Insight on the News
More Abandoning Churches
● For some time, West German clergymen have been faced with half-empty churches. In recent years, people in that land have found another reason to become part of a growing army of official nonbelievers. All West Germans who are officially listed as members of the churches are liable to a church tax collected from their pay. But when they officially leave the church, they no longer are liable for that tax.
Between 1969 and 1974 more than a million Protestants and 360,000 Catholics ‘deregistered,’ and 1975 was another record year. But it should not be surprising that people rebel against compulsory church contributions. Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, showed that giving under compulsion is not God’s way. He said: “You received free, give free.” (Matt. 10:8) The apostle Paul also stated: “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion.” (2 Cor. 9:7) Ignoring God’s Word, the clergy are paying the penalty.
“Emotional Ice Age”
● In the book “Free to Be Good or Bad,” Dr. Herbert Holt states that hedonism, the devotion to selfish pleasure, is ‘sweeping mankind like a forest fire.’ He says that the growing “new breed” of selfish people “would scare the daylights out of anyone who values the humanity of human beings.” These people have lost belief in God and in their fellowman. Being unconcerned about the welfare of others, Holt says, they have entered an “emotional ice age.”
Such persons are in all age groups. Some are married, some are parents. But all are committed “neither to marriage nor to parenthood, nor even to friendship. They have closed the door on all that as a delusion of the past, and they float in an erratic orbit of newly found freedom,” Holt observes. He adds, “They are an end result of social change, change that has come at breakneck speed over the past two decades. . . . people who accept no role in society and no responsibility to anyone or for anyone but themselves.”
Bible prophecy foretold that in these “last days” large numbers of people would be ‘without natural affection, not open to any agreement, without self-control, without love of goodness, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.’—2 Tim. 3:1-4.
Meddling in Politics
● A conservative Paris newspaper, “Le Figaro,” charges the Catholic Church with meddling in politics. Calling such meddling ‘a big mistake,’ the publication observes: “Frankly, she is meddling in politics more actively than ever. Alarmed at the thought of having chosen the wrong side, she now toys with the idea of throwing in her lot with the other side. How strange that the truth does not enlighten her and enable her to see that she should not take sides.”
“Le Figaro” also states: “It is very evident today that if religion wishes to meddle in politics, it is in danger of seeing politics meddle with religion.”
God’s Word shows that the religion that meddles in politics will indeed suffer meddling by politics. Describing the world’s false religions as a spiritual harlot, Revelation 17:16 shows that the political powers will tire of her meddling and “will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.” That is why sincere persons are warned: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”—Rev. 18:4.
The Universe and God
● After decades of probing the spectacular mysteries of the universe, rocket expert Dr. Wernher von Braun states: “The grandeur of the cosmos serves only to confirm my belief in the certainty of a Creator. I just can’t envision this whole universe coming into being without something like divine will. The natural laws of the universe are so precise that we have no difficulty building a spaceship to fly to the moon and can time the flight with the precision of a fraction of a second. These laws must have been set by somebody.”
The Bible, at Isaiah 42:5, identifies that “somebody” as “the true God, Jehovah, . . . the Creator of the heavens.”