July 19, 2008

The Choice of True Happiness

As once was said: "Beware of Weightless Belief that is powerful enough to start war." But in this age of pluralism, how does one know when something has true substance? The hippies used to say: “heavy man” (and some still do) when something had substance and meaning. The hippies also said ‘I can dig it man!” when they found something they liked. To be able to dig something, it has to have depth. These saying reflected a period of history when people were truly seeking for real meaning in life.

As psychology has become more popular, ideas like “the power of positive thinking” have become popular. This basically says you “choose to be happy” and that is what matters most. But then questions arise: “Is a ‘personal resolution’ enough or do we need a ‘personal revolution?’ Is it really true that ‘attitude is everything?’ or is there ‘more to the picture?’ Can human ‘will power’ alone bring lasting fulfillment? Or is there a ‘higher power’ we need to tap into?” Some have suggested Jesus Christ as a possible answer and what harm could it do to compare the most basic choices with an open mind?

Digging in the Sand

Jesus taught there are basically two types of foundations in life. They resemble sand and rock.[1] This quote by George Bernard Shaw, I believe, shows a life built on the former:

‘The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, led, instead, directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once. In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions of worshipers in the temples of a thousand creeds. And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith.”[2]

That quote is from one of Shaw’s last writings. There is no sense of hope or happiness left in him. Much of the gung-ho optimism has left. This is one case out of many for sure, but it shows an honest expression of someone who admitted his life didn’t have a strong foundation. Shaw was an atheist. His materialistic world view eventually led him to a sense of hopelessness and nihilism.

A Head in the Sand

Let’s consider the two options of belief and non-belief in God. If God exists, then this makes all the difference in the world. But if God exists and a person has firmly decided that God does not exist, this mindset colors all that is seen and perceived. Consider the ostrich, with its head buried in the sand. If God does exist then the atheist is just like the ostrich. At every turn, at every hint or whiff of God, the atheist becomes more and more skilled at denial and avoidance, like the ostrich burying its head in the sand. The atheist, like the ostrich, may feel safe but of course there isn’t real safety. Truth and consequences still exist whether he or she acknowledges them or not. Spiritual life exists, even if a person has chosen to live in darkness.

Bertrand Russell, one of the most famous atheists, wrote a book ‘Why I Am Not a Christian.’ His Christian daughter, Katherine Russell Tait, also wrote a book, ‘My Father, Bertrand Russell.’ She described how Bertrand was not open to any serious discussion of God's existence: ‘I could not even talk to him about religion. I would have liked to convince my father that I had found what he had been looking for, the ineffable something he had longed for all his life. I would have liked to persuade him that the search for God does not have to be in vain. But it was hopeless. He had known too many blind Christians, bleak moralists who sucked the joy from life and persecuted their opponents; he would never have been able to see the truth they were hiding.’

Tait, nevertheless, believes that Russell's ‘whole life was a search for God...Somewhere in the back of my father's mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul, there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it.’ He had the "ghostlike feeling of not belonging, of having no home in this world.’Bertrand Russell once said ‘Nothing can penetrate the loneliness of the human heart except the highest intensity of the sort of love the religious teachers have preached.’”[3] He knew that truth and love existed but was so turned off by the messengers that he couldn’t receive the message.

In the ultimate avoidance of truth and reality, Aldus Huxley chose to take LSD on his deathbed. His parting speech did not give any real sense of deep hope or happiness but basically described how “the world is an illusion…” If this is true, at least as he believed it to be, then illusion is where it’s at and why not go for it? Why not just over dose on drugs? Why wait until you are on your death bed? If you blow your mind out on drugs then it really doesn’t matter anyway, right?

Truth and Freedom

While many, like myself, consider this mindset and this scene of Aldus Huxley passing into eternity in a state of illusion and delirium a real tragedy, many do not. If you do a search on the Internet, you will find many who consider this a heroic act or “a great way to go.” This type of mentality shows how far gone much of society has become. This type of attitude doesn’t come suddenly but is the result of different choices over time about what is true and what isn’t. Jesus said: “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”[4] The opposite is also true. Each time a lie is chosen, a freedom is lost. The extent to which one chooses self deception is the extent to which one paints himself or herself into a corner. The collective result of these wrong choices results in a society which Isaiah described where white is called black and good is called evil and evil is called good. [5]

The loss of free Choice

While many boast that a woman has the right to choose abortion, sadly, most other freedoms are gradually being stripped away. In public schools in the USA, for example, a student or a teacher does not have a choice to express his or her opinion about God, while black magic, voodoo, extrasensory projection, transcendental meditation etc., etc. are all fair game. Teachers must follow the official agenda or risk demotion or being fired. In the official agenda, one cannot promote marriage between a man and a woman but rather must promote the “alternative lifestyles” agenda. One cannot suggest abstinence but must distribute condoms and offer abortion on demand. Philosophically, the students are fed a steady diet of secular, atheistic humanism and the results are obvious: Hopelessness, aggression, mass killings and bad grades. Studies have shown that poor performance is not a result of under funding as is usually the excuse. Private schools often have fewer funds but achieve much higher results. So what is the actual level of learning since the system was hi-jacked in the US? In the news on April 1st, Fox News reported “Seventeen of the nation's 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent.” [6] …Hats off to the secular humanists!

