Insight on the News
1914—“A Mortal Change”
● Most historians recognize 1914 as a turning point for mankind. That year saw the outbreak of the first world war in human history. A new book, “The Great War and Modern Memory,” by Professor Paul Fussell records some of the impact of that conflict. A New York “Times” review of the book comments that “a universe of concepts was shattered: ideas of innocence, of glory, of romanticism. . . . The language, the moral and literary conventions that men brought with them in 1914, Professor Fussell points out, were almost incapable of describing the violent change that was taking place, the massive dehumanization of the first fully industrialized war.” Of this war and World War II, which followed, the review goes on to state that “the two modern wars made a mortal change in the moral and psychological ecology of the Atlantic world. We are still exploring the extent and the nature of the change.”
The unparalleled slaughter that these wars brought and the fear that they instilled all fit in with the Bible’s prophecy concerning our day as a time of ‘nation rising against nation’ and of mass destruction by the symbolic “great sword” of all-out warfare.—Luke 21:10, 26; Rev. 6:4.
The Fantastic Brain
● Were humans made to live just seventy or eighty years and then die? Evidence pointing to a different conclusion can be found in the human brain. A recent book, “How the Brain Works,” shows that the neurons (nerve cells) in the human brain are “usually estimated at 10 to 30 billion or more.” Thus, “there are far more neurons in any one brain than there are people on earth. There are more possible interconnections between neurons in your brain, by manyfold, than between all the telephones that exist—they run into the trillions, to numbers beyond all ordinary meaning.”
Surely the human brain was designed to receive, retain and use vastly more information than any human could possibly gain in a short life of seven or eight decades. In fact, the human brain is clearly designed to serve for an eternity of life. That is what the Bible says that God purposed for man and what he now offers to those exercising faith in him and in his promise of everlasting life in a paradise earth.—John 17:3; Rev. 21:4.
● The newspaper “El Mercurio” of Valparaiso, Chile, reports on a “Call to Youth to Embrace the Priesthood” issued by the archbishop of that city. It quotes the archbishop as saying that in the last twelve years only six new priests have been ordained—one every two years. In that same period sixteen priests died. With a population of 740,000 persons, Valparaiso now has only one priest for every 4,000 inhabitants. According to the archbishop, the next five years should produce just five more priests. Last year 3,000 students entered their fourth year of high school in Valparaiso. But not a single one made application for the Catholic seminary. The archbishop calls this situation ‘absurd, desolating, and much too serious to ignore.’ Yet what is happening in Chile is but another piece in the global picture of Christendom’s religious decline.
“Eye of a Storm”
● Shedding some light on the cause of the above problem, Leo Rosten, writing in “Saturday Review” magazine, says: “Our churches are in as much turmoil as our political institutions.” Reflecting, he asks: “What prophet, what theologian, what historian or scholar could have predicted the militant participation of clergymen in civil-rights marches, . . . the open campaign of homosexuals against anathematization, the mounting skepticism about the validity or effectiveness of church teachings, . . . the phenomena of ‘jazz masses’ and rock-and-roll music in cathedrals . . . ? We are in the eye of a storm. The velocity and power of that storm should surprise the most sophisticated observers.” As the prophet Hosea said of Israel when it turned from God’s Word to apostasy: “For it is wind that they keep sowing, and a stormwind is what they will reap.”—Hos. 8:7.