Revised 19 June 2002
APrayer of Jesus I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
By Edgar Jones
When was it? I can't recall exactly, but The Thought came sometime shortly after World War II. Perhaps it was during my last year at Georgia Tech, or maybe it was at Southern Seminary. It is disappointing not to remember the time and place of what may have been my most significant original thought. It did not seem so significant then, but it kept recurring and other thoughts built upon it until I began to realize its importance. So ordinary is it that it surely must have occurred to many others also, but to me it was original.
I had been inducted into the U. S. Navy during the war and was granted a reserve commission when I graduated from Georgia Tech. This presented the prospect of combat that moved me to re-evaluate my military commitment in the light of my newly formed allegiance to Jesus Christ. It was during this process that The Thought appeared. It was, simply, this: Had I been born and reared in Germany or Japan rather than in America, I would have served on the side of the Axis forces and not in the U. S. Navy. I would have been dedicated to the Glorious Empire of Japan or, trained in the Hitler Youth, to Hitler's vision of the Thousand Year Nazi Reich.
Shocked and shaken by The Thought, I could neither avoid its implications nor deny its validity. In Germany, young men fought for Hitler and the Nazis; in Japan, young men fought for the Emperor and the glory of Nippon; in America, young men fought for America and democracy. Exceptions were very rare. The issue was not a matter of good and evil or of right or wrong, but solely of the circumstances of birth! Yes, it surely seemed that the Nazis, perpetrators of the Holocaust, were evil. And surely the Japanese were evil in their attack on Pearl Harbor, their invasion of China, of Korea and of the Philippines where they conducted the infamous Death March. I was convinced of this then, and I am still convinced. But I could not avoid confronting the thought that young Germans and young Japanese thought otherwise. Had I gone into combat against them, I would have been slaughtering, or been slaughtered by, young men who were as thoroughly convinced of the righteousness of their cause as I was convinced of the necessity of fighting to "make the world safe for democracy." The only reason I was against them rather than with them was my birth in 1926 at Kenton, Tennessee, USA.
My life could never be the same because, in the light of The Thought, all prior standards of good and evil collapsed. Might makes right! I was the product of my nurturing environment and all my values were established by the institutions into which my birth had placed me. The same must be true for everyone.
The Thought came to me in the course of considering the special situation of war between nations, where the national distinction is determinative of one's values, but it also applies to other situations so that the geographic location of one's birth is not always determinative. To both early Caucasian settlers and native born pioneers, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," and this conviction was so strong as to carry over into the Mid Twentieth Century, when we were exposed to the exciting novels and movies in which hordes of mounted savages were wildly attacking "innocent" settlers, murdering, burning and lusting for scalps.
As a youth I believed strongly that the American Indians were a savage people who got what they deserved. Now I know that the view was much different to one of their own, born and nurtured in a situation where strange, pale faced foreigners who could not be trusted to keep treaties were repeatedly pushing them out of their homes and by force of their numbers and advanced weaponry were slowly extinguishing their ancient and beloved way of life and taking over all their tribal lands. To obtain a better perspective on the Indian's view, modern Americans should imagine that planet earth is being invaded by strange creatures from outer space who, with yet more powerful weapons which by comparison are to us as the cannons and muskets were to Indians who had only bow and arrow, were appearing in large numbers and taking no prisoners.
The American Civil War presents another case where people born on the same soil and under the same flag nevertheless segregated into two warring parties on the basis of their differing belief's about the institution of slavery, to conduct what was then the bloodiest war in history. I was born of a generation of Southerners whose parents or grandparents had killed and died in their unsuccessful struggle to preserve slavery and my nurturing reflects that history. I was taught that Robert E. Lee was one of history's greatest men who would surely have preserved the lost Confederacy with its multitudes of slaves but for insurmountable odds. My Mother's middle name was "Lee" in honor of the great general. Educated in public schools, I cannot remember hearing one critical word spoken of the General Lee.
Nevertheless I came far enough after the fact to also have been taught that Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, was likewise to be highly esteemed because of his opposition to slavery and his efforts to save the Union. Consequently I grew up somewhat confused; on the one hand were the damnyankees (a single word) who invaded our lands and destroyed a culture; on the other hand was the recent history of slavery that, publicly at least, everyone agreed was wrong. However, segregation, slavery's replacement and in many ways even worse than the curse that preceded it, was viewed by all in my community as absolutely essential.
