Thursday, August 2, 2012

Who Is Just And By Which Faith Are They Living?

by Ester Lighthorse

Sometimes it can be a little difficult to see some of the conditions of mankind and to feel hope, and to think of how things can only get better. It is virtually impossible, if you are a reasonable person with any viable sense of humanity within you, to watch news footage of people hurting and killing each other, starving each other, treating each other with immeasurable disrespect and contempt, people living in literal dumps, children walking over bodies and carrying machine guns and machetes through the thick of black smoke from burning cities, it is close to impossible to see such things and not be moved in your heart.

While there are those individuals who will assert that together and with more than just cursory effort man can indeed make things better, there are also those individuals who will vehemently claim that such things will never get better by the efforts of man. Ever. Sometimes these same people will announce that terrible circumstances that plague man are a given, a must, a definite and inescapable punishment meted out by a just God onto a faithless and belligerent creation.

Worse yet, there are even those individuals who celebrate what they interpret to be the ever degrading state of mankind. This is because it is in their delusions that they selfishly interpret the supposed increase of destruction within mankind as the divine harbinger, the final jeopardy, and the checkered flag in the spiritual race of their own ultimate salvation through impending rapture. Such individuals are not looking to make anything in the world better because their faith tells them that they are the just, and it is in this grand delusion of fickle justness that such individuals assert that the worse off man is, the more terrible the condition of everything on this planet, the better. Why? Well, because such circumstances would mean that Jesus is returning and the ‘just’ are that much closer to living in perfection that does not include those who think, live, believe, or love differently.

What is it exactly that the ‘just’ hold sets them apart from everything and anything? Faith. And whose faith qualifies? Is it the faith of the Mormons, Catholics, Protestants, or Episcopalians? What about the faiths of the Baptists, Methodists, Unitarians, Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Nazarenes, or Jehovah’s Witnesses? The particular faiths I mention don’t even come close to scratching the surface of the countless denominations of Christian faiths, or variations thereof, so what about all those that are not mentioned? What about Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Wicca, and Shinto? The list only grows exponentially when you addin all the religions within the known history of man. There is truly no shortage of choices when it comes to the religious and spiritual buffet placed before the mind, emotion, and will of man.

Does the supposed justness of a particular faith pivot on that faith’s interpretation of the Bible? What about those individuals who do not necessarily adhere to any particular religion or holy book, but who do everything that they can to live peaceably, with compassion, with considerateness and a helpful and nurturing attitude toward their fellow man? Is living justly contingent on biblical based faith? If so, if it is truly the case that just living is in fact contingent on biblically based faith, exactly whose version of the Bible is the correct version from which to glean the facts and instructions of just living?

This particular subject, the just living by faith, is truly a subject that deserves the considerations of all mankind; not solely from a Christian or any other religious perspective, but also from a philosophical, intellectual, ethical point of view. Such considerations should be given not only to what people may think who and what the just and proper faith are, but also to what purposes are served or intended by such, what consequences are enjoyed or suffered, and whether or not such things are beneficial and worthy of the attentions and devotions of man.

I would like to approach this subject a little differently than the standard that starts with the specific verse in the Bible that addresses faith in relation to the lives of the just and Martin Luther’s considerations and spiritual ponderings of the same. I will refer to biblical passages as little as possible as I don’t want to focus on that the Bible says the proper faith is, or the just according to the same. I would like to instead focus on what such things are in relation to the mind of man, the intellect of the human being.

Think about what your personal understanding of what just living is. What is it exactly that rings true in your own heart when you think of justness? I am not referring to what you may have been taught in regards to what is just. I am talking about what truly, deeply, and from the most sincere depths of your heart you hold justness to be.

To look at what qualifies as just it is important to look past the basic beliefs of what right and wrong are. Right and wrong are simply not specific enough and are too shallow in their approach. I know, that sounds all jacked up, but I am serious. Right and wrong are too shallow if you are going to consider what being just is. Right and wrong are oftentimes referenced when speaking of the laws that humans create, but that which is considered just supersedes any of the laws that man can prod his legislatures or manipulate common law into creating.

For many, their ideas and opinions in regards to what is just center heavily upon being courteous and considerate and kind to those around them, wary of both speech and action in an effort to refrain from saying or doing offensive things. This is a good place to start, yes, but sometimes in the process of this approach people forget who they are inside. So caught up in their own efforts to help and assist others according to what they are being informed of as to justness and faith, many people fall into a swamp that is created by the individual being, or trying to be, just to everyone but themselves. Justness is great, sure, but if you forget yourself in the process of trying to be just you totally miss the forest full of trees, for what worth and what value are your efforts of justness if you cannot even be just to yourself? Where does that leave you?