The Religion of Intolerance

Many have called Christianity a religion of intolerance but Christianity does not force one to choose to believe in God. On the contrary, the effect of Christianity as a foundation in America has allowed for the freedom of expression of every faith. But there is a new religion which is not so tolerant. This religion has taken over the school system and much of society. This religion is the epitome of hypocrisy. What is this religion? …Secular Humanism. The first Humanist Manifesto in 1933 proudly declared Secular Humanism was a religion nine times. John Dewey described Humanism as our "common faith." Julian Huxley called it "Religion without Revelation."[7] The Supreme Court affirmed Secular Humanism was a religion in 1961: “This Court has taken notice of the fact that recognized "religions" exist that "do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God," e. g., "Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, SECULAR HUMANISM and others."[8] After humanists were challenged in court they hypocritically flip flopped and now tote that it is not a religion but is purely scientific. They bash anyone who would suggest a coexistent choice between creationism and evolution.

Ben Stein has recently taken the lead in exposing the hypocrisy of the system with the documentary film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." . “Stein takes a look at the scientific establishment's hatred of design theory. Through interviews and real life examples, Stein demonstrates the blatant censorship on US campuses when it comes to theories that challenge the dogma of molecules-to-man evolution.”[9] While the US has become more opposed to freedom and choice in God, the Ukraine school system has actually become more open to freedom and choice in God. Official school textbooks now offer both the Evolutionary world view and the Intelligent Design world view in Ukraine.

The Fact of Choice Supports God’s Existence.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to systematic atheism! There is a choice to see the world not just as an illusion or as a series of mishaps, but as a meaningful and intelligently designed whole. One of the presuppositions of choice is the idea of truth. Only truth allows one the ability to propose that one thing is “better” than another. Assuming these presuppositions, one of the main arguments against Christianity is this: “If God is ‘good and perfect’ he would not have created an imperfect world.” The answer to this argument is the fact that love and choice exist in this imperfect world alongside pain and suffering. And in order for love and choice to exist, then non-love and the rejection of truth must also exist:

“If God had created the universe with no possibility of evil or sin, then the created beings would have had no free will, and, as such, would essentially be programmed computers. Such beings would be incapable of love, since love involves making a choice - which requires the ability to choose not to love. For example, I can program my computer to say ‘I love you’ when it starts up. Does this mean that the computer really loves me? Of course not! Likewise, God could have programmed humans to say that they loved Him, without the possibility of rejecting Him or performing evil deeds. However, these programmed beings would exhibit about as much true love as my computer - not a very satisfying relationship. Therefore, God created the universe for the express purpose of allowing free will spiritual beings the opportunity to have fellowship with Him (and likewise, reject Him).”[10]

Choice is a gift from God. It is in line with God’s character. Jesus always let people choose to receive Him or reject Him. Where Christianity has been prevalent, freedom of speech has been prevalent; freedom of human rights has been prevalent etc. Where atheism is prevalent, or where a militant religion is prevalent, the opposite is true.

Choosing Life

Long before the “Right to Life” anti-abortion movement began, “choose life” was a slogan: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore CHOOSE LIFE…”[11] It wasn’t “choose happiness” or “choose truth” but “choose life!” Why? Choosing life is the summation of all the best choices. It includes choosing truth, health and happiness. Jesus is the only person in history to point to Himself as the way to finding this true life: “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”[12] Confucius, Buddha and Krishna etc. explained steps to take in order to try and “achieve” a “higher consciousness” but only Jesus said “It’s all about me!” “Knowing me personally is the only way!” People try to lump “Jesus consciousness” in with Buddha and Krishna but in doing this they show they really don’t understand the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Theory and Practice

With the 2008 Olympic Games approaching in the summer, the whole world is watching the strife between the socialist/communist Chinese government and militant Buddhist monks in Tibet. On March 31, 2008 the Chinese government claimed to have caught the arson suspects they were looking who burned shops in the March 14 riots wherein many Chinese were burned to death. The following is a description which was described in an email by an onlooker:

