Of all of the different kinds of conflict in the world, I am reminded of the peace negotiations between the most important people in my life, which is directly applicable to many of the most renown treaties in the world. The struggles within my family have proven to be study enough to confirm the fact that, of all the enemies I could come into contact with, should they come into a skirmish against me, my relatives can carve me down into toothpicks most efficiently. That is for a multitude of reasons. I don’t prefer to go into particulars, so, let’s press on (we all have our weaknesses). When, in the course of human (or family) negotiations, there ultimately comes a time of disagreement of opinions that are classified as in the category of “all important,” and are hotly fought over. Among these are (but are not limited to), the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of needs, and, of course, the pursuit of the individual’s very life and liberty, which is all seemingly interrelated. These principles can be applied to the whole human race, but not all accept them for themselves as a family. Many of the applications from worldwide ambassadors of peace, can be effectively used at the playground of children. And, many of the lessons learned on the playground have the distinct ability to crack the most hardened malice of a nation. This does not by any means diminish the importance of peace in our whole world. It merely seeks to identify where it should, and does, start and end. Training in the home is a great cause of world-wide tensions. History lessons teach from the beginning of time, that the struggles our little ones encounter put them on the road for ruin, not only for their lives, but for the lives of others as well, if dealt with in the wrong way. It also teaches that parents who train their youth to grow up to be hating, will tend to follow that course to their destruction. The things that peace pursues are honorable, easily understood, and universally accepted as simple truth. The focus on war is the focus on our selfish ambitions, that war with our very souls. Back, then, to our needs-focus. It has been said that man will go to war over basically three things. Those are food, religion, and expansion of property or land. Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend.” Give him food, religion, and property, and you just might be opening up future calamities for yourself in many ways. Steal from him any of those basics, and you are for sure. Establishing friendships is an art that is so very much needed today in diplomacy. I don’t know if that is the very root of the plant, though. Consider this: Our innermost desires are the cause of all struggles, be they great or small. If we can identify the desire, deal effectively with it, satisfy it somehow, and prevent its reappearance, then fear of the monster will disappear, and we can have a lasting peace. How many tools can you think of that mankind has used in the past to try to create peace? But, there is always the exception, right?
Yes, some people desire (there it is again) to kill instead of making peace. With those types of people we must use different negotiations, obviously. And, can you think of people in the past that have used the wrong negotiations, with not identifying the accurate desires of particular people, and only wound up creating more confusion, war, and strife? Well, enough on that lesson, let’s go back to the playground. How many times can we recall the saying of our little ones, “But he hit me!” Sounds like the United Nations sometimes? But, this is a starting point of focusing on a problem. And, it can easily get out of hand. The word “why” can cause problems, too. Even for the answers that can come from computers today, that question will cause disasters. Dealing with the “Why?”, the “How come?”, and the defiant “No!” all lead to the problem, . . . ourselves. If we have war within ourselves, can we really help bandage the wounded companion that has a need himself? This childish focus is the issue. When do we grow up and see that the supplying of a need of others requires giving on our part? At age five, six, when should it occur? Hum, sad to say some people never grow up, do they? As a matter of fact, some families and cultures teach differently, although the simplest truth is universally understood in all of its scope. Ever hear of, “Do unto others . . . before they do unto you?” There is the right to self-preservation (the all too common self defense tactic). There is also the importance of not provoking a fight and/or even murder. But, the “rub” is in the “tub”. How “clean” can you come? Is your conscience clear? You did nothing wrong? This is how we become adults. By dealing with a clear conscience (if, that is, we have one). If it is clear, then the solution (and the problem) is elsewhere. We desire to help the one in need, and they are needing our help. Their obvious pain overflowing in anger, hostility, disruptive behaviors of varied outbursts, all are indicators of a need. Help is provided by many ways. One of them is to give aid. Aid itself comes in many ways. But, it is the “rub” again, how it washes out. If we give food to a dying race, whose fighting men are on the warpath keeping food from even children, hoarding it for themselves against the future drought that is in sight, what good will that accomplish? Give to them in excess, until all in that nation have no fear of the drought, then? Is that the answer? Depends, doesn’t it? Remember: “Give a man a fish, and you have fed him once. Teach him how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.” (from the Chinese axiom or adaptation of Anne Isabella Richie, research right now can not tell the true source
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/give-a-man-a-fish.html). I ask the questions myself sometimes of “Why?”, and childishly say “No!” to the right, when I am under pressure and confused. Help us, we are in trouble, aren’t we? But, who are we talking to? When in the midst of suffering who do we cry out to? Is it not evident to whom we should address these problems?
