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On Divine Intervention – Part I – Ignoring Divine Guidance

by A. Freeman

Religions and legends believe that the Divine created man. The Bible at Genesis 1:27 says that God created human beings in his own image …  The Chinese legend has it that the Goddess Nü Wa molded yellow earth to create human figures in her shape. {1}

Then the Creator set up the moral codes for mankind to follow. God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses (Exodus 34:28 and Deuteronomy 10:4) to let him pass them to mankind.

Over time, we, as human beings, have established common values and the ability to discern what is moral from what is immoral, right from wrong, and good from bad so we can stay on the right path and avoid evil. Religions and legends believe that, again, it was the Divine who bestowed these upon us. As we saw in the Introduction to this series, we would face disaster if we deviated from those values and morals.

I. The Divine’s Guidance: Bestowing Man with Morals and Wisdom

A study of history reveals that, in different regions across the world, schools of religion and philosophy flourished during the period from 900 to 200 BC. New ways of thinking appeared in Persia, India, China, Judea, and the Greco-Roman world in religion and philosophy, in a striking parallel development, without any obvious direct cultural contact between all of these Eurasian cultures. “That is, the spiritual foundations of humanity were laid simultaneously and independently in China, India, Persia, Judea, and Greece. These are the foundations upon which humanity still subsists today.” German philosopher Karl Jaspers characterized this period as a “pivotal age.” It has since come to be known as the Axial Age. {2}

For example, in China, Lao Tzu (Laozi, the founder of Taoism) (571 – 471 BC) and Confucius (551 – 479 BC), along with many profound thinkers, including Mo Ti (Mo Tzu 468 – 376 BC), Chuang Tsu (369 – 286 BC), Lieh Tzu (450 – 375 BC), Han Feizi (280 – 233 BC), Sun Tzu (544 – 496 BC) and a host of others, established “a hundred schools of thought.”

Sakyamuni (also known as the Buddha, 480 – 400 BC) established and taught Buddhism in India. In Iran Zarathustra taught a challenging view of the world as a struggle between good and evil; in Palestine the prophets made their appearance from Elijah by way of Isaiah and Jeremiah to Deutero-Isaiah; and in Greece, Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey and Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Plato influenced people with different philosophical ideas.
As a result, Taoism and Confucianism emerged in China; Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism in India; Zoroastrianism in Persia; Judaism in the Levant; and Sophism and other classical philosophies in Greece. {3}

One can say that, during this period, man’s Creator began laying the foundation for man not simply to live a good life. He was laying the spiritual foundation for human thought and for man to be able to tell right from wrong, virtue from evil, and the moral from the immoral. It was for man to understand the Divine, to understand what right faith is, what a Buddha is, what a Dao is, what heaven is and how to cultivate himself, or change himself from within. Through real life experience, it was for man to come to understand and truly grasp the meaning and purpose of his being here. As history unfolded, the Divine beings who came here, who are associated with true faiths, and who came here to save people, were establishing the kind of culture that would allow people to understand the Divine, and what they went through was in fact something similar. Their disciples continued their work. Thus the roots of our continuing discourse on religion and spirituality all lie in Axial Age developments. {4}

As a result, in the mundane world, mankind entered a civilized stage and had a systematic way of distinguishing right versus wrong.

Humans in virtually every place in the world, despite being in different religions, speaking different languages, having different cultures, and maintaining different living habits, and despite being separated by mountains or waters, have established similar value systems, such as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” “show respect to parents and the elderly,” “do not murder or kill lives,” “do not commit adultery,” “do not steal,” and “do not tell lies,” along with a common understanding of the law of retribution: “good begets good and evil begets evil.”

In the spiritual world, mankind gained a concept of the Divine and the possibility of elevating himself through cultivation practice. He also learned that he should follow Divine guidance and the original moral imperatives emanating from the Divine. Once man deviates from the Divine’s will or acts immorally, he may face consequences.