"We must," they said, "keep them in their place."
The alternative was the total disappearance of civilization due to the amalgamation of the races, the rape of white women and, not vocalized, the loss of cheap labor. Therefore blacks must be reminded constantly of their lowly position by "White Only" and "Colored Only" signs on water fountains, rest rooms, buses, churches, governmental bodies, and everything else of value in society. They were all dirty; they all carried a distinctive, foul odor and they had very low morals and were not very intelligent – or so I was taught.
This race issue was the first one to spark nonconformity in me. I do not know why this was so, but in spite of all the indoctrination to which I was exposed throughout my youth, I can never remember a time when I did not think segregation to be evil so that my earliest memories of this issue are incidents in which it was the subject of arguments with my much older siblings who sought to save me from the error of my ways.
"Niggers" was our word for blacks, and it was the only such term in my vocabulary. I did not think of it as derogatory until I learned how the blacks felt about it, at which time I expanded my vocabulary and began to refer to them as "Negroes." Although they lived in my community, I knew none of them because segregation kept us apart. I saw them working in distant fields or passing along the road. When I was very young a large number of them came to our farm from outside of the community to chop cotton. It was on a sunny spring day and it was my parent's responsibility to provide certain amenities such as drinking water and something to eat at lunch time. There were some whites working for us that day also, and I recall them eating lunch in the house with the family, while all the blacks were gathered out in the back yard under a tree. This was characteristic, for if a black had occasion to visit our home that person knew to go to the back door to knock. The front door was reserved for white visitors.
When I was about five, my mother employed a black "washerwoman" to assist her on wash day. We called her, strangely, "Aunt Mary." Her last name was the same as mine and my impression was that her family had a relationship with my family going back to slavery.
On at least one occasion she brought with her a little boy just my age, and we hit it off marvelously. Oh, we had a time! Once, when we ran through the house playing tag, he climbed upon a chair before a large mirror above my mother's dresser and began to ogle himself – making faces, motions, and in general having great fun. I was annoyed and wanted to continue the game so I tugged at his arm and otherwise sought to get him to resume our fun, but to no avail.
Then Mother came through the room, and I asked her why he insisted on looking at himself in the mirror. She said words to this effect: "Dear, he does not have mirrors in his house and this is probably the first time he has seen himself in a large mirror." "Don't have a mirror?" I questioned? "Why?" "Well, Dear, his family is very poor and they have no money to buy mirrors." I was shocked, and my heart opened in sympathy for a little kid whom I liked so much yet who was too poor to have mirrors in his home. I think I still remember that feeling, for not only did we have mirrors but all our neighbors had mirrors, all our relatives had mirrors, indeed every home I had been in had mirrors – and we thought we were poor! If I look for a single influence that sparked my nonconformity, that is probably it.
Thereafter I seemed to have always been interested in the conditions of Negro children. We passed their homes on the way to town and I saw them playing in the yard. Their house was always a shack when compared with the homes of most whites. I remember asking where they went to school and was told that those who could get there went to town. Kenton was five miles away and there was no bus for them as there was for the white children. We drove by their school once and Dad pointed it out to me. "That's the nigger school," he said. It was a small frame building in poor repair. The school for whites was housed in three large and substantial brick buildings and included a gymnasium where basketball was the center of interest. I could not but wonder what the world looked like from the point of view of the black kids who were schooled in their dilapidated facility.
Not until years later did I begin to know how they felt, after the Civil Rights Movement appeared on the scene. Then I discovered that, although we had been born and nurtured by the same soil, the racial difference had an effect similar to that of the nation state, for we grew up in two different worlds, my little black friend and I. The civil rights struggle in the south found all the blacks, with few exceptions, allied in the struggle against the white power structure which had nurtured me, and with nearly all the whites solidly allied against the blacks. It was a Southern thing and, just as during the Great Civil War, had it not been for the power of the Federal Government there would have been no change and we would yet be the segregated South.
After I joined a church, at age twenty-one, many well meaning friends sought to correct my errors by proving from the Bible that our segregated society was righteous and surely the will of God. At such times I could only note that the black leaders of the Civil Rights Movement were mostly ministers who roused their followers to action by biblically based sermons. Yet again I was compelled to confront the realization that the birth circumstances were determinative of one's views on racial matters. Had I been born black, the world would look very different and assuredly my views of right and wrong would have conformed to that reality.
