Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: Religion

A theology article from 1975 which confirms that the Pope and the Church have breached the basic message of the Bible

Came across this: Man’s Basic Freedom and Freedom of Conscience in the Bible Cooper, Eugene J. Irish Theological Quarterly , Volume 42 (4): 12 – Dec 1, 1975

The article can’t be shared – which is a great pity, since this document shows clearly that the Church has breached the basic principles of the Bible.

EXTRACTS BELOW

Jesus assimilated the Golden Rule into his moral message. In Matthew’s Gospel one finds both the positive and the negative expression of the Golden Rule. In the more generally expressed form the Golden Rule is stated positively: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ (Mt 7: 12). The concrete form, where the Golden Rule is applied to judging and justice, is expressed as a negative admonition: ‘Do not judge, that you may not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you’ (Mt 7: 1.2). The latter statement refers to the danger of judging according to human standards. This insight is related to the wise old saying, errare humanum est — to err is human. It is one of man’s limitations that he makes mistakes. But here in Matthew’s Gospel it is more than a case of repeating ancient wisdom. The allusion is to the Kingdom of God. The Christian should not sit in judgment on his neighbour because he believes in God the Father, who is the only and ultimate judge.

The statement ‘Do not Judge’ underscores basic Christian liberty, even in the case of an erring conscience, and excludes the possibility of condemnation as a sinner. Whether or not one’s neighbour’s action is a sin, it is up to the judgment of the sole judge, the Father. Paul expresses the same thought: ‘I have nothing on my conscience, yet I am not thereby justified; but he who judges me is the Lord. Therefore, pass no judgment before the time; until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the things hidden in darkness and make manifest the counsels of hearts; and then everyone will have his praise from God’ (1 Cor 4: 4-5).

Since the conscience is the ultimate norm, a condemnation of the decision as sinful from anyone else is excluded.

LIMITS TO FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE

Paul gives one concrete example of the limits placed on freedom of conscience in his first letter to the community of Christians at Corinth. Chapters eight to ten of this epistle are concerned with a controversy in this early community regarding the eating of meat sacrificed to idols. The meat, used as offerings in pagan rites, was later sold on the open market in Corinth. The Christians were divided in their opinion as to whether they could buy and eat such meat in good conscience. Some said, the meat has been used in pagan rites and therefore cannot be consumed by Christians. Others were of the opinion that, since Christians knew there was only one true God and no idols and did not believe in the idols of the pagan cult, they could in good conscience eat such meat. Paul’s answer is that both those who in conscience cannot eat the meat (referred to as the ‘weak’ in Romans 14: 1-2) and those whose conscience allows them to eat the meat sacrificed to idols (the ‘strong’) do well, for both are following their respective consciences. For each must act according to his conscience. Yet he demands of the strong in conscience that they should take consideration of the weak and not give scandal. Paul states the right of each to follow his conscience, but then speaks of the obligation of love of neighbour.

In the situation described by Paul in his letter to the community of Corinth, there were two main rules of conduct. Each of the two — eating meat sacrificed to idols and not eating it — found a large group of followers, so that one could say there were two mutually exclusive patterns of behaviour, both practised by Christians, which led to the conflict Paul was asked to resolve. This is similar to today’s situation within the Church. The individual Christian can today more easily find a group of Christians who share his views on a particular aspect of morality or Christian practice. Whether in the realm of liturgical practice or in the strictly moral matter of family planning, one can find adherents of contradictory practices, each group calling itself Christian. Although one can appeal to all to compare their decision of conscience and moral behaviour to the norm of divine revelation in the Bible, the Scriptures offer no concrete solution in the way of a decision for one particular manner of behaviour in a plural situation. Paul himself did not decide that one group was behaving immorally, but requested the one group to be considerate of the other and to avoid scandalizing them. He did not prohibit their eating the meat.