This is well reflected in the traditional Chinese ruling philosophy, where the emperor was called the “Son of Heaven (天子),” which meant that he himself should follow the way and the will of Heaven. When a major natural disaster, such as an epidemic, insect plague, earthquake, or a flood, hit the country, the emperor would look at himself to see what he did wrong and where he lost his moral standard. He would then issue a self-criticism edict, to announce his mistakes publicly and ask Heaven for forgiveness.

That is a way that the Divine guides man and corrects man’s mistakes.

II._Human Mistakes: Mistreating the Preachers and the Teachers

 Living in a mysterious world in which one cannot see the full truth of the universe, mankind has been struggling to figure out what is the right belief and right way of thinking. During that struggle, he has also made mistakes.

In Jerusalem, people decided to kill Jesus Christ and watched him being crucified. In Greece, Athenians accused the philosopher Socrates of “refusing to recognize the same gods the state recognized” and of “corrupting the youth” and made him drink hemlock. In China, Confucius toured around different kingdoms to spread his teachings, but he was only well received as a guest and was never seriously accepted as a teacher in any kingdom.

Still the Divine forgave man’s mistakes. The new religions and philosophies were established.

Then it came to the dark era where the Roman Emperor Nero plotted against the Christians and started a history of nearly 300 years of persecution of Christians. This time, the Romans received punishment. Three plagues broke out during the reigns of Nero, Antonine, and Cyprian. Eventually Emperor Galerius issued an order in April 311 to end the persecution officially. Constantine the Great later spread Christianity in the Roman Empire. However, the Roman Empire still received devastating punishment. It was estimated that about 60 million people died during the plagues, followed by the downfall of the Roman Empire. {5}

III. Human’s Mistakes: Losing Sight of Morality

Over time, people gradually forgot the moral imperatives and placed more focus on their own interests and pursuits, violating the moral values that the Divine gave them. Several events happened in the past few centuries.  (“. . . the last days will be difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money.”) (2 Timothy 3, 1-2)

A. The Civil War in the U.S.: on “Owning” Other Humans

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln discussed the two sides that fought in the Civil War:

“Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a Just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we not be judged. … He gives to both North and South this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope – fervently do we pray – that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether” {6}

In spite of the fact that both sides read the same Bible and prayed to the same God, both sides asked for His intervention to defeat the other.

In spite of a Declaration of Independence that stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” one side prayed that their Creator would support them in continuing to “own” other human beings.

The results were that from 1861 to 1865, an estimated 620,000 to 750,000 soldiers died. By one estimate, the war claimed the lives of 10 percent of all Northern men 20 – 45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white men aged 18 – 40.  Over four years, 237 named battles were fought, as were many more minor actions and skirmishes, which were often characterized by their bitter intensity and high casualties.

Abraham Lincoln gave a number of thoughtful speeches and inspired much introspection. We wish man had learned from this war fought for the “right” to own other human beings; but sadly, we see man went even further to wipe out other human races.

B. The Nazi Regime: on Eradicating the Jews (“in the last days … They will be cruel and hate what is good.”) (2 Timothy 1-3)

One of the saddest tragedies in this world was that Hitler came to power as Fuhrer in the 1930’s and soon thereafter implemented his “Final Solution” to solve the Jewish problem.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach made some interesting observations about Hitler’s ascension to the position of Fuhrer. He found that, in the German and Election Referendum of 1936, 98.8 percent of the German population voted in support of Hitler, a level of popularity unparalleled in history. Yet his outspoken hatred of the Jews and his willingness to act upon his virulent anti-Semitism was abundantly clear. {7}

According to historian Ian Kershaw, German popular support for Hitler reached its peak when he returned from his tour of the newly conquered Paris in July of 1940. By this time, the campaigns of systematic murder of Jews throughout Poland had already started and concentration camps were up and running. {8}

Disregarding any thoughts of virtue, compassion, or tolerance, between 1941 and 1945, across German-occupied Europe, Nazi Germany, aided by collaborators from other countries that it either had conquered or heavily influenced, systematically “exterminated” six million Jews, around two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population. The methods used included mass shootings, extreme labor in concentration camps, starvation, gas vans and gas chambers in extermination camps, and experiments on the victims’ bodies.

