Insight on the News
The World and 1975
● Nineteen-seventy-five finds mankind facing as never before the harsh fact that its problems are truly global—and that global problems demand global solutions, nothing less. “Science News” magazine says that the internationally known group of scientists and industrialists called the “Club of Rome” describes the situation as “unique.” Why? Because past crises were usually local, but today ‘only a global solution is now adequate,’ and whereas there was time to search out solutions to previous problems, ‘only rapid action will now suffice.’
In similar vein, editorial writer Anthony Lewis says: “The fear that something fundamental is changing in the relationship of man and nature, the concern that things are out of joint in the world, is not confined to the problem of food. The use of oil as a political and economic weapon, the pressure on other resources, the inflation raging across most of the world—all give rise to uneasiness.” “Oil, food, prosperity, security, everything is connected to everything else.”—New York “Times,” November 10, 1974.
Prominent economist Robert L. Heilbroner believes that ‘the world will move toward a new social order to meet its problems.’
The Bible foretells that the nations will arrive at some kind of global arrangement allowing them to claim they have found the way to “peace and security.” But it shows that such will be short-lived and that only God’s promised new order will bring the desired relief from global distress.—1 Thess. 5:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:13.
Women, Youth and Cigarettes
● “Changing Times” magazine reveals that the makers of a certain brand of cigarettes spend $80 million to promote the annual sale of nearly 88 billion cigarettes.
At the same time the American Cancer Society reports that among women in the United States lung cancer is now the third leading fatal malignancy. They estimate that, along with 63,500 male lives, lung cancer will claim 17,600 lives among women in 1975. The reason? “A steady and substantial increase in cigarette smoking among women.”
Many young people feel unworried about the effects of smoking, believing that lung damage takes a long time to start. But “Science News” magazine (Nov. 2, 1974) presents recent research that “now shows for the first time that the lungs of young smokers are already being damaged.” In a test group of smokers averaging twenty-five years of age, investigators found that all had lesions that could be “the precursor of more severe anatomic lesions.” The remedy? Stop now, while there is still hope that the lesions may be reversible.
As in so many other things, the inspired proverb proves true that “for want of heart [right motivation] the foolish themselves keep dying.”—Prov. 10:21.
Ancient Pagan Rites Continue
● The Bible relates a time when severe drought and famine hit the region known as Samaria and tells how worshipers of the pagan god Baal, a god of agriculture and fertility, tried to get his attention by “cutting themselves . . . until they caused blood to flow.” (1 Ki. 18:2, 28) That may seem strange. But the same thing is done today, 2,800 years later.
Under the heading “They Flagellate Their Bodies Until They Bleed to Propitiate a Good Harvest,” the Italian newspaper “Corriere di Napoli” describes a special rite of people in the farming community of Guardia Sanframondi, Italy, in their worship of “the Virgin.” The first participants are “hooded men who beat their own breasts with a . . . chain until they bleed.” Then come others using “rods with thorny points” for the same purpose. Along with this beating and bleeding, the people called for the “Madonna’s protection,” with the hope of having good crops.
The inspired apostle Paul spoke of self-imposed devotions with their “self-abasement, and their severe treatment of the body,” and showed that they did not produce true godliness. The true God does not require self-torture to gain his attention.—Col. 2:23, Catholic “Jerusalem Bible.”