LOVE IS THE FOUNDATION AND LIMITATION AT THE SAME TIME

By way of summary it can be said that the foundation for Christian freedom of conscience is man’s basic freedom and need for freedom of movement and a private domain of free self-determination. This basic freedom is reinforced by the belief in liberation from sin, death and evil through the Spirit in the Christian message. The individual has access to the objective True and Good through his subjective, however limited, faculties of recognition (reason) and the experience of being able to choose freely (free will). Baptized in the Spirit, the Christian lives in a bond with Jesus Christ as a son in the Son. This bond with Christ does not give the individual Christian any private illumination or revelation as to what is true and good, yet it is an important aspect of his formation of a decision of conscience, namely the Christian dimension of God’s Dominion and Kingdom, which enters every decision. His knowledge of the Christian message, for example, his knowledge of the morality of Jesus, and his life in the believing community are aids to the formation of his conscience.

It is evident that the individual Christian must take the life and opinion of his fellow Christians into consideration when making a decision of conscience. He may include the way of life and opinion of a few associates and friends. Should he discover that these share his opinion as to his choice of a Christian response to a moral question, he may refer to Matthew’s statement, that where Christians are gathered together in Christ’s name in the effort to seek God’s will, then God is with them, not in the sense that their decision is infallible, but in the sense that their striving to find God’s will is to be taken seriously and their decision must be regarded as a contribution to the general search for a Christian answer to a new moral problem. At the same time, the reverse is true. If the behaviour of a fellow Christian is regarded as non-acceptable to the community and even as sinful, one must first of all enter into dialogue with him and talk about his manner of behaviour. An individual’s response to a moral question may be regarded as wrong by the Christian community, which has the obligation and opportunity to take part in his further formation of conscience. The tradition of the whole Church must also be consulted and taken into account in the formation of the individual decision of conscience, but the experience of the whole Church may often be expressed in abstract, unified norms for all which do not adequately take into consideration the concrete situation of decision of the individual.

 

 

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A question re: Freemasons

This is a placeholder post. I’ll add info as I find it/ people send it to me, depending on my time.

The question I asked, dated 2 June 2021: https://www.facebook.com/sabhlok/posts/10159625376793767 

The Netflix documentary (that I’ll need to see in full): http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/under1.html

http://masonicinfo.com/religion.htm

Some info people have sent me:

The Victorian Freemasons website: https://www.freemasonsvic.net.au/

Freemasonry Education course and in perspective – by Kent Henderson: http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/under1.html

The Freemasons’ Guide and Compendium by Bernard Jones

Betty Sue’s story – a submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

VIDEOS

2010 Australian x factor winner Altiyan Childs exposes freemasonry

FALL OF THE CABAL – PART 1-10 FULL DOCUMENTARY – HD

JSTOR ARTICLES

Braggion, Fabio. “MANAGERS AND (SECRET) SOCIAL NETWORKS: THE INFLUENCE OF THE FREEMASONRY ON FIRM PERFORMANCE.” Journal of the European Economic Association, vol. 9, no. 6, 2011, pp. 1053–1081. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41305847. Accessed 2 June 2021.

MY COMMENTS ON TWO BOOKS PROVIDED TO ME TO READ

Someone gave me the following two books to read:

Jack Harris (1983), Freemasonry: the invisible truth, Whitaker House.
Jack Lawrence (1999), Freemasonry: A Christian Perspective, Gazelle Books.

I found nothing in these books in terms of evidence of any real harms Freemasons are causing.

Instead, the claim in the books is that by helping others (e.g. doing social work) Freemasons are doing the wrong thing. The main grievance in the books is also that 1) Freemasons are a religion, 2) they are a false religion since they do not glorify only Christ. Anyone who doesn’t glorify Christ is called a Satanist by these authors. That doesn’t tell me anything except that these are extremist authors.

Personally, I’m not interested in finding out which of the hundreds of thousands of religions found in world history is a “true” religion. I have no religion and I question all of them – particularly when they become extremist in their approach. In fact, I find all religions to be quite ridiculous in some ways – and Freemasons is just one more of these systems of belief.

