Understand the News!

Christopher Robbins/Photodisc

Understand the News!

Five keys for making sense of current events
From the November 2003 Trumpet Print Edition

Need news? You don’t have to search too hard to get it. Since the mid-1990s there has been an explosion in the number of news sources available on television. In American, on top of the nightly news and news-related programs on the major U.S. networks, the addition of cable gives you channels like msnbc, cnbc, cnn, Headline News and Fox News, reporting news 24 hours—1,440 minutes—a day, updated each minute, delivered by an anchor or host, or running endlessly at the bottom of your screen.

We haven’t even mentioned the amount of news available on the Internet, in the plethora of newspapers, or on the dial of an am radio. Ah, the wonders of the Information Age. The American news consumer’s mind is crowded, even glutted, by the thousands of events that occur each moment.

The staggering pace of world events and the profuse wealth of news media coverage can leave the sharpest of minds perplexed as to how to keep up with, much less analyze, the vital issues facing our world today.

How can you wade through the dense morass of information? How can you weed out the stories that really are significant? Most importantly, once you’ve identified the relevant news items, how can you analyze and understand them to the fullest, most useful degree?

There are five simple yet profound keys you need in order to understand the impact of world events and to make sense of the complex world you live in.

The Trumpet magazine bases its selection of news stories and its unique analysis on these five factors. The Trumpet staff did not, however, contrive these five keys on its own. This magazine continues in the tradition of the Plain Truth, founded by Herbert W. Armstrong—a magazine unmatched in its ability to grapple with the tough issues of its day and give the real meaning behind them. We at the Trumpet continue in this tradition—and we subscribe to the same five points as put forth in the Plain Truth.

1) Important Current Events

The first key to a better understanding of the news is having an up-to-date familiarity with important current events.

“Newspapers, more and more, concentrate their coverage on unimportant local or regional news, or cover the big issues with regional bias, parroting the assumed concepts their own readers find acceptable. Further, news of real import is often shoved to the back pages, if covered at all. For this reason, the reading public is not exposed to key events as it should be” (Plain Truth, February 1969).

So how can you know what is “important”? This is where the Trumpet can help. Our News Bureau subscribes to dozens of top news sources and monitors many others via the Internet. Our staff trudges through the mounds of information to find the stories of real relevance that should be highlighted.

In addition to presenting the significant current news, we strive to give the real meaning behind those happenings—that is, we plainly state the causes of society’s troubles and dare to give answers and solutions to such troubles.

We continually watch key events developing around the world—the strengthening European Union, the volatile Middle East, the precarious Asian region, the moral and geopolitical direction of the Anglo-American nations. And when we discuss the major social problems that you may also hear about from other news outlets, we boldly present the causes and solutions to such ills.

By doing all this—in short, fulfilling Christ’s command in Luke 21:36 to “watch” world events—we give you, the reader, a guide. We can show you what to look for in your own news consuming, as you flip the channels, surf the Net, scan the radio or peruse the papers.

2) Understanding of History

The second key to understanding the news is a proper comprehension of history.

“The news of today cannot be divorced from the news of the past. But the average person’s knowledge of history, in many cases even recent history, is weak. For this reason, the lessons that history should be teaching mankind today go almost totally unheeded!” (ibid.).

True education in history is in crisis today. At major educational institutions, its importance is lost and its content heavily diluted by politically correct revisionists.

Again, the Trumpet can help here. Though we aren’t a purely historical publication, we often must delve into historical research to bring a vital dimension to current events that many news outlets ignore. It is through the lens of history that we see the importance of events developing in Europe or the Middle East, for example. It is simply impossible to accurately analyze events in these regions without knowing certain historical elements.

And that historical perspective even helps us fulfill the first point, in knowing what is important—as history has a tendency to repeat itself.

3) Human Nature

An understanding of human nature and how it acts is the third key to understanding the news.

As the late Hans J. Morgenthau wrote in his definitive book on political science, Politics Among Nations, an understanding of international politics “embraces more than recent history and current events. The observer [of the world scene] cannot find solid ground on which to stand, or objective standards of evaluation, without … the correlation of recent events with the more distant past and the perennial qualities of human nature underlying both.”

Though most like to think of human nature as essentially good, stark realism and biblical understanding speak blatantly against this notion. In fact, human nature is responsible for all the tragedy that plagues our world!

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). The Apostle Paul said, “[T]he way of peace have they not known” (Rom. 3:17). In the book of Galatians, he wrote that the “works of the flesh” are adultery, fornication, hatred, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness (Gal. 5:19-21). These attributes describe the society we live in—they fill the daily headlines!

Though some will accept the realities of human nature—how it is, at its core, violent and evil—they still do not understand its origin. They are ignorant of the fact that there is a powerful devil ruling this Earth—deceiving and swaying mankind (Rev. 12:9; Eph. 2:2; ii Cor. 4:4). For more information on this vital subject, please request your free copy of our booklet Human Nature—What Is It?

As the Plain Truth stated, “Knowing the true nature of humans—why men and nations act the way they do—is an essential key, then, to understand what is happening in the world around us” (op. cit.).

4) Identity of Key Nations

The last two keys are those which the experts, think tanks and political scientists of our day all fail to consider, yet are the most vital to truly understanding world events and their actual relevance.

The fourth key to understanding the news is knowing the historical—that is, biblical—identity of key nations. Only then can we fully understand the history of such nations, why they relate to others as they do—and what is important to watch concerning those nations. Tracing a people’s history reveals its modern-day location.

The Plain Truth appropriately asked the questions, “Why have the British and American people played such key roles in recent world history?

“How were the British people—relatively few in number—able to rule, until a decade or so ago, over 800 million people in an empire and Commonwealth spanning the globe?” (ibid.). We may also ask, how did the United States—just one nation—attain such power and influence on the world stage for the most of the 20th century?

Like the Plain Truth, the Trumpet has the answers to these questions. Through Mr. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, we have shown the world the true historical identity of the Anglo-American peoples. Through this book, and other of our writings, we have shown the identity of all the nations that play major roles today.

“This fourth key is an indispensible link leading to true understanding of the world around us. And it leads directly to the most important key of all” (ibid.).

5) Advance News

Knowledge of future news is vital to understanding current events. This may seem preposterous! How could anyone know news before it happens?

There is a source that we tap for perfect, infallible predictions of what happenings will be the “current events” of tomorrow. This is the source that the Plain Truth relied on, as does the Trumpet today—a source that many, despite it being the world’s bestselling book, are skeptical of.

It is the Holy Bible. Approximately one third of this book is devoted to prophecy, most of which is for our time today—the events unfolding before our eyes right now and over the next few years!

The Apostle Peter said we have “a more sure word of prophecy” (ii Pet. 1:19). As the Plain Truth stated, “Current events can be deceiving, history misleading—but advance news foretold in the Bible never fails!” (op. cit.).

We have proven the veracity of the Bible. Herbert Armstrong’s booklet The Proof of the Bible is available for online reading at our website, www.theTrumpet.com. We can also provide literature that explains what the Bible’s prophecies mean—based on the identity of those key nations, as discussed in our previous point (booklets such as The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Russia and China in Prophecy and History and Prophecy of the Middle East).

These last two keys can help you succeed in the first point. Knowing the identity of key nations and what is prophesied to happen to them or among them will help you know which current events to follow, or which ones are important. And as you apply all these points—with a proper understanding of history and human nature—you can make sense of the world around you. Yes, you can wade through the sea of information, know what stories to follow, why to follow them, and how they will directly affect you!