The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Do You Want To Be A Good Person? You Must know How Much Evil Is Contained Within You

The hero has to be a monster. But a controlled monster. Batman was like that. If your harmless you’re not virtuous. ~~ Psychologist Jordan Peterson

You cannot be a good person until you know how much evil you contain within you. ~~ Jordan Peterson

Humility by Jonathan Edwards

Humility may be defined to be a habit of mind and heart
corresponding to our comparative unworthiness and vileness
before God; or a sense of our own comparative lowness in His
sight, with the disposition to a behavior answerable thereto.

A truly humble man is sensible of the small extent of his
knowledge, and the great extent of his ignorance, and of the
small extent of his understanding, as compared with the
understanding of God.

He is sensible of his weakness, how little his strength is,
and how little he is able to do.

He is sensible of his natural distance from God,
of his dependence on Him,
of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom;
and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for;
and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him,
and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.

Humility tends to prevent an aspiring and
ambitious behavior among men.

The man that is under the influence of a humble spirit is content
with such a situation among men, as God is pleased to allot to
him, and is not greedy of honor, and does not affect to appear
uppermost and exalted above his neighbors.

Humility tends also to prevent an arrogant and assuming behavior.

On the contrary, humility, disposes a person to a condescending
behavior to the meekest and lowest, and to treat inferiors with
courtesy and affability, as being sensible of his own weakness
and despicableness before God.

If we then consider ourselves as the followers of the meek
and lowly and crucified Jesus, we shall walk humbly before
God and man all the days of our life on earth.

Let all be exhorted earnestly to seek much of a humble spirit, and
to endeavor to be humble in all their behavior toward God and men.

Seek for a deep and abiding sense of your
comparative lowness before God and man.

Know God.

Confess your nothingness and ill-desert before Him.

Distrust yourself.

Rely Only On God.

Renounce all glory except for Him.

Yield yourself heartily to His will and service.

Avoid an aspiring, ambitious, ostentatious, assuming, arrogant,
scornful, stubborn, willful, leveling, self-justifying behavior;
and strive for more and more of the humble spirit that Christ
manifested while He was on earth.

Humility is a most essential and distinguishing trait
in all true piety.

Earnestly seek then; and diligently and prayerfully
cherish a humble spirit, and God shall walk with
you here below; and when a few more days shall have
passed, He will receive you to the honors
bestowed on His people at Christ’s right hand.

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Nah, I’ll pass.

What we are seeing is that there is nothing psychological damaging about Christianity like the heretical EU believes. Here’s the non-Christian Psychiatrist David D. Burns in 10 Days To Self-Esteem explaining the acceptance paradox:

Example from the book:

  1. You’re a rotten mother

I have so many shortcomings as a mother. There is much I need to improve on. I accept this

  1. Yes, but you’re an addict and you’ve wasted your life

That’s correct. I have screwed up and wasted an awful lot of my life. I make no bones about this

  1. Well, you should feel terrible and guilty then. You’re admitting what a loser and what a scum you are

Oh absolutely, I do admit it! And believe me, I have often felt guilty and terrible about my life

  1. So you admit you’re a stupid loser!

Without hesitation! Many people are smarter and more successful than I am. Millions, in fact.

  1. Half the time you hate everybody, and no one gives a damn about you either

You’ve hit the nail on the head again! My relationships with people have not been good either. I often get angry and irritable and that turns people off. I have a lot of growing up to do. That’s the gospel truth!

You can see from the dialogue that the Acceptance Paradox is quite different from the usual strategy of defending yourself. You don’t try to defend yourself or build yourself up. Instead, you do just the opposite: You simply accept the fact that you are broken, imperfect, and defective. You accept your shortcomings with honesty, self-esteem, inner peace, and a little humor. The surprising result is that you can gain invulnerability when you make yourself completely vulnerable and defenseless.

Another example from the book:

You’re basically a stupid and incompetent person. You’re pathetic. Lots of people are smarter and better than you are.

The idea is to accept my flawed character. Don’t defend or argue. Instead immediately agree with every brutal accusation and find some truth in the accusations with a sense of inner peace and self-esteem. It would look like this:

As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t ever claim to be the smartest or most talented person in the universe. I often make mistakes and have a great deal to learn from others. In fact if you really knew me you would see that I have a lot of inadequacies! I accept this.

