I could list such causes from history or even from contemporary sources in abundance: tyranny, crime, cults or sinister movements but, I need only give one monstrous example: radical religion (pseudo religion).
Contemporary global news is often dominated by this.
Terror, bombings, attacks and unspeakable horrors appall civilized people everywhere. The cause itself or its wily leaders seem to have little trouble recruiting people for their agenda. What does this say about people? I often think if only those causes for good could be as effective the causes for evil. I hope it is only an illusion because bad things seem to command more interest than good things. One day Jesus shall return and that day will be the beginning of the end for evil.
If more Christians had great zeal the World would be a different place.
I do believe there are Christians zealous for accomplishing “The Great Commission” so why do they often seem less successful that those with evil agendas? I have come to understand some things, having lived almost seventy years: People want to belong to something; people want to accomplish something; people want to be part of great change. The impulse for such things is normal and part of life and the following excerpts from GOD’s WORD the Holy Bible may help you understand and lead you to better things: what is good and what is pleasing to GOD. These are truly great and worthy of devotion and I hope my life will help lead others to this great thing: Eternal life with GOD because they accept Jesus Christ for their Lord and Savior.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Ever since Adam and Eve sinned and were cast out of the Garden of Eden life for humans has not been easy: we have great capabilities in intelligence, skills and adaptability but use our free will for evil as well as good. Some times we find ourselves stuck in paradoxes and even the best of us can only guess at a solution to a problem.
Yes, if all people were obedient to GOD all would be much better here and now. Yet, even if only all Christians were perfectly obedient to Christian Ideals unsaved nonbelievers would still need some kind of help in order to live in this world successfully, as we strive to lead them to The Lord.
There Just are not Enough Christians Living in Obedience to GOD.
Of course if it were to happen that all people are saved and know Jesus as their Lord and Savior then the work of The Great Commission would be finished.
The World would be a different place: no suffering, no mistakes . . . etc. Or would it? We still are living in the fallen world tempted and subject to deception and our own weakness.
When the people of GOD fail to be their brother’s keeper, care for widows and orphans and, support Christian principles fully, human logic may then lead us to tax wrong things instead of opposing them and, fail to call them what they are in the sight of GOD: SINS.
Therefore, GOD’s Revelation will be fulfilled nevertheless.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
So, what can we do fellow Christian?
We as Christians are living in a flawed physical world that is ruled by a Fallen Angel; we accept Jesus, study GOD’s Word and become as obedient as possible to GOD. Each day that we are alive is a day closer to the return of Jesus Christ. Each day that we are alive we should grow in our Christian Walk and become more Christ-Like. We can only strive to do what is right and good. Keep up the Good Fight. Without GOD we cannot become Christ like but we must try.
And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Theoretical physicists use their GOD given minds to speculate about multiple dimensions, the segment of the universe humans can detect, multiverses and whether this current universe is just one of an infinite succession of universes.
I believe anything humans can conceive is possible with GOD but, only in a way consistent with GOD’s characteristics. What do I mean? I do not believe GOD created an evil universe for example.
I do believe if GOD created other intelligent beings that GOD has provided them with guidance and maybe even Jesus and The Holy Spirit as well.
Our brains are an exquisite biological organ
Our brains are an exquisite biological organ existing squarely in the physical reality that we are part of; the spiritual aspect of us exists in the spiritual realm. Our soul is the essence of who we are and is a bridge between here and now and a timeless spiritual realm where we as Christians expect to exist when our mortal being succumbs to death. Not ever having consciously connected to the spiritual realm I surmise it is our consciousness that traverses the gap, with out soul defining who we are (or will be then) as we enjoy Heaven. We humans are immersed in a reality of beginnings, existence and endings: we find it difficult to understand eternity in a meaningful way. I am sure when we are with The Lord all our questions will be answered . . . in the meanwhile here are some clues from The Word of GOD:
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” …
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
Then I looked, and behold, on the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared above them something like a sapphire, in appearance like a throne. And he said to the man clothed in linen, “Go in among the whirling wheels underneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” And he went in before my eyes. Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the house, when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. And the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord. And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks. …
Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/
If you have a few years behind you, you know this:
“There are things you can do, have or experience that seem good but in the long run turn out to be not good at all.”