Jewish businesses and other buildings were ransacked, smashed, or set on fire throughout Germany and Austria, especially during what became known as Kristallnacht (the “Night of Broken Glass”). Jews were put into ghettos and segregated from the rest of the population. German firms even used Jews as slave labor to conduct their business. One website lists 157 companies that did so. {9}

Germany and its collaborators also persecuted and murdered other groups, including Slavs, gypsies, the disabled, political and religious dissenters, gay men, and others deemed racially or biologically inferior. {10} Between two and three million Soviet prisoners of war died of starvation, disease, neglect, or brutal treatment. The death toll of all these groups is thought to have risen to 11 million. {11}

It was not only the Germans who perpetrated this genocide, but also an abundance of collaborators. At the time, joining Germany was either a choice or a result of German occupation. In Estonia, the police cooperated with the Germans in rounding up and killing Jews and others. In France, the Vichy government collaborated in the extermination of the European Jews and other “undesirables.” Vichy opened up a series of concentration camps in France. French police helped in the deportation of 76,000 Jews to the extermination camps. In the Netherlands, the Germans reformed pre-war Dutch police and established a new Communal Police, which helped Germans fight resistance and deport Jews. In Norway, the Germans installed Vidkun Quisling as a puppet regime, which collaborated in the deportation of Jews. Quisling’s name has become an international eponym for traitor. {12}

Some sources estimated thirty countries had become Germany’s collaborators. {13} It was quite sad to see that so many people and so many countries lost their conscience and thought they had the right to “fix” problems by simply demeaning, abusing or erasing a certain race, ethnicity, nationality or cultural group.

In the end, the righteous overcame the evil. Hitler and his supporters were defeated in World War II. However, the cost in the loss of human life was enormous: that war, considered the deadliest conflict in history, was marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities.

After the fall of Hitler’s regime, the dismantling of the gas chambers, the liberation of the camps along with widespread pictures of the survivors who were, by then, mere skin and bones, people realized the horrors that the Nazi regime had perpetrated and to which they themselves had turned a blind eye. The whole world vowed, “Never Again!” Those very words made it seem that mankind had learned a lesson and that man could recognize evil and would never again allow such evil to occur.

But has mankind really reflected on himself and seriously answered these questions:

“Since the Divine has already given man the guidance and wisdom to discern right from evil, how come:
The Germans lost their judgment and replaced it with nationalism, patriotism, and a blind love for and obedience to Adolf Hitler?
The collaborating countries lost their consciences and supported their conqueror’s evil actions?
Some other countries turned a blind eye when such a massive genocide was taking place?”

Without answering these questions, could man prevent the next immoral action by simply mouthing the words “Never again”? (“in the last days . . . They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are. . . “ ) (2 Timothy 8-9)

C. The World Communist Practice and Spiritual Murder

According to most estimates, China’s Mao Zedong was the most murderous of 20th century dictators. Mao’s estimated death toll ranges from 60 million to 80 million.

Russian dictator Joseph Stalin accounted for 20 million deaths, though this number fluctuates from 10 to 60 million depending on the source. Stalin, the infamous author of the quote “one person’s death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic,” threw into concentration camps and persecuted millions of “disloyal” citizens. He also executed intellectuals and political figures deemed a threat to his power, and even made those people “disappear” by removing their photos and records from history.

In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge eradicated the educated members of society such as lawyers, doctors, and philosophers, whom were called “the root of all capitalist evil” by the communist leader Pol Pot. From 1975-1979, the Khmer Rouge killed about 1.5 to 2 million, or a quarter of Cambodia’s population.

The communists in North Korea and Ethiopia murdered another two million.

Through the 100 years of communist practice, it has caused 100 million unnatural deaths in the world. {14}

But that was still not the worst. In addition to causing the deaths of 100 million people, the communist regimes have spiritually murdered billions of people. They have brainwashed their citizens, telling them that there is no Divine and no God. The communist party is their “savior” and the “savior” of the whole world. It blocks them from receiving Divine messages and even punishes them if they say they received one. In raising its population on propaganda and punishing any disobedience, it has, over time, taken man far away from the Divine.

To religious practitioners, physical death is not so scary, as people still have their souls and know they will have an afterlife. Christians, can go to Heaven and Buddhists can reincarnate.

For people who are disconnected from the Divine, whose minds can no longer discern what is righteous from evil, and who vowed to “devote their lives to communism,” which is the vow people take when they join Chinese Communist Party (CCP), where will they go after they die? Do they still have a chance to rejoin the Divine?

Even to the people who may not have a strong religious belief, the spiritual murder is also devastating to man. If a human can only live, but no longer has the ability to think on his own, always listens to the party, echoes the party, and follows the party, is he still human, or has he been turned into an obedient animal raised by the party?

The United States and its Western allies, recognizing the physical threat of communism, had a Cold War with the former Soviet Union and were able to take down the “evil empire.”

However, since then, not only have they failed to see the devastating spiritual damage of the CCP that continues its reign in China, but they have also continually supported it and helped it become powerful in this world. While for a long time, their love of money has enabled them to ignore the tragedies that the communist regime has inflicted on the Chinese people and on the world; now a time has come in which they seem to have difficulty ignoring the current novel coronavirus pandemic. Remember these words stated earlier: “. . . the last days will be difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money.” (2 Timothy 3, 1-2) How then will the Divine get mankind’s attention and help man remember His Ways?

Part II of this series will explore how the CCP has corrupted human morality, destroyed its people’s souls, and by persecuting its citizens and luring Western supporters has turned many into automatons who are at the service of or actively supporting the CCP.

What will happen to man if he continues to turn a blind eye to the Divine?

Series of the “On Divine Intervention”:

On Divine Intervention – Introduction – Seeking Divine Intervention
On Divine Intervention – Part I – Ignoring Divine Guidance
On Divine Intervention – Part II – Can Man Discern Evil?

Endnotes:
{1} Myth Encyclopedia.
http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ni-Pa/Nu-Wa.html.
{2} The Human Journey, “Axial Age Thought: Spiritual Foundations of Today.”
https://humanjourney.us/ideas-that-shaped-our-modern-world-section/axial-age-thought-spiritual-foundations-of-today/.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Harvard University Press, “The Axial Age and Its Consequences.”
https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674066496.
{5} Epoch Times, “Three Plagues in the Ancient Roman Empire,” February 4, 2020.
http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2020/2/4/183093.html.
{6} Transcript of President Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (1865).
https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=38&page=transcript.
{7} The Hill, “Never again? The Holocaust can happen again — and it’s up to us to stop it,” May 14, 2017.
https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/religion/333158-never-again-the-holocaust-can-happen-again-and-its-up-to-us-to.
{8} Ibid.
{9}Jewish Virtual Library, “German Firms that Used Slave Labor During the Nazi Era.”
https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/german-firms-that-used-slave-labor-during-nazi-era.
{10} The Holocaust Museum and Encyclopedia, “Introduction to the Holocaust.”
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust.
{11} Lumen Learning, “Casualties of World War II.”
https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hccc-worldhistory2/chapter/casualties-of-world-war-ii/.
{12} The Holocaust Museum and Encyclopedia, “Introduction to the Holocaust.”
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust.
{13} The Holocaust Museum and Encyclopedia, “Collaboration.”
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/collaboration.
{14} The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Stéphane Courtois.
https://archive.org/stream/TheBlackBookofCommunism10/the-black-book-of-communism-jean-louis-margolin-1999-communism_djvu.txt.