What It Means to Pursue the Truth (5) (Part Three)
Traditional culture’s sayings about moral conduct come from Satan. They have arisen among corrupted humans, and they are only suitable for unbelievers and those who do not love the truth. People who believe in God and pursue the truth should first be able to discern these things, and reject them, because these sayings will have some negative effects on people, they will disorientate them and make them take the wrong path. For example, among the examples we just gave, there is the saying: “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands.” Let us first talk about, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings.” If this king is a wise, capable, and positive figure, then you supporting him, following him, and defending him shows that you have humanity, morals, and noble character. But if the king is despotic and fatuous, is a devil, and you still follow him, defend him, and do not turn against him, what is this “loyalty” that you possess? It is a foolish, blind loyalty; it is blind and foolish. In that case, your loyalty is wrong and it has become a negative thing. When it comes to this kind of demon king and devil, you should no longer adhere to the saying: “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings.” You should abandon, reject, and distance yourself from this king—you should abandon the darkness and choose the light. If you still choose to remain loyal to this demon king, then you are his lackey and accomplice. So, in certain circumstances and contexts, the idea, or positive meaning and values that this saying is extolling do not exist. From this you can see that although this saying sounds very righteous and positive, its application is limited to a few particular circumstances and contexts; it is not applicable in every circumstance or context. If people blindly and foolishly adhere to this saying, they will only lose their way and fall onto the wrong path. The consequences of this are unthinkable. The next clause in this saying is: “a good woman cannot marry two husbands.” What does a “good woman” refer to here? It refers to a woman who is pure, who is faithful to just one husband. She must be faithful to him until the end, and never have a change of heart, regardless of whether he is a good person or not. Even if her husband dies, she must remain a widow until the end of her days. That is a so-called pure and faithful wife. Traditional culture requires all women to be pure and faithful wives. Was this a fair way of treating women? Why could men have more than one wife, but women could not remarry even if their husbands died? Men and women did not have equal status. If a woman was constrained by the words, “a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” and chose to be a pure and faithful wife, what could she gain? At most, a monument commemorating her purity would be erected after she died. Is this meaningful? Would you agree that women had a hard lot in life? Why did they not have the right to remarry after their husbands died? This is the view that traditional culture extols, and it is a notion that mankind has always clung to. If a woman’s husband died leaving behind several children and she could not afford to take care of them, what could she do? She had to beg for food. If she did not want her children to suffer and she wished to find a way to survive, she had to remarry and live with her name being sullied, and the condemnation of public opinion, and being shunned and looked down upon by society and the masses. She had to eat dirt and put up with society’s insults so that her children could have a normal upbringing. From this perspective, although she did not live up to the standard of “a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” were her behaviors, approaches, and sacrifices not worthy of respect? At least when her children grew up and understood their mother’s love for them, they would respect her, and they would certainly not look down on or shun her for her behavior. Instead, they would be grateful, and think that a mother like theirs was exceptional. However, popular opinion would not agree with them. From the perspective of society’s opinion, which is the same as the perspective of “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” which man advocates for, no matter how you look at it, this mother was not a good person, because she contravened this traditional notion of morality. As a result, they would label her as having problematic moral conduct. So, why would her children’s thoughts and views toward her differ from traditional culture’s view of her? Because her children would view this issue from the perspective of survival. If this woman had not remarried, she and her children would have no means of survival. If she had held to this traditional notion, then there would have been no way for her to live—she would have starved to death. She chose to remarry to save her children’s lives and her own. In light of this context, is traditional culture’s and popular opinion’s condemnation of her not completely wrong? They care nothing for whether people live or die! So, what is the meaning and value of holding to this traditional notion of morality? It may be said that there is no value in it at all. It is something that hurts and harms people. As victims of this notion, this woman and her children had firsthand experience of this fact, but nobody heeded them or sympathized with them. They could do nothing but swallow their pain. What do you think, is this society fair? Why is this kind of society and country so evil and dark? It is because the traditional culture that Satan has implanted in man still controls people’s thinking and dominates public opinion. To this day, no person has been able to see this issue clearly. The unbelievers still cling to the notions and views of traditional culture, and think that they are correct. To date, they have not abandoned these things.
