(From Thomas) Continuing on with my previous essay, I would like to expand on the concepts that I introduced in the previous letter about the origin and purpose for Good and Evil.
From the perspectives of life that you have shared, it is clear that you have adopted the philosophy of the New Age type worldview. You have shared how much confusion there is associated with judging things to be good or evil, only to see that evil comes out of good, and that good comes out of evil. I understand your confusion, having lived through it myself.
The concept of evil and good having no fundamental difference, each simply playing off of each other is a commonly held belief system among the mystic and New Age religions. The phrase, “Do what thou wilt, is all of the Law” summarizes the moral ethic of this belief system to a degree.
It has been my experience that each of the sects, cults, and religions has elements of truth. Thus, it appears that they each have some value and a type of goodness. I spent 8 years as a Sikh/New Ager, and then continued on in my search. By God’s grace, I was given a vision of why Christianity is true. I have finally found a path that has satisfied my sense of Truth. Since that time, I have compared every worldview I have encountered with Christianity, and I have continued to feel satisfied that Christianity satisfies the entire set of criteria I have for consistency with the Truth.
In Part I of this response that I sent you earlier, I covered most of the points that I cover in this essay. I wrote this essay first, and then I wrote the essay you received as a summary document. Margo felt that I still needed to send this document because I have included in it some of the scriptural points that I have used to validate my own particular version of why Christianity is True.
The response below is a paragraph by paragraph response to the points you have raised. My response to your points may not be the same that you would get from many Christians. Nevertheless, I have done my best to keep my responses consistent with those that could be extracted from scripture. After these many years of examining the Bible, life, science, and other religions, I have sufficient trust in the accuracy and validity of Biblical text, to believe that a worldview that opposes the holistic picture provided by Biblical text is almost assuredly wrong.
I encourage you to adopt the Neo strategy to examining my philosophy. Go inside of it and see if you can see why it would make sense. Why would I believe the things that I am saying? When you connect with the spirit of what I am trying to communicate, I think you may understand my perspective more clearly. I have struggled very hard to go inside of your theory of good and evil, and I ask you to do the same. If I have missed the point of your communication, please feel free to instruct me with further examples or theory.
(Steven) As I see it, all things are within God's dominion. That means All Things... with nothing outside of His embrace, nothing outside of His Being. He is the creator of both good and bad, day and night, perfection and imperfection and HE LIVES WITHIN ALL.
As you know from our previous correspondence, I have no disagreement with you on this point. I reference several scriptural references to validate this point that both you, I, the Bible agree with you regarding this point:
1 Acts 17:26 "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' 29 "Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. 30 "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
We are inside of God's world, and our very spirit, soul, and body are encompassed by God. God is the substance of all of that is, and it is impossible to point to that which is not God, or go where God is not.
· Psalms 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
(Steven) Close examination will reveal that good and bad are inseparable from each other and require each other for their existence. Over time, good morphs into bad and bad morphs into good. When one is identified with the good, and one feels it is their duty to destroy the bad, that leads to a self perpetuating cycle of struggle where the so called good and bad feed upon each other. There is no future in this. That is why Christ said "resist not evil."
You have included many concepts in this statement, and I will address them throughout the rest of the body of my response. You have quoted a scripture from the King James translation, which appears to validate your theory of life. But, you have come to a conclusion about Christianity, and Jesus' philosophy of dealing with evil which are not supported by the full body of scripture and the Christian philosophy of life.
To begin with, let us examine the points where we agree: I believe as you do that evil and good are polar opposites, and that God has created them both. I reference the Bible:
· Isaiah 54:15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake. 16 "Behold, I have created the blacksmith Who blows the coals in the fire, Who brings forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy. 17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me," Says the LORD.
· Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
· Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;
· Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
In other words, God created everything, even the dark side of life and its hierarchy: the principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness. I believe God created evil because it was necessary to do so to create a world with true significance. If God had made a world where only good existed, there would have been no drama, no play, no passion, no victory, and no overcoming. If only good existed, and there was no other competing spirit for us to love, then our love of God would be cheap in comparison.
God created evil to be very desirable to the human heart on a superficial level. It requires going deeper into the practice of evil before one sees its true fruit. And even then, He has made evil sufficiently desirable that after evil is followed habitually, the heart becomes addicted to the service of evil.
