"Ye are of your father the devil, and *abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." John 8:44-45. (*abode: "and in the truth he has not stood" Emphatic Diaglott i.e., Not at anytime has he ever stood in the truth.)
We noticed in our last issue of this present series a few things about the devouring fire of everlasting burnings. Isaiah 33:14-15. First, these flames bring forth divine power and holiness to the righteous who dwell therein. Second, over the ages, many have taught contrary to this obvious statement of fact in verse 15. In effect, they were advocates of a monumental lie; even so, confluent with this lie there is some truth; namely, that God is full of so much grace and mercy that He unconditionally loves every human being on this side of the grave. Truth stops at this point, and the lie runs rampant. Bitter and sweet water flows from the same spring. Although outside of character and being totally foreign to scripture, with their scenario, He suddenly flip-flops once people find themselves on the other side of the grave. If they die "unsaved," He never forgives them, mercy is history, grace is an unspoken word, and He delights in tormenting them--forever. He, therewith, becomes complacent, a judge of unprecedented cruelty and vindictiveness, which would be diabolical by any standards.
I know of no lie as great as this. It compares to none throughout the history of this world. And sadly, this lie has been programed and seared into the minds of countless millions, even billions. Much of today's beliefs that are contrary to truth stemmed from men of the lie, several of whom we had previously considered. One was the Roman Catholic priest, J. Furniss who told his children students, in part, that the burning place would be like afiery dungeon, a red hot oven, and little children in there will be heard screaming to come out. They turn and twist themselves in the fire. They will beat their heads against the roof of the oven, as they stamp their little feet on the floor. Another was the renowned Presbyterian minister, Jonathan Edwards, who must have shared Furniss' sentiments; for in his acclaimed sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, he said that "The road to hell is paved with the skulls of unbaptized babies." He also said in that sermon, "It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it throughout all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite, horrible misery...."
Now from a recent (July 14, 2010) Letter To The Editor in the Monroe, Louisiana News Star. One reader wrote:
"We all know what the Bible says about weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. These reactions are not just because of the agonizing heat. A person will realize one is totally separated from God, friends and loved ones forever.
"Every creepy, crawly thing one hates in this life -- snakes, spiders, centipedes, etc. -- will be knee deep. The veins in your body will feel like liquid fire. Whatever you liked to do in life instead of seeking God, such as dancing, car racing, bull riding, etc. you will have to continue doing for a few trillion years, even though you are dead tired.
"You will be totally alone to suffer through all this.
"The many times you could have been in church will be in your memory. These and other unspeakable horrors will be yours because you never asked Jesus Christ to save your soul and to come into your heart and life and make a real human being of you, as only he can in the coldest of hearts.
"Satan will remind you that you had your chance to be in heaven but you loved the sins of the world more than Jesus. Satan will laugh in your face and you will be speechless with terror.
"So you see we don't go to torment because we felt we were unworthy or because we were a bad person, but because we have rejected God's gift of eternal life, Jesus Christ." -- Charles Caraway (Contributed by Frances Brown.)
Another reader responding to the letter said that if all his surmising were truth, it means that regret would surely encroach on his eternal bliss by knowing what his "unsaved" loved ones were suffering. Either that, or he is among the most self-centered beings to ever exist.
The heinous statements of God tormenting most of His family in unspeakable anguish throughout eternity are lies of the worst kind. They register to the nth degree. Such vitriol is like sulphuric venom being spewed from the fangs of the lying serpent into the tender, pliable hearts and minds of God's beautiful people which very often mars them for life. These intelligent, yet evil men, and countless others before and after them created a god after their own image and likeness. The perpetrators of eternal damnation and everlasting burnings of sinners was, and still is, derived out of the heart of man that is desperately wicked, and whether for malicious purposes or out of willful ignorance--it is a lie of the worst kind.