Now, when we look at the saying, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” you can see that no matter what perspective we view it from, it is not a positive thing, it is purely man’s notion and imagining. Why do I say that it is not a positive thing? (Because it is not the truth, it is man’s notion and imagining.) In fact, very few people can do what this phrase asks. It is just an empty theory and man’s notion and imagining, but because it took root in people’s hearts, it became a sort of popular opinion, and many people judged matters of this sort according to it. So, what is the essence of the perspective and stance from which popular opinion judged matters of this sort? Why did popular opinion judge a woman who remarried so harshly? Why did people criticize this kind of person, and shun and look down on her? What was the reason? You do not understand, do you? You are unclear when it comes to facts; you just know that it is not the truth and that it is not in line with. Well, I will tell you, and when I am done you will be able to see this sort of thing clearly. It is because popular opinion judged this woman based solely on one thing and one action—her remarrying—and narrowly defined the quality of her humanity based upon that one thing, rather than looking at the real quality of her humanity. Is that not unfair and unjust? Popular opinion did not look at how the woman’s humanity was usually—whether she was an evil person or a kind person, whether she loved positive things, whether she had hurt or harmed other people, or whether she was a loose woman before remarrying. Did people in society and popular opinion evaluate this woman comprehensively based on these things? (No, they didn’t.) Then what did people at the time base their evaluation on? They based it on the saying, “a good woman cannot marry two husbands.” Everyone thought, “Women should only marry once. Even if your husband dies, you should remain a widow for the rest of your life. You are a woman, after all. If you remain faithful to your husband’s memory and do not remarry, we will erect a monument commemorating your purity—we can even erect ten! No one cares how much you suffer, or how difficult it is for you to raise your children. No one will care even if you have to beg on the streets for food. You must still adhere to the saying: ‘a good woman cannot marry two husbands.’ Only by doing this will you be a good woman, and possess humanity and morals. If you remarry, then you are a bad woman and a slut.” What this implies is that only by not remarrying can a woman become a good, pure, and faithful person with noble moral conduct and character. Within traditional culture’s concepts of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, the saying, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” became the basis for appraising people. People treated this saying as though it were the truth, and used it as a standard for evaluating others. That is the essence of this matter. Because someone possessed one kind of behavior that did not conform with the requirements and standards put forward by traditional culture, they were labeled as having low-quality humanity and low moral conduct, as having poor and terrible humanity. Is that fair at all? (No, it’s not.) Then, in order to be a good woman, what must the circumstances be, and what price must you pay? If you want to be a good woman, you must be faithful to only one husband, and if your husband dies, you must remain a widow. You and your children must go down the streets begging, and endure being mocked, hit, yelled at, bullied, and insulted by others. Is that an appropriate way to treat women? (No, it is not.) Yet that is what humans do, they would rather see you begging along the streets, living with no roof over your head, not knowing where your next meal is coming from, and no one will care, sympathize, or pay any attention to you. No matter how many children you have or how hard your life is, even if your children starve to death, no one will care. But if you remarry, you are not a good woman. You will be inundated with words of scorn and loathing, and you will meet with more than a few words of abuse and condemnation. You will have all sorts of things said to you, and only your children and a small number of your relatives and friends will lend you words of sympathy and support. How did this come to be? It is directly connected to the education and conditioning of traditional culture. It is the result of the saying, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” that traditional culture advocates for. What can one see from these things? What is hidden within the saying: “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands”? Man’s falseness, hypocrisy, and brutality. A woman may have nothing to eat, she may be unable to survive, and be on the verge of dying from starvation, and no one will sympathize with her; instead, everyone will require that she preserve her purity. People would rather see her starve to death and erect a monument in her honor than let her choose to survive. In one respect, this issue exposes mankind’s obstinance. In another respect, it exposes mankind’s falseness and viciousness. Mankind does not offer any sympathy, understanding, or help to vulnerable groups or to those deserving of pity. On top of that, mankind adds insult to injury by using the ridiculous theory and rule that, “a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” to condemn people and push them to death. That is not fair to people. Not only does this go against God’s words, and the demands that the Lord of creation makes of mankind, at the same time, it contradicts the standards of man’s conscience and reason. Is the perspective from which the woman’s children viewed this issue fair, then? Did they not benefit tangibly from their mother’s second marriage and the price that she paid? With regard to the act itself, the children respected and supported their mother, but where did that support come from? It is simply because their mother chose to remarry for the sake of their survival, allowing them to go on living, and saving their lives. That is all. If their mother had not done it to save their lives, they would not approve of or support her decision to remarry. Therefore, as her children, their view of their mother’s remarriage was not truly fair. Either way, whether it was from the perspective of popular opinion or from the perspective of her children, the way that people treated this mother and the standards they used to evaluate her were not based upon the true nature of her humanity. That was the mistake that humans made in how they treated a woman who remarried. From this, it is plain to see that the saying put forward by traditional culture, “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” does not come from God, but from Satan, and it has nothing at all to do with the truth. The perspectives from which people view all things, and the ways that they regard the morality or immorality of any given person are not based in the truth or in God’s words, they are based in the views of traditional culture, and in the demands made of man by traditional culture’s concepts of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. What are benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness? Where do these concepts come from? On the surface, it seems as though they come from sages of old and famous people, but in reality, they come from Satan. They are various sayings that Satan has put forward in order to control and restrict people’s behavior, and to establish a benchmark, model, and template for people’s moral conduct. In truth, these sages of old and famous people all had satanic natures and they all rendered service for Satan. They were devils who misled people. So, it is completely factual to say that these concepts came from Satan.