In other words, God has given evil a strong advantage. He wants to test each human's heart to see if it is truly committed to God as his Lord. Thus, God created good and evil in the hope that man would come to Him anyway, giving his heart in service and devotion to His way. God has created evil, but he wants us to ally with Him in overcoming it.
Jesus' coming to the earth was part of God’s plan for completing the reconnection between God and man. The snare of human temptation and addiction to evil are the normal states of the human heart. As such, man has the ability to have only superficial relationship with God. The disparity of states between God and man are so great that man has little resonance with God’s nature. Nevertheless, man is pulled toward God because of the emptiness inside of his being, and the ever-present calling of the Holy Spirit as He speaks into every man’s heart.
The environment of heaven and the habitats of God are perfect. No errors or imperfections are allowed in His domain. Thus, as imperfect people, the question is, How we can enter into such perfection and truly belong?
But, Jesus provided the answer to that question. His life provided a gateway into the Holy of Holies by which men could enter into the presence of the Father, into the Halls of Perfection. Jesus was the God of the Old Testament before he was the Savior of the New Testament.
· John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Jesus was God, being the Son of God. He was born a man, and He lived a perfect life. It was because of living as a perfect man, undergoing all the temptations of a man and resisting them all, that He had the authority to be the gateway to the Father. The intimate connection allowed Jesus to hear the Father clearly, and as an obedient son He followed God's instructions without error or rebellion. Jesus was tempted by His human mind and flesh to follow those human desires. But, He resisted the temptations, just by saying no, and rebuking the spirits that tempted Him.
When His script was complete, the play was finished. Evil men plotted to kill him, whether out of jealousy, misplaced religious fervor, erroneous teaching, or fear. They were the tools of Satan, the evil one, who was plotting to eliminate the One who could take possession of the earth from them. God had made the universe, and He made it so that there was truly a for-real, playing-for-keeps competition between God and Satan for its possession.
When Jesus threaded the needle by living a perfect life to the end, and His righteous blood was shed on a tree, He became the spirit who had authority over the spirits that plague men’s lives. By walking the walk perfectly, He rescued the entire universe from possession by evil. At this point it is only necessary to ally our hearts with God, and accept the Way of Jesus as our way. It is in this commitment to goodness that His blood was shed at the hands of unrighteous men.
Upon His death the sky turned black, the earth shook, and the curtain between the Holy place and the Holy of Holies was rent in the Temple. The passageway to the Father was now open. Jesus then went into Hell and freed the captives.
Hell was made for Satan and his angels. Apparently God was planning for a time when He would cast away Satan and his evil minions. At the present time in history, God has already fought the battle in the heavenlies to overcome Satan. Jesus went into hell and rescued those who were captive. We do not know why they were there, or why Jesus released them. Hell is largely a mystery, but we do know it is real. We know that there is the threat of hell available to us, but the specifics of how to get there and how to get out are sketchy in scripture.
The concept of hell is very interesting. Our culture seems obsessed with it. Harry Potter, Dungeons and Dragons, horror movies, and studies in the occult are widespread interests. This fascination with evil is understandable, we all wish to gain mastery over the unknown, thus, an exploration of the dark side of the Force is interesting. But, the fact is that the Bible gives us only a few minor details about hell; only enough so that we can be sure that it is real.
It is not very profitable to be consumed with an interest in hell. Our major consideration with regard to hell is simply looking to how we can pursue the polar opposite to hell. We can be sure that we will miss the mark of perfection many times during our lifetime. But, because Jesus has already created a spiritual doorway back into the presence of the Father, we need merely be humble, acknowledge our error, accept the forgiveness that is readily given, and proceed on down the path toward perfection.
Rather than dwelling on evil, hell, and error, we should be focusing on goodness, Heaven, perfection, and the voice/feeling of the leading of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus left, He promised He would send the Holy Spirit as our personal representative to guide us in the paths of righteousness. It is this inner guide that we want to follow. As we live life, as we follow our script, as we are tempted, fall, learn, repent, and retry, we eventually develop a habitual righteous character.
Righteousness is a polarity available for our lives. It is not unknowable or inherently undefinable. Righteousness is not just a set of do's and don'ts that we can quote from the Bible. Rather, the Bible offers us a tangible teaching by example and metaphor of the patterns of behavior which fall into the category of Godly behavior and Righteousness. By planting the words of the Bible in our hearts, we always have a ready standard avaialbe by which we can challenge our daily experience and judge our actions and desires. It is thereby possible to create a progressively more stable manifestation of righteousness as a consciously choosen experience in our lives.