This way we defeat criticism by surrendering to it. We win by losing! In healthy self-acceptance I accept the fact that I have deficiencies without condemning myself. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ! Suppose one says:

I am a defective human being

This negative thought is condemning and leaves no room for growth. If I am using the acceptance paradox the positive of this would be:

I’m a human being with many defect and shortcomings. All have sinned and fallen short. I accept this.

There is hope for forgiveness and room for growth. As a human being I acknowledge and accept that I have flaws while maintaining a spirit of self-respect. Through acceptance I declare that it’s okay to be flawed. It’s part of the human condition. I can either fight and protest and be miserable or accept my humanness and rejoice. Healthy self-acceptance with self-esteem also gives me more of a motivation to change. The fact is, we are all human and broken in many ways. When I accept my inadequacies with a sense of inner peace it removes the burden. The judgments and mental putdowns lose their power. I transcend my limitations when I accept them. I feel whole when I accept the fact that I am broken.

I don’t understand–is the suggestion that Evangelical Universalism prohibits one from recognizing the evil within them? How so?

The idea that Christianity causes mental illness doesn’t hold up to the scientific evidence of psychology and medicine. Here’s the Calvinist view of self-worth by John Piper and R.C. Sproul:

What does the term “self worth” mean to you?

It means first a humanistic effort to solve man’s problems by helping him make peace with himself so that he ceases to be displeased with anything that is truly him. Since this is the overwhelming meaning of the term in our society, I find it unprofitable to use and I oppose it with a radically God-centered anthropology which aims to preserve a proper and profound appreciation for the mercy of God.

But if I am forced on certain texts like Matthew 6:26 (Luke 12:24) “You are of more value than the birds.” I will use the word worth or value and define it like this: man is valuable because he is created in the image of God and is therefore an expression of God’s glory. Humans have value in that they unlike all the animals have the unique potential to consciously honor God by thanking him and relying on his mercy alone.

Indeed R.C. Sproul says in "The Hunger for Significance’, page 110:

Dignity and Sin

There is a road to redemption where every human being has dignity. Many reject this road because they think Christianity destroys self-esteem, disparaging human value with woeful denunciations of the evil of man. Preachers rail against corruption, calling man a wretched sinner

God Takes Sin Seriously Because Mankind Has Value

These grim statements make it seem that Christianity has a low view of human dignity. But the point often overlooked is that the character of sinfulness in no way diminishes the worth of persons. It is because humanity is so valuable that God takes sin seriously.

Indeed, Sproul says this in an online article:

The image of God in the narrow sense concerns mankind’s ethical capacity and behavior. In creation, man was given the ability and the responsibility to mirror and reflect the holy character of God. Since the fall, the mirror has been splotched by the grime of sin. We have lost our capacity for moral perfection, but we have not lost our humanity with this ethical loss. Man may no longer be pure, but he is still human. Insofar as we are still human, we retain the image of God in the wider sense. We are still valuable creatures. We may no longer be worthy, but we still have worth. This is the resounding biblical message of redemption. The creatures God created are the same creatures He is moved to redeem. ~~ R.C. Sproul

I don’t read Calvinists any more. The devastating critiques by GMac and Channing, among many others, and my own experience of psychological damage from trying to live by Calvinist mis-interpretations of the Bible, have turned me off for good.

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GMac has been answered. Especially on his loathing the God of Edwards because of the atonement. William Lane Craig has answered all objections to the Atonement in His book The Atonement. GMac calls the God of Christianity Molech. It’s only when you twist the Bible out of context that it causes damage. According to John Piper, when you add predestination the doctrines can make you go mad. But if we center it all on Christ and the cross our minds and hearts will be safe. Indeed, John Piper has helped millions to find their freedom and joy in Christ.

I’m sure many have benefitted from some areas of Calvinist theology - when Calvinism actually is scriptural.
GMac has not been answered, imo. His critique stands.

Here’s the kind of insanity GMac leads to from Talbott:

“I will not worship such a God, and if such a God can send me to hell for not so worshipping him, then to hell I will go”

This is insanity at it’s finest

That’s not insane; who can worship a ‘god’ who destines most of his creation to everlasting torment? THAT’s insane.
I’ll back off Michael - we could snipe for days on this and accomplish nothing. But GMac will in the end be proven correct, and sees a God whom I can worship whole-heartedly.