When people evaluate others’ moral character and whether their humanity is good or bad, they only do so based on a famous saying from traditional culture; they reach a verdict and conclusion on the quality of other people’s humanity based merely upon how they approach a single matter. This is obviously wrong and incorrect. So, how can a person evaluate whether someone’s humanity is good or bad in an accurate, objective, and fair way? What are the principles and standards for evaluating them? In accurate terms, the principles and standards for this evaluation must be the truth. Only the Creator’s words are the truth, and only they have authority and power. The words of corrupted humans are not the truth, they have no authority, and they should not be used as the basis or principles for evaluating someone. Therefore, the only accurate, objective, and fair way of evaluating people’s moral character and whether their humanity is good or bad, is by using the Creator’s words and the truth as one’s basis. “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” is a famous saying among corrupted humans. Its source is not right, it comes from Satan. If people measure the quality of others’ humanity based on Satan’s words, then their conclusions will definitely be wrong and unfair. So, how can one fairly and accurately evaluate the quality of a person’s morals and whether their humanity is good or bad? One must base it on the intent, goal, and results of that person’s actions, as well as the meaning and value of what they do, while also basing it on their views and the choices they make in terms of how they treat positive things. That will be completely accurate. The person does not necessarily need to be a believer in God—you can see that there are some unbelievers who, though they were not chosen by God, objectively have decent humanity, to the extent that their humanity is even of higher quality than some who believe in God. Just like how some religious people, who have accepted God’s work of the last days, and have believed in God for many years, always think about asking for money from the church when they host the brothers and sisters, and always lament to the brothers and sisters that they are poor, while harboring greed for money and things. When the brothers and sisters give them some meat, vegetables, grains, and so on to use while they are hosting, they secretly keep them for their own family to eat. What kind of people are these? Is their humanity good or bad? (It is bad.) People like this are greedy, they like to take advantage of people, and they have low character. Some unbelievers, who accepted God’s work of the last days directly, are very willing to host the brothers and sisters. They insist on using their own money to host them, and refuse the church’s money. No matter how much money the church gives them, they do not use one cent of it, and they do not lust after any of it—they save it all and give it back to the church later. When brothers and sisters buy things for them to use while hosting, they save all of them for the brothers and sisters that they host to use and eat. Once those brothers and sisters have left, they put these things into storage, and only bring them out again the next time that some brothers and sisters come to stay. There is a very clear distinction in their minds, and they have never misappropriated any of the church’s things. Who taught them this? No one told them, so how did they know what to do? How were they able to do it? The majority of people are unable to do this, but they can. What is the problem here? Is it not a difference in humanity? It is a difference in the quality of their humanity, and a difference in their morals. Since there is a difference between the morals of these two types of people, is there a difference between their attitudes toward the truth and positive things? (Yes, there is.) Of these two types of people, which type will find it easier to enter into the truth? Which type is more likely to pursue the truth? People with good morals are more likely to pursue the truth. Is this how you see it? You do not see it this way, all you do is blindly apply the rules, thinking that religious people who know how to recite the words and phrases of doctrine should be capable of doing this, and that unbelievers who have just begun believing in God, who are not yet able to recite the words and phrases of doctrine, are incapable of doing it. However, reality is just the opposite. Is it not wrong and ridiculous for you to view people and things in this way? I do not view things in this way. When I interact with people, I look comprehensively at the attitude they have toward different things, especially at how two different types of people behave when approaching the same situation, and what choices they make. This is a better illustration of what their humanity is like. Which of these two approaches is fairer and more objective? It is fairer to evaluate a person based on their nature and essence, rather than their external actions. If one bases their evaluation on the views of traditional culture, taking a person’s actions in one situation and holding it over them in order to pass a verdict and conclusion on them, that is wrong and it is unfair to that person. One must make an accurate evaluation based on the quality of their humanity, their behavior as a whole, and the path that they walk. Only this is just and reasonable, and it is also fair to the person.