· Luke 12:4 "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
· Luke 12:58 "When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, make every effort along the way to settle with him, lest he drag you to the judge, the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 “I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite."
· Matthew 5:19 "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 "Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 "Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
In other words, while we are still on the highway of life, it is best that we make it right with God before we reach the destination of death. His standards are right, true and just, and the standard is too high for us to meet them. We can, and must do our best, but as we fail, and try again to perfect our soul, we can leave the past behind, knowing that the spiritual debt is paid if we accept the sacrifice and atonement he has provided. Christianity is not a get out of jail free card that allows us to sin today, be forgiven tomorrow, and pay nothing. The atonement is only valid for those who are sincere in their repentance and desire freedom from the bondage of sin.
· John 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 "These things I command you, that you love one another. 18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
· 1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
· 1 John 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
The fact that God created both good and evil does not mean that all of creation is equally honored, good, or exalted. He has created a stage upon which we can act. In the play of life, we are given the opportunity to learn new lessons in each act. It is not a meaningless exercise, or simply an opportunity to indulge our flesh in pleasure. The purpose of life is to develop Godly character by properly judging circumstances, resisting the temptation to participate in evil, and acting in a positive manner to promote goodness and Godliness in His world.
Life is not just an exercise in releasing any sense of significance or passion. Life has within it good and evil and it is our job to judge rightly, resist temptation, and act Godly.
· Deuteronomy 30:17 "But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 "I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 "that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."
So, even though God created good and evil, he advocates that we choose life and obedience, and resist evil. He has given us free will in hopes that we would choose life. This is the essence of free will. To have free will, there must be an actual choice that is available, and the consequences of the alternatives must be different. God created good and evil, and gave us true free will so that we could have a choice of loving Him and His ways, or choosing a competing spirit to love. It is the rejection of the way of the flesh that we sacrifice when we choose God. It was God who made the way of the flesh, its attractiveness, and the kingdom of the tempter that is His opponent. There is nothing that is not God in the entire play, but it is not all good. God wants us to choose to love Him, and love his way of life. It is by choosing His path of life that we tangibly demonstrate our love of Him.
A man that says he loves God, and does not follow His ways, is deceived. Such a love is superficial; it has no sacrifice in it. A deep love requires sacrifice, a shedding of blood of some sort. In the case of loving God, our primary sacrifice is the renunciation of the improper satisfaction of the flesh.
Still, God made the flesh for a purpose. He created desires so that they could be fulfilled, and joy could be experienced in life. God wants us to be able to be satisfied in a manner that demonstrates obedience to His way of life.
By creating this subtle distinction between good and evil He has created the possibility for such great confusion that the man who is committed to the flesh would be convinced that he has chosen the right path. The longer a man lives inside of his world of self-satisfaction and rebellion to God's ways, the more convinced he is that his ways are correct.
Most issues of moral distinction are sufficiently obvious, at least in their archetypal form, that the average person who has not taken the deep dive into evil would be able to make the distinction between good and evil. For example: the desire for wealth and leisure satisfied by theft is evil, bad, and wrong. The man who pursues theft and deception will receive consequences in both this world and the next. Still, a man who is seduced into that world can
The man who pursues unGodly sexuality will likewise suffer. Godly sexuality is ordained and exalted and produces strong bonds of security. It is an expression of commitment that provides a place of soul rest in a turbulent and disloyal world. On the other hand, unGodly sexuality appears harmless, gives the temporary feelings of warmth and connection, but in the long term produces heartache, hardening of the heart, disease, and death.
Most people recognize that the prohibitions of the 10 commandments are righteous and just. Only the most depraved would deny the validity of the commandments about: theft, murder, greed, idolatry, and adultery, parental dishonor, casually swearing by God's name, lying, worshiping false gods, and remembering the Holy Day.
By establishing the Law, God gave humanity a choice and a standard by which to judge the passions internal to the human soul. By having this standard, we can each judge our hearts; we can each determine our level of compliance with His way. To an extent, we can use these concrete markers as measures of our love of God. If we love God, we will honor and obey His way.
God has given the Bible as a pattern for goodness, a method by which to divine the right and true way of living.
