|Christa with son Josiah, approximately 1987|
My biological mother recently died on January 25, 2023, at the age of 74. This paper my mother wrote after becoming a Christian about 30 years ago. She documents how she transitioned from following New Age teachings to Christianity and lays out the rationale from a philosophical standpoint based on evidence and logic. Christa had a bachelor's degree in philosophy and had originated much music and poetry throughout her life. This paper is relevant to Christian apologetics. For more about Christa, see https://christaselahcom.bandzoogle.com
Philosophy of life by Christa Selah
The rapid soaring blissful burning of desire, its’ brief longing and then subsequent extinction seem to contain the very kernel of experience and be the image of all worldly joys and sufferings. Indeed, is not the subject of much romantic poetry, the transience of life set against the fleeting delight of the senses?
A theme that impresses me as more grievous than intoxicating. I am certain that the melancholy that has encroached upon me from time to time, has grown out of the knowledge that however boundless one’s appetite for pleasure is, it is never satisfied because pleasure, by nature escapes one’s hold. People go after all kinds of worldly trips, drugs, property, computers, science, the arts and even hobbies such as and granted some of these are not only better than others but are necessary and gratifying to some extent. is that there is no worldly pursuit that can give lasting and ultimate satisfaction. One of the realizations that keep creeping up on any halfway insightful person is that more is never enough. Or more is maybe enough for the moment but it doesn’t last. If you watch the patterns of your desire system and mind, the end of the day goes something like….”I think I’ll play my keyboard. Gee, I’d like some coke. Oh and some cheesecake with that. I’m going to listen to some music. What are we going to have for dinner? What do you want for dessert? Ice cream? How about going to the movies? Popcorn, great! Let’s stop for pizza. Let’s go home. Okay, want to snuggle? How about a massage? Now, I’m hungry again. Let’s go out for breakfast. On and on and in the middle of your main course, you’re already thinking about what you’ll have for dessert. The way you deal with this game is by constantly keeping the things going by fast like a sleight of hand trick, knowing that none of them will last, you figure that enough of them with small enough spaces in between will keep the rush going. But it’s like building a house on sand…..you can’t stop because it gets a little scary if you stop. If those spaces in between get too big there is loneliness, self-pity, unworthiness….such stuff, yeh…so keep it coming…hon….more and more and more.
But it turns out that Christ was right when He said. “Lay not up your treasures where moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break in.”
So where, then are we to lay our treasures? None other than in the incorruptible. This brings me to the question of God. I say question because God can not be proven and what can’t be proven remains a question in a lot of people’s minds. There are of course arguments for God’s existence, such as the old Aristotelian logic about cause. The rock had to start tumbling somewhere….cause…mind…intelligence…God….the prime mover…the first cause….mind…the first cause. As the Bible says…In the beginning, God”
Then there is the something can’t come out of nothing argument. Matter can’t create itself. No table, chair, or computer ever yet made itself. Everything speaks of purpose and design. As the watch points to a watchmaker, so Earth, and man argue for a purposeful creator. Even ones reason….ones mind is a gift. It is interesting that Darwin, the father of evolution, with his precise scientific mind is noted as having said “if we consider the whole universe, the mind refuses to look at it as the outcome of chance. Well, the opposite of chance is order, mind, intelligence. We call that God.
Another argument has to do with the innate sense of right and wrong. Where did it come from? The need for fair play….our conscience…a standard of morality. If one rejects God, he does so by appealing to his sense of right and wrong.
Finally what about religious experience? Can one be sure that those who claim to have experienced God were all mistaken? Suppose there was only one person who saw the sun rise today? Then maybe, that could have been a delusion. But what if thousands saw it also?
Here another question arises. Why can’t God be proven? The most right answer I’ve come across is as follows; if God can be proven to exist, he becomes the product of man’s reasoning. God is then reduced to a scientific proposition which man demonstrates. Then man has limited the limitless and made the eternal the workings of his own mind.
So where does that leave one? If God can not be proved or disproved by logic and reason then He must be comprehended in another way and that way is faith.
What is meant by faith is not something opposed to reason as though faith is like ….But it could be looked at this way. Faith moves beyond reason. It outstretches the boundaries of logic.
When a swimmer goes swimming, there is a point beyond which he can not go, which is his point of endurance, his limit. So it is in the realm of knowledge. There are limits for man, boundaries beyond which he is unable to move. God is beyond these limits and because of this, He must be reached by faith.
If one pictures reason as a circle and pictures faith as a straight line which cuts through and then goes out of that circle, then faith ventures into a realm where God is no longer an idea of the mind, but real living, true. Faith is inner confidence in something beyond the realm of human knowledge. It extends to the invisible. It is not bound to the rational, but pushes off for the divine, the real.
It is after all only by faith that our minds accept as fact that the whole scheme of time and space was created by God’s command….that the world which we can see has come into being through principles which are invisible. How else can we approach such questions?
Thomas Edison declared, “we don’t know the millionth part of one percent about anything.” Carl Sandburg told about a man who drew a small circle on the sand and humbled the red man. “this is what the Indian knows,” then drew a circle around the small one proclaiming “this is what the white man knows,” the Indian then grabbed the stick and swept an immense ring around both saying, “this is where the white man and red man know nothing.”
Since God is within that immense ring, if we want to find God faith is essential. The man who seeks God must have faith in two things. First, that God exists and second, that it is worthwhile to try to find God. Now, one might wonder, just what he can do if he doesn’t have faith. How can a belief in God be possible without faith?
But by experience. Faith isn’t something that just comes to a person. But it certainly seems to me, that faith is better than limiting oneself, or should I say, imprisoning oneself in a limited circle of scientific knowledge. True, a person can’t make himself have faith. But he can, be open to experience, open to love, open to God.
If there is one thing that my ragged pleasure-driven existence has shown me or rather God’s spirit through it, it is that the pursuit of pleasure is inevitably a pursuit for the infinite God, since one’s greed for pleasure is greater than the earth can gratify.
Doesn’t not every pleasure attract us because we hope by savoring it to get a foretaste of something that will exceed it in intensity? One book, one star, one bird, one doll should be enough to fill the hunger of a person. But we find no lasting satisfaction cause our makeup is such that we are made for everything. To ask a man to stop short of anything save the Infinite, is to nullify his nature.
As Fulton Sheen professes, “our hunger for the Infinite is never quieted. Even those disillusioned by the excess of pleasure have always kept in the imagination, a hope of somewhere finding a truer source of satisfaction that any they have tried. Our search for the never-ending Love is never ended. No one could really Love anything unless he thought of it as eternal. Not everyone gives a name to this infinity towards which he tends and for which he yearns, but it is what the rest of us call God.”
He goes on to say “the pursuit of pleasure is thus a token of man’s loneliness in this world. All the satisfactions of the cravings of the body and soul have one defect. They do not satisfy forever…they only serve to deaden the present want, but they never extinguish it. The want always revives again.” That’s why every worldly man is in real danger of frustration, disappointment, and a feeling of hopelessness until he finds his true infinite in God. As Pascal put it “the knowledge of man’s misery without the perception of God causes despair…..”
