What is Wealth Anyway?

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from pixabay.com

Wealth – *abundance of valuable material possessions or resources

*[http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wealth]

This post is a little different from most of my previous posts. How is it different you wonder?  It is about the current world order and the distribution of wealth.  Wait: it is not a manifesto of a radical social point of view; not about an ideology; not a litany of complaints. First I shall briefly write about the world condition and then emphasize speculation concerning current events as I perceive them. In conclusion I shall link conditions with wisdom from what I have learned and now believe. Let me begin.

Humans have discovered many things about our world that has contributed to the success of our species.

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from pixabay.com

Science, technology, ability to anticipate, plan, test and pass on knowledge and skills have made life better for many of us but, not for all of us. The reality is, we have never conquered that trait of human nature that temps us to indulge in evil for personal reasons especially in order to gain riches and power.  It infiltrates even the best milieu and as our population increased worldwide so does the negative fruit from this self-serving tendency.  Fortunately today our collective memory about the two world wars of the last century has confined this manifestation of evil to a relatively  small-scale and not on the large-scale infestation of the worst kind that history reveals.  Of course if you are living in one of the hot spots where evil rules your world view surely must be very negative; this is understandable.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "View in the Five Points." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1b4c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “View in the Five Points.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1b4c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Even from a secular frame of reference people do not expect perfection in this world.

Yes we seem to have done better in many ways than what history reveals about past generations.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "A destitute family, Ozark Mountains area, [Arkansas]" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/629acaf0-fc0c-0132-ee40-58d385a7b928
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “A destitute family, Ozark Mountains area, [Arkansas]” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/629acaf0-fc0c-0132-ee40-58d385a7b928
If you do study history you probably have recognized, like many things we observe, the good and bad times are cyclical.  Political, social and even cultural aspects are greatly affected by this cycle of ups and downs good and bad times.  The part of the cycle when good prevails followed by the part of the cycle when evil prevails.  This pattern seems to continue ad infinitum.  One old nemesis of peace and tranquility is a condition that arises whenever the disparity between rich and poor reaches a critical breaking point.  When a population arrives at such a point drastic things usually happen:  mass immigration, civil unrest, revolts and wars.  Does that seem like a familiar theme to you?

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from pixabay.com
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from pixabay.com

Today some sources claim that the gap between the wealthy people of the world and the poor people of the world is greater than ever.

Music Division, The New York Public Library. "The Piccadilly Johnny with the little glass eye" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-1630-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Music Division, The New York Public Library. “The Piccadilly Johnny with the little glass eye” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-1630-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

I can believe this.  I see in the news everyday indications of clashes caused by desperate people on the move in search of a better life.  The hopeless people flee anarchy, radical ideology and war.  Unfortunately some stay and turn to more radical measures themselves, by adopting barbaric and brutal behavior believing it is their only choice.  What is worse, people with criminal tendencies see this manifestation of evil masking as religious or political expression as an opportunity to validate their barbaric behavior.

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from pixabay.com

Some adopt an ideology inspired by hate and fueled by anger because they are angry and they do hate; even if they have cause, their action only worsen situations that are already horrible.  At the end of this post I will summarize the direction I suspect our

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Destitute Ozark resident, Arkansas" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5f12b7f0-fc0c-0132-ccb6-58d385a7b928
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Destitute Ozark resident, Arkansas” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5f12b7f0-fc0c-0132-ccb6-58d385a7b928

social reality will continue to be moving toward if the current state of human affairs continues unchallenged and unabated, but first I want to write about what may help alter these negative social forces and what may be a possible solution.

Like it on not a redistribution of wealth will always occur and seek a happy medium.