“The demonstrations ‘seemed to be rather quiet and organized at first. Then a growing hysteria started to mount like the spilling out of decades of oppression, unstoppable once it started . . . Once a bit of air [had been] released during the initial, peaceful protest, a tidal wave of emotion was unleashed. It became mob-like . . . Lots of people being pulled from their businesses, buildings burned, knives and meat cleavers, and anything else anyone could get their hands on to defend or attack. Tibetans and monks hauled away and shot on the streets. Lots of fire, lots of explosions and gunshots still peppered this night…”[13]

While it may not be surprising that the atheistic Chinese government has repressed freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression, it is surprising to many that the Buddhists became violent. What the riots have shown is that Buddhists are people just like everyone else and if anything the riots underscore the reality of the sin nature. Many are drawn to Eastern religions because they can sound good in theory. But practically there seem to be some real problems. Reincarnation implies that we all have a designated fate or karma and therefore helping other people is not considered to be a good thing ethically because it interferes with their karma. For this reason the caste system is resolute and unchangeable. Some people are considered “untouchable” un-help-able. A person in this system has no choice to advance socially. For this reason, things like mercy and love are not highly valued but devalued and depreciated. In Christianity, love is enthroned in the highest position in the person of Jesus Christ. Although many terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity, the Christian ideal is quiet different from Christian history and has strong contrasts to Eastern religions. Erwin Lutzer pointed out:

"What is the difference between the experience of the Eastern religions and the experience of the true God? One is self-centered, the other is people-centered; one seeks the experience itself, the other seeks the true God, and the emotional experience connected with it is secondary. Christian joy comes when we look away from ourselves-first to God, then to others.”[14]

Burying the Evidence

What about the politics of atheism and materialism? Atheistic systems always end up repressing freedoms. We see this in China today. It was also evident in Nazi Germany. Many Jews still today unfortunately associate Christianity with Hitler! But nothing could be farther from the truth. This shows a great ignorance of the teachings of the Bible. Hitler made a pact with the Catholic Church to deceive the masses and apparently it seems to be still working with many! With the Soviet Union there was no doubt on the political stance: “No God and no freedom.” Warped beliefs created warped warped actions. One who is self deceived, will most likely go on to try and deceive others.

On November 6, 2005, evidence was unburied; an ancient church was discovered in Megiddo, Israel. There were many remarkable aspects regarding the discovery. First of all, it was discovered by Palestinian prisoners from a nearby prison camp. They actually did the excavations. They discovered the foundations of a church building in a style pre-dating Byzantium and its basilica type churches. They discovered there were no cross symbols, only the Christian fish symbols. They discovered a communion table for sharing meals, and no altar. On the table was an inscription: “Akeptous, the God loving offered this table for the God Jesus Christ as a remembrance.”[15]

Why are these discoveries significant? Firstly, the excavations were not performed by Christians, but Palestinians, impartial to promoting any Christian ideas. Secondly, all of these details show this church was most likely built in the third century, before Constantine became emperor of Rome in 313AD. Thirdly, this is the first archaeological proof that people worshiped Jesus Christ as God before Constantine. This shows the false presumptions of books such as the “DaVinci Code.” What is also remarkable is the Israeli reaction to the find. Although a potential source of tourist revenue for the state, the Israeli authorities actually ordered that the all the findings be covered back over! They decided to do physically what many people do mentally, bury the evidence and suppress the truth! Perhaps this should be a sign for Jewish people to take another look at Jesus Christ. Whenever evidence is being obstructed or hidden, eyebrows should be raised. As Sherlock Holmes, the voice of reason once put it: “The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!”[16]

When it comes to seeking God, the culprit which opposes us is often our own pride or stubbornness. Romans 1.18 shows how we are inclined to suppress the truth in our hearts instead of seeking the truth. But this is a choice each person has to make, to seek truth or to seek illusion, to excavate or to bury.

Paradoxes of Happiness - What’s Your Haiku Level?

The Japanese have these special poems called haiku which are based on paradoxes and apparent nonsequiturs. Why are Japanese haiku so intriguing? Because, in truth, there are many paradoxes in life! The quest for happiness, for example, has many such paradoxes. Jesus explained eight secrets of happiness or “blessedness” as He called, it in His first public teaching in Matthew chapter 5. All of them are based on paradoxes. This is a whole study in itself but basically most of the paradoxes are based on various forms of love, humility and holiness. This is not the self gratifying love that the world most often proposes but rather the selfless kind of love that God has demonstrated in Jesus’ life. All three of these subjects are antithetical to a materialistic world view and for this reason are very difficult to really understand without knowing God. As He taught the lesson, He was speaking to His believing disciples and this first step of spiritual faith, believing in Jesus, would be a prerequisite for really understanding exactly what He was talking about.

