Could a German Become the Next Pope?

Could a German Become the Next Pope?

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Pope John Paul II is dead. The question of who will replace him has far more significance than most people realize!

Now that Pope John Paul ii has died, it will only be a matter of days before the world meets his successor. The role this man will play on the world scene in the coming months and years simply cannot be understated.

The Trumpet has pointed out many times over recent years that the next pope will be an arch-conservative—and almost certainly the man to bring to fruition some of the most dreadful of end-time biblical prophecies. (See “The Next Pope,” from May 2000.)

Our June 2002 issue stated of the next pope: “Right wing he shall be, doctrinaire will be his mindset.” Relating how the present pope has increased the political power and diplomatic influence of the Vatican on the world scene—as witnessed by the Vatican’s hand in the fall of the Communist ussr and more recently the break-up of Yugoslavia—the Trumpet declared, “The next pope will enforce the spiritual power of the church!”

There is one powerful man within the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy who has the perfect credentials. He is one of the men vouching for the pope’s ability to make “essential decisions” (Washington Post, March 31). It just so happens that he appears to be one of the primary contenders for the job: the ultra-conservative German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The Trumpet has often referred to the powerful position Ratzinger has held for the past 24 years. As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the infamous Inquisition, he holds the most influential position in the Catholic Church under John Paul. The department he controls oversees moral and theological issues and is responsible for enforcing church doctrine—or fighting “heresy,” just like the old Inquisition.

Ratzinger has worked closely with John Paul for over 20 years to actively remove liberal elements from the church and to re-establish Vatican authority. “From the very beginning of his pontificate John Paul ii decided to systematically crush dissent by Catholic theologians and to marginalize critics so they would no longer stir up unwanted discussion within the church. With the appointment of Joseph Ratzinger as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in November 1981, it became clear that this was official policy” (Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi, His Holiness).

In support of this policy, many cardinals who demonstrated liberal tendencies on doctrine were removed. The leadership of the Catholic Church in Latin America, for example, was basically replaced with men who toed the Vatican party line. Similarly, Australian bishops “were carpeted in the 1990s for allowing a church culture that was seen as too egalitarian and open to secular influences” (Australian,February 28). A cardinal hand-chosen by Rome was sent down under “to pull Sydney into line.” The pope also appointed conservatives to run liberal churches in numerous other countries such as India, Austria, Argentina, the Netherlands, Canada and Brazil (ibid.).

The appointment of right-wing traditionalists was not only to ensure conformity to church doctrine and loyalty to Rome, but also to guarantee the election of a similarly minded pope after John Paul has passed from the scene. Of the 119 cardinals who currently have a vote on who his successor will be, John Paul has personally appointed all but three. By stacking the deck with like-minded cardinals, the pope has ensured that his successor will be a right-winger who shares his conservative theology and morality. The Australian reports that, at most, only 30 of the 119 might be considered liberals (ibid.); the number is probably much smaller than this. Regardless, with just a two-thirds majority needed to elect the new pope, he will be a conservative. Not only that, but John Paul instituted a fail-safe plan: He changed the rules so that if there is any disagreement on a candidate, the new pope can be elected by a simple majority.

Eberhard von Gemmingen, director of the German-language arm of Radio Vatican, believes that Ratzinger is one of the most promising candidates. “In the conclave [the electoral body of cardinals who will elect the next pope],” he said, “he could very well receive a majority of votes during the first round of voting” ( Der Spiegel,February 14). Ratzinger is popular and highly respected among cardinals from various parts of the world.

“To his detractors, Ratzinger is rigid and doctrinaire: to his admirers his firm hand guides the church along true conservative lines” (United Press International, February 25). Ratzinger’s candidacy for the papacy “is said to have wide support in the church” (ibid.).

In recent years he has toned down his hard-line image by being more reserved in public and has even at times issued liberal statements to soften his persona. “There was a stigma,” said one Vatican insider of Ratzinger. “He rises above that now” (Time, January 10).

Some church officials have thought that Ratzinger, 78 this April, is too old to be “pope material.” This however, could actually be one of his biggest advantages, according to Deutsche Welle(February 10). With the uncharacteristically long reign of the current pope, some in the church believe a “transitional pope” would be a good thing. Thus Ratzinger has the potential of pleasing both the conservatives, by virtue of his uncompromising commitment to hard and fast Catholic dogma, and those who oppose him, by the consolation that he could not remain as long in the post as his predecessor. It seems Ratzinger himself is using this fact to his advantage, saying if he were to become pontiff, he would be prepared “to give up the job after a few years” (ibid.).