It is amazing that Christian leaders create a god much more abominable than the worst of mankind's despots, such as Edi Amin, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il, Ché Guevara, and brothers Uday and Qusay Hussein. (No, I didn't forget Adolf Hitler. Just thought I'd give him a break this time). The ilk have never stooped to such torture as the preachers of religion proclaim of the living God--Who is LOVE! F-O-R-E-V-E-R! Knowingly or unknowingly, their sermons and books are lies born out of the minds of carnal men. Their scenarios of God and His judgments are lies, par excellence, and it is sad that so many have swallowed them hook, line and sinker.
Vladimir Lenin said, "A lie told often enough becomes truth." And the doctrine of eternal hell has become the truth to more than can be counted. Over the years, from infancy upward, they have been programed to believe it. Even so, regardless of how many believe a lie, it remains the same lie that was breathed the first time from the common man to the world's most powerful heads of State, the heads of Religion, the heads of Commerce, or any other man-controlled institution. They all are accomplished liars and the masses are good at believing them. Even after their backs are broken and their freedoms spent, the lies have been so deeply embedded that they are still believed by many. And it is no different in the world of religion. Many in those ranks are masters at fabricating and weaving ideologies that bind and suppress the people by their subtle lies.
I have many opinions that can justifiably be questioned; but to do battle against the truth is another matter, and one of the great truths is that the God of love judges sinners to correct and raise them up on both sides of the grave. This is an absolute fact! Someone said that "Wise men will question opinion; but fools quarrel with facts." However, I am not sure that everyone who quarrels with facts are fools; many are simply deaf and blind, and if so, we should not classify them as fools. They simply cannot hear or see the facts. All they know to do is to recite what they have been told by their blind leaders. There is good evidence that other factors can be involved when bold truth stares them square in the face, and they still refuse to embrace it. The norm is that they seem to be hopelessly lost when it comes to forsaking their lies and coming to the knowledge of truth. We will address one of the reasons why this is so, which is subconsciously lying to oneself.
At this juncture, I will let another explain who is more apt than myself, and whether quoted verbatim or otherwise, the thoughts in the remainder of this study were borrowed from Gary Amirault (118 Walnut St, Hermann MO 65041-1757 (http://www.tentmaker.org/) who wrote a very revealing epic concerning one of the human traits:
Hardwired To Lie
Scientists using the latest inventions to probe into the vistas of space and our oceans to find out what makes things tick are now probing the lobes of the human brain only to discover that the very instrument (the mind) from which we use to sort truth from lies, or fact from fiction, is hard-wired to turn the very truth/facts we are looking for into lies. Science is beginning to discover what ancient wise men have known for a long time: "the heart (sub conscience?) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9. It seems that this piece of real estate inside our cranium, namely, our brain wherein our minds function is wired to conceive, believe, and live comfortably with lies. Science has now confirmed it.
A study done at the prestigious Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia by Dr. Drew Westen and a team of psychologists found that Democrat and Republican voters are equally skilled at manipulating information in their minds to support the candidate of their choice. This, of course, has been known by most of us; but what we may not be aware of is that our minds are actually wired to work at deceiving ourselves. It will even reward us if we succeed in doing so.
Researchers asked Democrats and Republicans to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 presidential election. The subjects' brains were monitored with an fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine while they thought about the negative information. The partisans first read a statement from the candidate of choice (Bush or Kerry). The first statement was followed by a second statement that documented a clear contradiction between the candidate's words and deeds, generally suggesting that the candidate was dishonest or pandering.
After the subjects had made up their minds, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions, such as disgust, and the activity in areas that involve reward sharply increased, a response that Westen said "was similar to an addict getting a fix." He went on to say that "There were no increases in the part of the brain that controlled reasoning. They were not taking the information given to them and logically thinking it through.
"The finding suggests that the emotion-driven processes that lead to biased judgments likely occur outside of awareness, and are distinct from normal reasoning processes when emotion is not so heavily engaged," said Dr. Westen.
