#2. Which God?
Even where the culture is common, and the religion is fundamentally the same, there have been great battles fought for dominance and dominion. Islam, for example, wars with itself, between Sunni and Shia, to the death and with great bloodshed, though both worship Allah and read Koran. Christianity has an innate rift between the more ancient Catholicism and the newer Protestantism, but also early Christianity fought with blood between Arius and Aristarchus, essentially over finer points of the trinity, and Protestantism during the Reformation waged wars of splintering. Buddhism is not exempt either, having fought, and continuing to fight, sectarian wars not only of culture (as between China and Tibet) but also of ideology (over the dharma, for example).
As for war between the religions, this is more widespread in the literature. The Crusades between Christianity and Islam comes immediately to mind. Islamic ideas of world domination, a constant struggle in India, Africa, and now Europe and America, is self-evident. Persecution of the Jews, just because they are Jews, is endless. Wars in and over Israel continues. Wars between Buddhism and Hinduism, between Hinduism and Sikhism, between Hinduism and Islam.
I have framed the issue this way initially in order to provoke the common response that the inability of all humanity to choose one God for worship and religion has caused, and will cause, immeasurable trouble and innumerable death. Therefore, we hear that religion is bad. This is a false conclusion.
In the first place, religion is necessary. It is the organization of worship. Worship itself is necessary, to satisfy the innate urge of human beings who recognize the fact that God exists. To refrain from worship of God is to deny the science and math that God exists (see 613.1). Therefore, to refrain from religion is to either (1) believe that God, who exists, seeks no more than to be recognized as existing, or (2) not believe in the existence of God.
Regarding atheism, not believing in the existence of God, it is against science and math to hold such a belief. Therefore, the true nature of atheism cannot be superiority of intellect. Instead, atheism is the desire to be free from the limitations which God puts upon mankind, through His Law. For if there is a God, He has a Law. If we say God does not have a Law for mankind, we are hedonists. If we say God does have a Law for mankind, but we shall not obey it, we are hedonists. Even if we say God does have a Law for mankind, but we cannot be sure what that Law is, and therefore we are abstaining from obedience until the truth is known, we are hedonists. And certainly, to say there is no God is also to be a hedonist. For if no God, then no Law of God.
What is a hedonist? Someone who puts their own pleasure above any law which limits that pleasure. A marijuana smoker is a hedonist when he imbibes where it is not legal. Under Torah, which we say is God’s Law, smoking marijuana is no sin, and therefore is not a hedonism against God. Smoking marijuana is only a hedonism under civil law. Male homosexuality, however, is always a hedonism, being against Torah, even if the civil law has decriminalized it in society. It is therefore that the male homosexual cannot abide under Torah, either forced by conscience to change his ways (whether born that way or not), or else forced by circumstances to struggle against Torah, whether that means to dilute Torah, to ignore Torah, or to actively fight against Torah. It becomes thus a choice between religion and irreligion, a war between religion and anti-religion. Where this war becomes embittered enough, there is death. Islam, for example, seeks out the homosexual to kill him, or her, publicly, as a matter of purity, and indeed it is a war against hedonism (Islamic hypocrisy notwithstanding).
But lest ye think it a one-way street, when atheism is in control it is religion which suffers slaughter. The communist states, which take irreligion as one of their three main tenets, have persecuted the churches and executed many. The number of deaths which the communist states have in total perpetrated, or permitted (about 100 million), exceed by far the number of deaths committed in the name of God. And let us not forget the French Revolution. Atheism, or irreligion, cannot therefore be named as the logical or more humane alternative to religion. It is, in fact, deadlier.
When John Lennon sings, "Imagine there's no heaven, it isn't hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too," he is completely wrong.
First, it IS hard for most people to imagine there is no heaven. About 90% of the planet believes heaven in one form or another. It is not that 90% of the people are stupid, backward, unenlightened, or stubborn. It is simply their innate belief. Why? Are they born believing in heaven and God, or are they educated to believe it? It actually doesn't matter. Atheism shall never eradicate belief, though, according to the Bible, that battle shall last until the end of time. Therefore, the world shall turn on such belief until humanity is expunged, whether by Judgment Day or by man's own hand.
