Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What Is Truth? Can We Know Ultimate Truth?

"Beyond a doubt, truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light to darkness." - Leonardo DaVinci

Pontius Pilate famously answered Jesus, "What is truth?" after Jesus said, "I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who is on the side of truth listens to me." John 18:37

It's natural to question the nature of truth, but by the time we reach adulthood the issue should be settled. Pilate was morally stunted, as many of us are today. Powerful people face a blizzard of lies, from flatterers who want favors, to rivals trying to tear them down or wear them down. Fatigue leads to corruption of one's principles, and this is the price of power for most. Pilate was caught in a terrible trap, knowing he had become a tool of evil. His wife dreamt of Jesus, and prevailed upon her husband to, "Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night, I suffered much on account of him." - Matthew 27:19

If the words of God were not spoken by Christ, why is He so visible everywhere? And why have His words been so enduring and successful? They're 2,000 years old, and over two-billion people, globally, say they are Christians; in spite of persecution. Many more believers read the Old and New Testaments even if they're not affiliated with any particular church. This author included. 

Liars crucified Jesus then, and they would crucify Him now, just as quickly. Pontius Pilate knew Jesus was innocent and intervened to stop the mob, but they demanded crucifixion and the Romans were afraid of a riot. Nobody could have stopped this fate. Jesus had to endure God's plan for the Resurrection.  

There are those who say, "There is no truth." But that itself would be a truth, so it is a false statement, a lie. If there is one truth, there can be a million. Natural laws such as gravity, inertia, time, and death are obvious truths that rule the world. And not just our world, but every other world we see with telescopes probing deep space. Natural laws hold the entire universe together, as astrophysicists and others attest. Who else but God could have created the laws of the universe?

Many in our modern world, including scientists, believe all Creation is an accident. "Where is the proof of God? He's invisible to us. Therefore, God is nonexistent", they say. But we reply that this makes no sense. God has very good reasons for wanting to remain invisible, though millions throughout history have testified to visions of angels and heaven. This author too. We don't see these things with eyes of flesh, but eyes of spirit, and faith. Those with no faith are likely to be stuck forever in a drab, dull, and colorless world which no man, woman, or child could tolerate for long. 

Earth is a school and a testing ground. We have free will to craft ourselves and our characters according to the desires of our heart and mind. How we act when we think we're not being watched is critical to our understanding of ourselves. If we're honest and kind when we think nobody is looking, it speaks volumes about who we really are. 

Isn't it clear that our belief in - or rejection of - truth is bound up with our notion of God? God is the only entity capable of pure truth, recording and judging everything that happens on earth. By any measure this requires divine intelligence beyond human understanding. And every serious religion teaches faith in the truth of Karma; that is, "You reap what you sow". The world would be transformed if we all had such faith and truth in us.

We know our modern world is flawed, and tolerates lies and dishonesty. Much commercial advertising distorts the truth even if it's not lying outright. We know when to take such things seriously and when not to. Who could live in a world of complete honesty, anyway? If a friend asks you, "Do I look fat?" Or, after spending hours on a project that comes out badly, asks, "Pretty good, eh? I did it all myself!" We know when to be kind with a 'white lie'.

There are hierarchies of truth. If a cop pulls you over and asks, "Do you know how fast you were going back there?", and you lie, saying, "No, sir. I don't think I was speeding", God will forgive you. 

But if we witness a mob brutally attacking an innocent person, and we fail to speak up, it will damage our character forever unless we make amends. Conscience will make us pay. What if we joined in with the mob, hurling lies at someone innocent, then beating and killing him, or her? This is an attack on the Holy Spirit, the dove of purity and innocence. It's the only unforgivable sin - if we're aware of it. But if we believe we're doing God's work, as St. Paul did before his Damascus road vision, we can repent and be saved. Paul grieved that he had a hand in hunting down and murdering Christians. By founding the early
church he did more than just make amends. His experience of the truth, his guilt, and his vision of Christ in heaven gave him fiery motivation. His evil was turned to good. 

Where do lies come from? Jesus was clear. The father of lies is Satan himself: "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44

Our ultimate test will come when speaking the truth will get us punished or killed. Millions face this daily, especially in the Middle East and Africa. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and others are being murdered in the thousands by Islamist fanatics. The long-prophesied Armageddon is upon us now. Be prepared. We can know the ultimate truth, the honor, power, glory and goodness of God, in eternal life to come.

