The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The 16 commandments


#21

I think this thought process is detrimental to humanity. I don’t care to view everyone suspiciously. Talk about a world of mistrust, fear, uncertainty and doubt. You reap what you sow… If you sow fear, paranoya, you will reap from those actions the type of fruit fitting of that mindset.

So glad I can walk down my street and not view everyone as a threat to me. Gosh, what is it like living like that Paidion, could you tell us?


#22

I think folks get used to things. Like I’m probably oblivious, to zombies from the tribulation and Zombie Apocalypse I’m probably equally as oblivious, to the good and redeeming qualities - of Donald Trump.


#23

The 16 that I mentioned, Holly, were all extracted from what is called “The Sermon on the Mount,” recorded in Matthew 5,6, and 7.


#24

It seems that Jesus and His teachings are either hated or ignored by those who are not His disciples. One man who took them seriously was Leo Tolstoi (or “Tolstoy”). He wrote a book called “My Religion.” Clearly Tolstoi’s religion WAS the teaching of Jesus.

When this rich count took seriously the teachings of Jesus, he had a complete change in his way of living. He gave away all of his money, property, and other possessions to the peasants of Russia, and lived as a peasant himself for the rest of his life.

His book “My Religion” can be downloaded free:


Here is an extract from near the beginning of the book:

I was troubled most that the miseries of humanity, the habit of judging one another, of passing judgment upon nations and religions, and the wars and massacres which resulted in consequence, all went on with the approbation of the Church. The doctrine of Jesus,—judge not, be humble, forgive offences, deny self, love,—this doctrine was extolled by the Church in words, but at the same time the Church approved what was incompatible with the doctrine. Was it possible that the doctrine of Jesus admitted of such contradiction? I could not believe so.

Another astonishing thing about the Church was that the passages upon which it based affirmation of its dogmas were those which were most obscure. On the other hand, the passages from which came the moral laws were the most clear and precise. And yet the dogmas and the duties depending upon them were definitely formulated by the Church, while the recommendation to obey the moral law was put in the most vague and mystical terms. Was this the intention of Jesus? The Gospels alone could dissipate my doubts. I read them once and again.

Of all the other portions of the Gospels, the Sermon on the Mount always had for me an exceptional importance. I now read it more frequently than ever. Nowhere does Jesus speak with greater solemnity, nowhere does he propound moral rules more definitely and practically, nor do these rules in any other form awaken more readily an echo in the human heart; nowhere else does he address himself to a larger multitude of the common people. If there are any clear and precise Christian principles, one ought to find them here. I therefore sought the solution of my doubts in Matthew v., vi., and vii., comprising the Sermon on the Mount. These chapters I read very often, each time with the same emotional ardor, as I came to the verses which exhort the hearer to turn the other cheek, to give up his cloak, to be at peace with all the world, to love his enemies,—but each time with the same disappointment. The divine words were not clear. They exhorted to a renunciation so absolute as to entirely stifle life as I understood it; to renounce everything, therefore, could not, it seemed to me, be essential to salvation. And the moment this ceased to be an absolute condition, clearness and precision were at an end.

I read not only the Sermon on the Mount; I read all the Gospels and all the theological commentaries on the Gospels. I was not satisfied with the declarations of the theologians that the Sermon on the Mount was only an indication of the degree of perfection to which man should aspire; that man, weighed down by sin, could not reach such an ideal; and that the salvation of humanity was in faith and prayer and grace. I could not admit the truth of these propositions. It seemed to me a strange thing that Jesus should propound rules so clear and admirable, addressed to the understanding of every one, and still realize man’s inability to carry his doctrine into practice.

Then as I read these maxims I was permeated with the joyous assurance that I might that very hour, that very moment, begin to practise them. The burning desire I felt led me to the attempt, but the doctrine of the Church rang in my ears,—Man is weak, and to this he cannot attain;—my strength soon failed. On every side I heard, “You must believe and pray”; but my wavering faith impeded prayer. Again I heard, “You must pray, and God will give you faith; this faith will inspire prayer, which in turn will invoke faith that will inspire more prayer, and so on, indefinitely.” Reason and experience alike convinced me that such methods were useless. It seemed to me that the only true way was for me to try to follow the doctrine of Jesus.

