Insight on the News
Fire Dancing Just a “Gimmick”?
● After watching a group of people dance on a bed of burning coals in Greece, a visiting American wanted to try it himself. He jumped onto the coals—but with disastrous results. He burned the skin off his soles. Not only was intense pain a problem, but he was almost lynched by the fire-dancing religionists who viewed him as desecrating their ceremony. Police had to rescue the screaming man from the mob.
“I thought that they just skipped over as quickly as possible, that it was largely a gimmick,” said the 29-year-old American from his hospital bed. He added: “The blind religious ecstasy the fire dancers are in when they do it is quite incredible. I would not advise anyone else to try it. All I managed to prove was that these people are genuine.”
Fire walking and fire dancing, appearing in many cultures, need not necessarily be viewed as a “gimmick” or trick. It can be “genuine” in the sense that superhuman forces are involved. Because wicked spirit forces are behind the magical and occult practices mentioned at Deuteronomy 18:10-12, the true God viewed such as “detestable” in his eyes. These demon angels understand methods of insulating flesh from hot surfaces.
Christ’s Position Ignored
● “The kingdom of God is a political one.” So said Anglican bishop Steven Mumba, as he encouraged Christians not to stand aloof from politics. Actually, the African bishop is merely reflecting the view of the Anglican leader Robert Runcie, archbishop of Canterbury, who said recently at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in New York city: “The church does not exist for itself, but to build the kingdom of God in the communities to which it is sent.”
When Christendom’s clergy link God’s kingdom with politics, they are not telling churchgoers what Christ’s position is on the matter. For example, Jesus refused to have any political dealings, even though kingship on earth was offered to him more than once. (Matt. 4:8-11; John 6:15) Jesus said his followers are “no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” And when questioned about his kingly authority, Jesus told the Roman governor Pontius Pilate: “My kingdom is no part of this world.”—John 17:16; 18:36.
“Heart Overrides Everything”
● Heart specialists now believe that about one third of heart patients have emotional problems after surgery. This often begins about the second day following the operation and may last about a week. Some patients become delirious; some suffer from weird dreams and hallucinations; others have severe bouts with anxiety and depression. To deal with the emotional problems that some patients have after surgery, heart surgeons and psychiatrists around the world recently formed an international consortium. The consortium would like doctors and nurses to pay as much careful attention to a patient’s emotional state after heart surgery as they do to heartbeats.
The specialists speak of the psychological significance of the heart. For example, psychiatrist Richard S. Blacher of Tufts–New England Medical Center in Boston says of the heart: “It’s a very special organ. People commonly think of it as the seat of emotions. In our minds, the heart overrides everything.”—“Newsweek,” May 25, 1981, p. 63.
How true it is that the heart tends to overrule the head, the seat of intellect! In view of this, the heart, above all else, must be disciplined and trained to respond to Bible guidance. It must be taught to appreciate spiritual qualities. These qualities spring from God. “More than all else that is to be guarded,” says God’s Word, “safeguard your heart, for out of it are the sources of life.”—Prov. 4:23; compare Matthew 15:19.