None of the claims about moral conduct that we have listed here today have anything to do with God’s words, and none of them are in line with the truth. No matter how traditional or positive a saying is, it cannot become the truth. Sayings about moral conduct originate from things extolled by traditional culture, and they have nothing to do with the truths that God requires man to pursue. No matter how well people speak of these different sayings about man’s moral conduct, or how well people live up to them, or how firmly people cling to them, it does not mean that these sayings are the truth. Even if the majority of people on earth cling to and believe in these things, they will not become the truth—just like how a lie is still a lie, even if you tell it a thousand times. Lies can never become the truth. Lies are false constructs that contain Satan’s schemes, therefore, they cannot replace the truth, let alone become it. In the same way, the different requirements that people put forward regarding moral conduct cannot become the truth. No matter how much you cling to them or how well you cling to them, all that says about you is that you have good moral conduct in the eyes of man—but do you have humanity in the eyes of God? Not necessarily. On the contrary, if you held very well and closely to every aspect and rule of traditional culture’s concepts of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, you would have strayed too far from the truth. Why is that? Because you would be viewing people and things, and comporting yourself and acting according to these claims about moral conduct, and using them as your criteria. That is just like tilting your head to look at a clock—your perspective would be incorrect. The final result of this would be that your views on people and things, and your comportment and actions would have nothing to do with the truth, or with God’s demands, and you would be far from the way of God which you ought to be following—you may even be running in the opposite direction, and acting in a way that defeats your own goals. The more that you cling to and cherish these sayings about moral conduct, the more God will become sick of you, the farther you will move from God and the truth, and the more you will be in opposition to God. No matter how correct you think one of these sayings about moral conduct is, or how long you cling to it, it does not mean that you are practicing the truth. No matter which of traditional culture’s behavioral standards you think to be correct and reasonable, it is not the reality of positive things; it is absolutely not the truth, nor is it in line with the truth. I urge you to hurry and reflect on yourself: Where does this thing that you cling to come from? Does using it as the principle and standard for evaluating and making demands of people have a basis in God’s words? Does it have a basis in the truth? Are you clear on what the consequences of you practicing this demand of traditional culture are? Does it have anything to do with the truth? You should discern and dissect whether, by using this demand of traditional culture as the basis for your actions, and as your criterion, and by seeing it as a positive thing, you are contradicting the truth, resisting God, and violating the truth. If you blindly cling to the views and sayings extolled by traditional culture, what will the consequence of that be? If you are misled or tricked by these sayings, you can imagine what your outcome and end will be. If you view people and things from the perspective of traditional culture, it will be hard for you to accept the truth. You will never be able to view people and things according to God’s words and the truth. A person who understands the truth should analyze the various claims and demands of traditional culture regarding moral conduct. You should dissect which of them you cherish the most, and always cling to, that always serves as the basis and criterion for how you view people and things, and how you comport yourself and act. Then, you should hold the things that you cling to against God’s words and requirements for comparison, and look at whether these aspects of traditional culture oppose or conflict with the truths that God expresses. If you truly do find a problem, you must analyze at once where it is, exactly, that these aspects of traditional culture are wrong and absurd. When you are clear on these issues, you will know what is the truth and what is fallacy; you will have a path of practice, and you will be able to choose the path you should walk. Seek the truth in this way, and you will be able to mend your ways. No matter how standardized mankind’s so-called requirements and sayings about people’s moral character are, or how much they suit the tastes, outlooks, wishes, and even interests of the masses, they are not the truth. This is something you must understand. And since they are not the truth, you should make haste to deny and abandon them. You must also dissect their essence, as well as the consequences that come from people living by them. Can they really bring about true repentance in you? Can they really help you to know yourself? Can they really make you live out human likeness? They can do none of these things. They will only make you hypocritical and self-righteous. They will make you more cunning and evil. There are some who say, “In the past, when we held