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from pixabay.com

In physics we learn that equilibrium will occur when two different things representing opposites, like hot and cold, dense and sparse, or fresh and salty water will eventually arrive at a point when both modify each other and neutralize the disparity.  The second law of thermodynamics.  Wait, are not humans infinitely more complex than a gas or a fluid?  True.  If we examine extreme differences between groups of people with opposing positions we may note some similarities from their solutions resembling the basic examples above in some cases, and less predictable very different results in others : 1) Human behavior is unlikely to end a point of contention with all the individuals agreeing completely, instead there will be a distribution of agreement and disagreement along a familiar pattern  – introducing the famous “bell curve”,

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from pixabay.com

2) It only takes a small percent of a population to disrupt a solution, increase costs or foment discontent, 3) A total diffusion of any possessions, freedom, privileges or power may be unnecessary.  Not many individuals desire solutions that guarantee they will be allowed to gain in excess.  This is true especially if the extra benefits place greater demands on them who take possession of them.  In other words, a fair distribution of material gain, freedom, power and privilege spread throughout a population would satisfy the majority of the people involved.  Some would like more power and more wealth but others would not want the added responsibility that would go with it.  Whatever solution is adopted it would require periodic evaluation, mechanisms for adjustment and remedies for failures.  The group as a whole would need safeguards: methods to deal with disrupters, law breakers and abusers.

How is a more equitable world achieved?

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from pixabay.com

There are many ways to redistribute wealth: a social mechanism such as taxation, charity, welfare, land reform, monetary policies, confiscations or more drastic measures like warfare, immigration, and lawless behavior on a large-scale.  If people want peace then they must address the problem equitably before evil harnesses the unsettled masses and we all move toward anarchy, barbarism and a return to “The Law of the Jungle.” An immigrant may send money home; a nation may provide aid to a suffering neighbor country; the wealthier societies may invest money and resources where there is a need – a need to cultivate a higher standard of living for a people.  In my opinion a more equitable world can be achieved but whether it will be a peaceful or violent transition remains an open question; an answer to a question that all people alive today have a vested interest in finding a peaceful answer to.

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from pixabay.com

What if the gap between rich and poor continues or increases?

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from pixabay.com

I have read science fiction literature and watched films that portray a future for humanity that is bleak, in chaos and violent.  Walled or fenced cities where “The Haves” isolate themselves from the “Have-Nots”; within the cities luxury is common and excesses abound; beyond the perimeter where the poor masses struggle to survive it is a “dog eat dog” existence ruled by cruel and violent people.  The status quo one day is totally upset when the security zones are breached and the deprived run amok venting frustration and hatred by attacking all who have “the good life” until an ugly equilibrium is established and a horrible dystopia is the reality for all people.

 

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from pixabay.com

As a follower of Jesus Christ I believe the Holy Bible provides insight and the wisdom to achieve this goal.

*Excerpts from The Holy Bible:

      1. Genesis 4:8-10 ESV

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.

      1. 1 John 3:17-18 ESV

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

      1. Proverbs 14:31 ESV

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

      1. Psalm 82:3-4 ESV

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

      1. Proverbs 29:7 ESV

A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.

      1. Mark 14:7 ESV

For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. . . .

*Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/

It is OK to Love Animals?

 Yes it is OK to Love Animals and all living things showing respect and consideration for their place here on Earth.

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from pixabay.com

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from pixabay.com

If you consider that all living things seem to depend on each other caring for living things is beneficial for all life.

Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "Chinese Hare, Lepus Sinensis." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-b4f9-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Chinese Hare, Lepus Sinensis.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-b4f9-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "Bengal Civet, Viverra Bengalensis." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-9edc-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Bengal Civet, Viverra Bengalensis.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-9edc-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

All life?  Yes. all life is inter-connected.  Scientists talk about food chains from microscopic to macroscopic; plants make food by photosynthesis and animal life consumes it; waste products becomes fertilizer; plants and

Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "Collared Hedge Hog, Erinaceus collaris." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-9f12-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Collared Hedge Hog, Erinaceus collaris.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-9f12-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

microbes store carbon and emit oxygen;  beavers dam streams and habitat for aquatic life including amphibians is created.  Humans appear to be the preeminent living creature on top of it all because we alter, consume and promote environments and even living things. 