In February, the bbc reported that the “destiny of Europe is preoccupying the Vatican.” Cardinals have complained of an “anti-Catholic inquisition” from a liberal element within the EU (February 11). With a mood like this, high-ranking Catholic clergy may see Ratzinger as just the man to solve the “problem.” Referring to the decline of Catholic practice in Western Europe, the March 5 Spectator pointed out that Ratzinger—who has been “forthright and fearless in confronting secularism and defending the orthodox teaching” of the Catholic Church—“sees clearly what is at stake.” As a Vatican official told Time, “The Ratzinger solution is definitely on” (op. cit.).

Certainly, the coming pope will be one for whom the “destiny of Europe” will be of prime concern. Seven resurrections of the war-mongering Holy Roman Empire are prophesied to occur in chapters 13 and 17 of Revelation. Six of these resurrections have already occurred. (Read about these in our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, which is free upon request.) The reason the identity of the next pope is of particular interest is that this man is likely to be one of the two most powerful leaders of the seventh resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire—an empire that will thrust the world into World War iii! As editor in chief Gerald Flurry has stated, “Over the past 1,500 years there have been six resurrections of the ‘Holy’ Roman Empire. Most of the time this empire revolved around Germany and the Vatican, along with Italy” (June 2000). The seventh resurrection, which is now in the making, will once again revolve around Germany and the Vatican. And a German pope may be just the man to bring the two together. Watch Joseph Ratzinger.

Terrorists and Technology

What many Israeli’s thought was a “noisy” Unidentified Flying Object (UFO), was actually a new technology owned by one of the Middle East’s most successful terrorist groups. An actual UFO might have been a more comforting sight for Israel.

Hezbollah, one of the Middle East’s most notorious terrorist groups, successfully launched an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in November last year. This fact is surprising but not overly alarming; the flight path of the UAV, however, was not surprising but extremely alarming.

Within minutes of its take-off in Lebanon, the UAV flew undetected into Israeli air space; even soaring over the northern Israeli town of Nahariya. After flying undetected for about 30 minutes, the UAV safely landed close to the shore on the Lebanese side of the Mediterranean Sea.

The next day, Hezbollah was quick to trumpet its achievement, and released a 20-minute video containing footage taken from the UAV’s flight. It also claimed that the aircraft could penetrate silently and “deeply” into Israel’s borders.

The Atlantic Monthlyhighlighted further details of Hezbollah’s UAVs: “[T]he aircraft[s] can carry a payload of up to 88 pounds, making it an attractive option for launching a covert attack with chemical or biological weapons” (March 2005). 9/11 and this example clearly prove that many terrorist groups have a variety of options besides strapping explosives to the sweaty chest of a suicide bomber when it comes to attacking their targets.

Today’s well-financed terrorist groups are gaining access to some of the most advanced technology around. It is believed that Hezbollah has not one, but eight of these UAVs. Not surprisingly, Israeli intelligence believes that the UAVs were graciously donated to Hezbollah by none other than Iran—the head of the terrorist snake.

The fact that Hezbollah has a number of unmanned aircraft vehicles that could potentially drop chemical, biological or nuclear weapons is frightening—particularly if you live in Israel. More than that, Hezbollah’s UAVs disprove the perception that terrorist organizations are mostly backwood groups that tramp around the desert, moving from cave to cave, fighting battles with broken bottles and primitive explosives.

The military arsenal at the disposal of many terrorist organizations clearly goes much deeper than this. Thanks to nations like Iran, many terrorists have access to some the most advanced and dangerous technology available to man. Hezbollah has unmanned aircraft vehicles that it can fly undetected deep into Israel’s borders. Reports indicate that al Qaeda might already possess a nuclear weapon.

How frightening that these dangerous technologies are making it into the hands of some of the world’s most dangerous and volatile men. Many commentators and government officials say it is only a matter of time before Israel and the United States are attacked by terrorists using these technologies.

This need not occur. There is one way that terrorism could be eradicated from the world scene. It is spelled out in our booklet titled The King of the South.

China’s African Solution

As an aspiring superpower, China has needs. Obviously, money is one of them. It also needs raw material resources and the political support of other nations, which isn’t granted it simply because it has the highest population in the world.