And so, after all this fruitless search and careful meditation over all that had been written for and against the divinity of the doctrine of Jesus, after all this doubt and suffering, I came back face to face with the mysterious Gospel message. I could not find the meanings that others found, neither could I discover what I sought. It was only after I had rejected the interpretations of the wise critics and theologians, according to the words of Jesus, “Except ye… become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. xviii. 3),—it was only then that I suddenly understood what had been so meaningless before. I understood, not through exegetical fantasies or profound and ingenious textual combinations; I understood everything, because I put all commentaries out of my mind. This was the passage that gave me the key to the whole:—

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil.” (Matt. v. 38, 39.)

One day the exact and simple meaning of these words came to me; I understood that Jesus meant neither more nor less than what he said. What I saw was nothing new; only the veil that had hidden the truth from me fell away, and the truth was revealed in all its grandeur.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil.”

These words suddenly appeared to me as if I had never read them before. Always before, when I had read this passage, I had, singularly enough, allowed certain words to escape me, “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil.” To me it had always been as if the words just quoted had never existed, or had never possessed a definite meaning. Later on, as I talked with many Christians familiar with the Gospel, I noticed frequently the same blindness with regard to these words. No one remembered them, and often in speaking of this passage, Christians took up the Gospel to see for themselves if the words were really there. Through a similar neglect of these words I had failed to understand the words that follow:—

“But whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also,” etc. (Matt. v. 39, et seq.)

Always these words had seemed to me to demand long-suffering and privation contrary to human nature. They touched me; I felt that it would be noble to follow them, but I also felt that I had not the strength to put them into practice. I said to myself, “If I turn the other cheek, I shall get another blow; if I give, all that I have will be taken away. Life would be an impossibility. Since life is given to me, why should I deprive myself of it? Jesus cannot demand as much as that.” Thus I reasoned, persuaded that Jesus, in exalting long-suffering and privation, made use of exaggerated terms lacking in clearness and precision; but when I understood the words “Resist not evil,” I saw that Jesus did not exaggerate, that he did not demand suffering for suffering, but that he had formulated with great clearness and precision exactly what he wished to say.

“Resist not evil,” knowing that you will meet with those who, when they have struck you on one cheek and met with no resistance, will strike you on the other; who, having taken away your coat, will take away your cloak also; who, having profited by your labor, will force you to labor still more without reward. And yet, though all this should happen to you, “Resist not evil”; do good to them that injure you. When I understood these words as they are written, all that had been obscure became clear to me, and what had seemed exaggerated I saw to be perfectly reasonable. For the first time I grasped the pivotal idea in the words “Resist not evil”; I saw that what followed was only a development of this command; I saw that Jesus did not exhort us to turn the other cheek that we might endure suffering, but that his exhortation was, “Resist not evil,” and that he afterward declared suffering to be the possible consequence of the practice of this maxim.

A father, when his son is about to set out on a far journey, commands him not to tarry by the way; he does not tell him to pass his nights without shelter, to deprive himself of food, to expose himself to rain and cold. He says, “Go thy way, and tarry not, though thou should’st be wet or cold.” So Jesus does not say, “Turn the other cheek and suffer.” He says, “Resist not evil”; no matter what happens, “Resist not.”

These words, “Resist not evil,” when I understood their significance, were to me the key that opened all the rest. Then I was astonished that I had failed to comprehend words so clear and precise.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil.”

Whatever injury the evil-disposed may inflict upon you, bear it, give all that you have, but resist not. Could anything be more clear, more definite, more intelligible than that? I had only to grasp the simple and exact meaning of these words, just as they were spoken, when the whole doctrine of Jesus, not only as set forth in the Sermon on the Mount, but in the entire Gospels, became clear to me; what had seemed contradictory was now in harmony; above all, what had seemed superfluous was now indispensable. Each portion fell into harmonious unison and filled its proper part, like the fragments of a broken statue when adjusted in harmony with the sculptor’s design. In the Sermon on the Mount, as well as throughout the whole Gospel, I found everywhere affirmation of the same doctrine, “Resist not evil.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, as well as in many other places, Jesus represents his disciples, those who observe the rule of non-resistance to evil, as turning the other cheek, giving up their cloaks, persecuted, used despitefully, and in want. Everywhere Jesus says that he who taketh not up his cross, he who does not renounce worldly advantage, he who is not ready to bear all the consequences of the commandment, “Resist not evil,” cannot become his disciple.

To his disciples Jesus says, Choose to be poor; bear all things without resistance to evil, even though you thereby bring upon yourself persecution, suffering, and death.