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Spanish bull." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-f0ba-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Spanish bull.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-f0ba-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "Blue spotted Cophias, Trigonocephalus purpurcornaculatus [purpureo-maculatus]. Singapore." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-9f6f-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Blue spotted Cophias, Trigonocephalus purpurcornaculatus [purpureo-maculatus]. Singapore.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-9f6f-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Why do some humans abuse their position?

Humans can be so aggressive and selfish when harvesting food and materials for their needs that the result is devastating to environments they share with other living things.  This negative effect is becoming apparent on a planet wide scale affecting oceans, forests, lands and the atmosphere.  

Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "1. Flat Backed Terrapin, Emys platynotha; 2. Spinose Land Terrapin, Geoemyda spinosa." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-c2ed-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “1. Flat Backed Terrapin, Emys platynotha; 2. Spinose Land Terrapin, Geoemyda spinosa.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-c2ed-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Abusers include the most hideous of all: poachers.  Poachers kill living things just for a very small part of an animal: a tusk, an organ or a hide and more.  Pollution is a problem a by-product of scale but, poachers are motivated by greed and their markets are the equivalent to nothing less than selfish evil. Whether deliberate abuse, accidental damage or ignorance the effect is the same: the planet becomes less able to sustain many life forms.

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "Chinese Owl, Strix Sinensis." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-9f1f-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Chinese Owl, Strix Sinensis.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-9f1f-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com



Before you dismiss this article as leftist propaganda think again.

Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "Bell's Uromastix, Uromastix Bellii. From Penang." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-c361-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Bell’s Uromastix, Uromastix Bellii. From Penang.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-c361-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

As a follower of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior I have learned that GOD the Creator has considered our world with all that is alive upon us as “Good”.  GOD’s Word teaches us to use not abuse, to be considerate, respectful and competent stewards of all we preside over.  It is clear to me from the beginning we humans are intended to be the caretakers of our world: Our only home, Planet Earth.

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

Selected Biblical Excerpts*:

      1. Proverbs 12:10 ESV

Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

   2. Genesis 1:28 ESV

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

      1. Exodus 23:5 ESV

If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.

      1. Genesis 1:20 ESV

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

      1. Genesis 2:19 ESV

Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them.
And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.

      1. Genesis 2:15 ESV

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep  Yes it is OK to Love Animals and all living things showing respect and consideration for their place here on Earth.it.

   7. Numbers 35:33-34 ESV

You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no  Yes it is OK to Love Animals and all living things showing respect and consideration for their place here on Earth.atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”

*Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/

It Is, You

Your Choice from Pixabay.com
Your Choice from Pixabay.com

How often have you heard, “The Devil made me do it.”

Usually with tongue in cheek but instead it really should have been firmly held between our teeth whenever we feel like saying the old quip; the supernatural should probably be better left alone.  No this post isn’t about demons, evil spirits or the Devil; it is about you, and me and ‘Free Will’.  

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Satan, Sin, and Death" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/f226f620-e8f2-0130-009f-58d385a7bbd0
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Satan, Sin, and Death” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/f226f620-e8f2-0130-009f-58d385a7bbd0

We often do or say things that we would like to blame on all of the above; yet this is really a dark truth about human nature.  After World War II many perpetrators of Nazi atrocities  claimed they were only obeying ‘orders’ and by implication it was not they who were to blame for crimes against humanity.  Really?  Let us think carefully about this and not be so hasty shifting blame on others for the mistakes, selfish acts, crimes or cruelty we find ourselves involved with.  Sure most of us can claim, “I am not THAT, bad.”  Let us think about this statement more carefully.