Having said that, I insist on people’s right to believe anything they wish. That’s called freedom of belief. I don’t care what people believe in so long as they are not harming others.

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Purpose Of life – an article by my mother

My mother has recently written this:

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Part of being alive and in touch with the world around and within us lies in searching for our answers and in asking our questions. But in life, we keep ourselves so much occupied with the mundane jobs of life that we hardly get time to solve our questions. In life, when we see suffering, sickness and death around us, many questions arise in our mind. Many times, even in the midst of gaiety, our mind starts asking these questions, ‘What is the purpose of my life? Why am I here? What do I want in my life? We have seen that even after getting all the material things in life, at times, we feel a vacuum in our heart. It is because we are not clear about the purpose of our life. Having a purpose in life is one of the fundamental factors of happiness. Without it, our life will be less focused and less efficient. Purpose of life is a set of guidelines that influences our behaviour, our decisions of life and our values in life. It gives direction and adds a meaning in our life.

Prophets and poets had foretold that every human being is the individualised embodiment of Divine. Being that the whole purpose of life is to realize that divinity here. We have to remember that there is a Divine Spark in all of us. As Swami Vivekanand had said, ’See only God in every man, woman and child.’ As such, the purpose of life is to serve others irrespective of their caste, creed, gender or nationality. While doing so, we should not expect anything in return.

All our scriptures have given guide lines about the purpose of man’s life .According to Vedas, the purpose of life is to fulfil the Divine mission of God and Prakriti by resorting to the welfare activities for the entire mankind. For fulfilling this divine mission, the noble philosophy of Idd Nan Mamam is advised which means nothing for the self, all for society. Further, Vedas say that man should see that there is no pollution in water, Air, oceans, rivers and plants.

Bible says, human soul tells us that the purpose of life is to assist God in maintenance of social, moral, and physical order so that mankind becomes divine bureaucracy of God to ensure implementation and maintenance of his wondrous design, this world. According to Islam, whatever leads to the welfare of society is morally good and whatever is injurious to society is morally bad. Islam also lays emphasis on service on service to society.

Gita gives great importance on doing one’s duty without attachment. As Lord Krishna advises Arjun, ’Go on efficiently doing your duty without attachment. Having an eye on the maintenance of World Order you should take to action. Who acts offering all actions to God and shaking off attachment remains untouched by sin as the lotus leaf by water.’

These guidelines are there but we can set our own purpose of life for us. Over all we can say that the purpose of our life should be to serve humanity and perform all our allotted duties honestly even in the face of difficulties. It can be careful guidance to our children with a view to their best and harmonious development without expecting anything in return from them, looking after the sick and elderly in their need. All these and many other duties of day to day life can give us satisfaction if they are done as a service to others. “Even the least work done for others awakens the power within and gradually instils into the heart the strength of a lion,’ said Swami Vivekanand.

There is much more that we can do in order to serve society. We can become more aware of our responsibility towards society and can participate in all the welfare activities for the community. We can set an example for others by following a righteous and ethical conduct in our life. We can raise our voice against malpractices being followed in the society and try to bring a change there. We can lead a need based life. By leading a need based life, we can save our Mother Earth from its material exploitation and can save our Planet from pollution of various types. We can perform every action selflessly as an offering to God without expecting any reward for our actions. We can follow the principles of spirituality and can connect to our inner self within us. When we connect to our inner self, we get motivated to lead a pure purposeful and meaningful life. Life flows more easily and we can find satisfaction and happiness in our daily life. We can uphold the values of honesty, compassion, generosity, humility, integrity, service and spirituality on a daily basis.

In short, we can say, the more our goals are in line with the intensity of our spiritual development, the more rich and satisfying our lives become. By setting a purpose of life for us and leading a life according to those principles can make our lives meaningful and sublime.

