Insight on the News
Work Values Undermined
“Television is the biggest mass programmer of modern society,” claims Edward Cornish, president of the World Future Society, and it is “far more important than schools, parents or the churches.” He contends that television viewers “are being programmed with the following beliefs: Everyone is entitled to a high standard of living regardless of how little work they do. Work is, in fact, largely unnecessary because all serious problems can be solved by some sponsor’s product. Real effort must not go into one’s job because that would interfere with a person having fun, and . . . play—having fun—is the purpose of life.”
Speaking at a special conference in Washington, D.C., Mr. Cornish stated that while television personalities are shown in work situations, they are actually only playing, doing “pretend work—loafing at their jobs.” The result, he says, is that “TV programs are creating a generation of people who expect a standard of living, without having to do much to achieve it,” being programmed “to believe that real effort and self-discipline are unnecessary.”
This, of course, is not what God intended for man. He made man to work. (Genesis 2:15) Yet, although man would do hard work, it would be a pleasure and not a drudgery. God’s “gift,” says Ecclesiastes 3:13, is that “every man should eat and indeed drink and see good for all his hard work.” In addition, a God-fearing person is admonished to “do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work, that he may have something to distribute to someone in need.”—Ephesians 4:28.
‘World Falling Apart’
“The dominant impression,” writes international news analyst Gwynne Dyer concerning recent news events, “is that the world is falling apart.” Could it be that the headlines are distorting the reality? Not in this respect, says Dyer. “Things really are getting worse.” Writing in the newspaper, New Nigerian, Dyer states: “Throughout the year rumours of war in the developed countries, and actual war and civil violence elsewhere, overshadowed the acute global problems that would normally have commanded attention”—such as economic recession and world debt problems. And yet “the biggest and deadliest wars,” Dyer says, “got comparatively little attention, because they have been going on so long.”
This does not surprise serious Bible students, who were told to expect “wars and reports of wars” as a sign of ‘the conclusion of this system of things.’ (Matthew 24:3, 6, 7) But Jesus instructed his disciples not to be terrified at these worsening world conditions, saying: “Stand upright and hold your heads high, because your liberation is near.”—Luke 21:28, The New English Bible.
There is “compelling evidence,” states Newsweek magazine, “that churches are no longer secure sanctuaries—if they ever were—against moral confusion, theological ambiguity, social conflict and family disintegration.” What led to this conclusion? A recently published three-year study that, according to the article, “is of such depth and breadth that it raises serious questions about how all U.S. Christians interpret and practice their faith.” The report, says one church historian, shows a “‘pick-and-choose’ Christianity” where individual members select or reject beliefs according to their own spiritual goals. In fact, two thirds of those surveyed “saw no harm in rejecting some of their church’s doctrines.” Said one woman: “I feel that in religious training, as in any other thing, you are taught the basics. From those basics, you sort out what you want or pick it apart as you see fit.”
However, the apostle Paul, under inspiration, wrote that this was not to be the case with true Christians when he said: “Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you should all speak in agreement, and that there should not be divisions among you, but that you may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.”—1 Corinthians 1:10.