Confusion overflows interpretation and understanding of just living when you drag religion into the discussion. This is because instead of the individual looking and digging into themselves for what is just they instead focus on an outside source. Further complicating issues is the fact that the outside source itself is riddled with violent disagreement from every angle imaginable. That is why a person must first look into themselves as to what they inherently know to be just; if a person cannot identify and further evolve and assimilate the just qualities within they are not going to do any better with identifying and applying the same from outside sources.

When an individual finds within themselves the love and joy that should be felt when they consider their connection with the rest of humanity, when they find these things they have identified that which is just. This is also where faith gets its hands into the dough of life, mixing, kneading, and nurturing that love and joy. Faith is the persistence of nurturing the love and joy, knowing from deep within that doing such a thing is excellent and can be only beneficial to yourself and all of humanity.

All-in-all, faith and justness must consist only of positive emotions and expressions. Belief itself is not what is just and this is because anyone can believe anything, anywhere and at anytime. But that belief on its own does not make or lend whatever is fervently believed any measure of truth. Heck, for a huge chunk of time within human history people really and truly thought that the earth was flat. Of course, now we know and understand differently. Belief can sometimes, and most unfortunately, consist of hate and separation, and such things are contrary to that which is love and that which is just. When something is correct, pure, fair, and even synchronized in its definition and expression of such it may quite correctly be considered just.

Don’t you want to know what being just is and how you can live such through faith? I do, and I very strongly doubt that I am the only one to want to know. For me, the best way to discover such things is to ask myself whether or not something is harmful to myself or the people around me in any way. If it is, then whatever the involved ideal or theory or practice it is that is the first indicator that whatever I am doing or thinking or thinking about doing is not valid as justness or faith. Therefore, I should immediately work toward something better.

There is something wrong with the belief that in order to find justness and in order to live in faith according to that justness a person must live according to the Bible. That one statement there throws all kinds of wrenches into the works of humanity. Not everyone desires to believe the same, worship the same, love the same, or live the same. And why should such be necessary anyway? Because the Bible says so? In all actuality, it is the interpretation of the Bible that seems to say so, but that is for another time to discuss. It is not in the least bit wise to base opinions and ideals of justness and faith on something that inspires and incites argument from the very first word. Take a good look through recorded history and you will find that wherever lies religious disagreement, there too lies a well of injustice.

If man can only move away from the thoughts that justness and faith must be gleaned from religious living he will do himself a great favor. And I must reiterate that believing in God is not necessarily a bad thing, no. What IS a bad thing is believing that all men must believe in God and that just living and faith are born solely within those who specifically believe in God, and that justness and faith cannot be experienced without the presence of a belief in God.

One of the main problems with religion in regards to justness and living in faith is the amount of fear that is cultivated within such. Fear is a negative element that causes mental, spiritual, and emotional friction that works against justness and faith. Justness and faith are not negative elements and therefore cannot be properly seeded with threats of hell and everlasting damnation, and when an individual tries to be just and faithful as a result of such threats they are not functioning justly with faith or by faith.

Being just must occur for the sake of being just. Having faith must occur for the sake of having faith. These things must occur for their own sake and not as a result of the individual desiring such in order to avoid something. That is not right, because doing something out of a desire to avoid another something that is unpalatable injects selfishness into the situation, that selfishness being the desire to save your own ass from whatever it is you are avoiding be it hell, the wrath of God, or anything else for that matter. Justness and living in faith are not in any way, shape, or form connected with any type of selfishness. In fact, selfishness on any level is the antithesis of what justness and faith are.

So, who are the just and by which faith are they living? If you are an individual who lives each day and each moment according to what you know from the very depths of your being to be true and good and viable and correct in regards to how you treat yourself and those people around you, then you are such a person. If you as an individual make the connection to your core being, who you are truly, deeply, and without supposition, then you have taken huge strides to discovering and living that which is truly just living by faith. What is important to understand and consider is that this type of introspection provides a way by which to change your core being for the betterment of you and everyone around you.