All actions, good and bad, are not equal. A good action may contain within it circumstances which eventually precipitate evil situations. But, this does not mean that evil and good are equivalent, and that we should embrace them both with equal fervor. A good action will bring a response from the forces of evil with an attempt to take away the blessing and joy of the moment. There will always be a challenge in the spirit realm to goodness, just as there will be a challenge to the evil circumstances by the forces of goodness. Yes, there is a play, back and forth between the two, and yes, there is actually a dance and cycle that life follows. But, this piece of data does not confirm the moral equivalence of evil and good. It merely is an observation that in fact there is a play of spiritual forces that operates on an unseen level, and that we in the real world of the manifest creation can see the effects of that war in the heavens.
People can be seduced into complacency by goodness, and then evil invades the sheep. People may find themselves in new circumstances with previously unexpected opportunities and challenges, and they may fall prey to the temptations of affluence or comfort. The happiness of new love can be overtaken by the disappointment of unmet needs. The struggle of personality transformation, setting proper boundaries, learning to sacrifice, and accepting and giving correction provides the long term joy of growth, trust, safety, and affinity.
The challenge of new circumstances provides for new tests for the soul. It is Godly character that we must strive to build in both adversity and affluence. We must learn to resist the temptation to engage in evil during times of rest and prosperity, and we must learn to resist the oppression of evil during the times of hardship and disorder. There are lessons and growth available for us in both good and bad times, and the two follow each other as predictably over the long term as night following day. But, that does not indicate their moral equivalence, or the lack of distinction between these two polarities.
You used the quote by Jesus, "resist not evil" in your defense of the concept of how to deal with evil. In the King James Version, Jesus’ words are translated to be “resist not evil”, but in the New King James Version the same passage is translated as, “resist not an evil person”.
· KJV Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
· NKJV Matthew 5:38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 "And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 "Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
In this parable, Jesus was telling us to not resist evil an person in certain circumstances. In other places in scripture we are told to resist the devil and he will flee. In the story about Jesus and the moneychangers in the temple, we saw Jesus resisting that evil with physical force. On the mount of temptation, Jesus resisted the temptation of Satan 3 times.
· James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. 11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
In other words, there are circumstances where we are to turn the other cheek, give our enemies our coat and cloak, and not resist the insults and injuries of an evil person. But, there are other times when we are to engage in full scale war to exterminate evil. There are times when we are to let God bring the full fruit of judgment on the heads of evil people. And, there are times when we are to let the evil man have his way, and let God be the administrator of vengeance.
To base an entire philosophy of life on a single scripture usually leads to a crude interpretation of life. In Biblical scholarship this is the error known as prooftexting. The validation of a particular worldview using a single verse from the Bible produces an erroneous picture of life. As a result, we respond improperly to the various stresses. When we do not realize that a particular area of life properly contains a spectrum of possible judgments and responses, we increase our chances of missing the mark.
(Steven) To find real
wisdom, one needs to expand the context. From a context that is larger
than good and bad, "us versus them", one is able to offer something of
value to resolve conflict, to heal, and to bless. Then the agenda changes.
It is no longer an agenda of trying to crush the enemy, but to recognize
that the enemy is not separate from oneself.
Your concept of perceiving "the enemy is not separate from oneself" has merit. The implications of the statement are that the passions the enemy feels are similar to, or the same as, the passions and needs that I feel.
Of course this is true in the broadest sense. We are all capable of the same passions, hurts, and limitations. Some of these may be more accentuated in my life than yours, but the potential for each of the broad categories of human experience and need are present in all people. You are advocating empathy for the hurts and needs of my fellow man, rather than simply viewing him as an impersonal force to be eliminated or overpowered.
This is of course a noble and valuable perspective, and it is a requirement of successful interpersonal relationship. But, in the realm of politics and public decisions, the question is how to relate to the group mind in such an empathic way? We can hypothesize about why the Democrats are in favor of abortion, homosexual marriage, and removing God from all publicly supported buildings and functions. But, there is no one to ask, no one to do a mind-emotion meld with, no heart to heal, no error of childhood, birth, or development to confront. Thus, I have chosen the path of reason and debate to persuade the group mind to adopt my position. By comparing the ideologies of one group with another, by analyzing the projected fruit of the two mature ideologies, I would hope that the thinking person would be able to make a reasoned choice. And of course, I would hope that the arguments that I present would be sufficiently persuasive in terms of justifying the premises, arguments, and conclusion that the reader would be persuaded to adopt my position.
2) Possibly you believe that there is a blind mania that Christendom is pursuing to exterminate this enemy.