Likewise, Lennon is incorrect that, without ideas of heaven, religion would disappear. Religion is not exclusively about heaven. True, heaven is reward, in an afterlife, but we also have to live now. Religion tells us how to live. Religion provides laws of limitation to prevent hurt and trespass against others, commandments of sacrifice and pleasing God, and rules of lifestyle for food, sex, and other touchy subjects. This is true of any religion. Religion therefore seeks to keep society together, through rules and laws.
But if you say religion is not the answer, what is? Irreligion is not the answer, this is clear. Without religion and heaven, there shall still be a law to rule society, and if it is irreligion it shall kill and die for that ideal, and if it is “coexistence” it cannot be held together without force, especially force of the law. Indeed, the law is power, and your only question is, and shall be, which Law do you wish to live under? This choice, which is most important, shall determine which God.
So let us not say, “If only there were no religion, there would be peace.” It is not possible for religion to cease, because thoughts of heaven are innate, and also because laws for society are necessary. On the other hand, it is not possible for hedonism to cease, and therefore hedonism, and those who enable hedonism, shall war constantly with religion.
Now, you might say, what right or business has religion to butt into the lives of many or any? Perhaps you believe society can live without the Law of God? To live without the Law of God is to invite many evils.
The first evil is savagery, to live the law of the jungle, to live the law of kill or be killed. Naturally, many will say that the Law of God is savage, commanding us to kill, for example, the male homosexual. And while I might fight this notion, by saying, first, that no one is forcing the male homosexual to be a homosexual, or that no one is forcing him to be public with his homosexuality, or that the Law of God demands witnesses for any trial, I do not deny that, at the end of such trial which finds such a man guilty of such an act, there is death. But this is not hypocrisy, for we do not say that religion is for peace or tolerance. Jesus Christ, who is often looked upon as this bastion of peace and tolerance, said, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). In other words, Christ did not come to bring coexistence and tolerance of sin, but rather a sword against it. Therefore, Christianity is not supposed to be a religion of peace and tolerance towards sin. And since sin is specifically defined as breaking one of God’s commandments, Christianity ought to be geared towards the Law of God, and lawful enforcement of it. That Christianity is not geared towards enforcing the Law of God (never mind lawfully enforcing it) makes it a religion which permits hedonism and, with ultimate irony, atheism.
So it is not religion, or thoughts of heaven or God, which rankles the atheist. Rather, it is the Law of God which upsets the atheist and the hedonist. The atheist feels oppressed by surrounding religion and therefore makes protest to the government to “protect” him from such oppression, and, when the government obliges, it is religion which then becomes oppressed. Merely a reversal, not a coexistence (which is anyway not possible). The hedonist likewise feels this oppression, makes these protests, and reverses power when the government obliges. This war is not due to religion, this war is due to a struggle over “which law.” It shall always boil down to this: Which Law shall prevail?
Buddhists love the way of Buddha. Christians love the way of Christ. Or, at least, they love their IDEA of the way of Buddha, or their IDEA of the way of Christ. Buddhists seek to escape pain by ceasing striving. Christians seek to escape pain by faith in resurrection, if not Rapture. These are the carrots which motivate, which those who teach motivation classes say must be set out in front of the human being, to make him obey. Obey? Yes, carrots are there to cause obedience to rules, programs, twelve-steps, and laws. There is reward for doing things right. But there is also a stick, punishment for doing things wrong. Those who say God is all-forgiving are disavowing the stick, acknowledging only the carrot. George Carlin, the comedian, said he believed in a “big electron” which did not judge or punish but just “is.” This is wishful thinking.