"The investigators hypothesize that emotionally biased reasoning leads to the stamping in or reinforcement of a defensive belief, associating the participant's revisionist account of the data with positive emotion or relief and elimination of distress. The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data." said Dr. Westen.
"Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it with the elimination of the negative emotions and activation of positive ones," Westen told Live Science.
"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," said Dr. Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits believed to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts."
Both Republicans and Democrats came to biased conclusions by ignoring facts which could not be rationally disregarded, according to Weston and his associates. After they came to their conclusions, those areas of the brain that dealt with negative emotions went dormant. However, the brain was highly active in the parts that dealt with rewards. The pattern was very similar to what a drug addict would register after getting a fix, as mentioned above.
It seems reasoning, logic, and love for the truth, was not a part of the Democrats or Republicans consideration as they were making their decisions. One would think that during such activity, the dorsolateral, prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is associated with reasoning, would have been quite active during the exercise. It was not.
We all would like to believe that we are basically honest. At least, we would like others to think that of us. Usually, we get along better in life if we can convince others that they can trust us. But scientific evidence seems to indicate we lie and believe our lies much more than we care to acknowledge especially about many things that are important to us like our political and religious views.
Have you ever been in a political or religious discussion with someone and felt you were talking to a brick wall? Every fact you presented to support your view was either conveniently ignored or twisted in such a way to support his or her view and negate yours. This is because they were hardwired to believe otherwise, even if it was clearly exposed as being a lie. And Dr. Westen, and his team of psychologists seem to have come up with some hard data proving the old adage, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up." Our minds, based upon Weston's research, are wired more as a firewall safety device to minimize stress and anxiety for us than being honest to ourselves, others, and even to our God. We may claim to be rational beings, especially if we esteem ourselves to be intellectuals or spiritually enlightened, but more often than not, we are not. Except for a small percentage of people, it holds true, as we have heard it said: Once a Democrat always a Democrat, once a Republican always a Republican, once a Baptist always a Baptist, once a Catholic always a Catholic, once an atheist always an atheist, etcetera.
Source: "Emory Study Lights Up the Political Brain" an article by Emory University. http://www.emory.edu/news/Releases/PoliticalBrain1138113163.html)
Some points we can take from this study:
For most of us, our brain is wired in such a way as to make decisions based more on how the consequences of our conclusions will make us feel or how much stress, discomfort, ridicule or persecution a particular decision will bring us than whether it is factual or truthful. In other words, we'll twist the truth into a lie if it keeps us in our safety zone. Most of this activity is subconscious.
Knowing an individual's predisposition towards any particular view proved to be a perfect predictor of what their ultimate decision would be 84 per cent of the time. In other words, their minds were already made up, and no amount of facts was going to change them. Furthermore, their minds would actually manipulate the information that is contradictory to what they already believe in such a way that it conforms to their preconceived beliefs after they are finished processing it.
Our need to process information in a way that provides maximum emotional comfort convinced Dr. Westen that the facts made virtually no difference in predicting what the vast majority of individuals will decide to do or think.
While the study dealt with politics, it seems this way of processing information passes through other areas of our lives including our religious beliefs and how we conduct business in the world.
Most of us will not change unless forced through a major crisis. Information, regardless of how plain it might be, usually will not do it.
We are unlikely to receive and accept information which contradicts strong parts of our life such as politics or religion even if the information is true and clearly factual.
Hypocrisy and lying appears to be a natural part of our decision making.
The study did not get involved with how the mind becomes programed or hard-wired towards particular beliefs and mind-sets. But I imagine much cement, so to speak, is set early in our lives.
Tragically for us, those who are power hungry know how to manipulate our minds for an easy slaughter. For instance, Francis Xavier, a Catholic evangelist to the East in the sixteen century said, "Give me the children until they are seven and anyone can have them after that." Those who control the political, social, educational, religious, entertainment and economic institutions and systems of any country know that the programming must begin early. Leading institutional businesses aim their ads at little children knowing if they can inject into their minds the right images and associated feelings, they will have loyal consumers for life.
