FABLES AND TRADITIONS
believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not
shall be damned. (Mark 16:)
When you were a very small child you
believed in the Easter Bunny. I have little doubt but that you also
believed in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause and goblins under your bed.
Why did you believe in
these? Is it because they are real? Of course not. Now
you know they are not real, nor were they real when you firmly believed
Then why did you believe in
Did you believe in them
because you saw them?
Or did you believe in them
because you were told they were real?
Of course one reason you believed is because you saw
them for yourself. You might have seen them after
you believed, but having seen them, or at least the effects
of their presence convinced you they were real.
Did you ever see Santa
Clause? Surely you did. Not only did you see
Santa, but you sat in his lap, and received the toys Santa brought you.
No one could convince you that Santa was not real, because you met him
Did you ever see the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny? I doubt it. You
saw pictures of the Easter Bunny. You saw the
colored eggs he left hidden in the grass. You saw
the quarter (or whatever) the Tooth Fairy left
you. These were evidence to you that they existed.
But these are not the reason you believed. Although you met Santa, you
also saw that he had wires holding up his beard and the tip of a pillow
hanging beneath his coat. You also saw that Santa looked just like, and
sounded just like your father or your Uncle George. If it was just a
matter of evidence, you would not have believed
in Santa or the Easter Bunny.
So if it wasn't evidence
that convinced you, why did you believe?
You believed because you were told that Santa and
the Easter Bunny were real.
Of course there were those (probably your older friends or siblings)
who told you that these were not real, but you
continued to believe anyway.
Because you were told they do exist by someone
you trust; someone you knew would not lie to you:
While you were being taught that the Easter Bunny was real, you were
also being taught about God, and about Jesus, and about the Holy Ghost.
What kind of a picture did your immature mind form of God? Was He a
giant man in a beard who sits on a cloud somewhere in the sky? Was He a
gentle Grandpa waiting for you to die so you could come up to His cloud
and sit on His lap? Was He a mean old man just waiting for you to make
a mistake so He could send you to a fiery furnace forever?
And Jesus, what sort of
image did you form of Him? Was Jesus a kindly man who loved to tell
children's stories and feed lots of people? Was Jesus a man all beat up
and hanging on a cross somewhere in a foreign land? Was Jesus a man who
died and came back to life like some sort of zombie in the movies?
And the Holy Ghost; was He
some mysterious spook that no one understood and that floated around
Heaven somewhere? Was He like a creepy ghost that likes to play tricks
on people and scare them while they're sleeping? Was He like Casper,
able to float through people and see inside them, reading their
thoughts and making them do things they shouldn't do?
Children try to understand who they are, and to learn about the world
they live in. Unfortunately those who are to teach them who they are,
why they are born, their purpose in life and what they should believe;
are also teaching them about Santa and the Easter Bunny.
Of course we might assume
that in church these children would learn the Truth, at least
they would learn the Truth about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. That
would be our assumption. But in fact the very ones teaching them about
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit set up a Christmas tree in the church
and provides them with presents that Santa Clause supposedly brought
What is a child to believe? And what happens with all that "knowledge"
the child formed during his or her Formative Years that we say is so
important and so difficult to adjust when we mature?
Though unwittingly by all involved, those we trusted were teaching us not
to trust them, nor to believe anything we are supposed to believe by
those very people we trusted to tell us the truth. Meanwhile, those who
we disbelieved when we were young because they were telling us
something different than what those we trusted were telling us, we
later learned had been telling us the truth. So
now, that we have learned not to believe those in
a position of trust; who is it we turn to for the "truth" but those who
are the least likely to recognize the "Truth" themselves.
So, now that you, being older and beyond all this, having learned the
"Truth," what are you telling your children, and
grandchildren, and great-grandchildren?
From childhood we learn not
to trust those in a position of trust. We also learn not to believe
anything, especially anything we have not
experienced ourself. And those things we think we
believe, in actuality we do not.
We have been taught that
Nero was the Emperor of Rome. We believe that, don't we? Surely we do.
But how can
we believe? Have we ever seen Nero? In fact, have
we ever seen Rome? Of course not. Yet we "believe" in Nero and in Rome.
We believe in Nero the same
way we believed in the Easter Bunny. All we have is the word of some
books written by "experts" that say there is evidence that Nero and
Yet we believe. Not really.
We do not "believe" in Nero or in Rome, any more than we can "believe"
that there are other solar systems floating around in space.
Some people believe in
extra-terrestrial beings. They believe in the same way you and I
believe in Nero.
Heaven's Gate was a group of
people who believed Jesus was coming for them in a space ship. In
preparation for their departure, they committed suicide. These
people believed. How can we know they believed?
Because their actions leave little doubt about how firmly they believed.
"Believe" is a verb. And a verb is an action word. To say we believe in
something is to say we are acting on that belief. If we are not acting
on our belief, it is not belief, but acceptance.