Beijing has a specific strategy to solve these issues: the African solution. More than any other superpower, the Chinese government is building economic and political influence in economically poor but resource rich African nations.

Take Zimbabwe as a specific example:

  • China sent crates of T-Shirts to help support the ruling party in parliamentary elections.
  • Even though the west has an arms embargo on Zimbabwe, China has begun to deliver 12 fighter jets and 100 trucks to Zimbabwe’s army.
  • The Chinese donated cobalt blue tile for the roof of President Mugabe’s $9 million mansion—also designed by a Chinese business.
  • A Chinese business reportedly “provided a radio-jamming device for a military base outside the capital, preventing independent stations from balancing state-controlled media during the election campaign” (Christian Science Monitor, March 30).
  • President Mugabe himself refers to the Chinese as “our good friends,” which he should. It is difficult for a ruler whose agricultural program has crippled his country and who has a known record for human rights violations to find support from any nation, much less one as influential as China.

    Why would the Chinese support a despot like Mugabe? Two reasons: 1) He provides them with money. Between 2003 and 2004, China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. signed a series of contracts worth $300 million to rebuild Zimbabwe’s electricity grid, just one example of many deals in the works between Chinese businesses and Zimbabwe. 2) The Chinese want as much political support when opposed to the U.S. as they can get. As the Wall Street Journal put it: “China is courting other countries to support its plan to reassert political authority over Taiwan and seeking a counterweight against U.S. power in global bodies such as the United Nations” (March 29).

    Zimbabwe is one country in an African region now filled with Chinese activity, apparently free of the ethical limitations that lock U.S. businesses out of similar opportunities. When Ethiopia went to war with Eritrea in the late 1990s, the U.S. greatly reduced its presence and China moved in. Now “Chinese companies have become a dominant force, building highways and bridges, power stations, mobile-phone networks, schools and pharmaceutical plants. More recently, they have begun exploring for oil and building at least one Ethiopian military installation.” In 1997, the U.S. government barred Sudanese oil investment by U.S. companies because the Sudanese government sponsored terrorism and engaged in human rights violations; since that time, China has invested $2 billion in the Sudanese oil industry. Last year, China deflated U.S. efforts to levy sanctions on Sudan by threatening to use its veto, protecting its oil investment despite genocide in the region.

    These activities are only a small sampling of China’s dealings in Africa, which span the continent. They do illustrate, however, the ethical boundaries Beijing is willing to cross to oppose the U.S., to bring African resources to China, and to establish itself as a bona fide superpower.

    Eurasian Democracy Concerns Russia

    The wave of democratic revolutions occurring in Central Eurasia is a pleasing sight to America and Europe. Not everyone, however, is overjoyed with these changes.

    Two weeks ago, the people of land-locked Kyrgyzstan revolted and overthrew the corrupt government of President Askar Akayev. Labeled the “Tulip Revolution,” the Kyrgyzstan revolt could prove to be the first of a number of democratic revolutions in Central Asia. “The outcome [of the new Kyrgyzstan government] is critically important for people living in the Central Eurasian region from Belarus to Uzbekistan who hope for a democratic future” (Wall Street Journal, March 29). If the Kyrgyzstan revolution proves succesful, it is likely that further democratic revolutions could occur in surrounding nations.

    Any democratic transformation in a Central Asian nation, particularly one that leads to the establishment of a pro-Western government, will be embraced by both Europe and America.

    Russia, however, is approaching governmental changes in Central Asia more pessimistically. With the election of pro-European governments in both Ukraine and Georgia, Russia has seen the European Union’s sphere of influence expand to within a few hundred miles of its capital city, Moscow. As Western Europe’s influence in Eastern Europe has increased, so too has America’s. U.S. military bases have been established throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia—including Kyrgyzstan. The way Moscow sees it, Russia is being surrounded by both of its traditional enemies!

    It is sure that Russian President Vladimir Putin will wrestle against the establishment of any pro-Western democracy in Central Asia. Putin’s conduct during the Ukrainian elections proves that he will not idly sit by and casually observe the establishment of any nearby pro-Western democracy. Watch for Putin to try to solidify Russian ties with Central Asian nations. Moscow’s diplomatic rhetoric with these nations is sure to intensify in the coming weeks and months.

    If further democratic revolutions occur in Central Asia, and pro-Western governments are established, President Putin will respond by seeking alternate allies and strengthening his present alliances. This is where China and the rest of Asia enter the equation.