3) Possibly you imply that Christians are not “loving their neighbor as self” if we oppose the philosophies and the efforts of the Secular Humanist’s agenda to impose their moral code on America.
4) It appears that you believe the key to societal transformation and healing is to see the enemy as inside one's self, rather than as an evil person, group, or ideal.
5) You disagree with the entire concept of good and evil truly existent distinct entities. You feel that if we look at evil and good as just aspects of the same whole that we would be able to be more peaceful in our approach to life.
Even though I am dealing with you as a person, and I can confront each of these ideas conceptually, given the medium, I cannot understand your hurts and know why you have adopted this particular life perspective. So, again I am reduced to using the tools of the mind, which are evidence and logic to persuade you to adopt my position.
I believe my call to stop the Secular Humanist agenda was a loving position. Love rejoices in the truth, not in evil. It would be the most unloving and unkind position for me, and Christendom, to stand back and allow the Secular Humanist philosophy to gain preeminence in our culture. I believe the Secular Humanist is asking for a suboptimal moral system to rule our land. I believe that it makes a difference which moral philosophy we choose as a culture to guide us. A different experienced outcome arises depending on the guiding principles we use to generate our legislated law. I believe there are elements of error and evil in the Secular Humanist worldview and to knowingly allow such a system that is tainted to embed itself into the heart of the society and control it is not loving.
The Secular Humanist philosophy is based on tolerance. In particular, Secular Humanism promotes the tolerance of all manner of unGodly sexuality in the name of diversity, privacy, and choice.
The limited applicability of the principles that the Secular Humanist uses to validate his moral choices is clear when we note that the Secular Humanist advocates tolerance toward all religious groups, except those who disagree with their moral stands.
In other words, the Secular Humanist system is simply self validating. The Secular Humanist has chosen unabridgd sexual expression as an ideal of life. And he has then molded his entire worldview to validate his highest precept, that sexuality of every type is to be honored and allowed in all social settings.
This particular bending of the moral compass is the center of the error that the Secular Humanists has embraced. Because he has desired to satisfy his unGodly desires, he has instituted a type of evil into the center of his moral system. As a result, it is impossible for the Secular Humanist to create a moral code which is self-consistent without bending even more moral distinctions.
The end result is a political-moral system which must be enforced against those who stand for Godly, Christian morality. There is no blending, no meeting of the minds, no compromise possible. If the Secular Humanist philosophy rises to the level of prominence, and it is implemented as the law of the land, it will require that those who hold to Godly Christian morality be punished, re-educated, imprisoned, or executed for their crimes against the ideological values of the society.
I wish this were not so. I with that your concepts of finding a 3rd way of compromise were possible in this situation. But it is not. The Secular Humanist system has seeds of evil within it, and those seeds will sprout someday, grow into maturity, and bear some very bitter fruit.
Those who worship this system, and practice unGodly sexuality as one of their rights and sacraments of their religion will rejoice at the implementation of this New Age. But, no one will be immune from the terrors of a state that has taken its moral code from the handbook of Satan's playbook of how to possess the heart of a nation.
My judgment about the Secular Humanist is not unloving. I am comparing a Biblical standard with the Secular Humanist position of morality. It is my judgment that Secular Humanism is in error. It is my opinion that they are opposing God's way and attempting to impose it upon the nation's legislative and judicial system and want to propagate it fully throughout our culture.
If I saw disaster coming toward the Secular Humanist, and did not warn him of my perception of impending disaster, for him and the nation, that would be unloving.
· Ezekial 33:2 "Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: 'When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 'when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 'then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 'He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 'But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.'
I am pleading for the Secular Humanist to repent, to recognize his error, and to turn from his addiction to unGodly sexuality. If the Secular Humanist does not take my warning, his blood is on his own head, not on mine. Sadly, if the Secular Humanist prevails, the entire culture will groan under the rule of this unGodly system. God will not arrange for supernatural blessings to appear for America, and in the converse, He will bring calamity and hardship on us to break our rebellion against His way. We could be reduced to rubble by nuclear war, devastated by earthquake, tidal wave, hurricanes, drought, pestilence, economic collapse, plagues, or war. We stand on the brink of the precipice, and as humans we have no power to garner the forces needed to fight the power of the forces that could come against us.
