Insight on the News
Dangers of Spiritism
● The newspaper “Diário de Pernambuco” tells of a monstrous crime in Olinda, Brazil, that illustrates the dangers of toying with spiritism. A man strangled his daughter, who was a year and five months old, and when questioned by police he said: “A spirit came down into my body and forced me to do this. I was disconcerted, not knowing what I was doing and finally I committed this foolishness.”
Relating what led to the crime, the man said that when doctors could not cure his illness, “I decided to accept the opinion of some friends and went to look for a voodoo priestess. I began to attend the ceremonies, and she prescribed for me a lot of fetishes, performed some voodoo rituals over me, and I got all right. Then she told me I should pay all the fetish obligations, otherwise terrible things would happen to me. Since I do not believe much in these things, I did not pay any attention to her threats. I did not do anything that she ordered to be done, and it all ended up in this happening to me.”
According to the newspaper, his story is not uncommon among the “macumba” (Brazilian voodoo) followers. Wisely, the Bible warns us to keep away from every practice associated with spiritism. Spiritism brings a person under the influence of unseen, but very real, evil powers: Satan the Devil and his demons.—2 Cor. 4:4; Gal. 5:20, 21; Rev. 21:8; 22:15.
‘Joyful Heart a Curer’
● “There appears to be considerable truth to the belief that the happier you are the longer you live,” stated “The Wall Street Journal.” It cited a study made of university graduates whose lives were followed for 32 years. It was found that chronic anxiety, depression and emotional maladjustment increased the risk of early aging, disability and death from physical illness. On the other hand, it was found that good mental health retarded the aging, the disability and the death rates. In the “best” adjusted group of men, 57 of 59 were still in excellent health by the age of 53. However, in the “worst” adjusted group only 30 of 48 were still in good health, the others having died or having become chronically ill.
Long ago, the Bible noted: “A heart that is joyful does good as a curer, but a spirit that is stricken makes the bones dry.” (Prov. 17:22) Similarly: “A joyful heart has a good effect on the countenance.” (Prov. 15:13) Many have found that, by turning to the Bible and learning about God and his purpose to establish a righteous new order on earth, they have considerably lessened their anxieties. Also, by doing God’s will they come under the influence of his powerful holy spirit that brings “love, joy, peace, . . . mildness, self-control,” all of which help to produce “a joyful heart.”—Gal. 5:22, 23.
No Rules Religion
● A national convention of the United Methodist Church reaffirmed that it is the most “open church in the country,” reported Denver “Post” religious editor Virginia Culver. She wrote: “The Church doesn’t have a statement or creed to which members must subscribe, and most members don’t want any such thing.” A minister of the church stated: “We trust in God’s love more than in institutions, or rituals or the Bible.” Evidently, each person is relatively free to believe what he wants, and to do what he wants, as though God had no specific rules for human behavior and worship.
How does this square with God’s view of the matter? “My law do not forget, and my commandments may your heart observe . . . Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:1, 5) “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Tim. 3:16.
Without using God’s own Word as a guide, an organization may call itself a religion, but it cannot be true Christianity. It is merely religious anarchy, which is common in the world. The bad fruitage of such religions shows that they do not originate with God.—Matt. 7:13-17.