One Man’s Opinion
By: Gary Hardee
On a purely personal level, the evidence that a Supreme Being, Divine Providence, God or whatever one chooses to call it, is hard to miss.
As for me, God makes the most sense. A God that promotes love over hate, choice over force, forgiveness over persecution, truth over lies, principles over situation ethics, personal responsibility over blaming others, laws over do what “feels” right, discipline over aimlessness, order over chaos and justice over wanton violence and suffering, is consistent with Divine Providence and all major religious schools of thought. A “god” that promotes the later in each case is not a god that is worthy of emulation or following.
Is it wrong to embrace freely all the better values listed above? Put another way, would a wise man seek to embrace and practice such good values on his own? Criminals surely do not obey or embrace all, some or any of them. Criminal minds opt for the later in some cases. Twisting these concepts to “fit” their decisions, the criminal justifies their actions even if acted out in the spur of the moment.
A free person must have choice. If his ability to choose is denied – is he truly free? So where does a free man’s choice end? Can he choose to do anything he wants at any time he wants with anyone or anything he wants if no one is forced involuntarily to take part or have their natural rights affected? The basic answer is yes! Now you might disagree, but that’s your choice as well. I seek not to force my views upon anyone but “choose” to use the power of persuasion. Some fundamentalists feel they are justified to use force to impose their “standards” on others; denying others both their choices and the accompanying “price” they naturally “pay” for their choices. This attitude tends to spring from a more “group” or “collectivist” view that should a majority say it should be law (force) then it is a moral law. I totally reject this view!
The funny thing about God is that “force” has NEVER been his weapon. He seeks not to “control” us but to teach us lessons by allowing us to suffer from our bad choices while we prosper and become happier with our good ones.
All religions aside, I believe the “Ten Commandments” were not given to deny us choice but to strongly suggests for us what is good to voluntarily embrace. Perhaps it is a view into the “mind of God” if you will. For He surely knew mankind needed something to be “brought to their senses”. No better guidance than these exist for man to follow. But will mankind follow each one if they are “legislated” by government and become punishable under “law”? Not a chance! Many are and still yet “violations” occur every second of every day. Take American football or golfing for others – on Sunday. “No other Gods before me…”, “Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy”. What about the crass commercialization of Jesus’ birthday celebrated as Christmas or even the “Easter Bunny” and hunting eggs when celebrating Jesus’ resurrection? Appropriate? Again, it’s your choice but don’t think it doesn’t come without its subtle, “unintended” consequences.
Violations and perversions of these “Ten” existed before being “published”. And no matter the laws have been passed, they continue today. God’s judgment is immediate in some cases and delayed in others. The results are visible and private, often far-reaching yet in most instances very personal. But it is clear to me that all societies, to the extent their members choose to violate them, experience His judgment as their societies become more corrupt, unprincipled, lawless, unloving, irresponsible, undisciplined, restrictive and regimented and unforgiving.
Virtually every evil that a society suffers can be traced back to one or more violations of these “Ten”. It is universally accepted that no man is perfect and that indeed “ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God!” In the marketplace of virtues, the least purchased item may well be “Humility”.
Your comments are welcome!