Until man has discovered the true Infinite, he is subject to dark surging moods….despair, loneliness, and an ever present anxiety over his finitude. Unable to cope with these moods for long, he tries to escape into something (to distract himself) but often what he escapes into only aggravates the problem by compounding it with guilt. No sane person desires this condition. Everyone rather seeks happiness but people go through various unsatisfying modes of being before they come to the realization that true happiness is only to be found in a loving relationship with God.
One such mode of being is the sensual based stage in which a persons chief motivation in life is to enjoy the widest variety of pleasures of the sense. His or her life, has no limiting principle but whatever feels good and is typically without adherence or interest in common moral standards. In addition the sensual-based person resents anything that would limit his vast freedom of choice. He’s the free poetic spirit in my poem entitled “He’s a tragedy figure “who worships in the tower of his senses whose carnal mind is where his pride commences.” Who if creatively driven may ‘try to save his own life through an art form.” A 19th century theologian, whose name escapes me, distinguished between man’s capacity for spirit on one hand, and sensuousness on the other, calling the first the building and the second, the cellar. At some time in his life the sensual based man may become aware of these two possibilities within himself and this produces inner conflict which in turn produces anxiety and despair. The outcome of this is that he finds he is in fact living in the cellar and that life at this level can’t possibly bring about true happiness. The individual is now faced with an either-or. Either he remains in the cellar with its’ fatal attractions whose limitations he well knows, or he chooses another mode of being.
There are two new modes of being he can choose from, the ethical or the God seeking. People don’t commonly go straight from the sensual-based mode to the God-seeking one….though I did…but then I am somewhat of a non-ordinary mortal in some respects. I guess eccentric is the word.
Anyway, the ethical man unlike the sensual based man, acknowledges and accepts rules of conduct that reason devises. Moral rules give the ethical man’s life the elements of form and consistency. The ethical man accepts the limitations upon his life that moral responsibility imposes. The contrast between the sensual based man and the ethical man can be illustrated in their attitude towards sex. Whereas the former yields to his urges whenever there is an attraction, the ethical man accepts the obligation of marriage as an expression of the universal reason of man. Before continuing, I wish to contend that the ethical stage may start in childhood or it may never occur depending on environmental influences and the person’s receptivity to spiritual growth. If it never occurs the person remains egocentric and selfish in a childish manner. If it occurs early it is often because his or her parents had such strict moral codes and the child is so strongly conditioned that he may never desire or even consider the sensual-based mode as a lifelong option. However if and when it occurs, its; inadequacies sooner or later begin to show themselves. The ethical man come to see that he cannot be sufficient morally that he is involved in something more profound than inadequate knowledge of the moral law. The ethical man ultimately comes to the awareness that he is, in fact, incapable of fulfilling it, that he deliberately violates the law and therefore becomes conscious of his guilt. Guilt, or sense of sin, places him before a new choice. Either he responds to his new awareness, the awareness of his lack, his finitude, and estrangement from God to whom he belongs and from whom he must get his strength or he doesn’t and risks leaving himself open to more feelings of guilt and unhappiness. He must choose.
The difference between faith and reason is particularly striking when he arrives at the God-seeking stage. Everything up to now required choice founded solely on reason. For the God-seeking stage requires faith. Here the person finds himself on a path beyond theories or systems of thought (beyond Philosophy…. on a path to true Being or God. Reason has pointed him on this path, but it alone can’t carry him to his destination, God. On the path to Being the seeker of truth discovers a higher form of knowledge… faith. the discovery of this, I believe, though I can’t prove it, is the result of God’s grave acting on him. Faith, I believe is the extra sense God awakens in a person when he becomes a sincere seeker. Faith is crucial because it releases the channel to God, the ultimate source of true happiness.
The will lived or happy life, therefore begins when the individual comes to understand that fulfillment comes from a personal relationship with God and chooses to open up to faith. Wisdom the knowledge of how to use the life God has given one accompanies this understanding and this choice. This is because personal thoughts and actions bring forth truest happiness when they are in harmony with God’s goodwill. To express this another way, true happiness requires man to go beyond the natural to the supernatural.
In his confessions, St. Augustine wrote, “oh God thus has created us for thyself so that our hearts are ever restless until they rest in thee.’ In more Philosophical language he makes the same point by saying that ‘human nature is made so that it cannot itself be the good by which it is made happy.” There is, in short, no purely natural man. The reason that there is no purely natural man, is that Nature did not produce man. God did. Consequently ‘man always bears the marks of His creation which means among other things, that there are some permanent relations actual and possible between man and God. It is not by coincidence that man strives to be happy. That man seeks happiness true and lasting happiness only in God is no coincidence either since he was made by God to find happiness only in God.” Augustine elaborates on this aspect of man’s nature through his analysis of love.
“Man inevitably loves. To love is to go beyond one’s self and fasten affection upon an object of Love. What makes it inevitable that man will love is again, his incompleteness. There is a wide range of objects that man can choose to love…. reflecting the variety of ways in which man is incomplete. A person can love physical objects or other persons or even himself. From these he can derive at least partial satisfaction for some of his desires and passions. But man’s problem consists not so much in loving or even in the objects he loves, as in the manner in which he attaches himself to his objects of love and in love. Everyone expects to achieve happiness and fulfillment from love…yet men are miserable, unhappy, and restless.’ Why? the cause according to Augustine is man’s disordered love.
“Obviously each object of love can give only so much satisfaction and no more. Each of man’s needs has a measurable satisfaction and no more. Each of man’s needs has a measurable quantity. Clearly, satisfaction and happiness require that an object of love contain a sufficient amount of whatever it takes to fulfill or satisfy the particular need. Thus, we love food and we consume a quantity commensurable with our hunger. But our needs are not all physical in that primary sense. We love objects of Art too for the aesthetic satisfaction they give. At a higher level we have the need for love between persons. Indeed, this level of affection provides quantitatively and qualitatively more in the ways of pleasure and happiness than mere physical things such as various forms of property can. From this, it becomes clear that certain human needs can not be met by an interchange of objects. The deep human need for companionship can’t be met any other way than through a relationship with another person. Things can’t be substituted for a person because things do not contain within themselves, the unique ingredients of human personality. Therefore although each thing is an object of love, one must not expect more from it than its’ unique nature can provide. The basic need for human affection can not be satisfied by things. But this is particularly the case with man’s spiritual needs. Man was made, to love more than things, other people and himself. He was also and most of all made to love God. There is no way to unmake this fact about man. Augustine formulates this point saying man was made by God to find happiness only in God. In some way man’s nature was made so that only God, the Infinite, can give him ultimate satisfaction or happiness. When the “will which is the intermediate good cleaves to the immutable good…man finds therein the blessed life for to live well is nothing else but to love God…to love God is then the indispensable requirement for happiness because only God, who is infinite can satisfy that particular need in man that is precisely the need for the infinite.