The only debatable point in this discussion is whether the sexuality of the Secular Humanist is unGodly or not. The Christian perspective is that God has standards of sexuality which should not be violated. The Christian perspective is that the laws of the universe, the cause and effect sequences initiated by a people rebelling against Godly natural law will bring death and destruction upon themselves and their nation.
Your view is that this perspective about God is false, that God is in all things, and there is no standard of good or evil that is universal or operates through all of creation. But, you must realize that your opinion in this matter is just an opinion, and it may be wrong. Yes, there are teachers, religions, philosophies, and an entire political party that believes that sexuality as proclaimed by the Bible is in fact unrighteous and a wrong worldview. But, man's opinions can be wrong, and when they oppose God's natural order, bad consequences can result.
· 4 'You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. 5 'You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD. 6 'None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the LORD. 7 'The nakedness of your father or the nakedness of your mother you shall not uncover. She is your mother; you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 'The nakedness of your father's wife you shall not uncover; it is your father's nakedness. 9 'The nakedness of your sister, the daughter of your father, or the daughter of your mother, whether born at home or elsewhere, their nakedness you shall not uncover. 10 'The nakedness of your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter, their nakedness you shall not uncover; for theirs is your own nakedness. 11 'The nakedness of your father's wife's daughter, begotten by your father; she is your sister; you shall not uncover her nakedness. 12 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's sister; she is near of kin to your father. 13 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister, for she is near of kin to your mother. 14 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's brother. You shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. 15 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son's wife; you shall not uncover her nakedness. 16 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother's wife; it is your brother's nakedness.17 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, nor shall you take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness. They are near of kin to her. It is wickedness. 18 'Nor shall you take a woman as a rival to her sister, to uncover her nakedness while the other is alive. 19 'Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity. 20 'Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor's wife, to defile yourself with her. 21 'And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. 22 'You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. 23 ‘Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. 24 ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. 25 ‘For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. 26 ‘You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you 27 ‘(for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), 28 ‘lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. 29 ‘For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
God's universe functions independently of man's concepts of Truth. I have a perspective of Truth regarding Godly sexuality. I hold it because I have read it in the Bible, and I have seen evidence for the value and righteousness of that standard both in my own life, and the lives of those I have counseled and observed in society at large. As in the scripture above, the Bible warns us of the consequences of embracing unGodly sexuality as a society. Even the earth will vomit us out when we violate the precepts of Godly sexuality.
Believing that there is no good or evil is one method of rationalizing one's own sexuality as being pure, undefiled, and part of the natural flow of life. But, the facts of life do not support the thesis of the non-existence of evil. The concept of evil and good flowing into each other, therefore rationalizing the lack of a fundamental distinction between the two is an inadequate substantiation of their non-existence. No, these arguments and justifications are superficial appearances that are meant to deceive the one who is looking for a way to rationalize error. To fully embrace error of this magnitude, it is necessary to truncate huge volumes of life data. But the man who is addicted to satisfaction of his flesh will purposely blind himself so he can proceed in the false peace of avoidance.
I believe that the only way that we can truly prosper as a nation is when we submit ourselves to the rule of God, and in turn impose upon ourselves in our civil codes legislation that reflects the heart of the True God.
The problem is that when a people embrace unGodly sexuality, they then lose contact with a proper judgment of right and wrong, good and evil. They begin to swim in a grey soup of half truths. The result is that evil, the spirit of destruction, the spirit that desires death, bondage, and slavery of the souls of men, can enter into the minds of men. Men become fools when they turn from a devotion and submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit of God. Without God's guidance, we follow our flesh. We become short sighted, and are seduced into error by our animal instincts. When we worship false gods and error, we unknowingly put upon ourselves the curses of unrighteous law.
Does all this matter? Yes it does. Death, destruction, and slavery are painful. They minimize the human potential for the full free expression available and desired by God for mankind. God desires life and liberty for His people, but when the people rebel against the laws of nature and Nature's God, the spiritual forces put in play will administer slavery, death, and destruction to the society which violates that natural law.
The Secular Humanist believes that the Biblical limitations on sexual expression are unnecessary restrictions placed upon men by the fantasies of oppressive and superstitious religious traditions. And, this may in fact be true. Each of us must judge the Truth and live to our highest concept of it. But if we judge wrongly, our sincerity will not be an adequate defense to shield us from the consequences of all the error we have embraced. Likewise, a lifetime following error accrues very little reward for the life to come. If the Biblical concepts of Godly sexuality are in fact Truth, then the consequences of violation could be very significant on a personal and national level.