I Loved Smoking as a Teen and into Middle Age
When I was about 15 years old I had a summer job with two other boys; one was a year older seemed a little more streetwise andsmoked cigarettes. It did not take too long, as we worked together doing landscape work for his uncle, before he talked me into trying a cigarette. It was the beginning of a 25 years bad habit. In those younger years I shared the bad habit with my friends; we experimented with brands of cigarettes,pipes and cigars: it was great fun. When the cost challenged our ability to keep a steady supply of cigarettes we learned how to make our own: we got tobacco, paper and even a handy little machine to make rolling them easy. When I enlisted in the army in May 1968 the smoking habit was well entrenched and army life enhanced the desire to smoke.
The Years Rolled By and I Tried to Quit any Times
Finally I really quit sometime in my early 40’s which meant I had smoked for at least 25 years at a significant rate: more that 2 packs of cigarettes a day most of the time. I was hopeful that the cigarettes with filters would lessen the dangers associated with smoking; that became more and more evident and was well publicized. The non smoking years rolled buy and I believed my old bad habit’s potential for negative health effects was a thing I had escaped.
My Doctor told me I had 20% lung damage
More than 25 years after I quit smoking I developed respiratory problems and soon I will have medical tests to gauge just how significant my health situation is because of the past when I smoked.
Deadly things may look very beautiful.
What once seemed good was not good at all.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, a student of GOD’s Word and one who fights negatives and fosters positives, I see our Human perception is often limited and wrong. When I go to GOD’s Word I see that it offers warnings about things that fool us: sin that seems good leads to very negative outcomes even eternal death. The following examples from The Holy Bible may help you avoid calamity here on Earth and eternal damnation after your body dies.
Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”
*Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/
Subterfuge, hidden agendas, self . . . just a hint at what confounds simple concepts when humans begin to express them from a biased position. People may or may not be aware of their biases; these are inherent within our very nature. Education can help but the greatest help comes from the wisdom GOD gives us within The Holy Bible.
Real Human Nature
As a Christian I accept what The Bible defines our nature to be:
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
Even the best of us (those who can manage our negatives well for The Greater Good) know we fall short of perfection and must rely on a Higher Authority from whom we get a better standard than what we ourselves can establish.
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
Yes, being forewarned can and does equip us to incorporate safe guards in our organizations: Clubs, tribes, governments . . . etc.
The First Amendment To The Constitution of the USA
. . . insures our people can enjoy religious freedom and that our law makers cannot establish a (an official State) religion. Yet did that mean our government was not to be influenced by GOD’s precepts and standards? I emphatically say NO. History may well indicate that there have been Theocracies (and still some exist) but the moral standards, “The Golden Rule” and other precepts revealed in The Holy Scriptures have a positive impact on all good people everywhere even within secular societies. Religion is man-made but the relationship between humans and GOD exists and is important. Religion though imperfect, usually offers a way in which people can safely live with each other; because it is the human institution that when it relies on GOD’s Word reveals everything GOD wants for us – now and for eternity.
Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptist association in Connecticut*
In his letter Thomas Jefferson reinforces the safe guards guaranteed by The Constitution of The United States of America by using the metaphor “wall of separation”. Still the standards by which we judge political candidates and their conduct in political office is the same standards we find revealed within GOD’s Word (The Holy Bible) for all of us especially our leaders. Even Jesus illustrated the relationship between humans, Governments and God when he offered this illustration when The Pharisees tried to trick him:
(in response to Jesus’s question about whose image was on the Roman coin) They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s Dream in 1964–65 * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Society
During the 1960’s the social upheaval, the negatives and the violence was only part of the story. In those years President LBJ was part of an effort to make life more equitable for Americans. He revealed his dream for a better America with ￼his desired improvements in education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, and transportation.
Just getting a chance to create Federal programs that would facilitate these positive efforts took a great deal of political skill (LBJ was a master politician). What was successful and what was not I will leave that up to you if you care to research the subject thoroughly. I am not going to evaluate his effort, nor examine the historical record now. My focus is on why I believe Christians can influence our society in many positive ways because of Biblical principles and can move humanity toward a Great Society nevertheless.
