News to Note, May 17, 2008

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on May 17, 2008
Featured in News to Know

Alien thoughts at the Vatican, Einstein and the Bible, quick-thinking chimps, and more!

1. Vatican States Beliefs About the Possibility of Alien Life

Alien life may exist, says Father Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory and labeled by the BBC as “the Pope’s chief astronomer.”

2. Einstein Letters Show Views on the Bible and Christianity

The private religious thoughts of the world’s most famous genius were up for sale this week in a London auction.

3. Chimps Outpacing Humans in Short-Term Memory Tests

Chimps are seen outpacing humans in a computer-based mental challenge in a National Geographic News video.

4. Testing the Hypothesis of Intelligent Design

Is earth in a special place in the universe—and if so, what would that say about design? Two scientists writing in Physical Review Letters consider just how we could test that hypothesis.

5. LiveScience: “Is Optimism Good for You?”

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” —Matthew 6:25–27

LiveScience’s Robert Roy Britt takes a look at the health benefits of optimism, asking, “is it optimism that makes people healthy, or do healthy people understandably have a brighter outlook?” Britt cites several scientifically validated health advantages to optimism: longer life, lower blood pressure, lower likelihood of heart disease, and more. Even existing illnesses don’t override the health benefits of optimism, according to this month’s issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch.

Optimists do better, Britt reports, both because lower levels of stress hormones means less deterioration to the human body and because optimists tend to lead healthier lifestyles, build stronger social networks, and get better medical care.

Does the Bible have anything to say about all this? Christians are commanded in Scripture “let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1); “trust in Him at all times” (Psalm 62:8); “do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34); and Proverbs 12:25 reminds us that “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” Christians have every reason to be joyful and optimistic, and it’s no surprise that these godly behaviors has positive medical benefits. So keep a “big picture” mentality and keep a smile on your face!

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch last week’s News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!

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