Insight on the News
“Does anyone really know why he’s a Christian?” asks the German newspaper Die Welt in an article on the Easter holidays. The question was raised because “a generation has grown up that may formally belong to the church, pay church taxes and more or less take advantage of its services,” says the article, “but it does not know even the most elementary thing about its faith.” In fact, their faith is “so blurred,” it adds, “that anything that fits a person’s fancy can now pass for Christianity.”
Similarly, a new Gallup poll conducted during the same holidays and reported on in The New York Times found that “America’s image of Jesus Christ is to some extent murky.” The survey notes “widespread commitment to Jesus” on the one hand and “prevalence of unorthodox belief” on the other, according to the Times. Illustrating the “low level of biblical knowledge” among those polled, it noted that 43 percent could not name even one of the four Gospels and nearly 60 percent did not know Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.
What a contrast this “blurred” and “murky” faith is to the true Christian faith! At Hebrews 11:1 the apostle Paul described it in these words: “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” Rather than being “anything that fits a person’s fancy,” Paul explained: “Faith follows the thing heard. In turn the thing heard is through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17) By diligently taking in accurate knowledge of God’s Word, the Bible, we can have the kind of faith that leads to everlasting life.—John 17:3.
“After the conquest of diphtheria, smallpox and polio,” says The Washington Post, people generally “believed that modern medicine had beaten infectious disease. More antibiotics and vaccines were coming, and more success was thought to be imminent.”
Has this belief proved true? The article continues: “Today, new epidemics are raging, one upon another, of diseases most people cannot even name. Each year, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia] investigates more than 1,000 new outbreaks of diseases such as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Legionnaires’ disease and toxic shock syndrome.”
Much of this is of man’s own doing, says the article. “Technological advances as diverse as air conditioning and tampons have created ideal breeding grounds for germs that had been around for millennia. Modern transportation has conveyed exotic germs into new populations.” Immoral life-styles have spread and worsened diseases such as AIDS.
The paradox of today’s ‘raging epidemics’ in the face of medical advances is unique. This, along with wars, famines and increasing crime, adds to the irrefutable evidence that is now fulfilling Jesus Christ’s great prophecy about “the conclusion of the system of things.” As part of that evidence, he specifically said that there would be pestilences “in one place after another.”—Matthew 24:3; Luke 21:10, 11.
Fear Grips Children
“On the earth [there will be] anguish of nations, not knowing the way out . . ., while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” That was another part of the “sign” given by Jesus Christ in his prophecy on “the conclusion of the system of things.”—Luke 21:25, 26; Matthew 24:3.
Today such fear is affecting not only grown-ups but also children. Dr. Ruth Formanek, a child psychologist and a professor of education at Hofstra University in the state of New York, notes how fear grips today’s youngsters. In reporting on her findings, the Liverpool Daily Post says: “In a study of 400 children conducted in 1935 the fears that came up most frequently were animals, dark rooms, high places, strange persons.” Now, Dr. Formanek says, “children still have these fears but they have been greatly added to.” They worry about their parents getting divorced, their fathers getting cancer, their mothers becoming drug addicts and the possibility of nuclear war. Then she adds: “I am amazed at how depressed children can become. They have so many worries today.”