Is Faith Old-Fashioned?
FOR MILLIONS, faith and the Bible go hand in hand. Obviously, they view this age-old book with respect, for it is a continual best seller now available, at least partly, in over 1,630 languages and dialects.
But the Bible has been available for centuries. And in many ways the plight of man is worse today than it has ever been. So you may wonder if faith based on the Bible has any value in modern times. Is it beneficial to apply the Bible in life? Has faith become old-fashioned?
LOOK AT THE FAMILY
“Only a battlefield or a riot are more violent than the American home.” So said a United Press International dispatch from Washington, D.C., as published in the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, Colorado. The statement was based on a nationwide survey of household violence as presented to a subcommittee of the House of Representatives. “Child abuse, wife and husband beating, sexual assault and sibling violence,” all were described by witnesses at hearings on family violence.
Do you believe that faith could prevent family violence? Could true faith result in a tranquil and happy home?
IS IT FOR THE YOUNG?
“Religion is dull and boring for young people,” wrote Dr. Cecil Northcott in The Daily Telegraph of October 18, 1977. What was the basis of that statement? An investigation of the beliefs of British young people, as published by the Anglican Board of Education. A hundred young persons between 13 and 24 years of age had been interviewed. Among them, 12- to 14-year-olds admitted that they had stopped going to church. Citing the published results of the survey, the newspaper stated:
“‘There is a very strong feeling that going to church simply isn’t a normal expected part of being a healthy, ordinary adolescent. Church-going is always seen as somebody else’s habit, even by those who have sometimes gone to church themselves,’ says the report.
“‘If one could choose just one summary word for our interviewers’ response it would be BORING with six underlined strokes.’”
Well, what do you think? Does faith have true meaning for the young?
FAITH IN ACTION
That faith can be truly meaningful in the family, and among young people, has been demonstrated many times in the experience of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Faith in God coupled with obedience to the fine principles of his Word, the Bible, has, not only solved problems of families and young people, but brought real joy and purpose into their lives. This has frequently attracted the notice of outside observers. For example, a newsman writing for Montreal-Matin, of Quebec, Canada, presented his impressions of Jehovah’s Witnesses in an article published during their “Victorious Faith” International Convention held in that city from July 5 to 9, 1978. His comments appeared the following day under the headline “Convention Attracts Young People.” This is what he said:
“What is a Jehovah’s Witness? I wondered about that all last weekend when I heard that their convention organizers succeeded in drawing 80,000 of them to the Olympic Stadium. To get a turnout like that in such hot weather is really an achievement! If it had been a baseball game, it might have been argued that, well, entertainment . . . But there was no entertainment about this convention which ended up drawing a lot more people than the charismatic convention.
“So, what is a Jehovah’s Witness? The old definition was easier to state: somebody who goes from door to door, Bible in hand, who’s often turned away, upon whom Duplessis had declared war and who is against blood transfusions.
“Yes, but all this was too simplistic. So I went over to see their Quebec spokesman, Léonce Crépeault. He’s a real down-to-earth man, refined and well educated, whom I’ve known for several years now. After an hour’s chat, he finally gave me the key to the puzzle.”
And what is that key? Under the subheading “Young People,” the writer went on to explain:
“I had just told him what I had seen after walking for two hours through the Olympic Stadium. First of all, I was amazed to see the high ratio of young people. How many religions in these godless times can boast of attracting youth? I was also surprised to see how orderly, clean and disciplined those people were, how they practice the virtues that our holy mother the Church would so much like to have us practice. And Mr. Crépeault . . . gave this definition, simple but how true, of his fellow believers: ‘A Witness is someone who reads the Bible but above all who applies it in all circumstances of his life.’”
This correspondent commented further: “Racial discrimination doesn’t seem to be part of them.” He also pointed to their way of life as coming “close to the American Way of Life as it was before the revolution in morals, which was the better side of the American Way of Life.” In summary he said:
“They are great when it comes to proselytizing, as everyone knows. But other things are typical of them too: they’re ‘straight’, firm in their beliefs and good citizens. Their women dress modestly (in the Catholic sense of the word) and with a certain good taste that takes current fashions into account; no shorts and very decent necklines. Even their kids don’t make too much noise!”
This writer’s expression is similar to others that have appeared in the press world wide during the “Victorious Faith” International Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Note how he links ‘firmness of belief’ with being “good citizens,” with modesty and with well-behaved children. Is faith that produces such fine fruits really old-fashioned, something out-of-date? To the contrary, it is right up-to-date with the needs of these critical times. It is indeed a victorious faith.
[Blurb on page 3]
“Church-going . . . BORING”
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“How many religions in these godless times can boast of attracting youth?”