Insight on the News
Hope for Esperanto Dims
● The “international language” of Esperanto passed its first 100 years of existence last December with very little note. London’s “Daily Telegraph” reports that “there was no celebration, no birthday cards, not even a telephone call from any of the 1,500 members of the British Esperanto Association.” Esperanto’s inventor devised it as a universal language in the hope that it could help to end all war. (The word literally means: “He who hopes.”) The general secretary of the Association admits: “We now accept that he was wrong.”
Certainly a language spoken by all could be a real benefit. However, the hatreds and warfare that exist even among those who speak the same language make it obvious that ideas of well-intentioned humans cannot bring an end to wars. Only our Creator, the One who “is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth” has the power to do what is necessary. This he has promised to do, not by means of any social programs, but, rather, by the judgment and “destruction of the ungodly men” who foment divisions among their fellows.—Ps. 46:9; 2 Pet. 3:7.
Insight on Pope’s Declaration
● The new pope, John Paul II, has stated: “(There is) repressive and discriminatory action practiced against vast numbers of citizens, who have had to suffer all sorts of oppression, even death, simply in order to preserve their spiritual values, yet who, despite this, have never ceased to cooperate in everything that serves the true civil and social progress of their country.”
In an editorial commenting on this, Argentina’s “Buenos Aires Herald” stated: “The Pope, obviously, was referring specifically to religious persecution in the Communist countries. Yet sadly enough, almost every word he uttered could be applied to Argentina today. . . . religious freedom is denied to several thousand [over 30,000] Jehovah’s Witnesses in this country.”
The editorial notes that Witnesses are arrested, beaten and their children expelled from school, yet they “are hard-working, honest, God-fearing people. . . . and their religion is based on the teachings of the Bible. If all other modern, stable and pluralistic democracies in the world can tolerate the Jehovah’s Witnesses there is no reason why this government cannot do so.”
“The whole issue could be defused by a few sensible measures which will allow the Jehovah’s Witnesses the religious freedom that the Pope has called for. There are good Argentines who are only asking to be allowed to serve their God and their country, in that order. Indeed, patriotism would probably be strengthened in Argentina if more stress was placed on inward dedication and commitment to the country and its constitution and less on an outward show of observance of symbols.”
India’s Catholic Hinduism
● “It is difficult to believe,” reports “The Indian Express” of Bombay, “but it is true that priests and nuns sing bhajans [devotional songs] squatting barefoot on the floor, perform ‘arati’ [wave a plate containing incense and camphor flame] instead of swinging the thurible [censer],” and follow other Hindu practices. The newspaper observes that “it is now not uncommon in churches in Kerala, with its hoary tradition of a 2,000 years, to hear the Upanishadic hymn ‘Asatho ma sad gamaya, thamaso ma iyothirgamaya, mruthvorama amrutham gamaya’ being chanted before starting the holy mass.”
India’s Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Parecattil, said to be “a strong advocate of Indianisation of the church,” declares that “this movement is destined to win ultimately.” According to the “Express,” Cardinal Parecattil said that it “was in the fitness of things to draw on the rich resources of Hinduism” for certain features of Catholic worship among Indians.
As broad-minded as such a philosophy may sound, does it reflect a true Christian view of worship? Hardly. The Catholic “New American Bible” commands: “Do not yoke yourselves in a mismatch with unbelievers. After all, what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common, or what fellowship can light have with darkness? . . . what common lot between believer and unbeliever?”—2 Cor. 6:14-18.