We die, says Jesus Christ; and, when we awaken from the languor of disease, the glories and the happiness of Paradise are around us. All evil and pain have ceased for ever. Our happiness also corresponds with, and is adapted to, the nature of what is most excellent in our being. We see God, and we see that he is good. How delightful a picture, even if it be not true! How magnificent is the conception which this bold theory suggests to the contemplation, even if it be no more than the imagination of some sublimest and most holy poet, who, impressed with the loveliness and majesty of his own nature, is impatient and discontented with the narrow limits which this imperfect life and the dark grave have assigned for ever as his melancholy portion. It is not to be believed that Hell, or punishment, was the conception of this daring mind. It is not to be believed that the most prominent group of this picture, which is framed so heart-moving and lovely—the accomplishment of all human hope, the extinction of all morbid fear and anguish—would consist of millions of sensitive beings enduring, in every variety of torture which Omniscient vengeance could invent, immortal agony.
An Athenian soldier, in the Ionian army which had assembled for the purpose of vindicating the liberty of the Asiatic Greeks, accidentally set fire to Sardis. The city, being composed of combustible materials, was burned to the ground. The Persians believed that this circumstance of aggression made it their duty to retaliate on Athens. They assembled successive expeditions on the most extensive scale. Every nation of the East was united to ruin the Grecian States. Athens was burned to the ground, the whole territory laid waste, and every living thing which it contained [destroyed]. After suffering and inflicting incalculable mischiefs, they desisted from their purpose only when they became impotent to effect it. The desire of revenge for the aggression of Persia outlived, among the Greeks, that love of liberty which bad been their most glorious distinction among the nations of mankind; and Alexander became the instrument of its completion. The mischiefs attendant on this consummation of fruitless ruin aretoo manifold and too tremendous to be related. If all the thought which had been expended on the construction of engines of agony and death—the modes ofaggression and defence, the raising of armies, and the acquirement of those arts of tyranny and falsehood without which mixed multitudes could neither be lednor governed—had been employed to promote the true welfare and extend the real empire of man, how different would have been the present situation of human society! how different the state of knowledge in physical and moral science, upon which the power and happiness of mankind essentially depend! What nation has the example of the desolation of Attica by Mardonius and Xerxes, or the extinction of the Persian empire by Alexander of Macedon, restrained from outrage? Was not the pretext of this latter system of spoliation derived immediately from the former? Had revenge in this instance any other effect than to increase, instead of diminishing, the mass of malice and evil already existing in the world?
The nature of a narrow and malevolent spirit is so essentially incompatible with happiness as to render it inaccessible to the influences of the benignant God. All that his own perverse propensities will permit him to receive, that God abundantly pours forth upon him. If there is the slightest overbalance of happiness, which can be allotted to the most atrocious offender, consistently with the nature of things, that is rigidly made his portion by the ever-watchful Power of God. In every case, the human mind enjoys the utmost pleasure which it is capable of enjoying. God is represented by Jesus Christ as the Power from which, and through which, the streams of all that is excellent and delightful flow; the Power which models, as they pass, all the elements of this mixed universe to the purest and most perfect shape which it belongs to their nature to assume. Jesus Christ attributes to this Power the faculty of Will. How far such a doctrine, in its ordinary sense, may be philosophically true, or how far Jesus Christ intentionally availed himself of a metaphor easily understood, is foreign to the subject to consider. This much is certain, that Jesus Christ represents God as the fountain of all goodness, the eternal enemy of pain and evil, the uniform and unchanging motive of the salutary operations of the material world. The supposition that this cause is excited to action by some principle analogous to the human will, adds weight to the persuasion that it is foreign to its beneficent nature to inflict the slightest pain. According to Jesus Christ, and according to the indisputable facts of the case, some evil spirit has dominion in this imperfect world. But there will come a time when the human mind shall be visited exclusively by the influences of the benignant Power. Men shall die, and their bodies shall rot under the ground; all the organs through which their knowledge and their feelings have flowed, or in which they have originated, shall assume other forms, and become ministrant to purposes the most foreign from their former tendencies. There is a time when we shall neither be heard or be seen by the multitude of beings like ourselves by whom we have been so long surrounded. They shall go to graves; where then?
Regarding the second statement, that man was created in the image and likeness of God – such a belief system leaves the man in the position of having to make a choice. Either belief can be expanded to include an understanding of the image of God as everything that exists and to give Homo Sapiens the position of kinship with other intelligent life forms, or retain a belief system, and put the extraterrestrial life form outside of God – in the category of demons. In this case, an individual would hold the belief system, despite all the contradictions with the facts without accepting them. Since there is increasingly more information about the different forms of intelligent life, these individuals avoid open discussions.
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How should a person, who went through the transformation and accepted new concepts, deal with those who are severely inadequate and captured in the false reality of their belief systems? The pressure of the information does little good, since their resistance increases. In fact, the opposite approach works best. Random comment on the subject can much more effective. Let the facts to make their magic, as they often do.
Essay on Belief Systems - Your Term Papers
Children begin to form new beliefs and ideas of their own, the family influence is still there, but just not as strong. Also, peers become a major influence on a young person's thinking. To express their newfound values a child will often go through a stage of rebellion where they reject a lot of their parent's values. This doesn't mean that they have taken on a whole new belief system. It just means they are expanding the values, thinking, and belief system from the home with new ideas and thoughts. The country where you are raised is one of the major influences on a person's values and thinking process.
School teaches children to use a critical thought process. One way where this is done is if a child is given an opinion in a debate and they must find reasons to defend a certain viewpoint. They are exposed to a wide variety of viewpoint and opinions. Another source of influence on values and beliefs is the media. Free speech guarantees the rights of anyone to express their opinions.
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Wilkins and Griffiths (2013) hold that the epistemic premise cansometimes be resisted: evolutionary processes do track truth, forinstance, in the case of commonsense beliefs and, by extension,scientific beliefs. However, they hold that this move does not workfor religious and moral beliefs, because such beliefs are assumed notto be the result of truth-tracking cognitive processes. Some authors(e.g., McCauley 2011) indeed think there is a large difference betweenthe cognitive processes involved in science and in religion, but moreempirical work has to be done on this front.