Faith is often blind, and the stronger it is, the more tense, fanatical, or unreasonable its victim is, supposedly. After several people come together and share their goof faith, they feel a harmony that in some cases brings successes of a sort, as in the form of strong alliances with those of similar ilk. Yet it may be largely unsettled whether cultish harmony of a shared, dogmatically founded faith yields noble fruits, such as truth and other essentials for a decent and good life. We look into one such case below:
David Yonggi Cho (1936-) is a Korean Christian minister. He is Senior Pastor and founder of the Yoido Full Gospel Church (Assemblies of God). It was one of the world's largest congregation in 2007. Prominent Christian leaders have given vent to great concern over the teachings of Cho.
Now, Cho tells in one of his books about young Chorean girls who were taught they could work miracles in Christ. They had come to believe it and were headed for a Bible camp when they had to stop because a swelling river had carried away the bridge they were to cross over in order to get to the camp. What to do?
They reminded each other of the promises of Jesus, held hands and went into the surging water, intent on walking on it and over to the other side. They were found some time later further down the stream. All were dead.
The unfortunate deaths grieved and upsed Cho and many others. What went wrong? he pondered. They had taken Jesus on his word. They did their part in the faith thing, it seemed. And their faith was misplaced.
It occurred to the minister that they had acted on general statements from a long time ago, and not on personal guidance directly to any of them. That was their error, he concluded in a book of his. (Cho 1977 or 1980)
❋ Do not welcome danger, and do not seek it out either, no matter what idiotic figures say and want you to.
When you have to make a good choice and do not make it, that in itself is a bad choice [cf. William James].
Tao has many meanings. Here it stands for handling routines, handling ways, proficient and savoury outlets.
There is something to learn from church history. He who said, "Why do you call me good?" let millions of the early Christians suffer and die, despite his claimed authority on earth and in heaven, and regardless of his word that his followers would surpass him [John 14.12; Matthew 21:22; 17:21; Mark 11:24] and get anything they asked for in prayer, and nothing would be impossible to them, and so on.
The millions of martyrs had not enough of such good belief or faith, it seems. Seeing is believing. So ask God to create a stone so big and heavy that he cannot lift it. Can he do it? Do you believe that?
And it seems they put much too many eggs of faith in the wrong basket also:
This generation will certainly not pass away till all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. [Matthew 24:27-35, assim]
Little informed martyrs clung fervently to a faith, believing the end of the times was about anyway, without drawing many conclusions from the fact that the promised powers for Jewish followers only were not theirs . . . (Matthew 15:24; 10:4-9). Apostles too thought the end of the world was near, if we can believe the Bible on it:
"Christ . . . now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. [Hebr 9:26]" And "The end of all things is near [1 Peter 4]."
They were wrong. The end is not yet. If the end started 12.000.000.000 years ago in one part of the universe, it would not reach Earth for a long time yet, it if comes at the speed of light (only). "The end may be a long time in coming yet" is a recurring history lesson anyway.
Another question is how to save yourself from being taken in by a loose faith and the like. It is easy to believe nothing, you may think, but that is a form of belief in non-belief. Better wait and see, and live well, making the most of the life you have got so far. That is the idea! Along the way, treasure findings in the field of Positive psychology, at least some of them. That could be good for you, as making such researched conclusions work in your life, might improve it somewhat - and be happy in the thought that it is better not to need Jesus, says Jesus himself (Compare Matthew 9:12-13 and Mark 2:17).
Now, do not get fooled and outsmarted by "God" terms that benefit those who harrow their by-faith-ridden herds one way or the other. Be happy. You can drop all the bestial commands of Jesus for Jews to pluck out their eyes and similar unkind doings: Gentile followers escaped that self-maiming tyranny unless they were not outwitted and made martyrs for "the cause" and such infantile things. [Acts 15; 21:25]
You probably do well to refrain from great-looking sayings that have only affection-value or crank affectation value. [Matthew 19;26; Mark 9;23; Matthew 17:21; John 14;12]
To be a winner starts and ends with being yourself well and let things evolve properly, seemly.
Putting well aside the erroneous understanding of Jesus as to how tall the mustard becomes (it does not become a tree at all, to be true), the lesson is that the secret kingdom within you is like a tree, and growing, spreading trees may be expected to differ somewhat from one another. [Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 30-2; Luke 18-9; compare Gospel of Thomas 20]
Trees compete for soil and light and space. Branches may get hurt and wither: This is a part of what ecumenism is about. Others may remain, but rotten and infested along with the fresh, sappy ones. For the lack of light and nourishment (opportunity) even the wise man may dwindle. Trees and their branches seem to co-operate, and have similar orientations and in some case even share bees or ministers.
We should hardly expect all branches in a tree to point in the same direction and be of the same size and height. Most trees are not like that.
To be involved in institutions means in part to be sucked up by them. Being faithful to one's Self is vital.
Jesus allegedly sacrificed himself according to the corrupt plan of his "righteous Father" by letting Jewish leaders have their way and get him executed. Sacrificing innocents to let bandits go on is unfit - the Father's way it was, the Bible tells. It is basically corrupt and works evil. Vicarious sacrifice is a bad idea. It also showed up that the claimed sacrifice for Jews (later all mankind) was quite in vain, and quite foolish too.
As interesting as such claims of "saving the world" are to some, two goats might have done just as good a trick. It was not even necessary for the Father and Jesus to have him butchered: two goats would do - says the Bible clearly in one of its chapters, giving directives that were to last forever, it stands. [Leviticus 16]
You do not have to sacrifice yourself for very little. Instead keep to: "Charity begins at home" - with yourself as the centre of your perceived world. And an American proverb adds "- but it does not have to stop there". When you can afford it and quite naturally, it could be added.
❋ Try to be a little reasonable: Say often: "If I had no preconceptions, what might I see?" Eventually, relaxing a firm and blind faith might bring some good fortune.
de Board. Robert. Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure. London: Routledge, 1998.
Cho, Paul Yonggi. Skapende tro. Oslo: Filadelfia, 1977.
Cho, Paul Yonggi. Suksess (Successful Living). Kvinesdal: Logos, 1980.
James, Muriel, and Dorothy Jongeward. Born to Win: Transactional Analysis with Gestalt Experiments. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley, 1971
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