If objects are not interchangeable, if things can not substitute for a person, neither can any finite thing or person substitute for God. Yet, all men confidently expect that they can achieve true happiness by loving objects, other persons, and themselves.
While these are all legitimate object’s mans’ love for them is disordered when these are loved for the sake of ultimate happiness. Disordered love produces all forms of illness in human behavior. Normal self love becomes pride and pride is the cardinal sin that affects all aspects of man’s conduct. The essence of pride is the assumption of self sufficiency. Yet the permanent fact about man is precisely that he is not self-sufficient, neither physically or emotionally, nor spiritually. Man’s pride which turns him away form God leads him into damaging patterns of survival. For example his love for another person can become virtually destructive of the person since he tries again to derived more from that relationship than it can possibly give. Love for a particular sensation, sex for instance, may drive him to the violent crime of rape….a crime that may take years for the victim to recover from.
Anyway as Augustine acknowledged, “disordered love is never quieted. Appetite flourishes, passion multiplies, and there is a desperate attempt to achieve peace by satisfying all desires. The soul becomes seriously disfigured and is now implicated in envy, greed, jealousy, trickery, panic, and a pervading restlessness. It does not take long for disordered love to produce a disordered person, and disordered persons to produce disordered community. No attempt to reconstruct an orderly or peaceful community or household is possible without reconstructing each human being. The persistent fact is that without personal reconstruction is possible only by reordering love by loving proper things properly. Indeed, Augustine argued that we can love a person properly only if we can love God first…for then we will not expect to derive something that only the love of God can give. Similarly we can love ourselves properly only as we subordinate ourselves to God, for there is no other way to overcome the destructiveness of pride than by the eliminating of pride itself.”
Augustine did not agree with Socrates that the cause of evil is simply ignorance. To be sure, there can be some circumstances under which a person does not know the ultimate good, is not aware of God. Still Augustine says that ‘even the ungodly have the capacity to blame only because they already understand that they have an obligation to do what is praiseworthy and abstain from what is blameworthy.” Under these circumstances man’s predicament is not that he is ignorant but that he stands in the presence of alternatives. He must choose to turn toward or away from God. He is in short free. Which either way he chooses, he does so with the hope of finding happiness. He is capable of directing his affections exclusively toward finite things, persons, or himself, and turn away from God and thus progress no further than the ethical stage. Obviously his turning away and his turning to are not forced but voluntary acts.
Evil therefore, is the product of the freedom of the will. Here another question arises. What purpose did God have in making a kind of world in which man through his free will can turn away from God and fall into all kinds of evil…bringing pain and suffering to others? He might have created countless other kinds of worlds. One can certainly imagine better kinder worlds. But on second thought perhaps this is the best possible world that God could have made for the purpose of constructing a moral universe, and obviously that was His intent since that’s pretty much what we have.
As Fulton Sheen eloquently explains….”He willed a moral universe in order that by the use of the gift of freedom, characters might emerge. What does God care for things piled into the infinity of space, even though they be diamonds…if all the orbits of heaven were so many jewels glittering like the sun, what would their eternal but necessary undisturbed balance mean to Him in comparison with a single human character which could weave the skeins of an apparently wrecked and ruined life into the beautiful tapestry of saintliness and creating a purely mechanical universe peopled by automata or in creating a world of purely spiritual being for whom the choice of good and evil is, at any rate…a possibility.
Suppose, now, it be granted. That God choose to make a moral universe, or one in which characters would emerge. What condition would have to be fulfilled in order to make morality possible? If God choose to make a moral universe then He had to make man free, that is endow him with the power to say yes or no and to be the master of his own destiny. Morality implies responsibility and duty, but these can exist only on the condition of freedom. Stones have no morals because they are not free….” It also becomes pretty evident that love can exist only on the condition of freedom. How could we love anything let alone God if we didn’t have the freedom not to. Furthermore, would God be loving us if He didn’t give us the freedom not to love Him? God knows that love is never imposed….to impose love is to destroy it.
So all men because of God’s love and purpose possess the freedom of their will…the freedom of the will is not, however, the same as spiritual freedom…for true spiritual freedom is not possible in its fullness in this life. Man often uses his free will to choose wrongly, but even when he chooses rightly he doesn’t possess the spiritual power to do the good he has choosen. He must have the help of God’s grace whereas evil is caused by an act of free will. Virtue on the other hand is a product, not of man’s will, but of God’s grace. The moral law tells man what he must do. Hence Augustine concludes, “that the law was….given that grace might be sought, grace was given that the law might be fulfilled.
The fact is that Jesus was “so high above human greatness” that once he appeared he struck history with such impact that He split it in two, dividing it into two periods, one before his coming, the other after it. Buddha did not do this, nor any of the great Indian sages. Even those who deny him must date their attacks upon him, A.D. so and so, or so many years after His coming.
Now here’s a hypothetical imperative (an if this than that statement) If Jesus was not a liar or a lunatic, than He was (an is) what He claimed to be, the Christ, the Son of God…Lord Yet some reject this because of the moral implications involved. Some people would rather not face up to the responsibility or implications of calling Him, Lord. They’d rather hand on to the flimsy sticks of Agnosticism or Atheism, and they do so by discounting Christianity as a crutch. Those who call themselves Christians are seen as weaklings who need something to cope with life’s problems. Some people resort to alcohol, some drugs, others to Christianity to get through this hurtful world.
The simple truth, however, is that we all do need a crutch to cope with this world. We are all lacking in some sense and deep down inside there is a desire for something to sustain and inspire us. My crutch used to be sex which I confused with love that crutch went on for a long time until I became so full of it, I became empty.
Anyway, back to the subject of crutches in relation to Christianity, the real issue, says Josh McDowell, “Is this crutch called Christianity true, or is it something on the same level as drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity, a phony remedy for a psychological need? There are sincere Psychological feelings, fears, and anxieties that might prompt one to invent God so that he feels secure. ..fear of danger, disease, and death are common for example. However, consider God’s existence. The agnostic or theist may be using his agnosticism or atheism as a crutch to avoid the responsibility of God’s demands. The God of the Bible is awesome and a threat to mankind. A God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, righteous, holy, and just and who is going to judge the world for its sins, is an extremely imposing figure. Thus it is only fair to point out that some need the crutch of denying God’s existence in order to live their lives as they please without fear.”
Some people refuse to believe in Jesus because of self-centeredness. Someone has said correctly that “Christianity is the easiest religion to believe and is also the most difficult religion to believe.
It is the simplest because God has done everything for us that needs to be done and it is impossible to add to the work of Christ. It is the most difficult because we have to admit to ourselves and God that we can not do anything to save ourselves.
Our pride does not relish that. We like to believe that we can work out our own salvation in our own way. Human nature is such that we prefer dictating our own terms, but God will accept us only on His terms and this fact causes a lot of people to fall away.
