Insight on the News
In the Name of God
● Writing from The Hague, journalist C. L. Sulzberger observes: “It is a dismal truth that probably half or more of the wars now being fought around the world are either openly religious conflicts or involved with religious disputes. And, since virtually all formally organized creeds are monotheistic, this means that at this very instant men are killing other men in the name of an identical, if variously named, God.”
Among other conflicts, Mr. Sulzberger cites those raging between religious factions in Lebanon and the strife involving Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. Men involved in such warfare may believe that they are fighting in the name of God. But is God really with any of the sides in these conflicts?
The answer must be No. That is so even where Christianity is the professed faith of those on both sides of the conflict. Jesus Christ said of his true followers: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) Love is not displayed by fighting, maiming and killing one another. Moreover, those truly acting in God’s name have beaten “their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears.”—Isa. 2:4.
Quest for Peace
● While expressing hope for a better future, the “South China Morning Post” said, editorially, on December 31, 1975: “The condition of the world as 1975 draws to a close is sombrely reflected in the state of the United Nations at the end of the annual session of the General Assembly. The climate of bitterness, anger, frustration and confrontation that characterised the various debates ominously threatens to make a cynical mockery of the earnest wish for a Happy New Year in 1976.”
Highlighting a significant factor blocking world peace, the editorial stated: “For more than a quarter of a century since the disastrous World War II, the quest for world peace has continued without interruption but with only limited success mainly because there are haughty and dogmatic statesmen to whom power is more important than peace.”
Peace and tranquillity can never result solely from the efforts of imperfect humans, regardless of their motives. “Do not put your trust in nobles,” says the Bible, “nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish.”—Ps. 146:3, 4.
Any hope for a truly better future rests with Jehovah God, to whom the Biblical psalmist prayed: “Do give us assistance from distress, as salvation by earthling man is worthless.” (Ps. 60:11) Permanent peace and tranquillity will be brought to earth only by God’s kingdom under the rulership of Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace.”—Isa. 9:6, 7.
A Danger to the State?
● In a special report on Jehovah’s Witnesses in Africa, Ernie Regehr writes in “The Christian Century”: “Universally praised as hard-working and morally upright citizens, Jehovah’s Witnesses have repeatedly incurred the displeasure of governments by refusing to participate in symbolic expressions of national loyalty and, in the cases of some one-party states, by refusing to join the ruling political party.”
Do some leaders consider the Witnesses a danger to the State because these Christians maintain strict neutrality regarding political matters? If so, such leaders could not tolerate Jesus Christ, who stated: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) Making clear the neutral position of his followers, Jesus said: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.”—John 17:16.
Men in high station need not fear that Jehovah’s Witnesses constitute a danger to the State. These neutral Christians have proper respect for governmental “superior authorities.” (Rom. 13:1-7) Rather than persecute them, would not men in authority do well to show appreciation for the high moral standards these Christians maintain?
In this regard, journalist Regehr cites remarks appearing in an editorial in the Zambian “Mirror.” Significantly, that newspaper said: “Many of those who, contrary to our constitution, persecute them [Jehovah’s Witnesses] for abiding by their religious beliefs, would be more useful citizens by following the example of the sect’s moral life.”