It is a loving expression to warn the Secular Humanist of the end results he is creating. It is a loving work to diligently enroll support for enacting legislation which supports Godly sexual expression in the society at large. There are social consequences of shirking this duty, and every Christian should be engaged in this struggle to retain, restore, and implement a Godly governmental rule.
I believe that the proper Christian stance is to rightly divide truth and error, and then to oppose the error by "speaking the truth in love." You have assumed that there is not love expressed toward an enemy when they are identified as promoting erroneous doctrine.
You have promoted the position that we should not put people in the role of being enemies, but should instead look toward finding common ground. I am doing this with you. I note that you are advocating the repeal of war. I would like this. But to do so requires that we both embrace a common goal and that you renounce your advocacy of the imposition of Secular Humanism on America.
I would hope that my dissertation would have provoked such a response from you. But, in case it has not, we will have to remain enemies with regard to this particular point of social, religious, moral doctrine. This does not mean that I do not care for you, I do.
The resolution of the problem of "loving your neighbor" while calling him an enemy comes when we recognize the definition of love.
· 1 Corinthians 13:4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails.
In other words, love hopes for the redemption through truth of one's neighbor. Love continues to hope for the turning to righteousness of the enemy. Love isn't arrogant or rude in the battle/debate about Truth. Love continues to hope and pray for Truth to be revealed in the heart of the neighbor.
the climax of the movie, The Matix?
Neo's victory did not occur because he was able to get stronger
than his enemy. Instead he did something completely unexpected. He jumped
inside the enemy and occupied the same space. That changed everything.
In fact, the salvation of mankind has already occurred. Jesus died and went into Hell for us and released the captives. He took on our sins and overcame them. The storyline of the Matrix created a fictional character who acted out the play that was actually already done by Jesus.
If we were reminded, inspired, and in awe of the work done by Jesus when we saw Neo play out the drama of taking evil into himself, then we were edified and strengthened.
If we saw Neo as an analogy to ourselves, as being capable of saving humanity (or fighting evil by letting it posses us), we were led astray by a charlatan's play. If we saw Neo as a role model for how we should fight evil, by letting it possess us, we were deceived.
On the other hand, we can engage in an element of righteous metaphor to Neo's final act, when we take in the evil that our neighbor speaks to the extent that we understand his error and his pain. By letting his communication come inside my body, by going inside his feelings and mind/spirit space, I can know some of the struggle and passions that drive him. And, if I have a standard of truth, which is True, then I can gently, kindly, patiently, and lovingly show him the error of his ways. I can help him out of his personal hole of trial and pain. By becoming all things to all people, possibly I can win some.
Yes, in many circumstances in civil society we can take over evil without the hot war of violence. But sadly, this does not mean that evil will step outside the bounds of civil discourse and take action to dominate us.
Knowing, listening, and actually hearing the words and meaning of my enemy allows me to have power over him. By knowing his error, and speaking the truth with love I can illuminate his error and he can turn from the evil that has possessed him. And yes, words have the power to move minds, and we must use the force of words to exert force over the evil that has possessed the mind of our friend.
Throughout your correspondence you have spoken concepts about the nature of the universe as though they are True. Your religious position, as you have expressed it, is that there is really no difference between good and evil because there are sequences whereby good circumstances become the seeds of future evil circumstances, and vice versa.
You have referred to the principle of good coming out of evil, and evil coming out of good circumstances as though this indicated that in fact there was no actual difference between good and evil.
I believe you used this illustration as a proof by example of the concept of the equivalence of good and evil. You then extrapolated from that example the concept that we should therefore not exert force in the direction of good because if we do we are in essence becoming part of the evil that follows.
I agree to a large extent with your concept that all things are part of God. But you have used that concept to then imply that since all things are part of God, that there is no evil or good, therefore no judgment can be administered, therefore the reality of heavenly reward and hellish punishment is a fantasy, therefore all action which is not obviously harmful is acceptable, and in particular that sexual choice should be absolute between consenting adults.
You imply that simply because every action, thought, and word is part of the play of God's creation they all things have their place, and should merely be appreciated for their particular lesson. The method of dealing with evil is to simply enter inside of it to learn from it, and negotiate with evil from a position of resonance.
In effect, you are placing the embrace of the play of creation as the highest of all possible goals of life.
