A Glimpse of the World to Come
What does the Bible say about the reality of this world?
The Change Must Come from Within
We do not presume to think that the powers in control of this world can be defeated, replaced, or changed, nor does the Bible predict any of these possibilities are within the powers of humans. This would require, not only a very radical and fundamental transformation of every social entity, but, also, the basic attitude of everyone in the world. We now find greed, apathy, hatred, intolerance, violence, scandal, fraud, suspicion, fear, danger, despair, shock, confusion, betrayal, and every other negative human concept permeating and punctuating every aspect of life. Ironically, every teaching of religion is completely absent from that world, even though religious influence is present in virtually every aspect of human experience. Even religion, the self-proclaimed bastion of human hope, can’t even make a change in this world, but only seems to feed on its fear.
If we look very closely at what we call the “world”, we find that it is unique to each individual. There are as many different concepts of what the world is as there are humans that are experiencing, or ever have, experienced life. What we all consider the “world” is a distinct creation specifically chiseled by the experiences of, and the information and attitudes programmed into, the mind of the person perceiving it from the day of their birth. Therein lies one of the most relevant problems of humanity, as well as the key to changing that world. As long as outside forces control that perception, those forces control what the society, as a whole, and individually, perceive the world to be. Consciously relinquishing that control is the beginning to the search for truth and the only course to freedom of thought.
The concept of change, when considered in any endeavor, requires a very basic element, motivation. If people are not motivated to change, they will only cling to the status quo, no matter how desperate that is. Churches, academia, politics, advertising, and just about everything that effects our view of the world, uses two basic types of motivation; fear and incentive motivation. In the religious world it is fear of hell and the incentive of heaven, in academia, it is fear of failure and poverty or the incentive of a good job, in advertising, it is fear of rejection or the incentive of popularity. Both of these forms of motivation are temporary and require constant reinforcement to even be effective. Eventually, unless the fear is worsened, or the incentive increased, both will fail.
There is, however, another type of motivation; attitude motivation. Attitude motivation is the only truly effective and permanent form of motivation. The world, as it appears individually to each of us, is the sum total of the ideas we are exposed to most often. The world is what we think it is because we absorb information that forms that concept. Unfortunately, through the use of media, the ideas we are exposed to most often have nothing to do with reality. The concept of the people turning away from the truth, and turning to fables, not only describes the content of modern corporate sponsored and owned media, it is its obvious intent.
· “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
The value of a human being is now determined by a credit score, income, taste in fashion, popularity, political affiliation, and even the model of car one drives or the style of cell phone one uses. Humanity is reduced to a herd of numbered work animals that are to be paid to pursue a lavish lifestyle, which most will never see, they are branded, AKA, conditioned, to buy particular products, drained of every cent they earn, and kept in perpetual debt for more than they could ever afford. And, your success, at running in this rat race, determines how deeply you are allowed to go into debt.
Many are able to escape this convoluted and high-pressure social agenda by moving to secluded areas, leaving structured society altogether, but it always enters into their view, no matter how they try to isolate themselves from it. However, there is a way to live in it, without living with it. It is possible to free your mind from the world and still function successfully. Jesus, the apostles and disciples, and the members of the church turned their back on the world and focused their attention on serving those the world had turned its back on. Although they lived in a world in upheaval with a great power dominating the region and extreme poverty all around them, they maintained a high level of hope and inner peace within their own groups and those they served.
The Attitude of Jesus
In most church teachings, the ministry of Jesus was only about the road to hell and the escape path to heaven, which you can earn a pass to by going to church, much like one earns frequent-flyer miles. They teach that the ministry he brought was all about saving one’s own soul, and the only responsibility his followers have was to tell others about how they could save themselves. As a poor, outcast handyman, he suddenly got inspiration from John the Baptist, worked a few miracles, told everybody about himself, finally got the best of the Pharisees, and it all ended with his death. All one has to do is go to church, pay your money, follow the rules, tell others to go to church, pay their money, and follow the rules, and you’ve got a good shot at a big mansion in some ethereal retirement home.
Of course, his true teachings included believing on him as the savior, and that mankind would be saved from total annihilation, but the core of his message was love. But, not just love in the expression or feeling, but the action; not just for him and the Father who sent him, but love for all mankind. This was the core of his very existence, the reason he took the form of a human, and the purpose of all the laws and prophecies ever given. He was clearly challenged on what was the most important edict humans should follow and his answer was clear. · “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:35-40)
This concept is repeated throughout his ministry, in virtually every action he took or lesson he taught, and was at the center of all the teachings and actions of the first church Jesus established on the Day of Pentecost. Social service in our modern society very rarely goes beyond the occasional donation to a popular cause currently grabbing the headlines. This is not to say that there are not many in the world who genuinely make great efforts to serve the poor, but they are a distinct minority.