Insight on the News
“Though there weren’t stress tests and EKGs in the days of St. Luke, he was medically accurate when he wrote [quoting Jesus, Acts 20:35], ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,’” states Denise Foley in Prevention magazine. “We’ve always known that people with generous spirits tend to be happier, but now doctors are saying they’re healthier and live longer too.”
Why is this the case? One reason advanced is that the generous giving of oneself to others is an effective antidote to stress—a factor in many diseases, including hypertension and coronary heart disease. Additionally, studies have indicated that loneliness is a basic cause of premature death. “The mandate to ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself’ is not just a moral mandate,” says Dr. James Lynch of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “It’s a physiological mandate. Caring is biological. One thing you get from caring for others is you’re not lonely. And the more connected you are to life, the healthier you are.” But, say the researchers, benefits will be reaped only if the giver is truly giving from the goodness of his heart and not just to get something in return or to fill a need.
Such generosity not only results in physical benefits, but it also wins the approval of God. “God loves a cheerful giver,” says 2 Corinthians 9:7. To those manifesting such generous concern for his “brothers,” the King Jesus Christ says: “Come, . . . inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.” (Matthew 25:34-40) And it is genuine, loving interest in their neighbors that motivates Jehovah’s Witnesses to preach the “good news” of God’s Kingdom.—Matthew 24:14.
“From Embarrassing to Disastrous”
In late May, five people reportedly representing the Animal Liberation Front broke into a laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and stole 33 videotapes documenting brain-damaging experiments on baboons and monkeys. The break-in, another chapter in the long-standing controversy between researchers and animal welfare groups, involved university officials in hours of explanations to justify the experiments.
“From a public relations standpoint,” says the magazine Science, “some scenes on the tapes—which were made for documenting the research, not for public viewing—range from embarrassing to disastrous.” Animal welfare groups claimed the experiments were cruel. But researchers, besides denouncing the break-in, defended the experiments, maintaining that they could lead to the alleviation of much suffering in humans.
Although meaningful experiments may directly benefit humans, the Bible does not ignore the welfare of animals. The Mosaic Law provided for the merciful treatment of animals, even stipulating that they rest on the Sabbath. (Deuteronomy 22:10; Exodus 23:12) And a Bible proverb states: “A good man takes care of his animals, but wicked men are cruel to theirs.”—Proverbs 12:10, Today’s English Version.
“Just” Wars—How Just?
“Every war is a just war, in the opinion of those who are running it,” writes Gwynne Dyer in The Gazette of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. During World War II, even the Nazis contended that they were fighting a just war to restore what had been taken from the German people after their losses in the first world war. But, asks Dyer, “given that the Nazis were wrong and wicked—and also very powerful and dangerous—were their opponents really fighting a just war?”
No, he answers, for he holds that the war against the Third Reich was not started because of moral outrage over “the terrible things that were happening in lands under Hitler’s control. . . . The worst of those things, like the extermination camps,” writes Dyer, “did not occur until the war was well underway.” He adds that the war “was fought for all the classic reasons: Over land . . . and especially over power. . . . Seen in the longer perspective, the Second World War was only one more round in the endless competition of sovereign states for power and security, within an anarchic system regulated ultimately by military violence.”
Dyer’s comments bring to mind the Bible’s symbolic representation of world powers as beasts. (Daniel, chapters 7, 8; Revelation, chapters 13, 17) How appropriate, then, that Christians maintain neutrality! They realize that greed and selfishness—not morality—fuel the world’s wars.—John 17:16; 18:36.