Every great religion carries its own definition of good and evil, which it imparts to adherents and their children (by "great" I mean numerically). For an example of this one need look only to the war in the former Yugoslavia where Christians and Muslims have been slaughtering each other, or to Palestine where Jews and mostly Muslim Arabs have fought repeatedly in the last generation. The Arabs, like the American Indians, see their opponents as invaders into a land historically theirs and they determine that the State of Israel shall not continue; the Jews, on the other hand, see themselves as reclaiming lands granted them in perpetuity by divine decree ages ago. Arab youth fight for the Arab cause; Israeli youth fight for the Jewish cause – all in the firm conviction that they are struggling for the good and against the evil.
So, rigidly maintained differences in nationality, race, and religion are among the primary contributors to the causes of wars. There are others. In every case one can see that the combatants on all sides engage the enemy in the conviction that they are the good ones fighting the evil ones. From their individual perspectives the distinctions are clearly defined, so much so that they are willing to give their lives and to take lives for victory, and to engage in campaigns of mass destruction, obliterating the fruits of the labor of generations past.
Yet after all is said, the only thing that sets them apart for battle is where, when, or to whom they were born. Although each individual may be thoroughly convinced of the righteousness of the cause, there are no absolute grounds for such a conviction.
Our views of right and wrong, good and evil, are molded by factors comprising our environment. Those nurtured by other environments will have a different view, and will be as thoroughly convinced of their righteousness as we are of our own. Most of us are not free and independent individuals. Our deepest convictions – about nationality or patriotism, politics, religion, race, economics – are not our own. Rather, they are inherited from our society, whatever that society may be. Years of nurturing following infancy have effectively brain washed and heart washed every one of us. Strong convictions that once seemed so secure, so right and good, have bound us together and mutually confirmed us. Consequently, we are both bound and blindfolded in the quest for the good as distinguished from the evil, the right from the wrong, the true from the false. Everything is relative to whom, what, when and where we are in the world.
Does this mean that there is no absolute good, and no absolute evil? If so – if there are no absolutes – then everyone is wise who commits himself or herself to the standards of their own particular culture, race, religion, nation, party, or tribe. That course is best that produces the most benefit for family, friends, neighbors, and nation. To be respected among one's own kind and to be willing to fight to protect that kind will accrue praise and honor to one so engaged. If there are no absolutes, then I am a fool for having separated myself from the U. S. Navy, for renouncing citizenship of the United States and for refusing to commit myself to the peculiar interests of my race and nation.
Are there Absolutes?
But if there are absolutes, how can they be derived? Certainly not from our experience in the world of men, where everyone abides by a distinctive standard that is characteristic of his or her kind. I can have no confidence in any standard of righteousness established in my native land and among my native people, where every conviction and every value is only that which we derive from others, as they derived them from yet others ad infinitum.
Nor will I gain one whit by listening to the representatives of some other place or time in this world, for they have all, without exception, arrived at their standards of good and evil by the same process, yet without realizing that they are also dealing in relatives. All areas are, in this case, gray and there are no blacks and whites. In the impact of The Thought, I was forced to recognize that it would not be possible for me, as a human being, to derive of myself an assured definition of good and evil. With regard to values, ethics, and morals, every one who shares with others in a common heritage is the product of a cookie cutter, and we come out of the oven in a uniform shape with few irregularities. Another race, another nation, another religion, another economic strata, another culture . . . . another cookie cutter! Regardless of what we love to think, the world of humanity knows no absolutes. All is relative. If there are absolutes, it is not possible for us to derive them unaided. All areas are gray; there is neither black nor white.
Yet I continued to seek them. The above conclusion, founded as it is on The Thought, forces our mental focus on those things that divide mankind, that is, on our differing perspectives, as the German and Japanese differ from the American. And so I wondered, "Can there be an avenue to the determination of true absolutes – absolute good and absolute evil – based on our mutual agreements?" The process whereby one may establish true absolutes, if there are such, might be enlightened by looking to all men, to all nations and races to determine what they hold in common. We can have no confidence in fixing our attention on any of those many things wherein we differ, but what about those things we all value? Are there any? If so, what are they? Are some – is any one – more fundamental than any other? And perhaps most crucially, is there a fundamental area of agreement that is also the root of our disagreements and disparate views?