    As Europe and America continue to influence and even control the nations on Russia’s western and southern borders, Moscow will continue to establish closer relations with its eastern neighbors. This trend is already occurring, but it will grow stronger.

    President Putin’s Russia is under intense pressure. The treaties and economic ties Moscow currently has with Europe are nothing more than mutually beneficial, short-term agreements. Russia has been involved in two world wars against a German-led European alliance. Neither Russia nor Germany has forgotten the ferocious history between these two nations.

    You can be sure that Russia is concerned about the establishment of pro-Western democracies in Central Asia. Unless any new governments serve his agenda, Putin will do his best to thwart these attempts. On top of this, Putin will augment his alliance with China and the rest of Asia. For more information about this Sino-Soviet alliance, see our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

    What’s Behind Corporate Corruption?

    What’s Behind Corporate Corruption?

    Paiwei Wei/iStock

    The competitive, high-stakes corporate world seems bedeviled by crookedness. Do you know why? There is a cause!
    From the May 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

    In 1999, 51 of the top 100 economies in the world were corporations. Comparing corporate sales to country gdp (gross domestic product), only 49 of the biggest economies were countries, according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies.

    To put this in perspective, today Sony’s sales are bigger than Syria’s gdp; ibm is bigger than New Zealand; General Electric is bigger than Venezuela; General Motors is bigger than Portugal; and Wal-Mart is now bigger than Saudi Arabia! The study also showed that sales revenue of the world’s top 200 conglomerates was growing faster than worldwide gdp and by 1999 equaled 27.5 percent of total world gdp.

    These facts illustrate the sheer wealth associated with modern business. Throughout most of human history, wealth has proceeded from political power. In the last two centuries, however, with the development and growth of democracy and free-market economies, a new dynamic has emerged. The fortunes amassed by business barons like Rockefeller, Rothschild and Vanderbilt proved that great affluence was no longer conditioned upon political heritage or first acquiring political power. The new road to fame and fortune, at least in those countries with developed market economies, was paved by business.

    Today, the really big incomes are derived not from the political arena, but from the corporate sector. Some of the richest people on Earth are Bill Gates (Microsoft founder), Warren Buffett (world-renowned investor) and the descendants of Sam Walton (Wal-Mart founder). Indeed, the salaries of politicians and public officials pale into insignificance when compared to today’s corporate executives.

    The executives who run these corporate behemoths routinely wrestle with a mountainous pile of challenges. At the same time, they are expected to outwit and outmaneuver their fiercest competitors.

    Many of the “winners” in this high-stakes competition are unscrupulous and ruthless—dishonest at best. Do you know why? In this article, we will expose the root cause of corporate corruption.

    Corporate Power and Influence 

    As human nature would have it, the colossal economic clout of today’s corporations has manifested itself in the political process: Corporations now wield an enormous amount of influence in the political sphere. In the United States, campaign contributions from big business, designed to influence political agendas, are legendary. In the 2000 elections, 94 percent of successful contenders for the House of Representatives outspent their opponents. It’s a plain and simple fact that one cannot expect to be elected to government office without a huge wad of money to spend. Those who control the corporate coffers are all too eager to oblige the needy candidate—as long as there’s a good chance the company will benefit from it.

    Of course, corporations also spend an enormous amount of cash to lobby elected politicians in the corridors of power in Washington, d.c. Most of the big companies have “government relations” offices on or near K street—the most active lobbying center in the world. Professional lobbyists are paid to advocate the interests of the company they work for. It’s estimated, for example, that the pharmaceutical industry has more lobbyists than Capitol Hill has legislators!

    In a letter to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson said, “Of all the mischiefs … none is so afflicting, and fatal to every honest hope, as the corruption of the legislature.” Human nature hasn’t changed. Over 200 years later, the captains of industry dish out tens of millions of dollars to American legislators, which they readily accept. Some have called this legalized bribery.

