Dan. 11:37, 38) In the light of this Bible prophecy, it will be interesting to observe how far this anti-Confucius campaign is pushed.
● Many persons have looked to science to improve the quality of their life. Now increasing numbers of persons feel that the ‘wonderful world of tomorrow’ promised by science is just another test-tube failure. One U.S. writer expresses their view when he says: ‘Spreading and rising human aspirations for a good life are taxing world resources. The great cities are deteriorating into jungles. Fewer and fewer things work well.’
People see houses full of gadgets, but they also see that the air and water are more polluted. They read about promises of peace, but witness billions of tax dollars being spent on new “scientific” weapons for destruction. They hear reports about “miracle grains,” yet thousands starve in Africa, and elsewhere food prices continue to skyrocket. Is it any wonder that science, hailed as a savior a few years back, is now viewed by many with disenchantment?
Why has it turned out this way? Well, scientific accomplishments obviously require a certain degree of wisdom. Yet the apostle Paul says: “The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” The current situation shows that such “wisdom” cannot bring a lastingly “good life.” That requires the wisdom spurned by the scientific world, namely, “God’s wisdom.”—1 Cor. 2:6-8; 3:19.
Changing the Confessional
● The Roman Catholic Church is making changes in the confessional. The screen that separates the penitent from a listening priest is scheduled to disappear. New “penance” rites call for a “conference room” conversation between a few or many persons and a priest. Why the changes?
For one thing, the popularity of confession, never great, has been declining for some time. It is hoped that current moves will revive interest in the practice. But why has popularity waned in this fundamental Catholic requirement?
No doubt there are a variety of reasons. But could it be that people’s attitudes toward the priests is a major reason? Priests have been seen sharing in acts of civil disobedience. Their liberal views condoning adultery and homosexuality have been widely publicized. And, as most people know, priests have supported revolutions and wars, commonly blessing the weapons of participants. With a knowledge of such things, could it be that many Catholics are reasoning, Why should I go to such men to get my sins forgiven?
But whatever the reasons for the revision, this change in the confessional is serving further to shatter the confidence of many Catholics in their church. Within just recent memory revered “saints” have been dropped, the Mass has been altered, meat can be eaten on Friday, and now this change. Catholics may well be wondering: What next?