Foundations, think tanks, lobbies, associations, political parties, religious affiliations, commercial enterprises, military powers, unions, cultural institutions, societies, cults, fraternities, public relations, advertising firms, and organizations of all kinds are used by a handful of individuals of nations to control the masses. It doesn't matter if the country is capitalist, socialist or communist. It does not matter if there is only one political party, or two, or a dozen. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This statement was shortened over time from what Baron John Acton wrote to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
According to this study conducted by Dr. Westen, it appears we have a gatekeeper at the door of our minds deciding what information we allow in, and in what form it should appear. If the information does not line up to personal benchmarks and standards, we either don't let it in or modify it until it conforms to what we already believe. Truth and facts are not among those pieces of information that seem to hold much value to this gatekeeper inside our skulls. Our minds seem to be inclined to bend the truth in such a way as to make us feel more secure. We will alter information to what we already believe or have been conditioned to believe by our families and societal institutions that mold our values. Striving for security, the emotional driven parts of our brain seem to be more engaged during what we would think to be rationalizing sessions than the rational/logical parts. Decisions that affect our lives should never be made with our emotions, for they are unreliable; yet the research shows that we frequently do, and after this process is repeated a number of times, our minds become hardwired, so to speak, to manipulate information to line up with our little castle of beliefs. This makes us feel secure and comfortable. For the sake of convenience and comfort, we become wired to believe the lie. Very often it takes something catastrophic in our lives to break down the walls of lies which have been built in our minds before the hard truth sees the light of day in our minds. Of course, when it comes to spiritual matters, the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ can and will transform our beliefs, and at first, such revelations can be catastrophic if we are determined to believe our self-serving lies.
Most Americans, or Westerners, actually believe they are free. This is, perhaps, the greatest of lies. By the time a child is seven in the United States of America, through all the input from the institutions mentioned above, that child is already comfortable with the thought of killing a complete stranger in another land to protect our national interests abroad. G.I. Joe dolls, movies and television, holidays to celebrate those who died for country, etc. have already programed that future little G.I. Joe Smith to lay down his very life for a flag or piece of land or a philosophy of life that does not line up with the kingdom of God and its righteousness.
Little G.I. Joe may read in his Bible, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44), but the traditions of men which make the word of God of no effect will overcome Jesus' plain command, because the programming from the various institutions within our society will have already made him comfortable with killing for stuff. Stuff has already become more important to this little G.I. Joe Smith through social programing. Of course, Miss Barbie will have gone through her own. She will be a loyal consumer to all that Hollywood and Madison Avenue want her to spend her money on. It is most unfortunate that the average American is unaware of the tens of thousands of messages with which our little brains are bombarded from highly sophisticated commercials aimed at making Americans to worship the god of Mammon, that is, materialism. We are really clueless of how deeply we have been programed to contradict the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is very plain and simple, "You cannot serve God and Mammon!" Matthew 6:24. However, when it comes to choosing one or the other, the emotional part of the brain most often kicks in and overrules sound reasoning.
One day history will look at what the Western world has done in the name of Judeo-Christian Ethics, especially America, Britain and Israel, and be shocked at the mountains of evil the world suffered under this abominable mixture of carnality. Surely many Western readers will have their hackles up due to their own programed minds. Those who are not as greatly under the influence of Western propaganda, such as third world countries without TV's and Internet, will easily acknowledge what is being said here is true. If the world is going to experience any semblance of peace, we must push into this matter, this gray matter which causes so much of the violence in this world. Nonetheless, it is not in man to rule in peace. Without the King of kings, this will never happen. Until the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, there will always be wars and rumors of wars, and people killing people in the name their god, in the name of their country, in the name of their ethnicity, or just for stuff.
