Insight on the News
God and Caesar
In a Nigerian Daily Times article, columnist Andy Akporugo said: “When the Lord Christ himself said ‘Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,’ he could not have intended Jehovah’s Witnesses to take it literally.” (Matthew 22:21) The columnist evidently thinks Jehovah’s Witnesses are going too far in putting God first when there is conflict between the demands of God and Caesar. In his argument columnist Akporugo appealed to 13th-century philosopher Thomas Aquinas, who combined non-Christian Aristotle’s teachings with Christian doctrine. The columnist also made reference to the thinking of non-Christian Plato and Islamic philosopher Ibn Kajldun. But should the opinions of non-Christian philosophers be the basis for understanding what Jesus meant?
Jesus’ words must be understood in the light of his statements that his Kingdom and his followers are “no part of this world” (John 17:16; 18:36), and that Christians should seek “first the kingdom” of God. (Matthew 6:33) Hence, Jehovah’s Witnesses rightly choose to “obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.
A Roman Catholic professor of religion recently commented on the pope’s granting an audience to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s leader, Yasser Arafat. “Many of us who consider ourselves Catholics,” wrote Harry James Cargas in the Los Angeles Times, “are deeply disappointed that Pope John Paul II would grant an audience to a terrorist under whose leadership children have been murdered in their schools simply because they were Jewish. . . . But perhaps there is no great surprise here. When the church’s Melchite-rite vicar of Jerusalem, Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, was sentenced to 12 years in an Israeli prison for smuggling ammunition and guns to Arab dissidents in Israel, the Vatican arranged for his release. The agreement was that Capucci would refrain from political acts, yet he has not only posed publicly embracing Arafat, he also has attended Palestine Liberation Organization meetings in Syria and Lebanon and toured Italy propagandizing on behalf of the PLO. The Vatican apparently has not reprimanded him.”
Professor Cargas went on to add: “We Catholics must also recognize the shame of the Crusades, the Inquisition, the institution of the ghetto, the pogroms. And of course there is the great silence of Pope Pius XII while Hitler’s policies to eliminate world Jewry were carried out in Christian Europe.”
How is such religious involvement with injustices to be viewed? Jesus Christ declared: “By their fruits you will recognize them. . . . A good tree cannot bear worthless fruit.”—Matthew 7:15-20.
Experts Find It “Hard to Swallow”
The Jewish newspaper Allgemeine Judische Wochenzeitung, published in Germany, recently interviewed Professor J. T. Radday, who used a computer to make a “linguistic analysis of Bible texts.” Certain Bible scholars have long denied that Moses was alone in his writing of the Pentateuch. The computer analysis revealed, however, that the book of Genesis “in all probability was written by one author.” The computer estimate of probability was 82 percent. “Is 82 percent high or not?” Professor Radday asked. In answer, he noted that the probability of Moses’ writership was “enormously high” compared to similar analyses of other writers’ works.
On the other hand, he said: “The experts—sorry to say—found it very hard to swallow. In other words, they have resisted it and no wonder: It is hard for somebody to give up a theory with which he not only is familiar, but with which he identifies, with which he has grown up and has personally taught for decades.” Such attitudes help us to understand why the apostle Paul declared: “Not many wise in a fleshly way were called . . . but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame.” Humble people are willing to be corrected, though their peers may think them to be foolish.—1 Corinthians 1:26, 27.