Insight on the News
Wine Versus Viruses
● Canadian researchers at the Bureau of Microbial Hazards report that wine may be able to kill viruses as well as bacteria. Though the bactericidal properties of wine have been known for years, “Science News” says that this is believed to be “the first study of the effects of grapes and wine on viruses affecting humans.” The microbiologists noted that, in their test tubes, especially red wines were somewhat “effective against herpes simplex virus, poliovirus and reovirus (an apparent cause of meningitis, mild fever and diarrhea).”
These findings lend further backing to the Biblical indications of wine’s value medicinally and as a mild disinfectant. The apostle Paul recommended to Timothy: “Use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent cases of sickness.” And the Samaritan of Jesus’ parable bound up the wounds of the ancient “mugging” victim, “pouring oil and wine upon them.”—1 Tim. 5:23; Luke 10:34.
Of course, Paul suggested “a LITTLE wine” to Timothy and also stated that responsible servants of God should not be given “to a LOT of wine.” But, in moderation, it can make “the heart of mortal man rejoice,” with God’s approval.—1 Tim. 3:8; Ps. 104:15.
Saccharin and Tobacco
● Recent government bans on the sweetener saccharin have aroused intense criticism. Of course, it is commendable that governments have concern for their citizens’ health, whether all agree with specific actions or not. Many have raised questions, though, about how heartfelt this concern is, when the same opposition is not shown toward a substance already proved to be infinitely more deadly than saccharin—tobacco.
Between a half and a third of all cigarette smokers will die prematurely because of their habit, according to a twenty-year study of 34,000 British doctors recently reported in the “British Medical Journal.” And “Natural History” magazine notes that “despite the publicity that the cigarette-cancer connection has received, far more deaths arising from cigarette smoking involve coronary heart disease—the leading killer in most developed countries—than cancer. . . . Moreover, smoking combines with other major risk factors, such as high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, to multiply manyfold the heart disease risk.” Yet, no bans—only easily overlooked warnings on the packs.
Why such delicate treatment for a deadly killer while a comparatively minor offender receives full wrath? “Natural History” spoke of “governmental hypocrisy in the treatment of tobacco” and of governments being “held hostage to the political power of the tobacco and cigarette producers or lured by self-interest [tax revenues].”
How refreshing it will be when God’s kingdom, unaffected by such pressures, will rule with only mankind’s permanent good at heart!—Isa. 32:1.
“Catholic Jehovah’s Witnesses”?
● “If I had 10 Catholic Jehovah’s Witnesses we could begin to change the world,” declared the Franciscan nun who founded the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Birmingham, Alabama. “Mother” Angelica also noted that the kind of evangelism needed “is not going after the one lost sheep or making Catholics out of non-Catholics; it is making Christians out of the 99 who are sitting in the pew.”
But if many centuries of religious efforts have not yet ‘made Christians out of the 99 in the pew,’ then how could ten or even 1,000 Catholics with the zeal of Jehovah’s Witnesses do so? Surely something is missing that no amount of zeal can supply.
The Bible identifies what is missing when it tells of people who “have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; for, ignorant of the justice of God and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to the justice of God.”—Rom. 10:2, 3, “Catholic Confraternity Version.”
On the other hand, the Bible shows that genuine Christians develop through knowledge and use of the Scriptures. “All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used,” it states, “for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy. This is how the man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work.”—2 Tim. 3:16, 17, Catholic “Jerusalem Bible.”