I now believe that all these questions respond to a single, simple answer: the love of life. All of us, with but few exceptions, love life and believe both that life is good and the love of life is good. I could have introduced this slowly by first naming and studying other areas of life, such as patriotism, family, materialism, sex . . . there are many candidates. But all these are just that: areas of life, so that we should quickly realize that life itself is the fundamental thing and that our common attitude to it, which is described as "love" is universal. Life is one thing that all people share, and the love of life is a universal love. Of course, we also inhabit the same earth and breathe the same air but we do this only to sustain the life that energizes our physical bodies, which are of the earth. Thus, consideration of these things also leads us back to life as a more fundamental commonality.
The Love of Life
But the abstract consideration of life itself has not been fruitful in my quest for the Absolute Good. The flowers and the animals are alive. The birds and the bees are alive, as are the insects and the trees. These creatures are not the least concerned with the absolutes of good and evil, or with the fact that they are alive. Therefore they differ from us in that they do not, they cannot, love life. It would seem that the mere fact of life has no direct relevance to such questions as I am posing here. In so far as we can determine, their lives, though real, have no significance to them. They live, do their thing and then go on to make room for the next generation. They are both alive and oblivious to life, or so it seems, such that they can have no conscious attitudes towards that life.
It is precisely here, however, that humans differ from other living things. We are not, like them, oblivious. We are supremely conscious of the fact that we are alive. We think about life, and we try to make sense of it, ponder its meaning, and, above all, we love it and so attempt to hang onto it for as long as possible. So, though the consideration of life itself does not seem fruitful in the quest for absolutes, the consideration of our attitude-to-life holds promise for explaining or disagreements and disparate views. We do tend to hold a common attitude – that is, we all tend to love it. The youth of Germany and Japan love it no less than those of America, the black youths no less than the white.
The evolution of our species through millions of years was fueled by the paramount quest for survival, apart from which none of us would be here. This simple and most fundamental reality readily translates into love of life, for this striving for survival is also a striving to preserve our incarnate lives, a striving to remain joined to life that is adequately defined only by the single phrase, the love of life (or its correlates, the fear of death and the hatred of God). All of our militant differences, absolutely all of them, must be seen as founded in the love of life if they are to be understood. Over the ages, different peoples in different and widely separated places have developed radically distinct points of view and value systems. Now, as the world seems to become smaller, those differences motivate hostilities because every tribe or faction, whatever it may be, is threatened by the stranger due to the insecurity that the love of life fuels. That black (or white) person may, if educated, take my job, or his children take my children's jobs. How can we all continue to feed ourselves and thus remain alive? Those communists (or capitalists) will surely take away my security, then how will I provide for my family and myself and thus preserve our lives?
The Quest for Survival
The concept of the threat is a key. Everywhere we turn, we will see that every individual of our species feels threatened by the stranger who is not understood, a threat motivated solely by the love for life. This threat in turn acts to motivate hostile responses and relative definitions of good and evil. It is an evolutionarily driven defense mechanism, as automatic as breathing. It possesses every one of us so that it is impossible for any one, no matter the race, nation, culture, religion or other faction to break through to an unbiased consideration of the absolutes. ( . . . and the love of life lies close to one of those absolutes, being the one commonality that spawns every horrible thing that one person may do to another.)
Now, do not jump to conclusions; the love of life is not Absolute Good as many suppose. Perhaps it is absolute evil? Such a question will shock most of my readers for we are, in its powerful grip, also bound by the conviction that the love of life is a grand and glorious good thing and we honor it wherever we find it. One may lose everything but the love of life and remain a respectable person, but not to love life is the ultimate treason, no matter what your faction. This fact is the power of the evil, the chain by which it enslaves us from the cradle to the grave and, at the end, by which it forces us to struggle desperately with the Grim Reaper to stave off the inevitable.
I have not pretended to do justice to the question, "Can we arrive at absolutes by studying our basic commonality, the love of life?" Additional light on this subject can be found in my earlier book, Jesus: the Rock of Offense, and also below. No one can do justice in a few words to the radical conclusion that the love of life is fundamental to all our differences and I shall not attempt to do so in this immediate context. Nevertheless I have introduced it as such because I firmly believe it, and because I can and have confirmed this conclusion to my own satisfaction, and also, as we will see below, because someone else has reached the same conclusion long before me.