But, how do we, in reality, deal with the negative issues of life and death personally? Our fear of death is a very real thing. Wrong doing is a very real thing, also. And, it is deceptively cruel. A person will do almost anything when in the starvation position. Depends on the person. There are some that will give their lives instead of doing wrong. But they are very few. To rid oneself of an unknown and unidentified disease that is killing them, they will try to find a cure no matter how much time and money of others they garner to aid and facilitate a cure. “That if desperate times call for desperate measures, I am free to act as desperately as I want.” Suzanne Collins, in “Catching Fire” What, then are the boundaries by which we condone or restrict ourselves in our behaviors with respect to any sort of lack of conscience or belief? Is the answer lying in the dust we examine right under our feet? Isaac Asimov confessed that he did not believe in life after death, and, when asked if he believed in anything he answered, “Yes, I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”
If we can believe in death after life, then why can’t we, in antithesis, believe in possible life after death? After thousands of years of scrutiny, if we read in a book how ancient observers, that were independent from each other, felt, handled, reasoned with, and saw with their five senses amplified, the one person who ever would sacrifice himself for the human race, do they fit the bill of Asimov? Even one of them, “doubting” Thomas, was like Isaac. If he could not put his finger in the nail prints of Jesus’ hands, and his hand into His side where the spear had been thrust, he would not believe Jesus had risen from the dead (John 20:24-25 KJV). And yet, we have this verse in the Bible for our own belief’s consideration, even in these years since it was spoken, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;” John 17:20 KJV. If we have God’s support by credible witnesses, why do we stop scientific research at a point of no return, determined by our self-imposed “line in the sand” (shifting as it is) that is so skewed by our unbelief (like Thomas), when facing what we tell ourselves we can not believe? Who is the one who will tell us what to believe or not believe? Isaac, I’m sorry, should I believe your writings, or should I believe the writings of more witnesses that I have found that are more credible than you? And, just because I do not have your microscope, should I not believe in certain concepts that you present as fact? “Oh wretched man that I am!” cries Paul in Romans 7:24, and continues, “who shall deliver me from the body of this death!” But, note, Paul was saying this about another issue. The issue of “sin” and its results, not the box we are encased in, to not be able to personally touch everything to prove to each of ourselves what is true, with our “scientific”, five senses only, approach. Can untruths such as this cause wars over religion, then, that flares up mankind’s apathy in distrust to war, kill, and commit atrocities in the name of anyone (or his brother)? Dealing with lack of food is one thing. Dealing with lack of belief in the knowledge of the truth is quite another! Confusion, wickedness, lack of heart for others, selfish ambition to make oneself the god of his own focus, since we live only in the confines of one body per soul. All these thoughts come rushing into the mind and heart of a person that rejects the hand that feeds them. What? Did I miss something? What are you talking about?
What “hand” is feeding us? And, with what meat and potatoes are we sustained with, for our greater famines of mental and spiritual hunger pains? No wonder Thomas, way back then in time, in front of the other disciples, said he couldn’t believe at this point in his life, that Jesus had risen from the very dead, unless he touched Him personally. Do not we feel the same way, many times? Does not everyone on earth get to the point of feeling the same way at some point in all of their lives? What does it take to believe (each one of us has a threshold of when we will believe, and with what level of physical examination it takes), to say with Thomas, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:27-28 KJV), when touching the very body of Jesus, risen from the dead.
What, then is “faith”? And, how, then, should we trust? A very curious few verses in the Bible exist after this event. And they spell the end of searching for all of the people of this planet for an answer. “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:29-31 KJV . . . by the way, please feel free to read any version, though!) Neat story, huh? I can see Isaac throwing his easy chair back now, and putting his hands behind his head, and with his elbows high in the air, saying, “What a bunch of lunatics, you all! I can’t believe that long ago story! I have personally examined the Bible for myself already.” It is for us to now decide. I would like to know, then, Mr. Asimov, what were the examining tools you used to decide you could only use those tools to physically measure with?
With what can you measure the human spirit? What, no tool yet? And, isn’t it the soul in these bodies of dust, that is the overwhelmingly invaluable part of our personal makeup, that without it we could never be a “person”? Tools, Isaac, tools. That is the focus. You have also studied Shakespeare, haven’t you? And, alas, poor Yorick, we all know him well. His skull lies on that mantlepiece next to your Bible. With calipers of will and reason, then, we attempt to accept or reject your measured theories of life and death, for ourselves, since you provide no evidence, to your own support, of inadequate standards of the no hands-on faith which you yourself dive, denying your own unbelief in leaping out without your own usage of your own tools you said you would only believe in (a semi-Thomas character again).
