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  1. The Silence of the Lambs has telling scene—one that lays out the two main worldviews of our day. Clarice Starling, the young FBI agent from the Behavioral Sciences division, attempts to assess Dr. Hannibal Lecter, experienced psychiatrist—and serial killer. He looks at her questionnaire and scoffs. Their conversation goes something like this: “Clarice, I kill people and eat them, because I like to, and you can’t call this evil.” She responds that she thinks he may have made some questionable choices, and she would like to if they might work together towards healthier future decisions. Again Lecter laughs and says, “You have traded good and evil for behaviorism.” Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ to his enemies for 30 silver coins. Jesus welcomed him, gave him a position of leadership, and entrusted him with the group’s finance. He had community, authority, and purpose. Maslow would have said that Judas achieved self-actualization—all thanks to the Savior. The betrayer rewards Jesus by stealing from the accounts, turning him over to corrupt religious leaders, and then, even after realizing the error of his ways, by refusing to reconcile—choosing instead to take his own life. Jesus says Judas is in hell. He declares, “Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” The only result worse than non-existence is hell. A philosophy professor once suggested to me that since God knew Judas would betray Jesus, the traitor cannot be blamed. It is true that, “the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought.” However, the Bible continues, “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” No one has to sin. The book of James tells us, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” God is good, righteous, and has prepared Heaven for us. Satan is bad, evil, and will be bound in hell for eternity. Will we turn to God or continue in the ways that seem right to us, but which end in death?
  2. We've had favor with government for over 200 years in the U.S., but now face the dismissal of our prayers and meaningless, or even partisan. We answer by loving God-neighbor-and enemy, by taking care of the widow and the orphaned, by not tiring in doing good works, and by lifting up the name of Jesus. We'll not be pigeon-holed into political parties or positions. I'm just a migrant laborer here--my true citizenship is in heaven.
  3. Guest

    Good cops

    Here are the stories we don't see enough, but this is more indicative of the experiences I've had with policeman in my area: Protecting AND serving. So sweet. Any other stories or experiences of positive interactions with public servants?
  4. Authors note: For clarification, the use of the word evil in this post refers to the inclination of mankind to be selfish, greedy, ungreatful and entitled to what others have. I chose the word evil, because its one of the words used in the BOM to describe our nature. The question of whether or not mankind is inherently good or evil has been debated for centuries. Fortunately for Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon provides the answer that yes, mankind is inherently evil. The Book of Mormons prophets describe mankind as lost, fallen, carnal, devilish, sensual, and evil. That doesn’t sound too “good” to me. From First Nephi, all the way through Moroni, the Book of Mormon is saturated with examples of “mankind’s” utter failure to be good, not to mention Heavenly Father having to step in to humble his people so they will repent and obey. I am sure many are thinking, “How can you believe that we are inherently evil after holding a baby in your arms?” First of all, we are born innocent, not evil. It is our natures that make us evil. Anyone who has kids understands that it takes a tremendous amount of effort to teach them to share, be kind, be honest, treat others with kindness, to sacrifice, to serve others, to delay gratification, and the list goes on. Despite parents’ best efforts, this battle over the “flesh” is never ending; it will be with us for the rest of our lives. Below I have proved a list of scriptures from the BOM that show we are by nature, evil. Those who believe in the goodness of man (secularists) attribute evil behavior to external forces, such as poverty, racism, and inequality. They reject the idea that mankind is “free to choose,” to rise above their circumstance and fulfill their potential. It is ironic that the belief in the goodness of mankind undermines our ability to grow spiritually. One of the unintended consequences of the secularist belief system leads people to transfer their personal responsibility onto others in order to exonerate them of their “bad” behavior.Belief in our inherent goodness acts as a stumbling block to spiritual progression. Who is more likely to humble and submit one’s will to God, someone who thinks highly of oneself or someone who believes like the brother of Jared, “that they are evil continually?” One of the easiest ways to justify bad behavior is to judge ourselves by our intentions, rather than by our actions. This form of self-delusion comes as a result of thinking we are good, after all, our intentions are good, or at least we convince ourselves to think this. This false doctrine comes from the father of all lies, who believed he was so good, so superior to both God and the Christ that he sought to "fundamentally transform" the plan of Salvation, to ensure that everyone would be saved. No doubt Satan had high self-esteem that I am sure played a role in his unwillingness to submit to Gods will, after all, why would he need to. The belief in the goodness of mankind is contrary to the Gospel because it undermines mankind's gift of agency, the very foundation of what God’s plan is built upon. This doctrine is empowering. Without it, nothing would exist. Believing we are inherently "bad," is liberating. It means we have reached a point where Christ can make us into his image. To be molded, shaped and perfected according to his will. When we understand our true nature, then we will automatically become better parents, because we will help them to fight the greatest battle in life is which is within themselves. Remember the words of the Brother of Jared, one of the greatest prophets to ever grace the earth, "we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually." If feeling this away about himself is good enough for him, it’s sure good enough for me!
  5. Is religion a force for good? The knee jerk reaction from most people who hold to a religious belief is "yes, of course it is." Then when you point out that religion is used to motivate people to commit suicide bombings they will likely concede that this isn't always the case. In one instance though someone said religion is always a force for good because the intentions are always good, even those of a suicide bomber. My reply was that "the path to hell is paved with good intentions". However the question got me thinking, is religion actually a force for anything? There are many definitions for religion around, one is: "A collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred" My own take is that religion is the beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred. The practices are seperate. There are many religions and many churches. I believe that while humans always have free will that it is the church and the way they encourage members to act that determines whether or not the church becomes a force for good or bad and this is regardless of the intentions of the church leaders of the individuals within the church. Take Islam. The teachings of Islam include concepts of peace, love and many other upstanding moral values and yet certain extremist sects, churches if you will, manage to use it to "radicalise" people and turn them in to suicide bombers. Islam as a religion is neither a force for good nor evil rather it is how the church teaches it that determines the acts of the attendees. I posit that religion is not a force for anything, that it is a catalyst around which churches are built. That it is church leaders and the individuals within the church that determine if the church is a force for good or not. I posit that many issues surrounding religion stem not from the religion but the presumption by some that religion is good therefore what the church commands under the trappings of religion must also be good. That the problems in most cases are not with the religion but with the church leaders. It's amazing how good teachings can be twisted to serve someone else's "greater good". Thoughts?