Insight on the News
Armageddon—Fact or Fiction?
Educators assembled recently at USC (University of Southern California) to challenge the growing belief in the nearness of Armageddon’s war, the Biblical battle between God and the evil “kings of the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 16:14, 16) The program, sponsored by a humanist-oriented group, included Greek Scripture scholar James M. Robinson of the School of Theology at Claremont, reports the Los Angeles Times. Rather than upholding the Biblical warning of Armageddon as fact, Robinson claimed that the writers of the Greek Scriptures mixed “gimmicky and banal” elements with the teachings of Jesus in order to threaten people with destruction. Another speaker, Randel Helms, of Arizona State University, called the books of Daniel and Revelation “religious fictions.”
How should Christians react to such challenges aimed at God’s Word? The apostle Paul admonished Timothy to “have nothing to do with the pointless philosophical discussions and antagonistic beliefs of the ‘knowledge’ which is not knowledge at all.” Why? Because “by adopting this, some have gone right away from the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:20, 21, The Jerusalem Bible) Similarly, Peter wrote that “in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule . . . saying: ‘Where is this promised presence of his?’” Yet, Jehovah’s day, including Armageddon’s war, “will come as a thief.” Therefore, Peter cautioned Christians to stay spiritually alert by “keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.”—2 Peter 3:3, 4, 10, 12.
‘Churches Not Religious Enough’
“Many people simply do not find churches religious enough,” charges Edward Norman, Dean of Peterhouse, Cambridge, reports The Times of London. He sees churches acting “more as moral agencies and propagandists for social reform than as authentic vehicles of spiritual mysteries.” Churches in the United States are actively involved in social reform too. For the first time in this century, religious groups are applying pressure on business by raising “social and ethical issues within the corporation,” notes David E. Anderson of United Press International. Since many churches and religious orders hold stock, they can use the stockholder proxy resolution as a force to sway businesses to their religious views.
Although religious groups may have good intentions in promoting social reform, Jesus Christ expended his energy in “preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God.” (Luke 8:1) Jesus expects his followers to do the same because he knows that only God’s Kingdom will bring about lasting social reform.—Isaiah 32:1; Acts 1:8.
TV Violence and Adult Crime
Increases in adult crime result from the viewing of television violence, claims the longest study ever completed on the effects of TV violence on normal children. Dr. Leonard Eron and Dr. Rowell Huesmann, of the University of Illinois in Chicago, Department of Psychology, reported their findings at a recent conference on TV violence held in Toronto, Canada. In their report, children tested in 1960 at the age of eight were then studied 22 years later as adults. Boys who viewed more TV violence and those who preferred TV violence in 1960 were convicted of criminal offenses of a much more serious nature than those committed by other boys from the same classrooms.
What can parents do to shield their children from the harmful effects of TV’s unwarranted violence? They can select wholesome entertainment for their children. The Bible, at Philippians 4:8, offers this wise advice: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable . . . continue considering these things.” When both children and parents apply the principle of this scripture to their choice of entertainment, then peaceful attitudes will dominate over any urges toward violence.