    For example, legislation often gives big companies enough tax loopholes, rebates and credits that they pay no income taxes. Under President Bush, these tax breaks have been greatly expanded according to Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. In a report they jointly published in September 2004, they point out that 46 of America’s 275 largest corporations paid no federal income taxes in 2003—none. Furthermore, for the years 2001 through 2003, 82 of those companies (30 percent) paid no federal income taxes in at least one of those years. All 275 companies were profitable in each of the three years. Overall, corporate federal income tax payments from all U.S. corporations fell by 21 percent during the same time period, while pretax corporate profits grew by 26 percent,

    When corporate funds grease the wheels of politics, corporate exploits go largely unchecked. Take the more than 11,000 toxic Superfund sites in the U.S. (A Superfund site is land that has been contaminated by hazardous waste and declared by the Environmental Protection Agency to pose a risk to human health and/or the environment.) The law that required industrial polluters to pay for the cleanup costs expired in 1995 and was not renewed. Now the taxpayers are expected to pay. Some of the worst sites are from mining operations. The General Mining Act of 1872—still in force—allows mining companies to buy government land for a paltry $5 an acre (1872 prices), extract whatever minerals they find, and pay no royalties to the government—not even to help offset the costs of cleaning up the abandoned sites.

    In this age of environmental consciousness, is there any doubt that the mining lobby is deeply entrenched in Washington?

    Some politicians admit to the influence of mammon in government. In America’s lawmaking bodies, “People who contribute get the ear of the member and the ear of the staff. They have the access, and access is it. Access is power. Access is clout. That’s how this thing works”—former Rep. Romano Mazzoli (Associated Press, April 25, 1995). The New York Times quoted Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who said: “Money! It is money! Money! Money! Not ideas, not principles, but money that reigns supreme in American politics!” (March 20, 1997).

    In essence, our democracy “for the people” has been transformed into a government for the highest bidder.

    Corporate Corruption 

    One of the lessons of human history is that unchecked power tends to become a corrupting force. It’s the road human nature travels. Corporations, after all, are run by people. So as corporate power grows, corporate corruption often follows in its path.

    It’s been over three years since the poster child for corporate fraud—Enron—filed for bankruptcy. On paper, it was the seventh-biggest company in the U.S. When massive fraud was revealed and Enron collapsed, thousands were thrown out of work. The price tag for employees, investors and pensioners was estimated to be a staggering $100 billion.

    WorldCom perpetrated an $11 billion fraud by hiding expenses and inflating profits. Adelphia executives were charged with squandering company assets for personal pleasure. Prosecutors seek penalties of $2.5 billion. Rite Aid inflated its net income by $1.6 billion, then destroyed documents and fabricated others to cover up the fraud. These are just a few examples of egregious conduct where not millions, but billions of dollars were misappropriated!

    What role do the big brokerage firms play? They’re supposed to give investors sound advice about a company’s health. In 2002, the independent firm of Weiss Ratings released a study that revealed, “Even when there was abundant evidence that companies were on the verge of bankruptcy, over 90 percent of the latest ratings issued by brokerage firms continued to tell investors to hold their shares or buy more.” They looked the other way if money could be made from commissions.

    Merrill Lynch was caught recommending stocks of failing companies to mainstream investors while forewarning some very wealthy investment bankers that those same stocks were “junk.” It appears it was willing to make money off the little guys but refrained from giving bad advice to its wealthiest clients for fear of losing their business.

    The world’s largest insurance broker, Marsh and McLennan, was sued late last year by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Rather than get the best insurance policy prices for their clients, as they are required to do, Marsh brokers allegedly received kickbacks from select insurance companies to steer corporate clients their way. Marsh has also been accused of rigging bids. When Spitzer first announced the probe last October, he said, “The damages are vast; the corruption is remarkable.”

    One might hope that corporate boards could do something to stem the scandals. In reality, to most sensible people, board directors seem very lax toward the executives they oversee. For example, the ceo of PeopleSoft admitted he lied to Wall Street analysts and misled investors with his comments about Oracle’s attempted takeover at the time. Result? Although he was fired, the board approved about $50 million in severance pay and benefits!

    After immense pressure, Fannie Mae’s board recently let its ceo go under a cloud of very serious allegations dating back to 1998, including sales of mortgages known to be bogus, earnings misstatements of at least $9 billion and manipulation of accounting entries affecting millions of dollars in bonuses for himself and several other executives. Now the board says he is due a bonus and more than $19 million in deferred compensation and stock. Plus, they want to give him retirement money of $1.4 million per year and pay the premiums on his multi-million-dollar life insurance policy!

    Another example is the giant drug company Merck. An estimated 139,000 people have either died or had serious side effects after using Merck’s popular painkiller Vioxx, which in 2003 raked in sales of $2.5 billion. There is evidence that Merck knew as early as 1999 that Vioxx could cause heart attacks and strokes. Last November, just two months after Merck, under intense pressure, pulled Vioxx off the market, the board approved golden parachutes for 230 of its executives. In case their jobs are jeopardized in the future, the severance plan (even if they quit voluntarily) would give executives bonuses and one-time payments of up to three years’ salary!

