Insight on the News
Confessing Their Bloodguilt
“We called the war [World War II] a holy war and sent people to battlefields,” admitted Shingen Hosokawa, the secretary-general of the Temple Office of the Buddhist True Pure Land Otani Sect in Japan. “We cannot but be overwhelmed with shame in front of the holy Buddha.” At a recent “Memorial Service for All War Dead,” 45 years after the end of World War II, the sect, with over five million believers, admitted its responsibility in “willingly cooperating in [the war efforts of] World War II.” “There is no precedent for a traditional Buddhist order clearly to state its own war responsibility at a religious ritual,” noted the Asahi Shimbun.
However, should not far more religions be “overwhelmed with shame” for having urged many young men to go to war? According to the Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan, virtually all Buddhist, “Christian,” and Shinto denominations in Japan formed a Religious League in 1941 “to provide a spiritual bulwark for the nation in wartime.”
Not surprisingly, referring to the world empire of false religion as “Babylon the Great,” the Bible says: “Yes, in her was found the blood . . . of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.” (Revelation 18:2, 24) Will Jehovah God, the Giver of human life, call those religionists to account for their bloodguilt? The same chapter of Revelation graphically describes what will happen to Babylon the Great, stating: “A strong angel lifted up a stone like a great millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying: ‘Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again.’”—Revelation 18:21.
Lack of Priests
Buddhist sects in Japan are haunted by the problem of abandoned temples. Neighbors of temples without resident priests are objecting to vagrants’ loitering in the temple area as well as to the danger of fire erupting. The Zen Buddhist Myoshinji sect decided to handle the problem by either disposing of temples or merging them with those nearby. More than 20 percent of the Myoshinji sect’s 3,500 temples throughout Japan either do not have a resident priest or are served by priests from nearby temples.
Why the plight? “The sect is having difficulty finding successors to retiring priests,” explains The Daily Yomiuri, “and young priests have resisted postings to temples in depopulated areas.” The sect tried to train retired workers as priests but has already abandoned the scheme. Although the Myoshinji say that “this is not an age when the number of temples in existence is proof of strength,” it is undeniable that their influence is waning.
Interestingly, the Bible book of Revelation foretells that the waters of the Euphrates, on which the worldwide religious system—“Babylon the Great”—is seated, will ‘dry up.’ (Revelation 16:12; 18:2, 9, 11) What do the waters represent? “The waters that you saw . . . mean peoples and crowds and nations and tongues.” (Revelation 17:15) A drying up of “the waters,” or supporters, is clearly taking place in the Oriental realm of Babylon the Great.
The Perfect Solution
“The looming threats we now face . . . have so much momentum that unless action begins now to reverse them, they will inevitably lead to paralyzingly costly economic consequences and the collapse of social and political institutions,” states Worldwatch Institute, based in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Last year the institute’s annual report warned that death-dealing heat waves, droughts, and floods were merely a foretaste of the more serious calamities yet to befall the already battered earth. Areas targeted in the report for immediate attention include population control, energy efficiency, reforestation, and famine prevention. However, the institute says that an immediate ‘global plan of action’ and ‘profound changes in man’s behavior pattern’ are needed to obtain positive results.
Can we expect to see a global plan that will bring profound changes in our time? Yes, but not through the efforts of any man or group of men. Why not? Because the prophet Jeremiah wrote centuries ago: “To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” Rather, the Bible promises that Jehovah God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth” and will “set matters straight” to benefit earth’s inhabitants.—Jeremiah 10:23; Revelation 11:18; Micah 4:3, 4.