Insight on the News
National Tax Fraud
The US Internal Revenue Service announced that if all taxes due on legitimate income were paid honestly, it would have collected an additional $87.2 billion for the tax year that ended last April 15. That would have been almost enough to wipe out the nagging federal budget deficit, which is around $100 billion. The majority of the unpaid taxes, $83.3 billion, was owed by private individuals through underreported income and inflated deductions. The tax agency estimated that illegal businesses—prostitution, gambling and drugs—cheated the government out of possibly as much as another $10 billion of taxes.
That tax fraud of this proportion is happening among people (including not a few prominent religious leaders) in a country where three quarters of its population are said to be Christians is a clear indication that the majority of them are “having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5) The Bible clearly points out that there is “compelling reason” for Christians to “render to all their dues, to him who calls for the tax, the tax.” What is that reason? “Not only on account of that wrath but also on account of your conscience.” (Romans 13:5, 7) So, rather than succumbing to the temptation to cheat, true Christians conscientiously follow Jesus’ direction: “Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.”—Matthew 22:21.
Atheism’s Rising Tide
According to the newly published, 1,010-page volume World Christian Encyclopedia, the condition of the world’s religions has gone through drastic changes since the beginning of the century. At that time, the churches of Christendom—Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox—claimed 34.4 percent of the world’s population, and atheism had a mere 0.2 percent following. That led to the optimistic goal of “the evangelization of the world in this generation.”
What is the situation after 80 years? The publication shows that while Christendom has declined to 32.8 percent, the tide of atheism has swollen to 20.8 percent of the world. Evidently, if world evangelization had to depend on Christendom, it would never be realized.
To the contrary, what is happening is actually a fulfillment of Bible prophecy regarding Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion: “She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen.” True worshipers of God must heed the prophecy’s further words: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” (Revelation 14:8; 18:4) Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses are helping sincere persons everywhere to get out of “Babylon,” and flee to God’s kingdom.—Matthew 24:14.
Contradictions of Psychology
A recent issue of Psychology Today presented what eleven of “the best minds in the field” considered to be “the most significant work in psychology” in the last fifteen years. The scholarly eighteen-page article prompted The New York Times to publish an editorial that, in part, says:
“The 11 Best Minds in psychology agree on hardly anything. . . . Several contributors mention experiments of their own. Well, if they think that, there is no need for false modesty. But no such work is cited by any other Best Mind except for purposes of criticism; each trumpet blower blows his own tune, which makes for a conspicuous absence of harmony.
“The failure of the 11 psychologists to agree on almost anything evinces a serious problem in their academic discipline. . . . Can psychology be taken seriously as science if even its leading practitioners cannot agree on its recent advances?”
It is just this sort of contradictory and high-minded pseudo knowledge that the apostle Paul advised Timothy to guard against: “Have nothing to do with the pointless philosophical discussions and antagonistic beliefs of the ‘knowledge’ which is not knowledge at all.”—1 Timothy 6:20, Jerusalem Bible.