    The bottom-line message to wayward corporate executives seems to be that as long as the company is profitable, they will be taken care of with fat retirement and severance pay even if practices are not quite legal.

    Pfizer has had similar problems to Merck with its painkiller Celebrex. Over the last seven years or so, many drugs have been pulled off the market after initial approval by the Food and Drug Administration (fda). So why do these drugs get approved by the fda in the first place? Are they tested as rigorously as they should be? It appears the drug companies have a good deal of influence at the fda.

    In 1992, the drug industry negotiated a deal with the fda. In exchange for a faster review process of new drugs, the drug companies pay user fees to the fda. These fees now pay more than half the salaries of the review staff! Also, most fda employees either used to work for drug companies or plan to in the future. This is known as “revolving door” access. Moreover, many of the fda employees have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

    On top of that, fda advisory committees, according to a USA Today study published Sept. 25, 2000, are not truly independent. The experts on these committees advise the fda on whether to approve a drug, what warning labels are appropriate, and how evaluations should be designed. The study found that 54 percent of the time, the experts either owned stock in the company that produced the drug under evaluation, or they had received consulting fees or research grants from it. No wonder the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee recently complained that the fda has a much too cozy relationship with the drug companies.

    In a similar vein, some have highlighted the undue influence of the giant agribusiness firms at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (usda). Big agribusiness has been accused of infiltrating the usda and promoting policies that serve the interests of the very large producers and major food processing corporations, at the expense of the public health. One astute commentator laments that the unhealthy foods provided by the food industry help cause disease, followed up by the drug industry that peddles questionable and expensive drugs as the cure!

    Almost daily, the Wall Street Journal has stories about corporate corruption nowadays. But what can be done about it? Nothing—unless and until we deal with the root cause.

    A Spirit of Competition 

    We have already alluded to the heart of the problem: human nature. It is a competitive nature—always taking sides against the other side—that promotes a spirit of rivalry. While human nature naturally and appropriately loves the self and extended self (your own possessions, your group, your team, your political party), it becomes antagonistic toward others not included in its domain.

    The Bible identifies this evil propensity of human nature as “rivalry, factions [and] party-spirit” (Galatians 5:20, Moffatt translation). This competitive spirit permeates our whole society!

    Take politics, for example. In the U.S., the Democratic Party is full of party-spirit—and so is the Republican Party. Instead of high-caliber speeches full of wisdom, proper judgment and noble statesmanship, what do we hear? Mostly mud-slinging attacks against the opposition. Our society has become so politicized by party affiliation that it is virtually impossible to witness or engage in an honest and unprejudiced discussion of political issues.

    Another place we find this competitive spirit is in sports. For example, most American universities participate in intercollegiate athletics. College A has a basketball team. So College A and its team become part of the extended self of that college’s students. College B is considered the enemy that must be defeated. It’s not enough to regard the benefits of rigorous exercise, teamwork, sportsmanship and other character-building opportunities that sports afford. Human nature dictates that it’s more important for the empirical self to prevail against the other side.

    Likewise, business and industry is founded on the same principle. The business world has been compared to a jungle of cut-throat, dog-eat-dog competition. According to the Wall Street Journal (March 3), a group of 293 chief financial officers in the U.S. were asked to disclose their top four concerns. The survey revealed that 53 percent cited high health-care costs, but a very close second was intense competition, at 52 percent. A common saying among businessmen is, “Nice guys finish last.” Consequently, the self-seeking competitive spirit, coupled with greed, fuels all kinds of corporate malfeasance.

    In an effort to increase market share and stay ahead of the competition, advertising campaigns, for instance, are routinely deceptive and dishonest and all too often appeal to vanity and wrong desires. Big business generally will do whatever it can get away with to promote its brand name above the competition.

    For example, when tobacco companies quit targeting U.S. children, it was not because of a moral conscientiousness. Now they target the youth of South America, Africa and Asia, because the laws there allow it. About a fourth of these youngsters are projected to die from tobacco-related disease!

