Sunday, June 24, 2018

The True vs. the Counterfeit; How Can We Tell What's Real?

Only by comparing one with the other, particularly within our human race. Consider this:

We humans suffer from many disorders not found anywhere else in the animal kingdom. Have you ever seen a fat bird, fish, cat, wolf, or any other animal  outside of captivity? Why do we not see obesity, mental illness, or senseless violence in animals? Have you ever observed any wild animal depressed, or pointlessly attacking its fellows? (Rabies, it's true, does cause erratic and vicious behavior on occasion, and humans are injured; but not, it seems, other animals). 

There is amazing uniformity throughout the animal kingdom. It's almost impossible to tell them apart unless you're very familiar - as many wild animal sanctuary keepers are - for an extended period of time. Even then, only variations in coloring or scars indicate which animal is which in its group. Animals in the wild are locked into a pattern of behavior that's highly predictable, and successful hunters know all the routines, or patterns of instinct that animals can't change. Every animal is authentic; a true elephant, horse, wolf, cat, and so on. Can you imagine a wild animal who doesn't "fit in"? Such that we might say, "That deer is a phony. And look at that eagle! It doesn't have a clue!" 

Not so for us humans. We misrepresent ourselves all the time, intentionally or not, and are often caught and exposed. Our free will empowers us to change our appearance and behavior in a thousand different ways; which is a gift or a curse, depending on how we use it. Our powers of speech give us the ability to lie, cheat, self-aggrandize, or do the opposite. We can elevate ourselves and others to great heights with our words, actions, and social abilities. Our unlimited power of imagination has given us airplanes to fly, submarines to swim the ocean depths, and spacecraft to travel to the moon. That same imagination can make us delusional to the point that we see an image in the mirror that differs entirely from the truth; what others see instantly. Some very beautiful people don't see themselves that way at all. But more commonly, we think we're stunning and slender even if we're not. 

We sometimes have the ability to be magically authentic and admirable, inspiring others to help us rescue whole nations, create them from our imagination; or recklessly plunge them into Armageddon. This is our greatest fault and crime. 

Why do entire populations follow leaders who set them on the path to perdition? Is it not because some people use their great powers to deceive, persuade, and corrupt their followers into thinking that they're virtuous demigods of strength and light? And therefore superior to others, to laws, and customs? These are the counterfeit people. 

Striving for power over ourselves and nature is not by itself a bad thing. The crucial difference is a moral one. If we worship an ethical God of goodness and love, and live that creed, we create prosperity and peace. The Judeo-Christian ethos has given the world every authentic gift of civilization. The United Nations Charter, signed by every nation on earth in 1945, reads like a version of the American Declaration of Independence. Individual human rights and the dignity of every person regardless of wealth or station are promised. These pledges are founded on the Old and New Testaments. They don't come from Buddhism, Confucianism, or Hinduism; nor any other pagan religion. Why then have these aspirations and ideals failed to bring peace and prosperity to the world? We all know it's due to corruption of spirit; moral degradation, selfishness, and falsehood; lies, deceit and depravity. All adult people - aside from the five-percent who are psychopaths - know what the right path is. It's the one where we don't do unto others what we wouldn't want done to ourselves. This is simplicity itself, and our salvation. Departure from this path is fatal in the long run. Blaming others for their faults while ignoring our own destroys us. 

Have you ever seen counterfeit currency, fake jewels, or fashion accessories? The best counterfeits are quite convincing, and it's often impossible to tell the difference without comparing them to authentic versions. Counterfeiters often work very hard to produce convincing fakes. The rewards are huge, and fortunes have been made for thousands of years. The Romans prized ancient Greek statuary, and paid huge sums to acquire it. So talented crooks began producing fakes. Our museums today show these copies as art, because they're often extremely good, and they're rare. Many famous Renaissance artists, like Michelangelo, began their careers by producing counterfeit ancient statuary. They were hungry, unknown, highly talented, and it was easy. Study the originals, sculpt copies, bury them for six months in a special soil recipe known to forgers, and presto! Nobody could tell the difference back then. Times are different now, and it gets easier all the time to spot phonies.

In our human realm, it's fairly easy to be a counterfeit saint. A person so inclined can ingratiate themselves with others and talk about how much they love people, particularly poor and suffering children, the elderly, and the most needy. They can flatter, cajole, humor, and persuade listeners to contribute to their charity. This requires a talent to lie to one's self as well as others, but many men and women have that talent. From there many doors are opened, including politics, where those gifted at deception will thrive.  

Then the big problem for these fakers are the authentic saints, and other people of high virtue. They make the counterfeits look very poor by comparison, and often they're in law enforcement. Sooner or later the two will clash, and it's never pretty. War to some degree must follow. 

This explains the crucifixion of Christ and many millions more crimes against the innocent. The history of humanity in large part has always been a battle between the real and true versus the lying and counterfeit; Moses and Pharaoh, Lincoln and the Confederates. The ultimate question is who has genuine and righteous authority? Only God, the Creator and Judge of all things has ultimate authenticity and reality. He has always said, "the wheat must be separated from the chaff", and the faithful from the unfaithful. Jesus warned us about false prophets in our time, and the Apostle Paul said, "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" - Corinthians 11:14. 
Now we understand the terror and strife in the world. Here's what we can do about it: