Monday, July 21, 2014

Secular Ethics is Appropriate for the 21st Century

Dharamshala: - His Holiness the Dalai Lama was welcomed into the council chamber of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh (LAHDC) on 15 July, where His Holiness heard about the hardships the Ladakhi people have overcome and spoke of the importance of secular ethics in modern education.

The Chief Executive Councillor, Rigzin Spalbar gave a brief overview of the 18 year existence of the LAHDC. "Ladakh is a region of strategic importance which has led to an instability in the Ladakhi way of life" he said. He then explained that the life the Ladakhis led included an optimum use of resources and preservation of traditional values while also embracing modernity. He admitted that it was the concern for a greater local role in decision making in the year 1995 that led to the establishment of the LAHDC.

His Holiness then thanked for the opportunity to meet everyone and for the account of their activities. "You have faced hardships and have coped with them. I have no special contribution to make for I am only a guest here, but we have been close friends for many years." said His Holiness and congratulated them on the hardships they have overcome.

"Your plans for the future are good and now implementation is in order. Other than that, you know better about your needs than I." said His Holiness.

"One thing I would like to talk to you about though is education." continued His Holiness, "I had the opportunity to visit universities in countries all over the world. Many scientists, educationists and thinkers agree that our existing education systems are inadequate. Not enough time and energy is given to nurture inner values and ethics. I tell people that we need a more complete system of education that includes training in ethics; secular ethics. India's constitution is based on secularism, a respect for all religious traditions and even individuals who have none. Secular ethics is appropriate for modern society."

"I'm not talking about God, Allah or Buddha, but about developing a better society which revolves around education. We need to think of ourselves belonging to one human family. If we can do that, then there is a possibility that by the end of the 21st century we can create a happier, more peaceful society and this depends on our own actions and not on who we pray to. The 7 billion human beings alive today are our brothers and sisters; therefore we need cooperation based on trust and self-confidence to create an open, compassionate, harmonious society." continued His Holiness.

His Holiness said that although many agree, they do not yet know how to introduce secular ethics into our current curriculum and hence are working to develop a study program that can be piloted in a couple schools and if successful then it could be extended to other schools taking into account of its members rights and aspirations.

"If you harm and bully others, it will not do good to oneself." His Holiness pointed out. "The scientists have shown that constant fear and anger damages our immune system, while warmheartedness is good for our health"

"Here in Ladakh you have long been living in harmony which you must work hard to keep it up" encouraged His Holiness.

Original photo and link:

The Truth About Hell --

It’s Still There Despite Many Church Leaders Ignoring It

One of the disturbing trends for the past 20-30 years is the de-emphasis to teach or preach about the reality and existence of Hell. It is as if church leaders fear upsetting their congregations with the Truth; that there are severe, eternal, and painful repercussions to the sins that we engage in and not repent of. They don’t want to push the fact that if we don’t wake up and push back against the tide of evil, that if we don’t accept Christ as our One and Only Savior, or that if we don’t spread our testimony and witness of Christ’s work and presence in our lives – that people will end up in Hell.

In the book, “To Hell and Back”, by Maurice S. Rawlings, M.D., you will find the following on pages 81-83. The following are some of the cults listed by John Ankerberg and John Weldon in Facts on Life after Death. Listed also is each group's divisive opinion about both heaven and hell along with its founder's quotations.

1. Christian Science, founded by spiritist Mary Baker Eddy, teaches that "there is no death." They believe that "heaven and hell are states of thought, not places. People experience their own heaven or hell right here on earth."

2. Edgar Cayce, a spiritist and New Age prophet, said that "the destiny of the soul, as of all creation, is to become One with the Creator" and that no soul is ever lost.

3. New Age cult leader Sun Myung Moon of The Unification Church believes that "God will not desert any person eternally. By some means...they will be restored."

4. Mormonism, founded by occultist Joseph Smith, argues, "The false doctrine that the punishment to be visited upon erring souls is but a dogma of unauthorized and erring sectarians, at once unscriptural, unreasonable, and revolting."

5. Jehovah's Witnesses, founded by Charles Taze Russell maintains that the wicked are forever annihilated because "the teaching about a fiery hell can rightly be designated as a ‘teaching of demons.' "

6. The Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgianism), founded by spiritist Emanuel Swedenborgh, emphasizes that

God "does not condemn anyone to hell."

7. Eckankar, a New Age religion founded by Paul Twitchell and Darwin Gross, insists that "there is no death"...and that there is no eternal hell.

8. Lucis Trust and the Arcane School/Full Moon Meditation Groups, established by New Age spiritist Alice Bailey, argue that "the fear of death is based upon...old erroneous teaching as to heaven and hell."

9. The Love Family (The Children of God), founded by spiritist David Berg, views hell as a temporal purgatory: "The lake of fire is where the wicked go to get purged from their let them eventually come...out."

10. Rosicrucianism, an occult philosophy, declares that "the &ls;eternal damnation' of those who are not &ls;saved' does not mean destruction nor endless torture," and that "the Christian religion did not originally contain any dogmas about Hell."

11. Unitarian Universalism confesses the following: "It seems safe to say that no Unitarian Universalist believes in a resurrection of the body, a literal heaven or hell, or any kind of eternal punishment."

12. The Theosophical Society, founded by medium Helena P. Blavatsky, declares, "we positively refuse to accept the…belief in eternal reward or eternal punishment." Hence, "Death…is not…a cause for fear."

13. The spirits everywhere proclaim their allegiance to cultic teachings, declare Ankerberg and Weldon. "Ramtha," the spirit speaking through medium J. S.Knight, claims "God has never judged you or anyone" and "No, there is no hell and there is no devil." "Lilly" and other spirits channeled through medium Ruth Montgomery argue that there is no such thing as death" and that "God punishes no man."

With so many spiritual cults pushing a non-existence of Hell (let alone Heaven), the church leaders don’t want to appear to be the meanies in the religious war by sending people who don’t obey God’s Word, will be consigned to Hell. This is a huge issue especially with the onslaught by the liberal media and the LGBT community to force their immoral and Godless lifestyle upon the rest of us. They want equality – as long as it means we accept everything about them including putting our own beliefs down to do so.

There is no question about it – we are born, live and die but only once, and then we receive our reward, Heaven or Hell, based on what choices we made during our life prior to death. Did we accept Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and begin to honestly strive to walk in God’s Word? Or did we ignore God’s Word, ignore who He is, and ignore the consequences of our actions in this life.

Hebrews 9:26-28 (NASB)

Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NASB)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Now Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7 that there are two roads. You're either on the broad road that leads to destruction or the narrow path of Christ. He said, “Many are those who are on the broad road, who are on the highway to Hell.” And then, He said, “Then there's also the narrow road that leads to life.” And He said, “Few there be that find it.” Everyone reading this right now, you're either on one of two roads. You're either on the broad road to Hell, or you're on the narrow road, the road that leads to life, that leads to Heaven and eternity with God. Which road are you on?

Revelations 20 speaks of Hell, and describes it as a place of flames. There are four Truths about Hell being presented here. Let’s take a close look at these.

The first Truth is that Hell is a REAL place. It's not the figment of some guy's imagination. It's not the concoction of some evangelist who's trying to get people to come down front and make a decision. And so many people don't like the concept of Hell. They don't like the idea of Hell. Lots of learned people, lots of people in seminaries, and all these guys that supposedly are so smart, they get so smart that they get smarter than God and they start to explain away. They'll

read about the lake of fire, and they say, “Well, that can't be. I mean, God wouldn't do that. That just doesn't jive with the God in my mind.” They explain that away, and they say, “Well, that, that's not really the way it is.” A church in

England a few years ago said Hell is not a place, as the Bible describes, populated with demons and devils and not a place of fire. They said it's not like that at all. But the Bible says it's like that.

The second Truth is that Hell is a place of extremes. Hell is a place of flames. God describes it as a lake of fire. He said, “Death and Hades, at the Great White Throne Judgment, are thrown into the lake of fire.” This is the second death, the lake of fire. “And if any man's name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Three times God says the lake of fire, the lake of fire, the lake of fire. It's a place of extreme degrees. Jesus called it, in the gospels, a furnace of fire.

Jesus told the story in Luke 16 about a man who goes to Hell, goes to Hades. And he is there and he can see in the distance. Across a great chasm he can see Abraham, father Abraham. And he sees the little beggar that used to stay by his gate, Lazarus. And now Lazarus was a believer and he is in Abraham's bosom in Paradise. And this guy, who was a rejecter of the Lord, he is in Hell. And he lifts up his eyes and he looks and he calls out to Abraham, and he said, “Father Abraham, Father Abraham, please send that beggar Lazarus over here, that he may take a drop of water and just give me a drop of water on my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.” It's a place of extreme degrees, a horrible, terrible place. Now lots of people, they mock the idea of Hell. You start talking to them about Hell being a place of fire and they make fun. It's a place of extreme degrees. God calls it a lake of fire.

The third Truth is that Hell is a place of awful declarations. Jesus, when He told the parable of the wheat and the tares (the true believers, the wheat, and the false believers, the tares) He said, “At the end of the age at the time of the harvest,” He said, “I'll send My reapers into the harvest and then they'll take all the tares and they'll cut them and they'll bind them and they'll throw them into the furnace.” And He said, “And will cast them (Matthew 13:42), and they'll cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

That's a description of what you hear in Hell. It's weeping and gnashing of teeth. Now why the weeping? Well, the weeping comes from the story in Luke 16 where the rich man dies and calls out to Abraham, and Abraham says ”We can't come to get you because there's a great chasm between us and you.” And he calls out, and he says, “Child, remember when you were on the earth you had good things and Lazarus, he didn't have any good things. He was a poor beggar.” Now Dives didn't go to Hell because he was rich. You don't go to Hell because you're rich. You go to Hell because you reject Christ. And Lazarus didn't go to Paradise because he was poor. He went there because he was a believer in the sacrifice that God provided. And that's why a person goes to Heaven, and that's why a person goes to Hell. But Abraham said to this guy in Hell, “Remember!” And there's weeping with remembrance. You remember.

But Jesus also said not only weeping. There is gnashing of teeth, gnashing of teeth. That word gnashing in the Greek, brucho. What that word means is “to cry out in pain or rage.” That's what gnashing is. It's a sound, where you rub your teeth together. Gnashing in pain or rage, both of those are true in Hell. You gnash your teeth in pain because, as the rich man Dives said, “I am in agony in this flame.” But you also gnash your teeth in rage. There is rage in Hell. You say, “Rage, anger, where's that coming from? Who are people mad at in Hell?” They're mad at God. They're cursing and blaspheming God in Hell. See, sometimes we get the idea that everybody in Hell is crying out to God for mercy, but that's not the case. What people, primarily, do in Hell is curse God, is blaspheme God.

The fourth Truth about Hell, it is a place of eternal death. The Bible describes it here as the second death. “This is the second death,” the lake of fire. It's a place of eternal death. The wages of sin is death. Now death in the Bible is not

annihilation. Some people believe that Hell is a place where you're just annihilated. You're obliterated. You go there and you don't exist anymore. But listen. Death in the Bible is not annihilation. Death in the Bible is described as separation.

The Scriptures says in Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 9, that when Jesus suffered upon the cross, He tasted death for everyone. Now you ask yourself this question: Was Jesus animated? No! But He was separated. He was separated from God the Father. That's why upon the cross He said, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” See, I think that that was the hardest thing for Jesus. The physical pain was incredibly hard, but the spiritual pain was even harder than that to be separated from His Father, who He had had fellowship with up until that time, from eternity past. For all eternity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit were in perfect fellowship. But because Jesus took all our sins upon Himself on the cross, God the Father turned His back on His, His own dear Son. And Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” There was separation. And then He breathed His last and He died. And Hell is a place of eternal death, eternal separation from God. The Bible says in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 1 and verse 9, speaking of those who reject Christ, it says, “And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” Away from Him forever! It's a place of eternal death.

The Bible clearly demonstrates that Hell is a REAL place. One of extremes, of awful declarations, of eternal death. We should never want to end up there, nor wish our most vile enemy to be consigned here. However, even those with the best of intentions will end up here, all because they chose to refuse Christ.

Next article – we cover the inhabitants of Hell.

May God bless you in your day and comfort you where there is a need.

Archbishop Mikhail Nevaeh