Another reason some get downright turned off to Christianity has to do with its simplicity. I think there’s an attitude, especially among sophisticated intellectuals that in order for something to be true it must be complicated. Christianity is not complicated. It is so easy to become a Christian that even a child can do it. In fact, Jesus taught that we must become as children to enter the kingdom of heaven. In humble faith, we must place our trust in Christ whether we be college professors or someone who has never made it past the 8th grade.
Still another thing about Christianity that causes people to back off is the fact that Christianity says that man is not inherently good, and one’s pride does not want to accept this either. But the reality is, that it is easy to point to all the evil man has created. Just look at the world. It’s hardly a paradise…you don’t have to draw attention to crime statistics, unhappy homes, gambling, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, or the wars men can not seem to end once and for all. Misery is everywhere. I reiterate Augustine, “Man is not the good by which he is made happy” and neither can he create the good. He can’t save himself. He is not his own savior, any more than he is his own maker. Not long ago I came across a book by Erica Jong called “How to Save Your Own Life” with such an intriguing title I couldn’t help myself. I read it all the way through. Well as it turned out the title was an attempt at self-mockery. On the very last page serenely in her lover’s arms, she receives his assurance that he’ll never leave her to which she responds. “Do you suppose that many lovers felt this and then died anyway?” The point is that everything in time is going to pass away because time passes. No matter what a person tries to do to try to create perfection in his life it is never going to be enough. A corollary to this is, no human being alive is self-sufficient.
Yet the assumption of self-sufficiency gets a lot of backing. It is the very essence of pride and pride affects all aspects of man’s thought and conduct. Man’s pride which turns him away from God leads him to many kinds of overindulgence since he tries to satisfy an infinite need with finite things. The most extreme case of overindulgence is Subjectivism or the setting up of the ego or the egos Scientism which is the glorification of the rational mind and its product the experimental method. Another is Humanism which acts on the premise that man is the measure of all things and needs no standard outside himself to function morally and then there is the New Age movement which goes one step further and deifies man by claiming that God is within. Here the journey to God is a journey to find one’s true self which is called the God self or simply God. The New Age Christ which is especially promoted by the Unity Church and the Church of Religious Science is the Christ within. Self-realization or God-realization or Christ-realization is supposedly brought about by rebirthing and is influenced by the law of rebirth. It is not the same as what Jesus called being born again. In being born again one is reconciled to God by receiving the Spirit of Jesus Christ into his heart. His dependence is other-directed…i. e. finding God within, is indeed a very old lie.
Perhaps the most significant consequence of this lie is the moral implications or rather non-moral implications that could follow if the self is king (or god) why worry about Ethics at all? In other words, the New Age consciousness falls prey to all the pitfalls of Solipsism and Egoism. Yet few proponents of the system pay attention to this problem. Why? Because they obviously want to disregard the consequences. Let go and let be, is their motto. Be here now. There is simply no place for ethical distinctions.
The danger of such deception is that no Theist or Naturalist…no one at all can deny the experience of perceiving oneself to be god, a spirit, or a fruit fly. Too many people give such accounts. But as long as seeing is believing, the imaginary god-self remains securely locked in his private universe, the only one there is. So long as the self likes what it imagines and is truly in control of what it imagines, others on the outside have nothing to offer.
The New Age Movement ethics problem is not unlike that of Naturalism and Pantheistic Monism. The problem relates to the notion of a closed universe and the absence of a transcendent God. Naturalism says that there is little or no value at all in the Supernatural universe and Pantheistic Monism says God is inseparable from all its activities and at the level of the cosmos, the distinctions between good and evil disappear. The New Age belief in the perfectibility of man through spiritual evolution as a corollary belief to that of physical evolution does not solve the problem either. An explanation is forthcoming.
The New Agers claim that man’s soul evolves through the process of reincarnation in which it may take centuries to realize and actuate his God or Christ self. During his various earthy incarnations, he works to extinguish his negative karma or sin. Karma is the Eastern version of “what you sow is what you reap” But karma implies strict necessity. If you have sinned there is no God to cancel the debt and to forgive. Confession is of no avail. The sin must be worked out and will be worked out. Of course, a person can choose his future acts so karma requires that man should do the good. If they don’t they will reap the consequences…if not in this life in the next. But there are two flaws in this worldview. First, the basis for doing the good is not so the good will be done or so that you benefit another person. One does good deeds in order to extinguish his negative karma. Doing the good is first and foremost a self-helping way of life. In this respect, reincarnation is a non-moral belief because selfishness is the primal motivation for doing the good. The other flaw is there is no value in alleviating suffering because karma demands that every soul suffer for past sins. If you help a person, he’ll just have to suffer later. So there is no agape love giving love, nor would any such love benefit the recipient.
There is yet another blemish in the Reincarnation view. It teaches that all men are equal but at the same time says some are more equal than others since some are at higher stages of spiritual evolvement.
Here I am moved to pause and relate this to my past. Maybe the Spirit does intend this to be at least in part autobiographical after all. Anyway there are those of you reading this that are no doubt surprised, if not shocked that instead of garlanding reincarnation with adulation, I am about ready to throw it to the dogs. Granted, I used to be one of its’ adamant disciples, so to tell you the truth, I’m a little surprised myself. Up to a few years ago, actually from the time I was seven or eight years old when my Rosicrucian-affiliated dad put the notion into my head I’ve never thought of it as anything but the solid unshakable truth. It seemed to explain so crystal clear the injustices in the world. Why, for instance, one person is born deformed and another person is born beautiful? The obvious answer was that the deformed person caused another person to become deformed in a past life and the beautiful person was being rewarded for his or her kindness to another. It all made perfect sense. That is until I began to perceive the cracks in the notion.
It is a curious fact that if the self is actually God how could it not be manifested as God. To say that it is God and is not manifested as God is a blatant contradiction. A more thorough look into the occult version of the New Age consciousness reveals even more striking contradictions, particularly in regards to the self being both the universe and the universe maker.
One drawback with the New Age Movement that doesn’t get much attention, had to do with its understanding of the nature of reality and the nature of truth. The most sophisticated New Age proponents are not occultists in the usual sense. They do not merely read tea cups or fiddle around with tarot cards. Rather they accept the language of all systems of reality…. the languages of sorcery and science… witchcraft and philosophy, of Buddhism and Christianity, of drug experience and waking reality and they understand them to be equally valid descriptions of reality. There is no truth of correspondence, only a pattern of inner coherence. So there is no critique of any one’s ideas of any one’s experience since experience is private. This is subjectivism in the truest sense. No one can know what really is. He can only know what he experiences. The flip side is that the self is king...God if you will and reality is what any god takes it to be or makes it to be.
