Insight on the News
“All in Good Fun”?
“Suddenly, I spotted movement, an enemy soldier. I crouched behind a tree and sighted through my Uzi machine gun, awaiting a clear shot. The adrenaline coursed through my veins. My temples throbbed.” Such were the intense emotions that gripped this soldier. Then, unexpectedly, a stinging pain ripped into his side. “I looked down and saw red oozing from my camouflage fatigues. I had been hit. It was all over for me.”
Yet 20 minutes later he was fighting again. How is this possible? Simply because this soldier had not been hit with a real bullet. He was participating in a war game at a mock battlefield—one of many throughout North America—where customers pay to fight, reports The Express of Easton, Pennsylvania. Using rented air guns, modeled after Israeli Uzi machine guns, two opposing teams try to “kill” each other with pellets that splatter water-soluble dye on their targets, eliminating their enemies from the game. The object is to capture the enemy team’s flag. “It’s all in good fun,” says an advertising brochure.
But Thomas Radecki, chairman of the National Coalition on Television Violence, says that a dozen research experts on the effects of aggression agreed unanimously that “this game would be likely to increase people’s tendency toward anger and aggression in general.” Whether that is true or not, could genuine Christians participate? The Scriptures admonish them to be “gentle toward all,” not “stirring up competition with one another.” (2 Timothy 2:24; Galatians 5:26) Additionally, the prophetic words of Isaiah 2:4, “neither will they learn war anymore,” apply to God’s people today. They avoid amusements that promote warlike thinking, and “pursue the things making for peace.”—Romans 14:19.
“We need to discredit the belief held by many scientists that science will ultimately deliver the final truth about everything,” says Nobel laureate Sir John Eccles, a pioneer in brain research. Citing some examples, he says that by learning more about the brain, “many scientists and interpreters of science . . . argue that someday science will explain values, beauty, love, friendship, aesthetics and literary quality.” But, concludes Eccles, “that view is nothing more than a superstition.” The basic questions of life (Who am I? Why am I here? and so forth) “are all mysteries that are beyond science,” adds Eccles. He thus reminds us that much of what is called science today is really based on shaky human thinking.
Wrote the psalmist: “It is better to take refuge in Jehovah than to trust in earthling man.” (Psalm 118:8) Why is this true? In part because science cannot go beyond the material world. But Jehovah has infinite knowledge and gives us satisfying explanations of our origin, our makeup, and our purpose for living. (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:4; Ecclesiastes 12:13) Nevertheless, the Bible says that some things are beyond human understanding. (Psalm 139:1-6; Romans 11:33) Wisely, then, let us not overestimate what science will do.
The term “whistle-blower” has come to describe a venturesome government or corporate employee who exposes high-level illegalities or abuses. But, says psychiatrist Donald R. Soeken, who runs a counseling service for such people, “whistle blowers end up with a variety of emotional and physical problems.” He cites conditions like depression, paranoia, and stress-related disorders. Many of his clients, most of whom are federal employees, “act out of a sense of moral outrage,” says The New York Times in reporting Soeken’s views, “believing somewhat naïvely that the system will ultimately support their cause and even reward them.” When “the system” does not do so, or even punishes them, “the psychological effect can be devastating,” says the report.
Today many people wish to see justice meted out to those in power who commit illegal acts. But “the system,” or any worldly organization, rarely rights the wrong. Why is this too much to expect? Because, says the Bible, “that which is made crooked cannot be made straight.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15; 1 John 5:19) Yet, if righteously inclined people cannot bring about improvements, who can? Only God can, and he will do so soon. Under his Kingdom government, all corruption will be eliminated. The effect on all earth’s inhabitants will be delightful.—Daniel 2:44; Psalm 37:37-40.