Regeneration not Religion

Ultimately, Christianity teaches a religion of non-religion. It teaches that religion, as based upon human rituals and traditions, is of no avail. It teaches that regeneration is all that really matters. Many of the modern principles of psychology already were penned in the Bible thousands of years ago. The idea of “the power of positive thinking” is actually in the Bible in Philippians 4.8-9. But the Bible shows this is not enough for deep and lasting happiness. Jesus proposed a kind of happiness not based merely upon a personal resolution but rather on a personal revolution. He said “you must be born again” spiritually.[17] How is a person “born again?” A person is born again through receiving the living word of God.[18] What does the word of God say about salvation? It says it’s all by grace and faith, it’s a gift from God simply to be received.[19] The Apostle Paul described the mystery of the gospel as Jesus Christ dwelling inside.[20]

The Choice of Change

In order to receive Jesus you have to come to the place where you acknowledge that you want to change, really change. Christ taught that sin is a willful rejection of light and truth.[21] In order to receive Jesus Christ you have to come to the place where you accept the fact that many of your thoughts and deeds have been dark and that this darkness has separated you from God. It is to accept the fact that these sins against God can only be forgiven and removed by God. You have to be willing to admit that you don’t have “the right stuff” to make it on your own, that no amount of “will power” can give you the new life that you need. The Bible shows that repentance comes before conversion. Some people have deep emotions when they repent while others don’t. The main thing is to realize that it is an act of faith to confess your sin, to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior and to choose to follow Him. It is about a relationship not a religion. The main thing is to establish this relationship and keep it.[22] The prayer of salvation is incredibly simple. Roman’s 10.9 is a good example. It’s based upon confessing and believing. First, confess that you are a sinner and that you need forgiveness. Then acknowledge that you believe Jesus died for your sins and that through His name you are saved. By faith receive His forgiveness and his indwelling Holy Spirit. An example may be: “God I realize I am a sinner. I realize I need forgiveness for my sins and only you can give it to me. I thank you for sending your Son to die for my sins on the cross. I pray that you cleanse me now from every sin and give me new life through your Son Jesus Christ. I want to be born again. And I also pray that you help me by Your Holy Spirit to live each day for You, amen.”

So now What?

The Psalmist David wrote: “Happy is the one whose sins are forgiven.”[23] Richard Carlson wrote: “Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff.” This is true especially for the Christian believer. Once you have received forgiveness and the gift of eternal life, all the rest is small stuff in comparison.[24] Colossians 2.6 shows that you are to walk with God in the same way that you received Him. That means you live simply by faith and grace. Your life is lived simply as a response of thanksgiving for all God has done for you. Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross. The Christian life begins with the word “done” not “do.” Don’t get trapped into legalistic pressures! Enjoy God and enjoy fulfilling the plans He has for you. The Christian life is to be more a response of delight than a responsibility of duty. Ultimately, God himself is our source of joy. “Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.” (Psalms 43.4). May you find deep and lasting joy in Him!

[1] Matthew 7.24-29
[2] “Atheism” Quote by Heywood Broun at www.SermonIllustrations.com
[3] “There is Too Much Evil and Suffering For God to Exist?” by Rich Deem, (www.godandscience.org/apologetics/evilandsuffering)
[4] John 8.32
[5] Isaiah 5.20
[6] Fox News: High School Graduation Rates Plummet Below 50 Percent in Some U.S. Cities (www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,344190,00.html)
[7] Julian Huxley "The Coming New Religion of Humanism." The Humanist (January/February 1962)
[8] 1961 Torcaso v. Watkins, (footnote) 367 U.S. 488, 495 n. 11
[9] Quote from Chuck Missler @ www.khouse.org. Movie website: (www.expelledthemovie.com)
[10] Ervin W. Lutzer, John F. DeVries, Satan's "Evangelistic" Strategy For This New Age, SP Publications, Inc., 1989, p. 9,16-20.
[11] Deuteronomy 30.19
[12] John 14.6
[13] International Herald Tribune, “Greenway: Prayer Into the Wind” By H. D. S. Greenway, March 26, 2008 (www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/26/opinion/edgreenway.php)
[14] )”China: Tibet Arson Suspects Caught” (www.examiner.com)
[15] (www.armageddonchurch.com)
[16] Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Adventures of the Abbey Grange
[17] Galatians 6.15, John 3.3.
[18] I Peter 1.23
[19] Ephesians 2.8
[20] Colossians 1.27
[21] I John 1.7
[22] Matthew 7
[23] Psalm 32.2
[24] Romans 8.18


  1. interesting quotes and snippets from shaw and huxley. where did you read them?

  2. Hey Ben, these quotes were all from the internet, just reading different articles and using the original author source listings. You seem to be always reading interesting contemporary books. Do you order them for shipment or do people just carry them over when they visit from the US?


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