The New Age promises to deliver a new life, a new man, a new age. One thing is clear it hasn’t yet. We have had visionaries before and they and their followers have not done much to save either the world or themselves. As Alexander Pope said “Hope springs eternal in the human heart.” And this is precisely because of the fact that the New Age is so seductive. There are many people who are walking around spiritually hungry with a beggar’s bowel. The synthetic spiritual bread the New Agers pass out may be false but it looks good and the libertine palate tastes good. Much attention is put to clothing New Age ideas so they look beautiful. Book stores are embellished with pretty posters, plants, colorful New Age symbols such as the rainbow, serene baroque-sounding New Age music, and the intoxicating smell of incense. One can’t help but feel uplifted after venturing into one of them. I know, I used to live a mile or so from one called the Psychic Eye and occasionally when I’d feel down I’d go there for a psychological fix. There was so much beauty for my senses to partake of. Lovely jeweled crystals and amethysts dandling everywhere, exotic oils and coins, magic potions, scented candles that I’d forget my humdrum lacking existence for a while at least until I stepped outside to the rat race on Ventura boulevard.
By the way, the New Age Movement cast its spell on me for about 15 years. I went almost the whole gamut. I consulted Astrologers, Psychics, meditated, had a few Tarot decks, regularly cast the I Ching, and collected about 200 new age books about a fifth of which were on the topic of soulmates. It inspired me to entertain the idea that somewhere in the distant night of time, there was a special man who meant more to my soul than any other and there’s a possibility of finding him in this life. When I met Marcus, I thought I saw my karma reflected in his life. But I was rudely awakened. It seemed that the more I strove to bring myself to him, the more he fell back. I was too giving, too loving, for him…. not enough of a game player. It never ceases to amaze me that most people spend life manipulating the puny ego through a set of power games and gratification. What’s the payoff?
Nevertheless, the soul mate idea intrigued me so much that I composed a whole musical around it. But I’m a little less naive now. These days I feel that strong binding in essence, in my soul, that I have with my husband is one of the many things God has blessed me with in this life.
Looking back, I now realize that my interest and craving for the New Age phenomena was just another chapter in my story of avoidance and confrontation with the true Divinity. Looking back at all the time. Christians approached me with the good news and I always backed away half disgusted. I often marvel at the fact that the hound of heaven didn’t give up pursuing me. sometimes I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that my name, Christa Rose, if separated a certain way spells out Christ arose and somehow that is a signification Christ is destined to arise in my life. Of course, I can only speculate. I don’t really believe that God plays favorites. But you know what’s interesting? I met this New Age numerologist at a church rummage sale who told me I should change my name as it didn’t have much spiritual force. It was shortly after that I changed my name to Carly. I had thought about changing my name anyway, because during my physically and emotionally abusive marriage. I had heard it paired up with so much swear talk that the mere sound of it made me sick. Even after I fled to the battered woman’s shelter and later found refuge in a true friend’s house, I still couldn’t hear it without associating it with abuse and hurt.
Anyway, back to the main issue, I think it was Escapism that is man’s continuous flight, his ongoing rationalization and reformation of the truth in order to escape, to keep turning away from the true God. Escapism takes many forms. New Age Consciousness is perhaps the most clever because it eliminates personal responsibility to a transcendent God or savior. The savior of the New Age is the self, rather than Christ. At first, this isn’t apparent since New Agers don’t openly repudiate Christianity. “More subtle than that,” says Constance Humby, “at least for the moment. They often clothe New Age concepts in Christian language and like Hitler undermined Christianity while pretending to be its’ friend. They redefine it to give pagan gods equal time with Christ and expand the definition of Christ to be the integral essence of them. What then continues to sound like Christianity is in effect another gospel, the Aquarian gospel.
Until recently man has managed to confine his escapes to the world outside of himself, but the plunge within himself if the most extreme flight from God… the new psychology of the unconscious is a flight along similar lines. The most important part of the mind is now the hidden depths of the unconscious that man can explore in hope of unearthing or stirring up latent energies and powers that would bring peace. The new psychology offers man an escape from the responsibility of being guilty. It like the New Age Movement enables man to hide from God by hiding within himself.
But if one is not inclined to hide within himself, he may choose to escape into Naturalism as many people do. Naturalism is reverence of Nature or else the more scientific interests in its laws. Over the last century Science has come to be regarded as a substitute for value. However as more of its knowledge is studied and more of its scientific theories are challenged, the greater man is becoming aware of its colossal limitations. Furthermore, Science seems to have created chaos in which man feels infinitely alone. Added to this is the difficulty for the individual of reducing himself to a merely mechanical agent. To abandon oneself to Science is to invite degradation. Those who have pursued Science have admitted to its inadequacy. Darwin regretted very much that his dedication to Science had killed entirely his taste for music and poetry which he had loved as a university student.
Another widespread escapism is humanism. Humanism has been defined as the endeavor to keep the best spiritual values of religion while not surrendering any theological interpretation of the universe. Like the New Age Movement, it attempts to have Christianity without Christ, godliness without a transcendent God and Christian hope without the promise of salvation. Humanism is an outlook on life that holds to the insufficiency of human science without faith, and the sufficiency of human power without grace. This is not that startling in view of the fact that most Humanists are first and foremost Naturalists. In truth, Humanism is nothing more than a feeble attempt to apply naturalism to the Humanities, particularly moral Philosophy. The outcome is that ethics is so mistreated by making it conform to a mathematical-like formalization and rigor that belongs to science alone (e.g. Bertrand Russel’s logical atomism). In addition, Humanism popularizes the notion that man operating by himself can set up true standards of justice or values. But the problem with this is if one man decides his human view of values is correct and another man decides he is correct, then who would decide between them?
Who would decide between the Nazis and the Jewish race in World War II. each had a set of values, but whose was right, the majority or a dictator, the nicest the meanest?
Indeed what Humanism has historically boiled down to is hell. This is because, without a higher standard of authority to go with which is God, all of life is based on the values of the majority or a dictator in power. No one has any sure truth to run to, it’s all a matter of opinion.
Humanism offers no hope, but despair. Humanism does not solve problems. It creates them. If Humanism is honestly examined, it leads man not to look to man, but beyond himself for the answers.
The truth is that without God, man is insufficient. He may go on seemingly successful for a number of years and be a great escape artist, but in the end, his art won’t save him. all his escapes, however glorious sooner or later collide into futility. As Fulton Sheen says, “man who came from the cave and became scientific would go back to the cave, which he now required as an air raid shelter.” This is because he had never recognized his need for God, his hopelessness became complete. In Brothers Karamazov Dostoesky has Ivan Karamazov say that “if God is dead then everything is permitted.” What he meant is that if there is no transcendent standard of the good, then there can ultimately be no way to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil, and there can be no good or bad man. If God is dead, ethics is fatally wounded.
This being the case, it would certainly be madness to do away with God. But that evidently is Humanism’s intent for who are the greatest advocates of Evolution? None other than the Humanists, and what does Evolution do? It does away with the creator. And who is the creator, God? But Evolution says the Humanist, is so believable. Evolution, which states basically that complex elements have developed from simpler ones, and living organisms have sprung from on from chemicals.
Compare this with the first four words of the Bible, “in the beginning God. An Infinite, all-wise, all-powerful God created. The evolutionist says in the beginning a single cell, a brainless cell. The choice is between a single unintelligent little glob of protoplasm and an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal beginningless God. Take your choice. I do declare, it is 20,000 times easier for me to believe “in the beginning God” than in the beginning a blob of impersonal unintelligent protoplasm.” Surely “the fools has said in his heart, there is no God.”
