Insight on the News
“They Were Drinking Too Much”
● At Alfred, New York, a 20-year-old college student died recently due to “acute alcoholic intoxication” during what was described as “a drunken fraternity party.” The Long Island newspaper “Newsday” also reported: “The term for the cause of death is diffuse pulmonary edema. [He] apparently choked to death on his own vomit.”
Two classmates had to be hospitalized and were found to be in critical condition. All three students passed out during the drinking party and had to be put to bed. Noting that their breathing seemed to be labored, others summoned an ambulance, but one had died by the time it arrived. The Allegany County coroner was quoted as saying: “They were drinking too much.”
Undoubtedly, many believe that prolonged alcohol abuse can ruin a person’s health. But have they considered the possible immediate consequences of overindulgence? The Bible fittingly condemns drunkenness and indicates that excessive drinking can imperil health and life. For instance, the Scriptures say of wine, when immoderately used: “At its end it bites just like a serpent, and it secretes poison just like a viper.”—Prov. 23:29-35.
What Really Counts?
● When business managers let former school ties dominate in choosing personnel, what is the effect on other workers? Citing the observations of Dr. Harry Levinson, president of the Levinson Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the journal “Industry Week” states: “Other employees know the buddy system is there, and the underlying message they get is that merit, competence, and loyalty don’t count for much.”
According to psychologist Levinson, such systems often undermine morale. Hence, his recommendation is that managers review their organizations to make sure that they do not have such networks.
The Bible acknowledges that among imperfect humans “the swift do not have the race, . . . nor do even those having knowledge have the favor.” (Eccl. 9:11) Yet, favoritism must be resisted by true Christians, for it is condemned in Scripture. “If you continue showing favoritism,” wrote the disciple James, “you are working a sin.” (Jas. 2:9) Hence, within the Christian congregation, privileges and responsibilities are given to individuals on the basis of their spiritual qualifications, under the influence of God’s holy spirit and in harmony with earnest prayers for divine guidance.—Acts 6:1-6; 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1-13.
Who Must Decide?
● “Every human can decide on his life himself,” declared the newspaper “Wiener Kurier” in reporting on a meeting of Austria’s lawyers at Ottenstein in February 1978. They agreed on the principle that a patient, not his physician, has the power to make life-and-death decisions for himself. The paper added that when there is danger of death, “the physician must accept the will of the patient.”
In harmony with this principle, it was pointed out that a doctor may not administer blood to one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who refuse blood transfusions on the basis of their faith. The administering of blood under such circumstances cannot be justified legally, acknowledged Dr. Heinz Zipf of Salzburg University.
When physicians and those in the legal profession abide by the foregoing principle in dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are showing proper respect for human conscience. Also, in this way these professionals are treating others as they themselves would want to be treated. This course is both wise and satisfying, and it harmonizes with these words of Jesus Christ: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.”—Matt. 7:12.
Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize it as their obligation before God to “keep abstaining . . . from blood,” and they appreciate the cooperation and services of physicians and others who acknowledge an individual’s right to make personal decisions on such serious matters. (Acts 15:28, 29) They realize that their eternal prospects depend on obeying Jehovah God.—1 John 5:3, 11.