Insight on the News
End of an Era?
● “The era of the general church magazine . . . has passed,” says an editorial in “The Christian Century” magazine. This expression was prompted by the announcement that “United Methodists Today” would cease its publication in June 1975. Beginning back in 1956 under the name of “Together,” this general church magazine reached a peak circulation in 1959 of one million (there are some 10 million Methodists). But then it began to slide, and since its beginning it has run up a sustained net loss of over $6,000,000.
It was not just the demise of this one publication, however, that led to “The Christian Century’s” gloomy statement. This is but one portion of the overall picture. In 1968 U.S. Protestant and Orthodox Church publications claimed a combined circulation of 23,008,185. By 1975 the figure had dropped to little more than 16,000,000. Commenting on the cause, “The Christian Century” says: “Possibly it is wrong to assume that the average reader . . . is a deeply committed Christian longing for in-depth information about the church. Then, too, there is the lingering suspicion that church periodicals reflect the establishment and are inclined to use public relations gimmicks to push programs.”
Back in 1956 when “Together” magazine began, “The Watchtower” had a worldwide circulation of 2,550,000. Why not look on the inside cover of this issue and see what it is today?
Smoking and Teeth
● Medical evidence has linked the smoking of tobacco with a long list of ailments—lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and numerous others. Now yet another ailment comes into focus. Dr. Edward R. Loftus, a dental professor at Harvard University, says that “smoking is one of the biggest factors in teeth loss.” In a research survey of “259 smokers and 376 nonsmokers [results showed] that the smokers suffered a greater incidence of bone loss and loose teeth,” he said. “They also had a greater buildup of plaque and tartar, which collect on the teeth and contribute to gum disease and decay. The incidence of all these conditions in the nonsmokers was significantly lower.” Dr. Richard C. Graves, of the University of Michigan found similar evidence and offers this explanation: “Smoking causes constriction of the blood vessels in the gum tissue, thus reducing the circulation and speeding up the disease process.”
Some years ago Jehovah’s witnesses who had anything to do with the production and promotion of tobacco, separated themselves from such employment, often at a considerable financial loss to themselves.
“The Evil Eye?”
● In contrast with the above stand of Jehovah’s witnesses is an article in the Louisville “Times” under the headline “The Evil Eye?” It reports on a large Indiana television-manufacturing plant employing 5,000 workers. A large portion of these are members of the Pentecostal religion. When interviewed, many said that their religion views television as ‘the work of the devil.’ “I am certain God would condemn me if I had a television set in my home,” said one woman employee. Asked why she produced the sets, one young Pentecostal answered that “they pay good,” and added, “The Lord doesn’t care if we make TV sets. He just doesn’t want us to watch television.” Few would deny that, along with some harmless and even worthwhile programs, there is much that is bad and undesirable on today’s television. Yet one wonders how anyone who rejects it totally could still conscientiously contribute to its use.
Lack of Natural Affection
● The Bible foretold a lack of “natural affection” as one of the conditions marking the “last days” of the present system. In sad illustration of this, the London “Daily Mail” reports that, on the average, “two children die every day in Britain as a result of savage assaults by their parents.” The more than 64,000 cases reported in one year of small children with blackened eyes and battered bodies does not make pleasant reading. But what a comfort to know that a new order nears in which “righteousness is to dwell,” with none being allowed to “do any harm or cause any ruin”!—2 Pet. 3:13; Isa. 11:9.