Those who rule the Western world think they have the upper hand regarding being civilized. In Jesus' day, the world into which he was born was Greco-Roman-Jewish. The Roman Empire was tremendous. The institutions we value in the West so much all have their roots in this Greco-Roman-Jewish world. Most of our institutions and values stem from these civilizations. Our form of government, the arts, the architecture, our military, our love of law all come from that period of history. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the American society is almost a carbon copy of the age of Nero. Jews, the masters of law, were well connected to the Neronic government just prior to the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem. It was into this gigantic power base that Jesus stepped nearly 2,000 years ago. It was the conglomeration of these powers that put Him to death. If Jesus stepped into the age in which we presently live, those very powers would conspire once again to put Him to death. Only this time, Christians would be a part of the power-base that would to do so.
Many things can be learned about ourselves and humans in general. However, I want to leave the reader with one important lesson. The Scriptures say in John 2:23-25:
"Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man."
Jesus knew that we are all self-deceived liars, and that the truth does not abide in any of us, regardless of how honest we think we are. The lies of this world extend far beyond our understanding of honesty and integrity. He knew that the father of lies had poisoned all the sons of Adam.
Jesus made some very harsh statements which have led many people to believe He was not a kind man, such as:
"…Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a 'man's enemies will be those of his own household' He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his/her life will lose it, and he who loses his/her life for My sake will find it." Matthew 10:32-39.
Statements like these might come off as arrogant and prideful. They might come off as very hypocritical and contradictory considering He is called the Prince of Peace, the one who commanded His disciples to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. Yet if we understand His reasons for coming to the earth, if we understand the true condition of our hearts and minds, then we will understand why He spoke so seemingly harsh at times.
You see, Jesus knew that men's hearts and minds were filled with lies. Jesus is the embodiment of Truth. In Him is no lie. Therefore, Jesus did not commit Himself to them; for if He had, He would then be committing to their lies. In order for one to be truly set free from the thousands of lies we eat every day in this world, one must completely surrender and commit his or her life to the Truth who is Jesus Christ.
As the Westen study above so amply illustrates, our very minds are hard-wired to believe and practice the lie. There are hundreds of cultural, social, political, economic, military, and educational institutions in this world that have all programed us to believe lies. In the West especially, our media, especially television, has so saturated our thinking with materialism that when we see verses like:
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. "You cannot serve God and Mammon." Matthew 6:24. We often brush it off, because it is not quite clear what Mammon is. The Twentieth Century New Testament, the New International Version, and the Knox translation, as well as a few others, have the word as "money." Jesus said it was harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. (Matthew 19:23)
There are many places in the Bible we just gloss over rather than allow the verse to convict us because our minds are uncomfortable with change. We are more comfortable in our lies. Understand, dear readers, most of those lies with which we are now comfortable were not our own to begin with. Our families and culture gave them to us and have taken deep root in our minds. We have even been programed to kill other people who do not buy into the lies of our own societies. Christians have been killing other Christians for many centuries because we have swallowed the lies of various countries and their rules of allegiance. It is beyond the scope of this article to detail the many thousands of lies we have swallowed that were poured into us by our parents and institutions. Suffice it to say, it is impossible for an individual to set themselves free from the lies that make up the societies and institutions of this world. Only Jesus Christ, the embodiment of the Truth of the Kingdom of God can begin to unravel the mess. This requires absolute truth and faith in Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life. It requires absolute abandonment of everything we have been taught to believe in that came from the cultures in which we have been raised.
Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God and its righteousness which is contrary in every respect to the kingdoms of this world. When Jesus opens people's eyes to the kingdom of God and its righteousness, they are shocked at how different it is from those of the world. They discover that the religious institutions of Christianity are as much a part of the kingdom of darkness as the rest of the institutions of the world.
Let us sign off today with a very true observation of a well-known statesman: "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." --Winston Churchill
To be continued...
Elwin R. Roach The Pathfinder PO Box 4004 Alamogordo, NM 88311-4004