Acceptance is not an action
word. Acceptance is a passive occurrence. If we accept something, we
take it as our own without doing anything about it. For instance we can
accept a gift, or a compliment, or a suggestion, and it not change our
life or opinion in any way.
Belief, on the other hand,
requires a change of heart, a redirection of our behavior. Nero was the
Emperor of Rome, not in our belief, but in our acceptance. Whether Nero
existed or not, whether Rome ever was a reality make not the slightest
difference to us. If history proves that neither of these "facts" are
true, we might at the most shrug our shoulder and continue munching on
When we believed in Santa
Clause it was a difficult transition we had to make in order to no
longer believe. We had to fight within ourselves whether we wanted to
release that believe and conform our belief system to what we are told
is "mature," or hold on to what has carried us through life up to that
Along with the release of
our belief in Santa Clause we had to deal with our release in the
confidence we held for those we trusted. We had to disregard whatever
instructions we had been given by our parents, our pastor, the cop on
the corner who told us about Santa's reindeer, and the news media who
reported updates on Santa's whereabouts.
Once the child has made the
transition from belief to non-belief, their confidence in their belief
system diminishes. Having been deceived, the child now knows that he or
she is gullible and will not accept at face value any "Truth" being
presented to them.
Yet, we as humans have a
need for some form of Belief. We do not feel complete merely accepting
the world, we want to know there is Truth out there some
Into this need for belief
comes the con man, the ad agencies, the cults, the Jim Jones', the
Hitlers. People need to cling to something, and be lead by some one.
And those looking to do the leading are very often those we should
We are told that we should follow Jesus. Who is Jesus? Again, is Jesus
that man who tells weird stories, was killed on a cross, and rose from
the ground like some ghost? Who is Jesus?
And what about the Holy
Ghost the Bible talks about? We learned long ago not to believe in
ghosts; now here the church is telling us that we are to follow one
It makes no sense.
And we are told we are to
"Believe" in Jesus and the Holy Ghost. Yet we learned long ago not
to believe in anything we have not experienced ourselves.
So we "Believe." We believe
in Jesus and the Holy Ghost in the same way we believe in Nero; in the
same way we believed in Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.
There is a man down the street. I don't know that much about the man,
but I believe in him. Why do I believe in him? Because I've met
There's another man who
lives down another street I know fairly well. I know he is a nice man,
who cares about his family, who works as a mechanic, and who goes to a
local church. I believe I can say I not only believe
in the man, but I kind of know the man.
I have a friend. I've known
him for some time. I know a great deal about him. I can say I not only believe
in him, but I know him as well.
I believe I exist. The fact
that I exist is probably one of my strongest beliefs. The reason for my
strong belief is because of my close acquaintance with myself. I know a
great deal about myself. There is still a lot I don't
know about who I am, but I am being taught these things day-by-day.
The better I know someone,
or something, and the more experience I have with them; the more I
believe in them or it. Without that experience I am unable to believe,
but am left with only the option to accept.
We are told in the church that we are "Believers" because we have said
a few words and taken a bath. That is rather like saying I am a
world-class swimmer because I have read a book about swimming and
dunked myself in a pool.
"Belief" is an action word.
"Knowing" someone requires spending time with them and letting them
tell you about themself.
If you are a "Believer" you
are doing something (in fact according to the Bible you are doing everything)
about that belief. If you are a Christian you are in constant
fellowship with your Lord, and you are being led by His Holy Spirit.
If you are one who has the words
of belief, without the Belief itself; then you are not a "Believer,"
but an "acceptor" of the Word. You are not a doer
of the Word, but one who passively sits back and waits to see if what
you "believe" turns out to be true; or if it turns out to be just
another Easter Bunny fairy tale.
22But be ye doers of the word, and not
hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23For
if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man
beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he
beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what
manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into
the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein,
he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall
be blessed in his deed. 26If any man among you
seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his
own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27Pure
religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the
fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to
keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:)
so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18Yea,
a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith
without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. 19Thou
believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also
believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O
vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was
not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac
his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith
wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And
the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it
was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of
God. 24Ye see then how that by works a man is
justified, and not by faith only. 25Likewise
also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received
the messengers, and had sent them out another
way? 26For as the body without the spirit is
dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:)
every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom
of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many
will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy
name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many
wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto
them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore
whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken
him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And
the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat
upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And
every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall
be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And
the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat
upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Mat 7:)
I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know
that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto
every one of you according to your works. (Rev 2:)
said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow
me. 25For whosoever will save his life shall
lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26For
what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his
own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For
the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels;
and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Mat 16:)
I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the
earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And
I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were
opened: and another book was opened, which is the book
of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were
written in the books, according to their works. 13And
the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered
up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man
according to their works. 14And death and hell
were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And
whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the
lake of fire. (Rev 20:)
know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert
cold or hot. 16So then because thou art
lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because
thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of
nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and
poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to
buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white
raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that
the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with
eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19As many as I
love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Rev 3:)
thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that
I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in
me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am
in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very
verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do
shall he do also; and greater works than these
shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14:)