For if we acknowledge that God created the universe, and did so through scientific means and ways, through laws of nature, in other words, why would He create commandments for every object in the universe, the galaxies and planets and winds and animals and plants, but not create commandments for human beings? Only the arrogance of humanity, that we are created to enjoy the bounty, but have no further responsibility to God or ourselves or our universe, would cause such an utterance. How arrogant indeed that a man would say he alone, or those like him, are exempt from the Law of God. In fact, these are the thoughts of the hedonist, weak in the law, who shall be conquered by the savage, strong in the law. Why the savage and why not the moral? There is another arrogance amongst the moral, that they have a burden to be more decent and civil, even if such burden takes them away from the actual Law they say commands them to be decent and civil! In other words, the moral are too nice, and therefore, when taken away from the violence inherent in the law, they become hedonists themselves. Only when the moral enforce the law, according to the procedure in the law, are they not hedonists, not weak, and not subject to conquest by the savage.
The second evil which stems from living without God is communism, which is a worse alternative to religion.
The third evil is corruption, which is use of the law for personal gain rather than for societal good. Corruption creeps into everything, naturally so, elevated by human nature to uplift one's personal empowerment or standard of living. When the Law of God dominates, there can be no corruption, only deviation. When God rules, man cannot do evil. When God rules, there is equal justice. Domination by Torah is thus infinitely better than domination by men.
The fourth evil is crime. This is simply non-adherence to law. As previously mentioned, the marijuana smoker breaks the law of man, not the Law of God, so marijuana is not abhorrent to God. But the thief, even in his pettiness, is abhorrent, breaking the Law of God. Without God's Law, crime becomes relative, according to the mood of the judge or jury. God's Law is clear, and those who deny and break His Law, including judges and juries who fail to enforce the Law, are criminals, despite their “good” intentions.
The fifth evil is hedonism, which is the hardest thing to surrender, the easiest thing to accept, and that which is manipulated by all other evils. Where hedonism is promised, evil is elected.
If God is a construct of man, we still must choose between God and man, between God's Law and man's law. If we choose man's law, we are subject to the whims of men. If we choose God's Law, we are only subject to that which is already written (even if we also are subject to civil law). To reject God and His Law is to therefore choose slavery and death. To accept God and God's Law is to limit the control men have over other men. In either case, men will control men, but at least with God's Law it is limited to the written word and interpretations thereof.
How does this help us to choose which God? Which God is best? We may dispense with any religion which reveres the creations of God, such as sun-worship, cat-worship, rain-worship, and so forth. We may also dispense with any religion which reveres a non-judgmental god, for this is merely arrogance and wishful thinking, as previously discussed. We may also dispense with any religion which reveres a multiplicity of gods, such as the Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Teutonic, and Hindu mythologies, and so forth. Why? In every case, there is a chief "god." If there is a chief god, why are there smaller gods to revere, in whichever measure? All gods, including God, are jealous, and it therefore makes no sense to tempt the wrath of the strongest god by including any weaker god in worship. We may also dispense with any religion which uses a totem or idol of any kind. Any material thing is destructible. Wood may be burned, stone may be broken, and so on, but God is indestructible. Too, God is invisible, so any totem or idol is a sacrilege, a blasphemy, even if in the true likeness of God, if that were possible. We may also dispense with philosophy posing as religion. Whether the philosophy is strong in law (Confucianism) or weak in law (Buddhism), philosophy is not eternal as is the Law of God. Even where law is transcendent (Zen, Tao), there is a way. Law cannot be merely tossed without consequence, and every great philosophy understands this. Even Buddhism, which thinks itself not susceptible, finds itself full of idolatry (Buddha did not want to be worshipped) and hedonism (the Western form of Buddhism). Stronger Law must therefore be considered better, even if many complain their hedonisms are constricted by it.
After this, what remains is a monotheistic religion which reveres an invisible God. This includes Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism. Sikhism is latter-day. Islam and Christianity spring from Judaism, worshipping essentially the same God, and obeying (or disobeying) essentially the same Law of God, Torah. Torah is ancient, contains language which makes it non-amendable, has suffered and survived requisite persecution, has remained dominant even under unlawful amendment, and is the backbone for our most revered documents, the Magna Carta and the Constitution of the United States (though the Constitution is amendable where Torah is not).
