Insight on the News
Deserts Blossom in Israel
● The Negeb is a desertlike area lying south of what were once called the “mountains of Judah.” In Bible times Abraham found pasturage in the Negeb for large flocks. (Gen. 13:1, 2) But for well over a thousand years the area has been one of almost complete desolation. Yet ancient ruins of cisterns and remains of towns bear testimony that the area once had a considerable population, with farms under cultivation.
Now modern experiments demonstrate that the Negeb can indeed be productive. “Natural History” magazine tells of experimental farms using “runoff agriculture” with terracing, water catchments and channeling to get maximum benefit from the scant rainfall (3 or 4 inches annually). The farms now produce peaches, apricots, almonds, pomegranates, figs and olives, as well as asparagus, wheat, barley and other products.
● What do modern faith healers accomplish? To find out, Dr. William A. Nolen attended a healing session of a famous “Christian” faith healer in a large Minneapolis auditorium. Reporting his findings in “McCall’s” magazine (September 1974), he says that after music and prayer the healer, Kathryn Kuhlman, said:
“Now we’re going to take up the offering—the money we need so we can come to you people and help the sick and needy everywhere. I want twenty people out there to write out checks for one hundred dollars. . . . fifty people to write checks for fifty dollars. . . . one hundred people to write checks for twenty-five dollars. We need that money.” Collection baskets were passed.
The results of the session? Typical was the young polio victim who took off her leg brace and stood on “one good leg and one short, withered leg.” Prompted by the healer, the young woman said she was ‘cured.’ The doctor comments: “This scene, to my mind, was utterly revolting. The girl’s leg was just as withered as it had been ten minutes earlier. . . . I could imagine how she would feel when the hysteria of the moment had left her and she again had to put on the brace she had worn for 13 years.”
Another, older woman, suffering from cancer, took off a back brace and ran across the stage. Visiting her two months later, Dr. Nolen found her bedfast. She related awakening the morning after the “cure” with a “horrible pain in my back.” Medical examination showed that a vertebra of her cancer-infected back had collapsed. Within four months of her “miraculous cure” she was dead.
In the New York “Times” (August 30, 1974), Arthur Pincus supplies another item. Of a young basketball “superstar” besieged by colleges and at least one professional team to play for them, the sportswriter says: “What is a teenager to think when Oral Roberts, the evangelical faith healer and president of the Tulsa (Oklahoma) college bearing his name, went to see Moses’s mother? And when Roberts found out she was suffering from an ulcer, he told her he would heal her ulcer if young [Moses] Malone played basketball for Oral Roberts U.”
Contrast all of this with the authentic restoration of health and healings of afflictions recorded in the Bible at Matthew 8:2, 3; 12:9-13; Luke 18:40-43; all done completely free, with no collections taken, with no ulterior motives involved.—Matt. 10:8.
Religion and War on Rats
● India’s huge population presents an almost constant challenge as regards food production. Governmental plant protection adviser Dr. S. N. Benarjee recently focused on a distinctive fact of the country’s war against famine: the competition between humans and rats. The biologist said: “Both of us want the same food. . . . There is tremendous competition between the rats and ourselves for survival.” Indian scientists put the rat population at 2.4 billion or about 5 rats to each human, and it is thought that the rats consume some 2.4 million tons of grains per year.
While other countries face similar problems, here there is an unusual factor. Devout Hindus accord certain respect to rats, along with snakes and monkeys. Rajasthan has a temple devoted to the worship of rats and modern Calcutta has a rat park where the creatures play in broad daylight. Now the government must find a way to wage war on the rats without offending religious views.