You know there is a reason why I call this study “War and Peace”. Leo Tolstoy is Russian in background, too. But, just because he was Russian, doesn’t insinuate that you have the same thoughts, ideas, and dreams. I remember all of the students, in memorial, that have been tasked with the reading of this famous book in their studies by their professors and teachers. The results of which too often has been to give up on its reading, particularly if the person is dealing with any in-depth study deficits, which usually accompanies the weaker students of this era. Mathematics are a hard read for some. Social history is equally hard for others. And who can master the Webster’s Dictionary, (not merely reading it, but using it) when, they complain, they do not know how to spell it, flipping erratically to find the correct spelling for the word from the front to the back of the whole thing! Being Russian is, in itself, a simple, but complicated, person for the eye of the western world to understand. And, I might add, it is never as easy to say that truth itself can be reduced to the test tube to be read for future students of chemistry or physics to believe. God Himself is to be believed by every individual as they deal with Him directly and personally. (Isn’t that obviously how He has set us up?) And, as we have had fathers that have treated us harshly or with love, according to the dictates of our memories, after they have departed our lives, we have proofs that He deals with us in similar kind. And if our Creator, as to whatever we deem or perceive His character to be, is, in fact, Love itself, what can we say about our feeble attempts to be patient with our impertinent conflicts and wars within? Have we not asked Him? Have we not come to Him and waited before His presence with adequate adoration deserved His person? Does He desire our good? And, like the perfect Father He is, does He care? If we make Him out to be the monster of hate, by our observance of His hidden-ness, and give Him the label that He is a rejecter of His own creation in His lack of giving us the evidence to our liking, that evidence we demand in our lives to consume it upon our own wills, what do we expect He will desire to do for us when we so pleasingly make Him to cry over us, His children? Does He give us our daily bread? Or do we complain that we make it for ourselves? Does he clothe us with fineries? Or do we, with gross spiritual pride, claim to have made our own creations? Who gave the wisdom?
And, to whom did He give it? To the ape? Ah, yes, I have observed the homes of sticks, the greatest supposed cousin in the animal world relative to us, has evolved to attain to, in it’s creative, thinking, reasoning mind, in the heyday of its enlightened state (I jest). And since the reasoning of our own minds are so relative to that of our cousin at times, should we not also conclude, that we are like him in other astute observances? Really! Do we, at times, quite insult our very persons with our thoughts along these lines? And do we think that God who made us does not care how we ridicule ourselves in the filth with which we bury our blissful creation that He gave us in sin? What is sin? The word is illusive to us and is growing unknown to this generation. We don’t want to know what it is, do we? How patient God must be with us to have waited so long for us to come to Him. How can we neglect the fact that we really need God?
We need His wisdom to help us learn not to war. We need His wisdom to learn how to make peace with our family and neighbors. And, since He has provided so much already that is under our very noses, isn’t it about time we put down our telescopes reaching out to the heavens for intelligent life, and realize He is the answer to our heart’s needs and desires, and nothing can be the adequate substitute for Him in our lives, not even the ultimate computer of the future! Let us, then, approach our God. And not with the instruments probing the very molecules of infinite doubt.
Let us approach His mercy and desire. Not ours. Let us venture forth to claim the prize of His desired haven that He has for us. The haven of knowing Him in a new found land. Even with the hope that fellow adventurers used in the past, Christopher Columbus, etc., we should let out our sails to carry us toward this new world, with confident courage that God has us in mind,
in spite of all we have insulted Him with, and will forgive, love, and claim us as His own, when we, like the prodical son, come home to competent reason, and the home to which we belong (Jesus’ story in Luke 15:11-32 KJV). Do not our own children teach us this very thing in their simplicity on the playground, when they come us to with their problems? Like them, let us go to our Father and seek Him then, for His great help and council. When we each do this, amazingly, we do find the answers we need. God does love us indeed. Then we can ably put aside all wars, and have everlasting peace with our neighbor, intelligently guided by Almighty God that we know as our personal, patient, loving Heavenly Father. We do this through Jesus Christ that God provided as the key to the door to the locked room in which we find ourselves. He is still alive, and is listening with God to all of us. Choose the career path of God. And reap for yourself a wonderful reward that God intends for you. Can I give you good advice, those of you who are so focused on the physical evidence of it all, like Thomas? The fact is that God is a Spirit. So are you. Inside your body is the real “you”. “God is a Spirit: and those that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 KJV Physical science is at odds to help with that (it has no tools for it either). Children teach us again how to listen first when they are learning to talk.
Identify God’s Spirit by trying to communicate with Him, and humbly listening to the One who really has the capacity to love you best. Ask God, in Jesus’ cross sacrifice (i.e. in his name), to forgive your inability to hear, and learn with inch by inch, crawling to speak to Him like a babe learning to walk, and coming into the nurture and care of His loving heart. Is it easy to learn a new language? Maybe for some, but not for most. Can you garden? Some can. Some haven’t the patience. You must quiet yourself with the discipline of understanding that He is the only answer, and you must diligently seek Him for yourself. Be totally honest before Him with yourself, then you will hear Him totally better than before, as you develop your ability to hear His voice. Lastly, to make a long book short, do your assignment well, beloved class, it will have a significant impact upon your final grade. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 KJV