Did you notice something else about the above paragraphs? We began by explaining that we would seek some avenue to the absolutes by searching for the things all humans hold in common, and in particular, if there is such, for the one most fundamental commonality of all. But, instead of discovering an avenue to the absolutes, we discovered the basis for all our militant differences, that is, for our differing conceptions of good and evil, right and wrong. If we start at the bottom, with the love of life, we immediately begin to discover that it leads us not to uniformity but to diversity, not to peace, but to war, and thus serves as a foundation, not for the absolutes, but for the relatives. One man rises up and slays another because he feels threatened; but when analyzed, in every rational case that threat will be seen to owe its existence to the love of life. We have sought the foundation for The Absolute in its only reasonable base, and have found instead the foundation for the relative!
The Basis of All Our Differences
With this fact before us, I am moved to ask, "Could the process work in reverse?" If, by beginning with our most basic common heritage, the love of life, we have, surprisingly, arrived at an explanation for our relative convictions and not our absolutes, could we, by beginning with the most fundamental differences, arrive at true absolutes? I can't. Perhaps it is due to the prevalence of well traveled pathways in my brain, but in every effort to derive the most fundamental difference beginning with our relative convictions, I only end up again with our most fundamental commonality: the love of life, and not with a fundamental difference. To exemplify, if I begin by considering race as a candidate for the fundamental difference, I quickly see that this only produces commonly held racial prejudices that are fueled by the love of life. Any seemingly fundamental difference with which I begin leads me in the end to the same destination. I do not know how to account for this unless the love of life is one of the absolutes I seek. After much though and study I am much more inclined to conclude that it is not possible for any individual, of him or her self, to isolate the absolutes, should they exist, and that even if one should happen to focus on an absolute value, one could not have any assurance of certainty due to the relative conceptions that have molded all our thoughts.
We Need Help!
Any yet, my soul thirsts for absolutes! Call it, if you must, an obsession. "The Thought" does not let me rest. But how to explain the existence of such an obsession if its object does not exist? If I am going to war, to slay other men, I want to know that I fight for absolute good and against absolute evil. Why would a just creator equip me, us, with a lust for absolutes when there are none? Would a loving Father tease and afflict his children thusly? And would he leave us without the eyes to see the absolutes, or without a grounds of confidence in them, should they exist?
I submit to you that he would not; that the simple fact that we can conceive of absolutes as an abstract idea strongly suggests that they do in fact exist, and that we are capable of framing them in our minds with confidence. Not necessarily with certainty, but with assurance nevertheless. Such a Father would not leave his children comfortless. He must, therefore, reveal to us his absolutes.
How is he to do this if we find it impossible to sort them out for ourselves? Very simply, I suggest what I strongly believe: He must come to us and tell us, by word and deed, all about them. There are some things a child can never know apart from the words of the parent; so likewise we can make no progress towards isolating the absolutes apart from the words of the Father in Heaven. Yes, I have already indicated that it must be humanly impossible to derive the absolutes; therefore it follows that they must be revealed to us from outside our enclave, this world.
We cannot derive them, but we can conceive them once delivered and revealed, and we are wholly dependent on the Father to reveal them. In this case, the Absolute is Truth to the Father, to the eternal and transcendent realm of being. Looking to mankind we have discovered that the good, the seemingly absolute good, is only so to that segment of the race that promotes it as such. The differing segments define the good each in its own peculiar way such that, humanly speaking, there is no absolute good. There is only the good which is so to a particular segment, to my people, or to your people, but not to all people.
Therefore, to find the absolute, we must move from the human to the divine, as it is reasonable to suppose that the absolute is that which is good in the eyes of Him who has created us for his own purposes, and which may have no semblance to our relative conceptions. Beginning thus, many years ago, with "The Thought," I have finally reached what must be a valid conclusion, one in which I can place my confidence.
Now for the sake of the discussion let us suppose that the Father has intruded or will intrude into our enclave with the revelation of the absolutes. Will we, though thirsting desperately for them, though perfectly capable of comprehending them, nevertheless be deaf to them?