 

Pick just one from Pixabay.com
Pick just one from Pixabay.com

 

 

If we are so innocent and intrinsically ‘good how is it many of us allow ourselves to  comply with situations and things we know clearly is wrong?  Cheat on taxes, pilfer, violate driving laws, cheat in games, cheat on our mate . . .  etc.  Worse?  We many even find ourselves doing these things without help from anyone else. If we do not capitulate completely we may regret, agonized and repent afterwards but, in the end we must take responsibility for our actions.

Bad Choice from Pixabay.com
Bad Choice from Pixabay.com

Who knows what evil lurks in our hearts and minds, acted on or not?

Clues from Pixabay.com
Clues from Pixabay.com
Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. "Magician with devils, assistant, goose and rabbit" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/b5cfbf49-a582-7548-e040-e00a18060aef
Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. “Magician with devils, assistant, goose and rabbit” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/b5cfbf49-a582-7548-e040-e00a18060aef

Once upon a time my view on dabbling, with the occult, the seedy side of life or, even taking excursions to the realm of what was culturally taboo; this was, “No big deal.”  Of course I was just curious, playful or just feeling recalcitrant. Little did I realize how wrong I really was.  So now with many years of life’s experience to consider and reflect on, I have a much different point of view.  I firmly believe we are always in the process of transitioning to the kind of person we will ultimately become. Yes, from birth until death the process continues: It all adds up.  The familiar computer programmer’s  phrase saying that is probably trite these days, “Garbage in; Garbage out,” is much more real for me than I would ever have thought.  And, sciences of the brain and mind appear to be confirming this through studies and experimentation even as I type this article.  In our country I think we, as a people, have allowed our new pluralistic and relativistic beliefs to drift toward the extreme because of the freedoms we enjoy.  In my opinion we have pushed our culture ever closer to the abyss by watering down the standards by which we have successfully lived since the beginning of our nation.

 

I believe our very foundations of morality and a clear understanding of right and wrong has been severely weakened.

An athlete acquires skills, mental ability and physical stamina by repeatedly practicing and striving for what is best. The scientist seeks more knowledge and evidence to advance her field.  So what are we to think when each new generation waters down even more, the social standard for morality, civility and the respect for law and order that made our Nation great?

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "On Satan's mount." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-9549-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. “On Satan’s mount.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-9549-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

You do not have to be a religious Jew or Christian to see what had happened to the ancient Hebrews every time their civilization’s standard was weakened by disregard for The Law and disrespect for GOD. It was a series of disasters.

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. "The king in the chariot before a besieged city." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-46f0-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “The king in the chariot before a besieged city.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-46f0-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

We did not use the phrase “One Nation Under GOD” because we were superstitious.  Our forefathers had a deep respect for GOD and GOD’s standards for our people.

In spite of some portrayals of the establishment and history of The United States of America depicting flaws and mistakes, we were a Nation under God.  I fear what will happen to us when we fully become a Nation under many gods or no God at all.

As a Christian I believe The Holy Bible has the teaching we need. We can reverse the trend toward unrealistic freedom and again we can become the moral standard for a dangerous world.  Satan and his cohorts influence and tempt but we make the choices in the end.

Excerpts as examples from the ESV* Bible:

      1. Matthew 15:19 ESV

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

      1. Jeremiah 17:9 ESV

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

      1. Genesis 6:11-12 ESV

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

  4. James 4:7 ESV

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

   5. Genesis 3:13 ESV

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

 *Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/revealing

Relationship not Religion

 

Since “The Fall” in the “Garden of Eden” humans have sought to reach God to regain the lost relationship

 

Adam and Eve Expelled Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Full-page miniature of the expulsion from Paradise." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e6b1-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Adam and Eve Expelled
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “Full-page miniature of the expulsion from Paradise.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e6b1-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Many people on this planet accept, the origin of humanity as described in Genesis found in the Pentateuch, the original sin and the banishment from “The Garden of Eden.”  Yet even many people who do not know about this story seem to instinctively seek God if not a god.  There are atheists in the world and what this writing is about probably will not be of interest to them; agnostics on the other hand may be stirred, even transformed into seekers.