Excepting Judaism, Islam has come closest to keeping Torah, but, like Korah of Exodus, has done so with their own separate and illegal congregations, which administer this Torah (tawrot) through a judicial system which is not only ultra-violent but also not permitted by Torah. Islam is therefore self-defeating. Christianity is also self-defeating, having amended Torah by doctrine to permit unlawful things, such as pork, tattoos, and even idols, if you count the crucifix and statues of Mary and Jesus.
But even the Jews, commanded by Torah to be a separate people, distinguished also by physical distinctions, instead seek to assimilate with the Gentiles, for reasons of security and fitting in, if not outright hedonism. This assimilation has been the cause of much trouble for the Jews, who are generally blamed for the ills of a society in which they had no business anyway. This is not to blame the Jews for the Holocaust, or any economic woes of any country, only to say that adherence to Torah would have prevented even the perception that the Jews must be hunted down.
But this is not all of it, for the Jews have been persecuted just for being Jews, even when they minded their own business. Why are the Jews so persecuted? Because they are the bearers of the Law which is most despised. Why is Torah most despised? Because it clamps down hardest on hedonism. Is not Koran most despised? Even if so, Koran derives deliberately and closely from Torah, so it is still Torah which is despised. And because it is most despised, this is the best reason to choose Torah as the Law of God.
The main issue then with Torah, and belief in it as the Law of God, and thus of men, is that adherence to Torah takes away from hedonism, and causes, often for no apparent reason, persecution of those who uplift Torah. It seems easier for men to agree with each other, tolerate their hedonisms, and keep religion in a meek fashion, all for the sake of peace. But such meek and weak people are ripe for picking by savages, criminals, the corrupt, and the communists. Abstaining from Law does not make peace, only a power vacuum which must and will be filled.
Is there no compromise? Is there no coexistence? There is not. There is one God. If there is not one God, there are not many gods. If there is not God, there is man. If there is man and not God, there is evil. There is no evil with God, even if there is violence inherent in the Law. Dispensing with God does not make an accident any less tragic, or failure any less painful. Dispensing with God only leaves one without hope of rescue. Luck, as it were, becomes the new god, praying for good luck, praying against bad luck. There is no "rational man" who is completely at ease without God. There is no rational man completely at ease without a strong law. The only thing missing for the rational man is that God has not personally appeared before him. But even this thought is flawed, for, as we’ve already discussed, reality itself is the revelation of God.
Who is God? Torah tells us who God is, "the God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." In other words, the God who gave the Law, Torah, to Moses. About 4 billion people, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, believe this, even if they war with each other for hegemony and purity. About 1 billion people are "spiritual but not religious." These are generally believers in this same God and His Law, whether they follow it or not, who are soured on religion, not God. Thus, about 2/3 of the world's population believe Torah is the Law of God, whether or not they follow it. About 1 billion people are Hindus, who also believe in a Law of God, the Vedic Law. About 500 million are Buddhists and Taoists, who believe in a way, generally speaking a Torah-associated way. That means about 87% of the world holds in high regard a singular Law of God which is, or is quite like, Torah. The number is higher still when associated religious offshoots, and anti-religionists who are generally anti-Torah, are added in.
Torah is, for all intents and purposes, the Law of God for the entire Earth, which means the true God is the one who gave this ancient, complete, non-amendable, enduring, and persecuted Law to Moses.
What if you scoff? What are you scoffing at? Do you want law or no law? You want law. Do you want man's law or God's Law? You want God's Law. Do you want your own law? You are just as much a hypocrite to your own law as anyone else is to their law, including Torah. Evading Torah for your own law will not make you less of a hypocrite or lawbreaker, only more lenient on yourself when you are or do. You as your own god will be a complete farce. You are neither faithful to yourself nor do you believe it. When the chips are down, you will look to a higher power, whether it be the God of Torah or some other. Or do you think you will courageously go down with the ship?
True, many successful people do not worship God. Some worship Satan. Some worship trees and rocks. Some worship Buddha. I never said the human race had a shortage of gods or laws, or a shortage of philosophies or anti-philosophies, or a shortage of cynics and disbelievers. My point is, you must choose, and the path you choose will be the law you choose. So, which Law? That answer will determine, Which God?
Copyright 2004-2017 Tom Wise. All Rights Reserved.