Many modern faiths would have their members believe that they cannot change who they are in their core being, instead offering a set of ideals that recklessly advises mankind that there is nothing he can do to change anything about his core being. Man is given one option by which to render a solution to his alleged damaged inner core being: Jesus Christ and the salvation of God offered to man through Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of man.

However, in reality this is not a viable solution. A solution would rectify the problems, but in this case the proposed salvation through Jesus Christ is more like a smathering of goop intended to cover the terrible truth with absurd esoteric assumptions, presumptions, and expectations. Salvation does not teach or instruct man to repair himself. Salvation teaches man that on his own, man cannot do anything to fix himself, cannot identify and implement faith and just living. So, man is told he needs Jesus, for Jesus makes all the bad parts of the hearts of man, all of his inefficiencies, all better.

Man is told over and over that he is impotent to change himself; only Jesus can change man. The problem with this is that Jesus is not repairing the individual, but rather he is replacing the defective part of the individual with himself; Jesus is not showing man how to fix himself, but rather gives the individual his own divinity, his own divine nature, holiness, and salvation which man then uses to cover and hide his ugliness. It is the ultimate under-the-rug sweep.

Man is told that in salvation Jesus Christ makes him like new. Do you see the problem here? It is Jesus who is the one doing the renewing, Jesus who is replacing the supposedly inherently fallen nature (core being) of man, and Jesus who is making the decisions. Not man. Man isn’t really changing for the better then because he isn’t the one making the necessary changes.

This is so stupid. It is the equivalent of requiring a person with poor math skills to take a math course, but allowing someone else who is proficient in math to do all of the work and the test taking while allowing the person who is supposed to be taking the course get the good grade that they did not work for. They have learned nothing. Their knowledge of mathematics has not improved, and while their academic marks for mathematics look great that does not matter. Why? Because nothing has changed and they still don’t know how to multiply fractions, solve equations, find the area of a square, or find the circumference of a circle.

It is the same problem with man and salvation through Jesus Christ, salvation that is supposed to show man what is just and how to live that justness through faith. With Jesus doing all the work man learns absolutely nothing. There is a reason why it says in the Bible, “Not I, but Christ.” Jesus is doing all the homework while man gets the good grades. I know I am repeating myself, but it is imperative that you understand this concept. You do not need to agree with my opinions on just living by the faithful children of God as I am simply trying to stir up dialogue on this particular subject, an effort intended to give the ‘just living by faith’ issue more consideration and attention.

It is argued by some that should man truly look inside himself he would be overwhelmed by the atrocity of his nature and would consequently recognize that he is powerless to make true and lasting changes. Due to this amazingly pessimistic view, many faiths assert that it is better that Jesus do it for man. Man simply does not have the power or the authority on his own to change all of the wickedness and sin that he is born into.

No. This is wrong.

Mankind is not composed solely of intelligent beings that are entirely terrible, sinful, thoughtless, selfish, and by sinful default possessive of all sorts of unpalatable characteristics. Contrary to the beliefs and teachings of some religious groups and individuals there are plenty of people who are simply outstanding, people who love truly for the sake of love, people who help and express compassion for the sake of their fellow man, people who by the sheer force and expression of their wonderful nature make the world a better place.

But, what about those factions of mankind that aren’t that hot, that could give a good goddamn about anyone other than themselves, that feed into the despicable myth that there is no hope for mankind to continue on his own, or that there is nothing good to be found within man that can fix what ails any part of him to make him better? The answer is amazingly, and wonderfully, simple.

Man needs to look inside himself and recognize the ugly, repugnant elements of his nature. And if he is overwhelmed, GOOD! This is an excellent start! This is because (are you ready for this?) the best part is that in making that connection to your core being you will see exactly what it is you need to change about yourself. Look inside and you will see what you must change in order to be just to yourself and to your fellow man. Make those changes without reservation, fear, and without delay. Then, be faithful to yourself and be persistent in living the truth of what is just. THAT is what the just living by faith means.

Maybe I will repeat it just one more time for good measure.

Are you just? Are you living by faith? Find your core being and reconcile everything that you are in the depths of your soul with everything that is loving, good, beneficial, compassionate, constructive, caring, devoted, fair, enduring, persevering, and appreciative…because to do so is to be just. Live this justness every day, every moment, in the presence of everyone, in all sincerity, and with the understanding and trust that to behave in such a manner WITH EVERYTHING YOU ARE AS A HUMAN BEING will only add to and expand the love and joy that fills the universe…because to live in such a manner is to live by faith.