I wonder if that means, folks have the potential someday - to become zombies from Z-Hell (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)?

This is where a proper self hatred comes into play. God’s hatred and hardening in the Bible is Him simply removing His Gaze (loving influence) off of people. God’s hatred is when He lets people go their own way (separation). It’s non-violent. Hating self is when we turn our focus away from ourselves and let ourselves go. Our focus flows outward away from ourselves. We lose ourselves to find ourselves like people do when they read, dance or color or paint. The focus is moving away from yourself as everything balances out. We love God and or neighbor as ourselves (true self). Focusing on Christ we find our eternal worth, and significance in Him. By beholding His glory we are transformed from glory to glory in His image. This is when we find a healthy self-esteem. Evil is non-existence (nothing). We simply forget about ourselves turning our focus on God and others. As C.S. Lewis puts it:

In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that - and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison - you do not know God at all ~~ Mere Christianity, page 124

The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself all together or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.
~~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, page 125

I wonder how humble Jonathan Edwards was when he wrote:

The pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive the wicked; the flames do now rage and glow. The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.

“The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven.”

The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.

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How does this show he was not humble? I don’t see arrogance here…

Psychologist Jordan Peterson explains how he hates that part of him that could be deeply satisfied as an Auschwitz prison guard. He believes that part of him is worthy of hate. The best way to overcome it is to recognize it in yourself and constrain it.

Again, What we are seeing from the clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson in the above video is that there is a proper hatred of self. The idea that Christianity causes mental illness does hold up to the psychological facts. Here’s the Calvinist view from John Piper on hating the self. He agrees with what I’m saying. He says to hate the sinful self but love the new self:

From the article:

Let me first say something that will probably strike Isaac as depressing. And then, I hope, because it is true and because it is real and because of the wider biblical context, it will be hope-giving and not just depressing. I think it is impossible to really hate our sin and know that this sin originates in my corrupt heart and not hate that part; that is, hate my heart, my sinning self, insofar as I am corrupt, world-loving, God-hating, rebellious. And that is who we all are without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. ~~ John Piper

More from the article:

Now, of course, God enters into our lives with the power of the Spirit. The old man is crucified. Sins are forgiven. A new nature is given through rebirth. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts. He begins to lead us in paths of righteousness. We are not the same people anymore that we once were in such awful rebellion. So, you might think: Well, that is the end of that self-hate.

There are two catches. One is that Paul tells us to remember what we came from in Ephesians 2:12. This is just ten verses later than what I just read from Ephesians 2: “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” So, remember that. Don’t forget that. Bring that to your mind. Let it humble you. Hate that old self.

The other catch is that, in spite of our newness in Christ, the old nature must be seen and recognized now and put to death now, daily. Paul said, “Put to death . . . what is earthly in you” (Colossians 3:5). Reckon to be dead to that old nature. You can’t put your old nature to death if you love it. In cases like this, you only kill what you hate. And it is not just sin that you kill. It is the old you that keeps trying to raise its head, and you must hate that old you.

“It would be sin if you hated the new you that the Holy Spirit is shaping after the image of Christ.”

And, yes, it is a real you. I base that on Romans 7:24 where Paul cries out, “Wretched man that I am!” — not just, Wretched sin that I do. He is not calling the work of the Holy Spirit wretched. No, he is not, because he says in Romans 7:18, “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” But he knows that something good does dwell in him. The Holy Spirit dwells in him. A new nature dwells in him. What he is calling “wretched” is his old sinful nature. And the way he says it is, “Wretched man that I am!” And he knows he is still responsible for those acts that crop up from his old nature.

So, in that sense I think there is a genuine and proper self-hatred that is essential to fighting the fight of faith. Now, here are two or three warnings how that — what I just said — can go haywire.

  1. I have already said it would be sin if you hated the new you that the Holy Spirit is shaping after the image of Christ. Every hint of godliness, every degree of love to Christ, every mustard seed of faith should cause you to feel thankful that God is at work in you, making you new. It is a sin to hate this new work of God. Don’t ever hate what God has wrought in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. And he is at work in you if you are born again. And here are two more warnings how things can go haywire.