Humans invented religion in hope of reconnecting or connecting with God.

Couple: Religion The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Religion, Mural, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 23, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-9f38-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Couple: Religion
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Religion, Mural, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 23, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-9f38-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Religion is the human way of attempting to directly connect with God: please God, appease God or appeal to God.  To that end there are and have been many variations in how people have hoped to achieve this with many forms of religion.   Yet God has not abandoned the relationship that existed since the beginning, in fact,  God has anticipated every question of importance that we the created beings can muse over, and is extant within the Holy Bible.

From Pixabay.com
From Pixabay.com

If you are among the believers who accept The Genesis story you want to be as Adam and Eve who had walked with God in the garden.  If your belief in God is via a different source or a Selected Scripture you may simply desire to establish direct contact with God.  The key in all of this is, many people seem to recognize a being above ourselves with various degrees of supernatural attributes and, we want to know and have companionship with this being.  I myself believe in God the Creator and Supreme Being found in The Holy Bible.

When humans are humbled by the knowledge of a powerful God good things happen.

Baptism Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. "Baptism" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/71fd7f60-2893-0132-9ad0-58d385a7bbd0
Baptism
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. “Baptism” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/71fd7f60-2893-0132-9ad0-58d385a7bbd0

We need guidance; we need explanations; we need purpose.  Answering to a “Higher Authority” helps us to avoid evil and seek good: we learn how not to do evil and we learn how to do good. We discover our place, have a hope of experiencing eternal good when we have a relationship with “The One True God.”

As a Christian I have Good News for you.

Yes since “The Fall” in the “Garden of Eden” humans have sought to reach God and regain the lost personal relationship with God.  Many humans invented religions in a hope of achieving this goal. The hard work is already accomplished and you can benefit from the completed work: revelation within the Holy Bible explains all we need to know all we need to do.  If we do not glean an exact answer at first, as Christians we know we have the Holy Spirit’s help.  When we accept what Jesus Christ has done for us we gain the guidance given by The Holly Spirit.  This benefit assists us in knowing God’s principles and how to apply them to all that we face in our lifetime.

Moses The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Moses Fountain,Washington Park, Albany, N. Y." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-a305-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Moses
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Moses Fountain,Washington Park, Albany, N. Y.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-a305-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Holy Scripture reveals God to all who believe.

Yes God has provided answers to these questions for seekers and anyone who wants to know.  Please do not let cultural cliché’s turn you off.  God’s message to us is simple and clear.  When the time was correct (in God’s plan) God directly gave humans knowledge and instruction. In other instances there were times when humans were inspired by God’s Spirit to convey what we needed to know. I believe all the information we humans need is contained within The Holy Bible, and so I will end with selected verses that can help you begin your own relationship with God.

From Pixabay.com
From Pixabay.com

Selected Scripture for you:

John 10:27 ESV

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

John 1:12 ESV

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

1 John 1:3-4 ESV

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Psalm 19:14 ESV

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

James 4:8 ESV

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Revelation 3:20 ESV

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Get started with these verses:

John 5:24 ESV

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Romans 10:13 ESV

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness Options: A.  Superficial; B. Conditional; C. Unconditional

Love Forgives Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. "Couple Embracing" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/840ba8f0-d56d-0131-09f9-58d385a7bbd0
Love Forgives
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. “Couple Embracing” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/840ba8f0-d56d-0131-09f9-58d385a7bbd0

Why do I believe human life on Earth cannot survive without forgiveness?

Song Sheet Music Division, The New York Public Library. "I can forgive but not forget" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-fc90-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Song Sheet
Music Division, The New York Public Library. “I can forgive but not forget” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-fc90-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Peace is a Happy Time Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Descent of Madame Saqui, surrounded by fireworks" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/97264390-da39-0132-d425-58d385a7b928
Peace is a Happy Time
Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. “Descent of Madame Saqui, surrounded by fireworks” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/97264390-da39-0132-d425-58d385a7b928

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone can forgive someone who they are in a relationship with, they admire or agree with; it is much harder to forgive a stranger, one you disagree with or your enemy.  The awkwardness within our milieu is due to a fundamental misunderstanding exacerbated by the emotionally charged word “Love” in the English language.  Languages such as Greek have several words depicting love in various forms: emotional, erotic, friendship . . .   Yet like love, forgiveness offers and expresses many different things.