The Bible does not indicate that humans can establish perfection on Earth; it does instruct us how to live better.
The Holy Scriptures point us to a future when GOD will establish a New Kingdom upon a New Earth. Jesus Christ will rule.
Revelation 21:1 ESV
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
In the meantime Christians can do a great deal (and some have) to make living on this Old Earth better. Christians know from the Bible that humans are susceptible to self-serving motives and in some instances evil attitudes and behavior. Modern society dislikes the word “sin” so much that there are many people saying it does not exist; wishing it away will not make it vanish. Acknowledging it will help people to do a better job at lessening sin and its negative effects. The Bible paints a realistic picture of life as we know it and instructs us how to be victorious. First you must be honest.
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Next Christians must strive to live the new life they have been granted even as their spirit still dwells within their old body.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Victory over sin in this life requires a number of proscriptions and prescriptions.
Yet it is not a simple matter of memorizing a list of do and don’t instructions (Like The Ten Commandments), it is understanding our nature, believing GOD, and possess the commitment to persevere knowing at times we will fall short.
1 Timothy 6:12 ESV
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Even if Christians are diligent this Old World can only improve to a degree; human nature and current reality will prevail.
1 Timothy 6:17 ESV
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
Matthew 25:37-40 ESV
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
In a world increasingly influenced by multiculturalism, pluralism and (seemingly CONTRADICTORY) individualism circumstances may beg the question: What is meant by The term “The greater good”?
If we could eavesdrop on two wise and learned people engaged in a debate about “The Greater Good” – one from antiquity and one from a possible future – perhaps we may gain some deeper understanding of this concept.
Standing on a stage before a group of people from around the world and many different periods of time, are two distinguished representatives about to debate one another on what is meant by the phrase “The Greater Good”?
￼The representative for the ancients is a man named Manu on the right; the representative for people yet to be extant a woman named Ai on the left; I (James) shall be seated below and in front of them and act as moderator when necessary.
Moderator: Ai and Manu you have read the rules for this discussion; if you do not have any questions are you ready to discuss the topic “The Greater Good”?
Moderator: Manu please tell us about what the term meant to early humans before there were cities, farms or permanent settlements.
Manu: In those days the created people emerged from the forests and engaged the world; the men hunted or fished as the women and children (able enough to help), gathered seeds, fruit and other small edibles. All helped manage water use and waste disposal. These practices constituted the first rules intended to insure survival; they insured all members of the group had the best chance to survive. Survival equaled “The Greater Good” Not adhering to them would certainly lead to death.
Moderator: Ai in the eras yet to come does this clear concept still ensure survival for the people who live in the future?
Ai: “The Greater Good” in the future is the same as “Do what Ever Makes You Happy”.
Moderator: Manu what kinds of humans suffered punishment and why if they were judged to do things or behave in such a way as to violate the rules jeopardizing survival of the many?
Manu: In the earliest days there were no jails or systems to modify or control recalcitrant individuals therefore capital punishment was the norm. Very few violators were punished in less severe ways. Gradually with the advent of larger populations other punishments requiring payment or restitution supplanted capitol remedies.
Ai: Allow me: In the future there is no punishment we understand all things are relative so we tolerate all but a very few crimes; the only remedies are control of a violator with substances that modify their behavior or relocate them. We no longer prosecute victimless crime.
Manu: Excuse me, what kind of life do individuals lead?
Ai: Most law-abiding individuals are happy and content; everything is provided from cradle to death (death is only determined by choice of the individual) or they can live perpetually since science prolongs life indefinitely. People try this or that but most settle into a quiet lifestyle enjoying constant virtual reality entertainment.
Manu: Is there nothing to engage in? No great people of science or leadership?
Ai: There is no need for any of that. Machines attend to every conceivable need a person may have. Machines do all the work and people simply seek pleasure and enjoy whatever pleases them.
Manu: And what about spiritual life, family life, friendly competition, exploration of the universe or altruism?
Ai: Those are all things of the past. There are no needy people; we can explore any imagined world using virtual reality; there is no need for GOD, God or gods we are each a god of our own. Humans can choose to live perpetually if they want to.