to these aspects of traditional culture, we felt like good people. When other people saw how we behaved, they thought we were good people, too. But actually, we know in our hearts what sort of evil we are capable of. Doing a bit of good only disguises that. But if we abandon the good behaviors that traditional culture demands of us, what should we do instead? What behaviors and manifestations will bring glory to God?” What do you think of this question? Do they still not know what truths believers in God should practice? God has expressed so many truths, and there are so many truths that people should be practicing. So why do you refuse to practice the truth, and insist on being false good people and hypocrites? Why are you pretending? There are some who say, “There are many good aspects of traditional culture! Like, ‘The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring’—this is a wonderful saying! This is what people should practice. How can You just toss it aside? And ‘I’d take a bullet for a friend’—how loyal and heroic! It’s ennobling in life, to have a friend like that. There is also, ‘The silkworms of spring weave till they die, and candles burn out till their tears run dry.’ This saying is so profound and rich in culture! If You don’t let us live by these sayings, then what should we live by?” If this is what you think, then the years you have spent listening to sermons have all been wasted. You do not even understand that one must, at the very least, comport themselves by living according to the standards of conscience and reason. You have not gained an ounce of the truth, and you have lived these years in vain.
In short, though we have listed these sayings about moral conduct from traditional culture, the goal of this is not merely to inform you that they are the notions and imaginings of people, and that they come from Satan, and nothing more. It is to make you understand clearly that the essence of these things is false, disguised, and deceptive. Even if people possess these behaviors, it does not in any way mean that they are living out normal humanity. Rather, they are using these false behaviors to cover up their intents and goals, and to conceal their corrupt dispositions, and their nature and essence. As a result, people are getting better and better at pretending and tricking others, which in turn causes them to become even more corrupt and evil. The moral standards of traditional culture that corrupt humanity clings to are incompatible with the truths that God expresses, nor are they consistent with any of the words that God teaches people, they have no connection whatsoever. If you still cling to aspects of traditional culture, then you have been thoroughly misled and poisoned. If there is any matter in which you cling to traditional culture and abide by its principles and views, then you are rebelling against God and violating the truth, and running counter to God in that matter. If you cling to and commit yourself to any of these claims about moral conduct, and treat it as a criterion or basis for how you view people or things, then that is where you have erred, and if you judge or harm people to a certain degree, you will have committed a sin. If you always insist on measuring everyone by the moral standards of traditional culture, then the number of people that you have condemned and wronged will keep multiplying and you will certainly condemn and resist God, and then you will be an arch-sinner. Do you not see that all of mankind is becoming increasingly evil under the education and conditioning of traditional culture? Is the world not getting darker? The more that someone is of Satan and devils, the more they are worshiped; the more that someone practices the truth, bears witness for God, and pleases God, the more they will be suppressed, excluded, condemned, or even put to death by crucifixion. Is this not a fact? Going forward, you should fellowship often on what we have fellowshiped about here today. If there are things you do not understand after fellowshiping on them, then set them aside for the moment and fellowship on the parts that you can handle until you understand them. Fellowship on these words until they are perfectly clear and you completely understand them, then you will be able to accurately practice the truth and enter into reality. When you are able to clearly discern whether any saying or thing is the truth, or whether it is traditional culture and not the truth, then you will have more of a path by which to enter into the reality of the truth. Finally, when you are able to understand every truth that you ought to practice through fellowship, and you have reached a consensus, when you are consistent in your views and understandings, when you know which things are positive and which are negative, which things come from God and which come from Satan, and you have fellowshiped on the subject until these things are clear and transparent to you, only then will you have understood the truth. Then, pick out the principles of the truth which you should practice. This way, you will meet the behavioral standards that God has laid out, and at the very least, you will have some human likeness. If you are able to understand the truth and enter into reality, then you will be able to completely live out human likeness. Only then will you be completely in line with God’s will.
March 5, 2022