Insight on the News
“Vastly More Efficient”
● The “Spanish flu” of 1918-19 killed some 20,000,000 people. In reviewing the new book “Influenza in America, 1918-1976,” Bernard Dixon mentions that pandemic and states: “The only specific event in history to compare with two world wars as a reaper of human lives, it was vastly more efficient. At least a fifth of the human race endured the aches and fevers of flu.”
Writing in the British journal “New Scientist,” Dixon also observes: “Unusually, most of the millions killed [by the “Spanish flu”] were in the prime of life. In Western Samoa, the virus demolished 7 500 [7,500] out of a 38 000 [38,000] population in less than three months. Three and a half thousand patients were admitted to the San Francisco Hospital with chest conditions when the flu hit the city, and over a quarter of them died.”
While many persons consider the 1918-19 influenza epidemic noteworthy because it raged world wide and reaped so many lives, such happenings are of more than mere historical significance. They constitute part of the “sign” of Jesus Christ’s presence as an invisible spirit king in heaven. In answering the query: “What will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” he said, in part: “There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages.”—Matt. 24:3; Luke 21:7, 11.
Attire Does Matter
● In its periodical “Clipper 78,” Pan American World Airways recently introduced a new travel dress code for employees and guests traveling on the airline free or at reduced rates. For instance, in the Economy Class, men are expected to wear either a suit or a coordinated sport coat and trousers. A casual or dress shirt with an open collar is considered acceptable. Women are to wear either a dress, a suit, a skirt, a pantsuit or slacks “with well-coordinated dress, blouse or sweater.”
It was pointed out that unacceptable dress for male employees or guests “includes collarless shirts, tank or T-shirts, sweatshirts, casual jeans, bare feet and sandals without socks.” In the case of women, “shorts, casual jeans, casual shirts, T-shirt and tank tops are not considered acceptable, nor are short shirts (bare midriff), short skirts, bare feet, sandals without hosiery nor hair in curlers.” Children under 16 years of age are to be “well-groomed and well dressed in clothing suitable for travel.” The airline’s Personnel Department had discussed matters with numerous employees and various departments before introducing the system-wide code.
Of course, travelers in general are not bound by such a dress code. However, they may well realize that attire does matter. The airline clearly feels that dress and grooming that are appropriate to the occasion do make a difference. Although the Bible does not itemize articles of clothing that are to be worn by Christian men, women and children under varying circumstances, godly persons know that their attire does matter. Christian women are urged to “adorn themselves in well-arranged dress, with modesty and soundness of mind.”—1 Tim. 2:9, 10.
“Logic of a Moral Jungle”
● In 41 letters to the religion editor of “The Toronto Star,” 11th-grade students of a school near Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, “disagreed in the main that there are any absolute moral standards of right and wrong.” According to the newspaper’s religion editor, Tom Harpur, “they argued instead that morals are a matter of individual choice.” In an accompanying opinion article, Harpur wrote: “In some ways [the students] are more sensitive to injustice than their elders. Yet, the logic of their letters, taken to its conclusion, is the logic of a moral jungle in which each person does that which is right in his own eyes.”
Christians know that “it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jer. 10:23) Moreover, the Scriptures warn that “a boy let on the loose will be causing his mother shame.” (Prov. 29:15) How vital it is, then, for godly parents to inculcate in their sons and daughters the highest of moral standards—those of man’s Maker!