They will seem strange; they will not coincide with our relative values and so they will threaten us. The messenger will be strange and threatening. Won't we all, in the embrace of the universal love of life, thoroughly and tragically conformed to our relative values and convictions, respond to the messenger and to the message in exactly the same manner as to any alien – with suspicion, with rejection, with hostility and with violence?
Yes! In a world where everything, every value, is relatively derived and defined, the appearance of the Absolute will necessarily constitute the absolute offense! And this will prevail in every tribe and nation, where the Absolute will be irrelevant and alien. A relative concept will be highly valued in one society, less valued in another, and positively hated in others. The Absolute will of necessity be hated by all, for it will transcend all and will be compatible with none.
Now to summarize the above. By seeking the absolutes from our relative, human perspective, we have concluded that it may be humanly impossible to derive them. We have also concluded that they must exist as such, that is, as absolutes, and that we are capable of conceiving them should they appear. Further, they must, if we are ever to realize them, be revealed to us from outside our world, by a revelator who, by word and deed, will make them known to us. And finally, even should it come to pass that a revelator enter into the world with words and deeds thus revealing the absolutes, we must inevitably be absolutely offended by them. The Absolute threatens the relative, and the relative hates the Absolute. We are compelled to do our utmost to destroy the messenger and the message from the earth. This has all been generated by The Thought.
Our definition of the Absolute is as follows: The Absolute Truth, Good, Right, is a word, idea or logos that expresses the fundamental principle upon which all reality is built, and which is not subject to any human adjustment. It thus provides a true explanation of all being, the meaning and purpose of life, and the destiny toward which we move. Further, it thus transcends all human ideas of good, right and truth, which makes it an offense to all mankind.
The Absolute: Definition and Properties
The Absolute will also be found to be supremely simple. To be complicated and intricate would mean that only the intellectually astute could comprehend it; simpletons like me would be left out of the quest. Once seen, it will be found to be obvious, and one wonders why it was not earlier discovered. Were it hard to find, only those especially equipped would be able to discern it and, again, I would be left out.
But if it is so simple, easily understood and easy to spot, why doesn't everyone see and understand it?
There can be only one good answer: we do not like it and are unwilling to receive and process it. Indeed, we must absolutely hate it so as not only to refuse to receive it, but also to fight against it lest some one near and dear to us be seduced by its beauty and simplicity, for it will be found to be very beautiful once perceived and received. In our absolute bondage to the love of life, it will constitute the absolute threat.
We will also find that our hatred of it must be such as to cause us to make the results very unpleasant should one of our number succumb to it. He will become a pariah and will be despised and persecuted as a traitor to all we hold dear. If he yet persists, we may even consider ourselves justified by removing such a one forever from our midst. We will kill him, if necessary, and give honor to the one who performs the deed.
Because the Absolute comes to us from outside this life, it will be alien to this life and therefore threatening to all that we hold dear, motivated as we are by the love of life. Men may fight one another at the drop of hat, but they will fight this with no provocation, because it is in itself the ultimate provocation. What is a human the absolute good, will be to the Absolute One the absolute evil; and that which is truly the Absolute Good is, to a man, the absolute evil.
The Absolute will be found to be the foundation of all things. As the foundation of a great building is usually invisible, being buried in the earth, so the Absolute, the foundation of all things, is invisible such that we must do some digging to expose it. The "dirt" into which we must dig to uncover the foundation is nothing other than the complex of relative ideas, definitions, and values that comprise the merely human conception of reality and that lie upon the absolutes, thus concealing them.
Here is a another metaphor to assist us in our quest. The Absolute is to the relatives as the teacher is to the class of young children. Left to themselves the children will err grievously; they will not agree on things, they will fight with each other from time to time, and the strongest will get his or her way; they will not know the answers to their questions, but there will be a "smart alec" who thinks he or she has all knowledge and who will become the authority for the group.
The Absolute: Its Source
There will evolve, then, a social structure based on might and brazen braggadocio; there will be bullies and wimps, cruelty and injustice as well as a kind word or two from time to time. They will split into gangs of individuals who find security in numbers and trust in their strength.