"Truth is the highest thing that man may keep" - Geoffrey Chaucer


Excerpt from The Passion of the Christ, (2004). Jesus confronts Pontius Pilate. Spoken in Latin, with English subtitles. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Globalization Equals Cultural and Spiritual Destruction

We live in an age of so-called globalization, defined as "The development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets." (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

But globalization is much more than an economic force. Cultural and political globalization is going on also, due to media of all kinds; movies, television, internet, and social networks. Fashions in clothing, language, and politics are advancing with the world's youth at high speed. This causes many political leaders in the West - and the masses they influence - to think we will eventually live in a borderless world with the same ideas and ideals governing us all. Bill Gates has spoken, "The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow." European Union-style socialist government will provide for everyone. Peace will reign. The Dalai Lama says, "we'll all be one global community." (Link)

This is a dangerous delusion. Do you want to be just like everyone else? And your family to be like all others? Do you want all nations to be reduced to a bland sameness? Cities like Vienna, Prague, London, and Budapest are already becoming very much alike, and boring. The same global corporations splash their logos everywhere, and the tourists and residents look more and more alike. Their unique qualities are being swallowed up. The same ugly, nonsensical graffiti and Guy Fawkes images predominate. (Link) 

There is resistance to this outside of Europe. The cultures of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa differ profoundly from the West and from each other. In Africa, Boco Haram and ISIS have linked up to take that continent, bathe it in blood, and purge it of Western influences. Bill Gates didn't ask Africans and others outside his elite orbit what they thought about his global village idea. 

China is never going to accept Western laws and ideals as we know them, nor is Russia, nor any dedicated Islamic nation. Sunni Muslims have battled Shia Muslims since Muhammad died in the 7th Century. They both agree that non-believers - the other five billion of us - have no right to live. All these ethnic groups have radically different expectations and customs of life and family to which they're loyal, and they virulently hate contrary ways of life, such as the LGBT community's. Their Sharia Law is entirely different from ours, and it tells followers to eliminate us.

We in the West treasure our principles of individual freedoms and rights, along with legal principles like the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven; and the differing degrees of criminal intent, or lack thereof. Also, God's grace, our ideal of generous forgiveness, rankles our enemies. These are alien ideas to many Easterners. There are exceptions, of course, but they're small. 

The two Koreas are prime examples of global East-West tensions. Korea after WWII was a single, backward, and poor land of peasants until it was partitioned by the U.S. and the Soviet Union along the 38th parallel in 1945. American resources, ideas, and culture poured into South Korea; while Marxist-Stalinist communism and collectivist ideals inspired a government in North Korea. 

In 1950, the North invaded the South, murdered tens of thousands, and nearly crushed it. The Korean War began with American troops and UN assistance reinforcing the South, and the Russians and Chinese pouring into the North. A stalemate was reached. A treaty was signed in 1953 ending the war, but numerous peace proposals have been rejected by the North. Since then North Korea has publicly threatened the South with death, almost monthly. Now they loudly threaten the West and Japan with their nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. 

The two Koreas today are like night and day, literally. Night video taken by satellite shows South Korea as a carpet of colored lights, while the North is a black hole with only a few glimmers in Pyongyang, the capitol. South Korea's average wage is over $20,000 a year; the North's is a tiny fraction of that. A huge prison population toils as state slaves. (The view from space)

Much of the violence, murder, and mayhem in the world is caused by Medieval religious beliefs and atheist communists clashing with our modern Judeo-Christian foundational principles. The West's successes only fuel the rage and envy of those who hate those principles. Our belief in the equality of the sexes and races, children's rights, separation of church and state are anathema to more than a billion Muslims. Hundreds of millions of them have declared war on the West. Whether they personally want to pick up arms or not, they've agreed with each other that a final conflict is inevitable. We must submit or perish. What will you do?
The idea that all citizens of the world should be equal in status, wealth, talent, and health is terribly wrong-headed. We have free will, and that means we often make bad decisions. We learn from them, too. 

We self-select, and those of different talents, temperaments, levels of intelligence, and personalities want to be with those of like mind. We're happiest when we're free to use our God-given talents and abilities along the lines of excellence. 
Look at the animal kingdoms of land, sea, and air. Nature is filled with variations, and hierarchies are woven into all the patterns of life. Societies that enforce conformity and their own twisted notion of equality are unnatural, have been tried throughout history, and have failed every time. 

There will never be a foolproof, one-size-fits-all world system, and misery will be the result of all attempts to create one. Charity is Godly when we do it freely out of love. A threatening state that takes your wealth and distributes it in the state's name is evil. Jesus said, "For the poor you will always have with you, and you can do good for them whenever you desire, but not always will you have me." - Matthew 14:7

A government big enough to give us what we want is strong enough to take it all away, like a parent. Do we want to live like children?

Propaganda poster showing a North Korean soldier side-by-side with a Chinese, expelling the imperialist Americans.