Modern man looks at the fact that there are gradual changes within the various species of plants and animals due to environmental conditions and assumes that a mammal develops from an amphibian. He recognizes the fact that the effects of climate, food, and natural enemies have caused great changes in plants and animals resulting in diversities so great that they have lost much of their resemblance to one another, but one species never evolves into another. Man still has not been able to grow an orange on an apple tree. All these changes and adaptations occur only within the limits of the species.
The theory of Evolution can no more be proved in a laboratory than that of Creation. Special Creation happened once in the past and Evolution is too slow to observe.
Both theories are Faith assumptions and on the basis of what is available to observe one must choose one or the other. The rule of observation is that things grow old, run-down, and eventually die or decay, they lose their structure. Yet Evolution says that things develop their complexity and structure. Evolution contradicts the laws of sciences, especially that of thermodynamics which implies that left to itself everything tends to become less ordered, not more ordered and complex.
One of the reasons Humanists oppose the Creation account of the world is that it is the basis for believing in the miraculous. Humanism regards miracles to be a violation of scientific laws and therefore unacceptable. Says, Christian theologian, Josh Mc Dowell “the basis for believing in the miraculous goes back to the Biblical conception of God. The very first verse of the Bible decides the issue, ‘In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth’. If this verse can be accepted at face value, that is in the beginning an infinite personal God created the universe, the rest should not be a problem. If God has the ability to create the entire universe, then a virgin birth, walking on water, feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish, and other Biblical miracles become not only possible but expected.
So behind this important question is the familiar issue of whether or not God exists. For if there is a God, then creating miracles is possible. In fact, the very nature of the greatest miracle of all, Jesus coming, is substantiated by historically fulfilled prophecy. The Old Testament, a document written 1,000 years ago contains over 300 references to his coming. Using the science of probability we find the chances of just forty-eight of these prophecies being fulfilled in one person to be one in ten.
The task of matching up the address God wrote in history to single out His Son, the Messiah is further complicated by the fact that all the prophecies concerning Him were made at least 400 years before he was to appear.
One of the reasons that Christians are always appealing to fulfilled prophecy is because the foretelling of persons, places, and events years before their occurrence demonstrates a knowledge of the future that is too specific to be labeled as a good guess. By giving examples of fulfilled prophecy, the Bible gives testimony to the miracle of its’ inspiration.
As Josh Mc Dowell says “often the believer is accused of assassinating his brains because he believes in the inspiration of the Bible, the miracles, and the resurrection of Christ. People assume that the Christian belief is based on ignorance and that Faith is something that is blind and unintelligent.
In reality, it is just the opposite, the Christian faith is an intelligent faith; it never consists in a mindless act that is unrelated to reality. The Bible encourages both the believer and the non-believer to use their minds when investigating Christianity. For example, the Apostle Paul told a group of believers in Thessalonica “to prove all things, holding fast to that which is good.
Many people who are Christians don’t know why they believe in Jesus through the scriptures make it clear that they should know: “be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you (Peter 3:15)
Today people picture the Christian faith as a blind leap into the dark when actually, it is a step toward the light. The faith of the Christian is not only open to verification but is also subject to checking out the claims of Jesus Christ. If some evidence would come to light that would really undermine Christianity such as disproving the resurrection then the Christian faith would crumble. Many people have attempted to do this i.e. C.S. Lewis, Josh Mc Dowell, General Lew Wallace author of Ben Hur and have wound up becoming Christians. The challenge to refute the Christian faith has been laid out many times but it has not been successfully followed through.
The book of the Christian faith, the Bible itself, has long been credited as the greatest book ever published It has undoubtedly been the number one bestseller throughout history.
Abraham Lincoln believed “that the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man.” He went on to say that, “all the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book.”
Sir Isaac Newton proclaimed that “there are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in profane history.”
Patrick Henry concluded that “the Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed.”
Charles Dickens wrote, “The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.”
It is not mere blind faith “that the Christian exercises, why have so many learned men and women in the past and the present also become believers by way of exercise of their intellects.”
I confess that one of the things that kept me from taking Christianity to heart was the way Christians approached me with the Bible. For example, they’d claim the Bible was the inspired word of God, and as proof of this contention, they’d quote a passage from the Bible that says so. In other words, they’d argue in circles never beginning by demonstrating the scriptures are basically reliable and trustworthy documents. Besides this, I had other intellectual problems with the Book that the Christians I would run into failed to address. I had heard that the Bible was full of obvious discrepancies which if true would make it impossible to believe that it was of divine origin. Then I wondered how the New Testament could have not been changed since it has been copied and recopied throughout history. Not to mention the difficulty I had conceiving how those animals could fit on Noah’s Ark. No doubt if I hadn’t come across Josh Mc Dowell’s book, “Answers to Tough Questions Ask About the Christian Faith,” I wouldn’t have been able to advance beyond a lukewarm attitude toward the Faith. He confirmed the Bible’s trustworthiness by applying the ordinary test of historical criticism to the scriptures and by basing his conclusions on sound logical facts.
It is interesting to note that 20 years or so ago the same intellectual community particularly the colleges that were turned off by any concept relating to the supernatural are now included in the curriculum courses in parapsychology. Many of those who frowned at religion have become addicted to the trendy upsurge in Astrology, Spiritualism, and even drugs. What does all this mean? Does it have any significance in Bible prophecy?
States prophecy expert, Hal Lindsey, “We believe that the joining of churches in the present ecumenical movement combined with the astounding rejuvenation of Astrology, and Witchcraft are preparing the world for the great religious system, one which will influence the world for the Antichrist, according to prophetic scripture a dictator is coming and he will be boosted to power and strengthened in this grasp upon the world with the assistance of the Ancient religion, called mystery Babylon.
This religion which started Genesis had its beginning in the tower of Babel. The interesting thing is that the word “tower” is a word that can mean ziggurat which was the ancient observatory to Heaven did not actually mean a tower that would actually reach to heaven. It was rather a tower used to study the stars, chart their courses, and engage in star worship. The whole purpose of the ziggurats was idolatrous worship and Astrology. Nimrod, the first world dictator was the leader in the tower of Babel enterprise and through this religious system established the first…. One-world government. God says when you put everyone under one dictator there would be an evil which could not be restrained.”
What is striking about this is that the one-world religion which will aid the Antichrist is subjecting the world to his absolute authority could very well be the New Age Movement. Especially when you consider that the New Age Movement employs a revival of Astrology and Astrology is the backbone of the ancient religion of Babylon. “The fact that the Bible refers to the new one world religion as Babylon is not so strange,” asserts Hal Lindsey.
Another scriptural name given to this one-world religion is the Great Harlot or prostitute. The harlot represents a religion that prostitutes the true meaning of being joined to Christ, and sells out to all the false religions of man. And that’s exactly what the New Age Movement is doing. Not only is it claiming man can become God through self or God realization. It is borrowing much of its ideas from man’s religions, especially those of Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism.
