Insight on the News
Jesus’ Unfaithful “Ground Crew”
● A long-playing record now on sale in the Federal Republic of Germany contains a protest song directed against today’s religious leaders. Prof. Helmut Thielicke, a German theologian, recently wrote an article about this song, explaining the singer’s protest as follows: “He has in mind what Jesus wanted and compares this with what his clerical ground crew has allowed it to become. If Jesus were to return to our earth and see the damage his people have done in his name, he would be unable to recognize himself in their undertakings. He would be overcome with anger, disappointment and sadness.” While agreeing with many of these statements, Thielicke concludes that the essence of the message is: ‘Do not confuse Jesus of Nazareth with his ground crew.’
But why should the ‘ground crew’s’ teachings and actions be so out of line with those of its Master? Jesus, whose followers the religious clergy of Christendom claim to be, once said: “Everyone that is perfectly instructed will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) Evidently they have not allowed themselves to be “perfectly instructed” by the One whom they call their Lord.—Matt. 7:21-23.
A Rebuilt Babylon?
● The government of Iraq has made plans to restore the ancient city of Babylon. It intends to spend about $6 million (U.S.) a year on a 10-year project to preserve and restore as many of the ruins as possible. Iraq has asked Japanese experts from Kyoto University to submit proposals on the project, including the “reconstruction” of the Tower of Babel. It is believed that the tower was at least 300 feet (91 m) in height and that it was a ziggurat or terraced pyramid used for religious worship. “All that exists now is grass and swamp on the tower site,” said one of the Japanese experts. In fact, Babylon is nothing but a ruin and its famed Procession Street “looks like the overgrown driveway of an untended European castle.”
Why did Babylon become such a forbidding ruin? Because of the people’s wickedness and ardent false religious worship, the God of heaven declared that Babylon would “become piles of stones” and that it “will never be inhabited.” (Jer. 51:37; Isa. 13:20) Does the current work of restoring Babylon mean that it is going to be inhabited? No, Iraq wants to create a “museum city,” in effect, a dead city—one only for tourists, not a residential area. Even if such a project is completed, a visit to Babylon would be like a visit to a museum, and a tourist could see with his own eyes the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
An “Insidious Motif”?
● During a visit to Australia, noted violinist Yehudi Menuhin commented on music’s hidden power, saying: “Music, of course, is very therapeutic. It releases all the pressures, but it can also build them. As a musician I have to listen to music . . . and I don’t like what is happening to a great deal of it today. I feel it is being manipulated towards violence. In so much there is a theme—no, not theme, theme is too strong—an insidious motif that is like the twisted speeches of demagogues. It pounds away not at the conscious level of the mind, but at the level below that. I don’t know why it is there, why it has been put there; just that it is there.”
Others, too, have noticed the subconscious effects of music. One scientific study revealed that certain musical rhythms affect the heart, arterial rhythms and brain synchronisms. Another report detailed the use of music in stores to increase impulse purchases. And, after 11 young men and women died at a rock concert in Cincinnati on December 3, 1979, an article in the New York “Times” questioned the influence of the music and reached this conclusion: “There is something inherently violent about rock music.”
Music motivates, for good or for bad. So use discernment when you listen to music. Guard against being victimized by an “insidious motif.” The apostle Paul said: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons.”—Eph. 5:15.