Insight on the News
Owning a Bible Not Enough
A recent study found that of people who own Bibles, half said they never read them. This included many who identify themselves as born-again Christians. Nearly 30 percent of the professed Christians polled did not know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. According to The Detroit News, “eighteen percent answered Jerusalem, while 8 percent said Nazareth.” George Barna, head of the survey group, said: “If they are uninformed about elementary things such as these, how can they be expected to intelligently discuss the content of the Scriptures with an unbeliever or to live in a manner consistent with biblical principles?”
The apostle Paul observed a similar situation among some who had “a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge.” He also referred to some who had “a self-imposed form of worship and mock humility” and foretold that “the last days” would be marked by the presence of those “having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” (Romans 10:2; Colossians 2:23; 2 Timothy 3:1-5) True Christians, however, hold the Word of God in high esteem. They recognize that owning a Bible is not enough. Rather, they wholeheartedly comply with its admonition to “form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word.”—1 Peter 2:2.
Addicted to Lawlessness
One of the features listed by Jesus Christ as part of “the sign” of the last days of this system of things is “the increasing of lawlessness.” (Matthew 24:3, 12) Drug abuse has had a dramatic influence on the escalation of lawlessness today. For example, the Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald reports that seven out of ten crimes committed in New South Wales are drug related, and about 85 percent of the armed robberies in the state are committed by heroin users. And the problem of drug abuse is growing.
U.S.News & World Report says that “no place in Europe is immune from the plague.” In the Soviet Union, the number of drug abusers is estimated to be in the millions. In a desperate attempt to stem the tide of drug abuse, the Soviet government has opened negotiations with drug-enforcement agencies in 25 countries. However, hopes that governments will achieve such goals seem unrealistic in the face of reports that drug profits are being used to corrupt policemen, prosecutors, and even judges. Said one frustrated government official: “There is no police force in the world which has made more than a dent in stopping the supply [of drugs] hitting the streets.” He added: “It’s depressing because there are never any solutions put forward.”
Such words bring to mind Jesus’ prophecy regarding the last days. He foretold that at this time ‘men would become faint out of fear, not knowing the way out.’—Luke 21:25, 26.
Jesus and Politics
A headline in The Star of Johannesburg, a South African newspaper, read: “Catholic Church Unveils Pastoral Plan for SA.” The plan is to “bring about the kingdom of God” in South Africa through “a determined bid by the church to eliminate racial discrimination.” To achieve this objective, Jude Pieterse, secretary-general of the South African Catholic Bishops Conference, says that the church is seeking the support of other churches as well as “all facets of South African society.” However, some Catholics feel that the plan is a “plot by the Bishops to turn Catholics into political activists,” explains Johannesburg’s bishop, Reginald Orsmond. While Pieterse admitted that the plan had political implications, Orsmond said that it was “nothing new” but was “as old as Jesus himself.”
Actually, Jesus Christ would never have directed his disciples to become political activists. When questioned by Pontius Pilate, Jesus firmly replied: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) Also, more than three million of Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy racial harmony within their ranks because they live in accord with Jesus’ ‘new commandment, that they love one another; just as Jesus loved them’—not just in South Africa, but worldwide!—John 13:34.