One reason the New Age Movement has such widespread appeal is that it is accepting of anyone and every one’s religious affiliation. You can be a Buddhist and be a New Ager. You can hold to the Bai Hai Faith. Why? because as I mentioned earlier, they accept all systems as equally valid. They claim that they are all different ways of going up the same hill, of reaching the same peak….God. they are all different ways but are equally valid. They all go to God but they all come through slightly different routes.
The trouble with this is that it assumes that all these routes led to the same God when in fact it is not true. The God of the Buddhists, is not the God of the Muslims. Nor is the God of the Mormons, the God of the Christians. Neither can Christian Science and Roman Catholicism be correct simultaneously.
All religions cannot be true at the same time because they teach many things completely opposite from one another. “They all may be wrong,” says Josh Mc Dowell, “but they all cannot be right, for the claims of one will exclude the other.
The Jesus of Islam was not the Son of God who died for the sins of the world, neither is the Jesus of Christian Science or Mormonism the same Jesus as revealed in the Bible.
Salvation is not by grace and through faith in these religions, but is a matter of works. It can then be observed that we are dealing with different religious ideas that are not compatible with one another.
Even though many religions seem to be the same on the surface, the closer one gets to the central teachings, the more apparent the difference becomes. It is totally incorrect to say that all religions are the same.
Granted, if it were true that all the different names for God Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Jehovah referred to the same God, it wouldn’t make a difference whether one belonged to one religion or another. But it does make a difference.
Indeed there are even major disparities between certain religions. This is especially true of the Eastern religions. The Major ones of the East (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism) follow the path of discovery of God or truth or whatever they choose to call the Infinite.” They suggest such methods as meditation, good deeds, and avoid suffering, yoga exercises for the mind and body and chanting. Speaking of chanting, I aligned my life to it for some four-odd years. Every morning and evening, I would attempt to sit in front of this Buddhist scroll called a Gohonson. Then after lighting a candle, incense, and sounding a gong. I would chant away…Nam, Myo Ho Renge Kyo…then some 37 pages of the Lotus Sutra. Sometimes until I became hoarse. Why? because I’d been shakabookood or rather wooed into believing that this noble ritual would clean up the muddy agitated waters of my karma and free me from the habitually negative patterns of my conscious mind.
Needless to say, it didn’t. Rather it ushered me into a form of Occult bondage. My existence was more anxiety-ridden than ever because I feared that some horrible misfortune would befall me if I missed a single chanting session. Not only that I was plagued with bad dreams and visions. One night particularly stands out in my mind. I was chanting with a friend in our living room in Ventura when suddenly the front door mysteriously sprang open. We shut it and resumed chanting. Shortly after that, we turned to each other almost in horror. We both had this vision of a witch coven and a sacrificial ritual going on…we stopped chanting and went directly to bed only to experience a restless sleepless night. The very next morning the neighbor’s dog jumped over a fence and hung himself off his own chain. But that wasn’t enough to cure me of the desire to chant. I still continued because someone in the organization (called Nicherin Shoshu Academy) scared me into thinking that if I stopped some irreparable evil would come upon me.
I didn’t stop chanting until a few month after my 2 year old son tore one edge of my Gohonson. It was supposedly too holy for my impure hand to touch. Repairing it required a special ceremony and a monk. I had to wait a month or so to get it back and as I recall when they handed it to me, I was warned that some karmic debt might have to be paid for the injury caused by this most sacred of scrolls. Also to not be surprised if I or someone close to me undergoes some suffering in the near future. Well, that little piece of information put me in such a panic that I could barely function. I mean I had trouble doing simple things like buying groceries and changing my baby’s diapers not to mention keeping an already dying relationship with my live-together boyfriend alive.
The evening my boyfriend decided to take off to Wisconsin for an indefinite amount of time, I lost my son. How this happened is: I though he was outside with my boyfriend and my boyfriend though he was inside with me. By the time we missed him, at least a half an hour had passed. We searched the grounds to no avail, called the police, the police called more police, seventy or so policemen were storming the area and news trucks and cameramen were around and the story that was being conjured was that of foul play. Evidently, some kidnapper or perhaps some maniac killer had made off with my child. How did I handle the blackest night of my life? Well, I didn’t chant. I couldn’t I was too angry about the hell I was experiencing. I was resentful. But something told me to pray. So without knowing much about God other than what I had read in Augustine. I prayed. I prayed my guts out in fact. Consequently the next morning my son was discovered in a neighbor’s field alive with only a few scratches. But disaster wasn’t over; later that morning he bit into the T.V. cord and had to be rushed to the hospital. He still bares the scar from that, though it’s not that noticeable anymore.
Anyway so much for the pitfalls of the Occult, I believe I was on the subject of Eastern religions when I got side-tracked again on my ragged past. The point to remember is that all these religions attempt to reach up to God. They do not acknowledge God reaching down to man
Revelation, on the contrary, is a movement down. Revelation is given to man. God makes Himself known. God reveals Himself. He shows what He is like. Most western religions as we know them, teach God’s disclosure to Himself.
Here then, the choice is between a religion of discovery and a religion of revelation. One cannot have both. If I were to show you a box and ask you what was it, you could take the lid off and say. “Oh, I see.”….you discovered it. But suppose I took the lid off and showed you, that would be revelation. You can’t have both ways. Once the contents are revealed you don’t have to discover anymore.
God is bigger than man. He is the Almighty, the Creator, the Eternal. But for God to contain Himself is man, to come in the flesh, to limit Himself in order to communicate with mankind, this does give us an adequate knowledge of God. Just as a little boat ride off shore puts one on the ocean.
So as one’s words express his thought, so God has expressed Himself in Jesus. How else could God do it? We wouldn’t understand any other revelation. His majesty would overwhelm us. Just as we’d scare an ant or a fly if we’d try to communicate with it.
Of course God has revealed Himself in our conscience. But that’s not enough since we can ask is God good or evil since man is a mixture. Can we project God from what we know of man, hardly. Even though the entire human family experiences a sense of right and wrong, the world is not good. Man does not follow the golden rule. One may think he lives according to it. But he probably doesn’t. What can be done about human failure? How can one’s conscience be cleared? Is there forgiveness? No obviously another kind of revelation is needed.
Some consider Nature to be an adequate revelation but it isn’t though God reveals Himself through Nature as the Creator of all things. It isn’t enough. We still don’t know what God is like. Is He a rippling brook with a songbird perched nearby? Is He a tender kitten or a horrid blood-sucking bat? Nature may give us some ideas about the Creator but it’s not enough. Just as one may read a book without choosing to know its author. One may read the book of Nature like that too. No obviously we need another revelation. We need a special revelation.
And God has given us that special revelation in the form of the person of Jesus Christ. Christianity goes all the way. It declares God became man. So God’s revelation of Himself is not simply in Nature or with these words “the man who has seen me has seen the Father.”