Prepared to suffer death rather than resist evil, he reproved the resentment of Peter, and died exhorting his followers not to resist and to remain always faithful to his doctrine. The early disciples observed this rule, and passed their lives in misery and persecution, without rendering evil for evil.

It seems, then, that Jesus meant precisely what he said. We may declare the practice of such a rule to be very difficult; we may deny that he who follows it will find happiness; we may say with the unbelievers that Jesus was a dreamer, an idealist who propounded impracticable maxims; but it is impossible not to admit that he expressed in a manner at once clear and precise what he wished to say; that is, that according to his doctrine a man must not resist evil, and, consequently, that whoever adopts his doctrine will not resist evil. And yet neither believers nor unbelievers will admit this simple and clear interpretation of Jesus’ words.


#25

We do resist the Evil One, though, don’t we? Is resisting his flunkies as they do evil not the same thing?


#26

Yes, the apostle James wrote, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

No, resisting his flunkies is not the same thing. For his flunkies are human beings, some of whom can be saved from the claws of the devil. The actions of non-resistent disciples of Jesus have often led them to repentance, and into discipleship themselves.


#27

Not many of us are aware of resisting the devil directly, Don. For one thing, we do not believe (or do we) that he is omnipresent, so at most he can directly tempt one person at a time.


#28

True, but his genuine flunkies (the demons) are many, and so resisting them may be tantamount to resisting the devil. Hence James’ injunction.


#29

Thus, if a demon is pushing a human to do the bidding of the devil, that human should not be resisted?


#30

That is my understanding of Jesus’ teachings.


#31

I respect your understanding, Don, though in my mind it is a tough stance to defend.
In your thinking, in what ways should we stop ‘the rot’ we see in society - acting as salt to preserve that which is good - without calling it resisting? How did Paul view the moral stance of soldiers who became followers of Christ?
I don’t want to talk this to death, but answers to those questions would help me a lot. And then maybe :slight_smile: I’ll shut up.


#32

There are more than one evil angel. Just as there are more than one, holy or good angels. I would assume there are more holy angels than evil angels. And there are enough angels, to go around - to temp everyone. Just as there are enough good and holy angels, to go around - to help folks out.


#33

True, but we are speaking of the devil, not the devils. The father of lies.
Still hoping to hear from Don.


#34

The rot, comes from people. There is no Devil walking around today making folks do things they would not want to do without His influence.
Balderdash!

Christ did take care of said problem. :smile:


#35

Chad, you scalawag, you are completely and yes utterly WRONG about that.
Of course, I choose to actually see the evil that men do, and some of it - ISIS for instance - seems demonic enough to satisfy any devil.
Thanks btw for providing a place to use the word ‘scalawag’, which is the first time I"ve used it in a digital medium. :slight_smile:


#36

Balderdash and scalawag: How can it be?

The demonic devil part will have to roll past me, as I think they are for the most part allegories. Though, I have to admit, as I have before, there are Angels abound and I think that Ghosts, or troubled spirits with a job or purpose, do exist, this could get deep.

Hope your weather is better than ours. (95 every day)

Take care


#37

Like I said before, Chad. If there is no devil…or evil angels…You need a theory, to explain away…the bad things that Dave brought up.


#38

102º and so smoky you can barely breathe outdoors. You?


#39

Just low to mid-upper 90’s and humidity to choke a hoarse. All since end of April it seems.

Oh well.

AS to Randy, Just an opinion. Man has enough freakin baggage with dealing with the free will he has been given that I don’t really think outside influence is necessary. But I could be wrong.

You all can decide for me. :grinning:


#40

102° Wow! You poor Americans! In which of the states are you?
Up here in my Canadian wilderness, the temperature is a cool 22.3°. That’s Celsius. Or as you Americans would say, “That’s centigrade.” The freezing point of water is 0°C. and the boiling point is 100° C. Makes scientific sense, eh? But what’s the logic behind a freezing point of 32°F and a boiling point of 212°F with 180 degrees between?

Yes, Canada, like the rest of the world (except U.S.A.) use the metric system. I live 10 kilometres from the U.S. border, and I recently put 30 litres of gasoline in my car.

Dave, even Jesus didn’t defend it! So how can I? Jesus gave those commands. Isn’t the Son of God always right?

However, Tolstoi went a long way in the direction of showing that it is right. Have you read the quote? Have you read his book “My religion” to which I gave a link? You might find it enlightening. If all the world followed Jesus’ instructions we would have peace on earth indeed! Even if no one else does, surely we need to do so anyway.