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Religion And Spirituality – a write-up by my mother Adarsh Sabhlok

My mother recently wrote this thoughtful piece for a local newsletter – I thought I’d share it since I agree with its key argument (my annotations in red and blue).

==THE WRITE-UP==

For most Indians, religion is very important in their lives. Religion is a system of faith and worship that defines who we are and what we do. Religion can be classified as a set of beliefs and practices shared by a community or a group of people. Religion helps in creating an ethical frame work of values to be practised in our day to day life. [Sanjeev: I don’t agree with this  claim – but my mother has address this issue in the article, below.] Religion provides a sense of community and identity as well as a way for rituals and traditions to be passed down from generation to generation. It inculcates social virtues in society. Every human being in one way or the other belongs to a particular religion.

In fact, we do not choose our religion. we are born with our religion. A child born to Hindu parents, is a Hindu by birth and a child born to Muslim parents is a Muslim by birth itself. Same is the case with all other religions. From the very beginning, children are brought up differently according to the rituals and traditions of their specific religion. All the religions have different places of worship and different ways of worship. Every religion, as its own gods and goddesses whom they worship. religious books of each religion are different and the followers of that religion believe in the tenets of their own holy books. Children are encouraged to read their own religious books and worship according to the rules of their religion. Thus, he foundation of disparity is laid down in the mind of a child right from his childhood. Every religion promotes its own philosophy and emphasis is always on the welfare of the people. But because of all these external differences, t leads to a division in the society. [Sanjeev: here is the crux of the problem: the divisions caused by religion.]

Originally, there was a time when there was only one religion. That was called “Sanatan Dharma’. That consisted laws of God as recommended in our religious books. Gradually, with time the principles of Dharma went on changing and many new religions came in the world. ow the whole world is divided in many different religions and small sects. Even in our country, there is a population of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Jews, Parsis and many other sects. Because of this multitude of religions, the whole society is fragmented. Religion that was supposed to bring solidarity in the society, has brought division among human beings. It is turning people against each other. Followers of one religion consider themselves superior to the followers of other religions. This has brought disparity in the society and has created many social and law and order problems.

In this context, we can say that religion promotes intolerance, wars and blood shed. Religion slows down the pace of human progress because it promotes faith over science and logic. Religion encourages many superstitions and wasteful rituals that are being performed in many temples. Religion discourages reasoning and questioning. Religion encourages many outdated and harmful customs which are contrary to human progress and needs of the present times.

As such, we have seen that in a formal religion the focus is on external things, like going to the places of worship, doing worship in a particular way, chanting some holy mantras or performing other rituals as prescribed in a particular religion. But on the other hand, spirituality is an inward journey that involves a shift in awareness of your soul rather than any external activity or worship. Attention is paid on your soul, higher self and divinity within. Spirituality is a practical way of life. There are no set rules, no dogmas, no rituals, no special books, no religious barriers and no external regulations. Spirituality is about seeking a meaning full life that can result in positive emotions, such as patience, perseverance, humility, gratitude, courage, compassion and a sense of responsibility. Spirituality is a process of self empowerment. it gives a sense of peace, wholeness and balance among the physical, emotional social and spiritual aspects of our life.

Spirituality unites humanity. It is a unifying force. No one is left out. Spirituality is a process of self transformation and self empowerment. It is continuous process. Religion fulfils our external and physical needs, but spirituality enlightens our inner self. A spiritual person is full of positive thinking. There is no place of negativity in his life. His life is guided by a set of values and principles. He is slow to grudges and quick to forgive. He is stable minded. He believes in living life in a sacred manner. He cares about people and the planet.

In the present scenario in the world, when there is hatred and violence amongst the people of different religions, spirituality can bring a soothing touch. One can retain one’s religion and can become a spiritual man. Spirituality and religion can go together as the aim of both of them is the welfare of humanity. As we have seen that spirituality is a practical way of life, we can make it a guiding force in every sphere of our life. It will certainly lead to a healthier and happier life.

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