To forgive need not involve your emotions.

Mt Fuji Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Fuji from Kawaibashi." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c260bdb3-9b64-4552-e040-e00a18066d81
Mt Fuji
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Fuji from Kawaibashi.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c260bdb3-9b64-4552-e040-e00a18066d81

It feels wonderful to forgive and be forgiven within a relationship such as a marriage.  Yet the human race can overcome some of the most tragic and horrific episodes of human history by choosing to forgive and act on it even when we do not feel like we want to.  When enemies chose to forgive and not inflict acts of vengeance on a vanquished foe, though ill feelings still linger, they assume the higher moral ground, discover their hate subsides and all the people effected by the recent conflict recover faster and better.

No greater example of this can be found then the relationships The United States of America embraced after World War II.

German Leaders The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Kronprinz Rupprecht von Bayern verlässt Schloss La Vallee, um sich an die Front zu begeben." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-0168-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
German Leaders
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Kronprinz Rupprecht von Bayern verlässt Schloss La Vallee, um sich an die Front zu begeben.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-0168-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The USA assisted Germany and Japan – former enemies – recover as well as innocent and allied nations.  The post WWII world experienced a remarkable trend toward peace (not a perfect peace though) when within the global family of nations Germany and Japan became productive positive entities.  This was not the way losers of previous wars were treated nor did they expect this altruistic treatment. Where does this concept originate?

x Peace Symbolic The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Allegory of Peace" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/900c6600-0c9b-0133-c04d-58d385a7bbd0
x Peace Symbolic
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Allegory of Peace” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/900c6600-0c9b-0133-c04d-58d385a7bbd0

God bestowed upon humanity instructions that when followed yield the best outcome for more people for a longer period of time.

A Better Life can be Found Here (C) James Halifko
A Better Life can be Found Here (C) James Halifko

As a Christian I discovered that within the Holy Bible prescriptions are furnished as well as proscriptions for humans to live by.  One of the greatest lessons became obvious to me after living a while and observing life: Emotions are fleeting and decisions made under their spell often calamitous. As the old cliché reflects, “Cooler heads prevailed . . .”. Not to imply pure emotionless logic is the route I promote but rather, act when one has gained control of his or her emotions and clear thinking dominates so one can recognize the best decision for the situation at hand.  Forgiveness leads to better things but one can only see this when emotions are held at bay and reason prevails.

Christians gained this insight fro the Holy Bible; excerpts follow:

 Ephesians 4:32 English Standard Version (ESV)

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Proverbs 10:12 English Standard Version (ESV)

12 Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses.

Matthew 6:12English Standard Version (ESV)

12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 18:21-22English Standard Version (ESV)

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

John 13:34English Standard Version (ESV)

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

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Temptation is Common to Us All

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We all are Tempted by the Same Opportunities to do Wrong.

If we are all tempted by the same opportunities to do wrong why do some of us take action and do the wrong thing and others refuse to?  We might say it is a difference in each person’s character; a strong person resists; a weak person caves in.

The consequences of sin last
The consequences of sin last

 

The circumstances of life do play a part I am sure: a poor person may find it hard to not take food left unattended while a rich person wouldn’t even think of it. OK this seems logical and easy to accept; or is it?

The Temptation to Steal may have Nothing to do with need.