But is it possible to expand from the life of Jesus a picture photographer would blow up a negative?
Not only did Christ leave a picture of God’s character but He may very well have left us a portrait of His passion, on the shroud of Turin, a 15 ft length of linen that was probably the Lord’s burial cloth. Miraculously preserved from eternity, many experts agree that reversing lights, shades, and positions, and even the expression of such as face as found on this image.” Also distinguishable among the scars, burns, patches on the cloth are the front and back imprint of a human body. they trace with incredible precision the contours of a crucified man.
Surely in light of miracles such as this, it is a wonder why a large part of humanity has rejected Jesus. But claims the rational-minded world, miracles are surely not logical and what does not seem logical, the reasoning revering herd does not want to deem credible. I know, I too, once put reason on a pedestal over faith.
There are surely some rules which man hasn’t discovered yet. Modern science has discovered so much. But even the scientists will tell you it’s only the beginning. Modern Science in fact, gives a clue to miracles. There are rules behind the rules we have discovered of which we know nothing, the vast unknown. We’re now transplanting hearts, taking the heart from a dead person and giving added life to the living. In a way that’s raising something dead. Isn’t it? It was certainly unheard of prior to 1968. as to the resurrection the Bible asks this very logical question. “Why does it seem incredible to you that God should raise the dead?”
Too many people are stuck in the vantage point that what doesn’t at first appear reasonable can’t be so. I remember reading somewhere that “modern society is a temple to the rational mind.” Indeed modern society worships the rational mind. It has in a sense become a deity. I think that’s why love is so lacking in our world. For God which is love is beyond the intellect. It is probably no accident that the first commandment is that “Thou shall have no other God’s before Me.” It is man’s avoidance of that commandment that not only grieves the Holy Spirit but causes man to bring on his own suffering.
That man does not see himself as the author of much of his own suffering in turn causes more suffering. Despite the fact that he has been given free will to choose good or evil, he looks to God in contempt and says Why does God allow suffering? Despite the fact that he has been given a free will to choose good or evil, he looks to God in contempt and says. “Why does God allow suffering? When he could be asking Why did God suffer? Why did God allow His only Son to suffer? He could have stopped it. He was not powerless. But he didn’t, why?
God, the father, didn’t interfere because His Son had to be sent to atone for man’s sins. He did not stop the whole process of crucifixion and more important still. God suffered as a Father for His only Son. Is there greater misery than losing your only Son? There is no suffering that God has not tasted, willingly. This is the meaning of the cross.
God is a God of love and the telling of His love came first in creation. He has created all things, the glorious expanse of the celestial sphere, the stars, the flowers, the birds, the miracle of life, of you and me. but as this first telling wasn’t enough to turn mankind towards Him. He told His love again in the person of Jesus. What’s the greatest expression of love a person can do for another? Lay down his life.
Neither has He stopped at that. His love continues. Through His true church, His Spirit carries on His work on Earth. I emphasize true church because I am well aware that there have been false believers in the church and that many atrocities have been done in the name of Christ. The Spanish inquisition and the crusades for instance. There are also present-day preachers and such that are involved in adultery and alcoholism. I can understand why might say, “if that is what Christianity is about, I don’t want any part of it.”
But that’s not what Christianity is about. A Christian is a person who lives his belief….who follows the teaching of Christ with consistency. Just because there are phonies in the church does not mean that one should not become a Christian. All believers including the pastors are fallible human beings who can fall prey to all kinds of sin. Just like anyone else. But the failures of the believers do not invalidate the truth.
The crux of the matter, rather the Spirit of Christianity, is that it does not stand or fall on the way Christians have acted throughout History or are acting today. Christianity stands on the person of Jesus and Jesus was Mr. True. He lived the life He taught and today through his true church. He is living and acting His love on this planet.
God loves you and that’s partially why I have written this. Though I’m just another fallible human being, God can use me to express His Spirit to you. If it is an imperfect telling it is only because I am imperfect. I take joy in writing this because writing is the work I love. I strongly believe that it is better for a person to do what he loves and fail than to become a successful nobody. One should choose his work through an inner conviction, through a desire to express the creative power of God. To work in a sense is to pray…. The wise man does not put off prayer until work has been accomplished, he turns the work itself into a prayer.
This so called will, is a prayer of sorts. I also call it a will not because I expect to die soon, but because in truth I don’t know how long I am going to be here, nor you. Time is getting short…the Lord is coming for His people and the Tribulation period or the most terrible time of world dictatorship by the Antichrist is approaching. I pray that God will count me worthy to be taken out of the world before this happens. My prayer is also that you will accept His gift of salvation and not be here to experience all that. You only need to confess your inadequacy to save yourself…. To knock at the Father’s door….to ask Jesus into your heart. Eternal life and heaven await those who choose to turn toward God. …to love God. God is a great lover courting His bride which is the human soul. He showers it with gifts and countless times comforts it in health and sickness, in joy and sorrow to respond to His plaintive pleading to abandon, the life of sin and return love for love. If however, the human heart after rejecting this love many times only to be reloved again ignoring the knock of Christ at the door of his soul only to hear the knock again, then the God of love cries out. Love has done all it can, I can forgive everything except the refusal to love. And it is a terrible thing to be through with love for once Divine love parts at death, it never returns. Hell is a place where there is no love.
Eternity on the other hand is a place, I imagine where pleasures don’t fade away. Where the personal love of God’s Spirit abounds, where happiness has no limitations. Where truth dances in the mind day and night….where life makes joy.
One final note: I confess that it was not very wise to use the word, anyway…as a transition word in writing this after all. I could have subliminally mislead you into thinking that there is more than one way when there isn’t. there is only one way, once truth…..Jesus. He is indeed a “lamp unto one’s feet and a light onto ones path.”
In writing this, I have not only attempted to share my personal testimony and my thoughts and feeling on the spiritual life but have tried to show that Christianity is indeed reasonable. It is my conviction that no intelligent person can begin to serve the power of God’s Spirit when he feels he is lapsing into some form of superstition or into some fanciful notion.
As there are certainly more illustrious minds than mine, I confess that a good many of the insights are borrowed from various scholars on the subject. Quotation marks are inserted whenever it is possible to do so without hindering the flow and continuity of this endeavor. The following is a list of the many resources I utilized as well as suggested reading……
- The Agnostic Who Dared to Search by Viggo Olsen, M.D.
- Modern science and the Christian faith American Scientific affiliation (Wheaton Ill…Van Kamper
- More Than a Carpenter by Josh Mc Dowell
- Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh Mc Dowell
- Confessions of St. Augustine by St. Augustine
- The Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen
- The Bible and Modern Science by Henry M. Morris
- A Lawyer Examines the Bible by Irwin Linton
- The Testimony of the Evangelists by Simon Greenleaf
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
- The Hidden Danger of the Rainbow by C. Humby
- Genesis and Evolution by M. R. Dehaan, M. D.
- The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey
- last but not least (rather foremost) the Bible
For more about Christa Selah see https://christaselahcom.bandzoogle.com