  2. Jesus bases his whole argument for self denial on the preciousness of the human soul, the value of everlasting existence. Listen to how he says it. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Here is his argument: “For whoever would save his life will lose it.” Well, you don’t want to lose it. “But whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” And you do want to save it. And then he adds, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit [or lose] his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” (Mark 8:34–37). The whole argument, the basis of Jesus’s argument, is: You should love your soul — that is, love it in the sense of doing whatever it takes to save it.

So, in this sense, we should never, never, never hate our soul. That is, we should never act in a way that destroys the soul. The whole world is acting as though they hate their soul by living in sin. We should love our souls in the sense that we will do anything, we will deny ourselves anything, we will sell anything, we will go anywhere, we will believe Jesus to the max — including any self denial — in order to save our souls. That is the way Jesus is arguing. So, don’t ever become a self-hater in the sense that you don’t care about saving your soul, but only destroying it.

  1. And the last warning about how things can go haywire in this recommendation that there is a genuine self hatred that belongs to the Christian life is the third warning. Don’t dwell on your past corruption or on your present remaining corruption to the degree that it keeps you from leaning into hope with such joy that you are set free to love. And here is the text: “Brothers . . . one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14).

“Don’t dwell on your corruption to the degree that it keeps you from joy, freedom, and love.”

Notice the key words: forgetting what lies behind. So yes, remember your corruption enough to humble yourself and keep yourself utterly dependent on grace (Ephesians 2:12). But forget your corruption if it ever keeps you back from pressing on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ with joy and hope and confidence and love.

So Isaac, that is how you measure whether your self-hatred is pathological and self-defeating, or whether it is Christ-exalting and hope-giving. Does it throw you on to grace in Christ? Does it intensify your love to Jesus and your confidence in his love for you and his readiness to use you for his glory? Say to yourself often: I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. I am not my own. I was bought with a price. I will glorify God in my body (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).

Paidion,

According to the whole Bible it’s not the suffering in and of itself that God and the saints delight in in the destruction of the wicked but the glories of His justice when He punishes the evil wicked. God doesn’t delight in the destruction of the wicked in and of itself. He’s not sadistic. Rather, it’s the manifestation of the splendor of infinite justice that is rejoiced in:

And as the LORD took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you ~~ Deut. 28:63

The blessed are in full conformity with the will of God who wills justice. The saints rejoice in the accomplishment of God’s justice. To this extent it can be said that they joy in the pains of the damned. ~~ Thomas Aquinas

The rejoicing is in the glories of the manifestation of infinite justice. In and of itself the wicked are a horror to all mankind. But God is glorified as He protects His children from evil’s harm as He punishes the wicked. This was the view of Edwards and Aquinas. As Edwards states to rejoice in suffering in and of itself is malicious and comes from satan. Edwards belived that God and the saints rejoice in God’s justice. The rejoicing is in the suffering only in the sense that the glories of justice appear in it. According to Edwards God and the saints are not sadistic, malicious, or bloodthirsty:

Why Saints in Glory Will Rejoice to See the Torments of the Damned

By Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)

[Sermon: The end of the Wicked contemplated by the Righteous.]

NEGATIVELY: it will not be because the saints in heaven are the subjects of any ill disposition; but, on the contrary, this rejoicing of theirs will be the fruit of an amiable and excellent disposition: it will be the fruit of a perfect holiness and conformity to Christ, the holy Lamb of God. The devil delights in the misery of men from cruelty, and from envy and revenge, and because he delights in misery, for its own sake, from a malicious disposition.
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But it will be from exceedingly different principles, and for quite other reasons, that the just damnation of the wicked will be an occasion of rejoicing to the saints in glory. It will not be because they delight in seeing the misery of others absolutely considered. The damned suffering divine vengeance will be no occasion of joy to the saints merely as it is the misery of others, or because it is pleasant to them to behold the misery of others merely for its own sake… It will be an occasion of their rejoicing, as the glory of God will appear in it.

Well, if that had been what Edwards had been saying, I wouldn’t be opposing him.

But he didn’t say that. What he said was:

The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven.”

If you believe this you are the most legalistic, narcissistic, Dumb a@@ I have encountered.

Are you addressing me with those negative words? And if so, WHY?