You surely have learned about disadvantaged people returning lost money and some affluent person taking things they do not need.  Can this anomalous behavior be attributed to individual difference in the way people are made? In other words dictated by how their genes worked together with their environment to form their individuality?  Perhaps this is a factor when considering some individuals yet what if we consider all humans?  If we consider all humans as a group we may discover the observed behavior and the correlation with apparent motive for stealing can be represented by a “bell curve”.  The lower and upper extremes being never stealing to the upper limit always stealing.  So many factors apply to people that we can never predict exactly who will or will not steal under any test situation but we can get a sense that out of x number of people 1 will steal. We also  may be able to predict what an individual may do or not do if we have sufficient information about that person.  Still what I am most interested in, is what the vast majority of people within a culture would do under which circumstances. I can get some idea by looking at human behavior data: it often plots as that proverbial “bell curve.”  i may perceive or derivemeaning from this as, most people will steal something under some particular situation.  If I compare different groups over time (like  A generation to B generation or more generations) I may be able to recognize a trend.

I Believe Most People Will Take Something that is not Theirs Sometime.

The possibility of stealing goes way up when a person believes what they are taking won’t be missed, it is too small with very little value, the victim has so much material wealth, it is in some way owed to them or everybody does it so it is OK.  Not paying all the tax one owes, insurance fraud, price gouging  and not returning borrowed things are all forms of theft.  People can rationalize claiming, ” I didn’t steal a car, rob a bank or embezzled from my employer so I am not really guilty.”  If you believe that, you are wrong.  How can we do better than that?  Teach our children right from wrong and live up to their expectations is a good place to start.

In the U.S.A our Legal System is Heavily Influenced by the Bible.

God's Word

The Bible (Old and New Testaments) provide all the information we need to do what is right and avoid doing what id wrong.  Our Nation is at its best when the Christian foundation of our society strives to rise above human imperfection by believing what God’s Word teaches, reveals and instructs.  So here are a some quotes from the Bible as examples.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.

Romans 3:23 (NIV)

. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Galatians 6:7-8 (ESV)

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

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World View

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Oh oh You Will be Late to Work

You are on your way to work and suddenly all you see ahead is red.  The bright glaring red that vehicle tail-lights scream “STOP”.  Quickly you realize you are hopelessly stuck in traffic grid-lock and you won’t be getting to work on time this morning.  It now has become a global phenomena  visit the link to a Forbes article to learn you are not alone in this dilemma.

The Worlds Worst Traffic Jams

World view is not an accurate objective assessment of reality but rather the perception each human being acquires through personal knowledge, experience and interaction with his, or her immediate environment.  The world view we develop begins with our family in our home, expands as we venture out into our surroundings, is affected by our school and neighborhood all the way including the communities on Earth that interact.  It is as much dependent on physical factors as psychological factors.  Cultural and social effects and a religious (or absence thereof) belief most certainly.  We tend to find peace with the familiar and view the prevailing experience as the norm at, or least acceptable; find it hard to accept change even if it suggests the change will be for the better.

Change can be Good, Bad or Indifferent

In my lifelong interface with issues of change I agreed with a wide spectrum of views from change is good even for its own sake to holding on to tradition at all costs as paramount.  Neither of these opinions reflect the realities we eventually experience as time progresses and changes happen at a steady pace regardless of my perception.  So what is right and what is wrong? Am I a person in favor of, or one who is against, change?  Possibly the  at any cost is a bit extreme for me to swallow? Nevertheless sometimes when I contemplate this trend of  thought I become confused, depressed and frozen in a state of none participation and mimic a fatalistic attitude.  I have to admit none of these tactics work well for me.  There is only one thing that consistently gives me understanding, peace and direction: A belief that and believing what God teaches us.God is in control and therefore provides the best answers.

How a World View Nurtured by God’s Word Works for me

Creator God
Creator God

I gain comfort knowing God knows and Loves me and I am an important part of God’s creation:

Genesis 1 ESV “. . . 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image . . . 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good . . . ”

Mathew 10:30 ESV “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Philippians 4: 6 – 7 ESV “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

For more about a Christian World View visit our friends at Focus on the Family link below

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