Overall, without the teacher, they will learn nothing good and will devolve into something like, well, like a modern community of nations. But introduce a good teacher and give such a person the authority to command the respect of the children and they will become obedient, looking to the teacher for the solution to their problems, the answers to their questions. Without the teacher, such a group, such a society of children, will be the slaves to their own relative conceptions of right and wrong, to their own lusts and passions, and it is impossible that they should define true absolutes. Just as the children require one not their peer but wiser and more powerful to discipline them and make them knowledgeable, to save them for useful and productive adulthood, so the race as a whole requires one not a peer, but wiser and more powerful, to discipline us according the absolute standards, and to save us for an eternal destiny. I believe that one is God the Father Almighty, and Jesus Christ is his messenger whom he sent to declare to us the absolutes of good and evil. Jesus, and Jesus only, is the Source!
I am using the word, absolutes, in its plural form. This I do because I have also found, in the light of the Messenger, that at the stratum immediately below our human constructs, the absolutes appear in a dual of absolute good and absolute evil, and it is impossible to isolate the one from the other. There is a yet deeper stratum that supports the dual absolutes, and this stratum is the Absolute One, the Father-creator who sustains all, by whom and through whom all things exist, and for whom all things work together so as to fulfill His purposes.
We also have to deal with an inversion. What is to human beings the foundation of all good, is to the Father the absolute evil, and what is to human beings the foundation of all evil, is to the Father the Absolute Good. This is but another way of saying that all people are sinners; that is, all transgress the will of God. As the products of our nurturing environment, we hate what the Father loves, and love what the Father hates. The relative hates the Absolute, and the Absolute One hates the relative.
It follows that to be reconciled to the Father requires a radical reconstruction of our most fundamental disposition. We must be converted from lovers of life to haters of life in the love of God. Then the Absolute Good will shine forth from a clear blue sky. Then all the relative conceptions that cloud our vision will fade away.
That, of course, is what Jesus of Nazareth is all about. Listen to him! Listen to him! Listen to him!!!
Precisely as I explained above, the messenger of the Absolute was not welcomed in the world of mankind, not even among his own people, for as the scripture states, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not."(John 1:11). His absolute message, focused on the love and hatred of life, was the ultimate threat to human beings, so they killed him! "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free." (John 8:31-32)
The answer has to derive from the authority that springs from the kingdom of God, and which was delivered once for all to the Messenger. His death, intended to shut him up, was instead his most powerful statement, one that enlightened all his words. It was his ultimate victory over the relative conceptions of men that crowned him with eternal royal power, in heaven and on earth. Then, as he promised his little band of disciples, he sent The Holy Spirit to inspire them and remind them of the full body of his utterances. Many, if not most, of them died to preserve those words, and so there they are in the gospels. "Heaven and earth will pass away," as he said, but his words will not pass away. The human race is stuck with them forever. They express the Absolute Truth and there is nothing we can do to erase them.
Why Wasn't that the End of it?
Then why do "Christians" go to war against others and against each other? If they have the Absolute Truth, why do they yet serve the relative values of their nation and race?
The answer is found in the strategy that mankind, satanically deceived, has adopted to avoid the light that Jesus introduced. We can't put it out, that light, but we have found a way to filter it nevertheless. This strategy is clearly enumerated as follows:1. Adopt a false interpretation of the words and deeds of the Messenger, one that is clearly false in the light of those words.Thus it was that Christianity was born and continues to thrive. Thus it is that we have the doctrines of the false apostle, Saul of Tarsus, placed within the covers of the Bible right alongside the precious words of the Messenger. We have Christian nations, Christian communities, Christian schools, Christian families, Christian governments, Christian churches, Christian values, Christian everything, but we do not have Jesus. Instead, men keep crucifying him over and over again. To counter the Absolute Good, men have created the absolute evil in the name of the Absolute Good! This Christian strategy has been a smashing success.
2. Avoid the light of those words by providing another set of words in the name of the Messenger that appears to glorify the Messenger and magnify his name, and place them alongside his words, between the covers of the same book. This set of words preserves the false interpretation, is thoroughly consistent with the relative values of men, and filters out the Absolute Truth.
So it was that young Englishmen, young Frenchmen and young Americans (me included), went to war with young Germans, young Italians, and young Japanese, each in the name of his God. Perhaps I would still be waving the flag but for "the thought" with which I began my discipleship to Jesus, and this paper. And of this I am sure: If Jesus of Nazareth had not introduced Absolute Truth into the world, I would never have found freedom.
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