Such a philosophy has works well in civil society, to a point. In the case of an issue which has no moral implication, it works best because it allows us to accommodate for the tastes and personality quirks of our friends, family, and mate.
In the case of the situation in civil society where we discuss issues with moral implications, such as the discussion we are now having, it will produce no result whatsoever unless one of us capitulates to the worldview of the other. I have found your sharing informative about how another person could live and believe about life, but I have not been persuaded to adopt the position that life has no fundamental archetypal polarities of good and evil that were created by God. Instead, I have been strengthened in the examination. If you have not been won over by the force of my argument then we find ourselves on opposite sides of a growing chasm. But, sincerely, my heart has grown closer to you in my care and sympathy for your position.
In the case of an uncivil society, your worldview has the following implications:
If you are attacked by a homicidal maniac, then simply submitting to the attack, or understanding his pain, is the appropriate response. And of course the result in this case would probably be death. In your philosophy, it would be inappropriate to judge the murderer's value system as wrong or evil. And, to oppose him with force to stop his action would be wrong because it would be a violent act that would resist the flow of events that are proceeding in your life. In other words, since everything is God, and this event is happening, it is part of God, and since the highest virtue is to embrace whatever is happening in God's world, then I must follow that prime directive of life and submit to the forces, and experience the subsequent effects.
To my mind such a scenario or rationalization of life is absurd, and I have difficulty believing that you would in fact embrace your philosophy to this level of extremity. But, I wish to pursue what the implications would be of generalizing this life approach to the larger society.
If this method is adopted widely, and the entire society embraces the submission to the events and forces of evil, we would have truly entered into a New Age. Generalizing this new societal paradigm: we will have a world where evil will be able to prosper without encountering resistance or difficulty. In this new world, evil men who desire to enslave and use us for their pleasure and profit will have an entire world of willing participants to serve their fantasies. In this new world, evil men will have no incentive to negotiate or consider the needs of the ruled masses. In such a world, there would be no threat of rebellion. The masses would simply toil without complaint or regret under the yoke of the taskmaster. This worldview, when generalized and adopted by all mankind will produce a stable society. The nepotistic tendency will ensure that a dynastic lineage is perpetuated to maintain the two class system of lords and slaves forever.
Evil men, and their unGodly philosophies have enabled them to execute the terrors of Pol Pot's killing fields, the Cultural Revolution of Mao, the ethnic cleansing of the Sudan, and the 9/11 fantasy of False Religion. Your worldview rationalizes such terrors as the necessary cycles associated with God's play, good turning into evil, and evil turning into good in endless succession.
But, such a view is simply the posture of the ultimate codependent. Men become addicted to evil of various sorts, and ultimately societal power comes under his control. The new age philosophy of embracing all things is a codependent facilitation of the rise of evil to a place of social dominance. The end result of all unGodliness is ultimately pain and death.
Steven, I know you are sincere in your beliefs. I know you believe you are advocating for what you believe is right. But, as your friend, I am pleading with you to recognize the path you are on is not a good one.
I invite you to sincerely look at the claims of Christianity. I know that Christians have betrayed the ideals of Christ, but that does not negate the actual Truth of the spirit of Christianity. I know you do not actually understand the heart and spirit of Christianity because your words have communicated a clear message about your ignorance of its precepts. I know you feel you are at peace. But, the peace of capitulation to evil is short lived. It will eventually produce painful and very unpeaceful results.
I do not want to alienate you or insult you with any of the above. I am truly advocating for your soul. I know it would require a great deal of humility to take me up on my offer, but I am sincerely asking that you consider the writing that I have sent to you over our period of correspondence. Look at it from the perspective of how it could be possible that in fact Christianity is true. But, my writing is only a secondary interpretation of the Truth. I invite you to make a sincere discipline of daily Bible reading and study, and let God illuminate your heart from his source book. I suggest a daily reading of a chapter from Proverbs. Use the day of the month as the guide for which chapter to read each day. There are 31 chapters. Continue reading them daily, for at least a year or two, and let me know how it affected your heart.
I am aware that it will take a miracle for your heart and soul to be freed of the snare of the New Age philosophy you have worked so hard to perfect and embrace. Nevertheless, I am asking you to at least be open to that examination, conversation, and discipline. I will be asking that the other members of the list to be praying for you to receive an actual conviction and knowing of the Truth.
I truly do pray that God will bless you with a knowledge of His Truth,
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