Manu: What is the average life span in this Utopian future?
Ai: Life span by choice averages about thirty years of age . . .
Ai: By that age most people have experienced all the joy they can and chose to vacate allowing room for a newly emerged individual . . .
Moderator: Ai and Manu I am sorry because that is all the time we have for today’s debate. We hope to see you both again and continue with this topic.
to be continued.
I am not sure what you make think concerning this topic but, I as a follower of Jesus Christ trust Him for my future.
GOD has created us for a purpose that is beyond our selfish selves. In this life we can be transformed by following HIS precepts; we can be fulfilled; we can know that we have a purpose and a destiny; HE will prepare us for a new future with HIS gift of eternal life that has meaning and fulfillment now and forever more.
Some Bible verses that point the way:
Isaiah 5:20 ESV
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
James 2:14-17 ESV
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Galatians 6:9 ESV
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 5:19-26 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. …
Proverbs 4:27 ESV
Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
Romans 12:21 ESV
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
How fast would humans descend to cruel anarchy without words of truth to guide them?
Many years ago when I was a young Christian doing my best to be a good witness I encountered a couple who seemed like people I could talk to so I spoke to them about Jesus Christ and Christianity. I explained how my life had been changed for the good and shared examples of the benefits from learning and applying God’s Word to my life and my family’s life. This conversation could only continue sporadically over time because we were co-workers and opportunity to spend a lot time in this conversation would not be the right thing to do. Of course I tried to make up for that by giving them tracts. One day they told me outright that they did not need religion (nor a relationship with Jesus) to live a good life, die and go to heaven. OK, so they let me know they had heard enough about the subject and that I should back off. I asked one last question before we went our separate ways.
“How can you be so sure you know all there is to know about right and wrong?” I said.
She replied, ” We just know.”
I mused over that for a moment then asked a friendly question, “Where did you meet each other by the way?”
They told me they were childhood sweethearts and they had attended and graduated from parochial school (Roman Catholic). My last words to them as we parted?
“So you did learn all about God’s Ten Commandments after all, and, that is how I believe you really know right from wrong.”
Religion is the attempt by humans to get back in touch with God after “The Fall” in the Garden of Eden. Through the eons many common sense teachings have helped people live better and the origins of this wisdom has seemed to have arrived on Earth via many different people. Many people who presented this wisdom are associated with numerous religions, yet under closer scrutiny I see that the greatest truths for humans has actually come directly from God. How I know this will be explained in a book that I am writing. For now I just want to focus on the “Ten Commandments” that were given to Moses as explained in the Old Testament of The Bible in the book of Exodus 20:1–17. When people obeyed the precepts in this revelation all people benefited and this is recorded throughout the history of civilization.
Unbelievers, pagans, agnostics and atheists have benefited from the guidance obtained from the Ten Commandments, not just Hebrews and Christians. Governments have relied on them when passing the laws that provide order for their nations. Satan and his cohorts know them better than many humans. While adhering to these Ten Commandments will not assure your acceptance into Heaven (only accepting Jesus can do that) life on Earth is so much better when they are followed. These precepts guide us and teach us about our own nature thus they help us to avoid the consequences of wrong doing. Today there appears to be a movement to remove all references to the Ten Commandments, displays of them and monuments to them everywhere because they offend some people. Who are they?
The Ten Commandments not only teach us right from wrong but shed light on evil doers in my opinion and, if some people are made uncomfortable by their presence so be it, that is exactly what God has intended: they expose and work against evil and perpetrators of evil.
Deuteronomy 4:13 (ESV)
And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone.
1 Corinthians 7:19 (ESV)
For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.
Ten Commandments for the 21st Century
(explained by James Halifko)
Recognize just one Supreme Being: God
Do not create your own gods from any thing or any concept.
Do not utter God or speak of God in a disrespectful manner.
Humans need a true day of rest during a week.
The family unit is vital for good so especially respect your parents.
Murder is evil and forbidden; kill only in order to survive.
Honor your commitment to your spouse; adultery is destructive.
Do not take or keep anything that you have not earned.
Do not lie or omit truth.
Coveting anything or anyone is an empty and wasteful practice and invites evil.