    Not satisfied with U.S. sales, perhaps because of a renewed appreciation for the benefits of mother’s milk, the baby-formula giants promote anxiety about mother’s milk in less-educated, Third World countries. As a result, highly sugared baby-formula, sometimes contaminated with polluted village water, sells. A baby who is fed formula is 10 times more likely to be hospitalized in the first year of life for serious illness than one who is breastfed. Moreover, unicef (in 1991) and the World Heath Organization (in 1998) estimate that about 1.5 million babies a year die from bottle-feeding-related illness!

    These examples illustrate that the spirit of competition, party-spirit and plain greed know no boundaries. Man is enslaved by his own nature!

    The Origin of Human Nature 

    Why, one could ask, would God create such a vile side of human nature? The answer is: He didn’t. God’s creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Where did human nature come from then? It goes back to the time that sin first entered the universe—when the spirit of competition replaced the spirit of total cooperation.

    Herbert W. Armstrong, in his book Mystery of the Ages, explained: Lucifer, a mighty archangel, “was created gloriously beautiful—perfect in beauty, but he allowed vanity to seize him. Then he turned to erroneous reasoning. … He reasoned that competition [emphasis mine] would be better than cooperation. It would be an incentive to excel, to try harder, to accomplish. There would be more pleasure in serving self and more enjoyment.

    “He turned against God’s law of love. He became jealous of God, envious, and resentful against God. He allowed lust and greed to fill him, and he became bitter. This inspired a spirit of violence! He deliberately became his Maker’s adversary and enemy. …

    “God changed the adversary’s name to what he became, Satan the devil—Satan means adversary, competitor [emphasis mine], enemy.”

    Some time after this rebellion, God created Adam—with the potential to become a son of God. Yet Adam succumbed to Satan’s way of choosing to “do his own thing,” violating a direct command of God. From that point forward, for a period of 6,000 years, God has allowed Adam and his progeny to be swayed by the devil. That’s where the evil side of human nature comes from—the mind of the devil! Babies are not born with it but are soon subjected to Satan’s influence. He broadcasts (much like television and radio signals) to the spirit in man, injecting attitudes, moods and impulses of self-centeredness and selfishness, including the spirit of competition and greed. Human beings are automatically tuned in to Satan’s wavelength. To learn more about human nature, you may request our free booklet Human Nature: What Is It?

    Corporate corruption stems from the expression of this evil human nature that, under the influence of Satan, is impossible to overcome without God’s help.

    Two Choices 

    Man is not equipped to solve this problem; though he tries, his best efforts to do so are doomed to fail.

    After a series of high-profile corporate scandals led by Enron, the U.S. Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Corporate Reform Act in July 2002. It has been criticized as an over-reaction—far too costly and burdensome. The big companies are spending tens of millions of dollars per year to comply with its mandates. In total, the money spent by business to conform to the new law is over $5.5 billion per year. Some have complained that this has hampered the economic recovery and the creation of new jobs. Concerned business groups are lobbying for changes to the law and an easing of the enforcement climate.

    There have been other unintended side effects as well. Many international companies required to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (sec) are considering whether to withdraw from the U.S. stock exchange, and some have already initiated the process to do so. Others fear that new companies from the developing markets will forego the U.S. and list with European stock exchanges instead.

    Meanwhile, chief financial officers (cfos) and their staffs are under enormous pressure, reports the editor in chief of CFO magazine, and many cfos are throwing in the towel. In the last three years, about 225 cfos of Fortune 500 companies have quit!

    The backlash is resonating in Washington’s ears. Treasury Secretary John Snow has urged regulators and prosecutors to be “balanced” when enforcing the statute. Furthermore, the sec has agreed to extend the compliance deadline for small companies and those outside the U.S. to July 2006.

    Man’s best efforts at solving problems often have unintended side effects because he is cut off from God and spiritual knowledge. Consequently, man typically treats the effect of a problem rather than the cause. Result? In our attempt to fix one thing, something else goes wrong.

    Corporate corruption will not go away with more legislation. That solution ignores the cause. If new burdensome laws do mitigate it somewhat, other problems will surface in its place—they already have.

    Yet there is another choice: God’s way. He treats the cause. That means human nature must change. For that, we need God’s help—but man will not yetyield to God! The only permanent and workable solution can’t be implemented until man comes to deeply realize that he needsGod! That time is almost here.

    When Jesus Christ returns, Satan will be bound and prevented from broadcasting his spirit of competition. Party-spirit and rivalry will be rooted out of society. Then everyone’s human nature will finally be changed! God promises, at that time, “I will give you a new nature, and I will put a new spirit into you, I will take away your hard nature …” (Ezekiel 36:26, Moffatt translation). What a fantastic prophecy! That is the solution to all of man’s problems.

    Why Even Democracy Fails

    Why Even Democracy Fails

    TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

    Here is the root cause of governmental breakdown—and the solution
    From the May 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

    Excerpts from his World Tomorrow program of Nov. 4, 1945.

    The American people came to believe, with Woodrow Wilson, that we fought World War i to end all war. To a slightly lesser extent this same belief was carried into World War ii.

    Well, my friends, the war is over—we won it, and now, where are we? We stand now at the most dangerous hour of American history!

    Let’s look once again, then, to the real causes of war.

    When the Eternal God first created man and placed him on this Earth, all was perfect harmony and beauty. All things in the universe operate according to fixed law. There are the laws that keep the planets, suns, stars traveling in their prescribed courses through the heavens. On Earth is the law of gravity, the law of inertia, the laws of physics and chemistry. There are laws that regulate the physical body, and your physical health depends on not violating them.

    And then, of necessity, there is a great fundamental, inexorable spiritual law, to regulate man’s relations with man, and man’s relation to his Creator. This spiritual law might be called the law of love. It is a principle—a way of life. It is an attitude of mind and heart—the correct way to think and to live. This is the way of living that puts the premium upon giving, not getting. This spiritual law was designed to protect man’s welfare and happiness. And just as breaking the physical laws of the body results in suffering, sickness or death, so it is that when this spiritual law is broken, unhappiness, suffering both physical and spiritual, and all kinds of anguish come as the penalty.

    This world chaos is merely the penalty of the broken law.

    Take a quick glance, now, at how it developed. Nimrod built the first city, Babylon, then Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh. At first the world was organized only into city-states. Each city had its own king. Soon one king cast greedy, lustful eyes over a neighboring city or two. So he organized a large number of his men into an army—a fighting force to march over to the neighboring city and take it by force. Soon the stronger, more cunning kings were ruling over two, three, then several cities. And nations were born. And, as nations organized armies and fought wars, empires came into being.

    Businessmen in each city, or nation, fought methods of competition against their rival businessmen. All society came to be organized on this selfish, getting basis. God was ignored. Man exalted himself—and other men! As time went on, and the system developed, some men specialized in politics, seeking to rule over the people through government. Others specialized in business, seeking to amass great fortunes and to rule, behind cover, over the politicians. But even in the phases of religion and social activity, the competitive principle was dominant.

    There have been the various forms of government. But remember this: Every single government in this world, of whatever form—whether communism, fascism, autocracy, or yes, even democracy—is merely a different method of administering this same overall Babylonish system. And it’s the system which is the root cause of this world’s ills and of wars!

    This system is a way of life. It is the way contrary to the laws of God—contrary to His revealed social, economic and civil laws as well as the great spiritual law! In religious language, it’s the way of sin, because the Bible defines sin as “the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4)—and as a spiritual principle, as you’ll read in Romans 7:14, that law is a spiritual law. That law still operates, just as the law of gravity still operates, or the law of inertia, or the laws of physics or chemistry, and the more that law is transgressed, the more unhappiness, anguish, suffering and death this world brings upon itself as a penalty. And every phase of our present civilization—our political organizations—our economic system—our social customs—even religious organization—is diametrically contrary to God’s law as a revealed way of life.

    The real cause of wars is this whole competitive system, organized with certain selfish-motivated, scheming men always in control.

    What, then, is the solution?

    Wars can be prevented only by one strong enough to be a world ruler, clear-sighted and wise enough to completely change the existing system, to abolish all competition, to put the premium on giving instead of getting, to do away, entirely, with all regimentation, with the present economic system, the present social system—in fact with the whole of the present society. He would have to be good enough, and honest enough, to rule this whole world for the good of the governed, not for the greed and pride of the ruler. And, finally, that man would have to change human nature, because as long as man remains selfish he will continue on this competitive and Babylonish system!

    Yes, it will take a world ruler—a ruler who is the perfect man—one who will rule with fairness and justice—one who has power to abolish this entire world-system and start the whole world going on the basis of love—one who will not take any selfish advantage of his great power, but will rule only for the good of his subjects—one who has the power to change men’s minds and hearts—to change the very nature of man!

    Only one such man ever lived—Jesus Christ.