Why Man Must Pursue the Truth (Part One)

Recently, we have principally been fellowshiping about some statements relating to moral conduct. One by one, we have analyzed, dissected, and exposed statements on every aspect of moral conduct that have been put forward in traditional culture. This has made people discerning of various statements on moral conduct that are regarded as positive things in traditional culture, and see through to their essence. When a person has a clear understanding of these statements, they will begin to feel sick of them, and be able to reject them. After that, they can gradually let go of these things in real life. By setting aside their approval of, blind faith in, and adherence to traditional culture, they will be able to accept God’s words, and accept into their heart His demands and the truth principles that a person should possess, so that they may supplant traditional culture there. In this way, that person will be able to live out a human likeness, and gain God’s approval. In sum, the goal of dissecting the various statements on moral conduct espoused by mankind’s traditional culture is to give people clear discernment and knowledge of the essence that lies behind these statements on moral conduct, and how Satan uses them to corrupt, beguile, and control mankind. People will thus be able to discern exactly what the truth is and what positive things are. To be precise, after clearly seeing past these statements about moral conduct to their essence, their true nature, and Satan’s trickery, people should be capable of knowing exactly what the truth is. Do not conflate traditional culture and the statements about moral conduct that it instills in people with the truth. These things are not the truth, they cannot replace the truth, and they certainly have nothing to do with the truth. Traditional culture, whatever it may address, and whatever specific statements or requirements it has, only represents Satan’s instruction, indoctrination, deception, and brainwashing of mankind. It represents Satan’s trickery, and Satan’s nature essence. It is completely unrelated to the truth and God’s demands. So, regardless of how good your practice is, in terms of moral conduct, or your implementation of it, or your grasp on it, it does not mean that you are practicing the truth, or that you are a person with humanity and sense, and it certainly does not mean that you are able to satisfy God’s will. No statement or requirement about moral conduct—no matter what kind of person or behavior it targets—has anything to do with God’s demands of man. They have nothing to do with the truth that God requires man to practice, or the principles that man should adhere to. Have you been pondering on this question? Do you see it clearly now? (Yes.)

Without detailed fellowship about and itemized dissection of these various statements of traditional culture, people cannot see that the statements it puts forward are false, deceptive, and invalid. Consequently, in the depths of their hearts, people still view the various statements of traditional culture as part of the creed or rules they should adhere to in how they act and comport themselves. They still treat the behaviors and moral conduct that are regarded as good in traditional culture as the truth and abide by them as such, even conflating them with the truth. Worse still, people preach and promote them as if they were right, as if they were positive things, and even as if they were the truth; they mislead people, disturb people, and they stop them from coming before God to accept the truth. This is a most real problem that can be seen by all. People often take statements on moral conduct that are perceived as good and positive by man as the truth. They will even quote statements and words from traditional culture to fellowship and preach when they are at gatherings and communing about God’s words. This is a very serious problem. This kind of issue or event should not occur in God’s house, but it often does—it is a very common problem. This demonstrates another issue: When people do not understand the real essence of traditional culture and statements on moral conduct, they often treat traditional culture’s statements about moral conduct as positive things with which to replace or supersede the truth. Is this a common occurrence? (Yes.) For example, statements in traditional culture like, “Be kind to others,” “Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance,” “If you strike others, don’t strike them in the face; if you call others out, don’t call out their shortcomings,” “Execution does nothing but make heads roll; be lenient wherever possible,” “The kindness of a drop of water should be repaid with a gushing spring,” and even more popular statements like, “I’d take a bullet for a friend,” and “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings, a good woman cannot marry two husbands,” have already become creeds by which people comport themselves, and the criteria and standards by which a person’s nobility is judged. So, even after hearing much of God’s word and the truth, people still use the statements and theories of traditional culture as standards by which to measure others and view things. What is the issue here? This demonstrates a very serious problem, which is that traditional culture occupies a very important place deep in the heart of man. Does it not demonstrate this? (It does.) All the various ideas that Satan has instilled in people have taken deep root in their hearts. They have prevailed and become mainstream in the lives, environments, and societies of all mankind. So, traditional culture not only occupies an important position in the depths of people’s hearts, but also profoundly influences and controls the principles and attitudes, and the outlooks and methods, with which they view people and things, comport themselves and act. Even after people accept the conquest of God’s words, as well as their exposure, judgment, and chastisement, these ideas of traditional culture still occupy an important place in their spiritual worlds and in the depths of their hearts. This means that they control the direction, goals, principles, attitudes, and perspectives that underlie how they view people and things, how they comport themselves and act. Does this not mean that people have been completely taken captive by Satan? Is this not a fact? (It is.) It is a fact. The way that people live and their goals in life, the views and attitudes with which they approach all things are entirely based on traditional culture, which is encouraged and instilled in them by Satan. Traditional culture occupies the dominant position in people’s lives. It may be said that after coming before God and hearing His words, and even after accepting some correct statements and views from Him, various thoughts from traditional culture still occupy a dominant, important place in their spiritual worlds and in the depths of their hearts. Because of these thoughts, people cannot help but view God and His words and work using the methods, views, and attitudes of traditional culture. They will even judge, analyze, and study God’s words, work, identity, and essence based on them. Is that not the case? (It is.) It is an uncontestable fact. Even when people have been conquered by God’s words and work, by His actions, essence, power and wisdom, traditional culture still occupies an important position in the depths of their hearts, so much so that nothing can supplant it. Naturally, that is also true of God’s words and the truth. Even when people have been conquered by God, His words and the truth cannot displace traditional culture in their hearts. This is very sad and frightening. People cling to traditional culture while following God, while listening to His words, while accepting the truth and various ideas from Him. On the surface, these people appear to be following God, but the various ideas, views, and perspectives that traditional culture and Satan have instilled in them hold an unshakable and irreplaceable position in their hearts. Although people may eat and drink of God’s words every day and pray-read and contemplate them often, the basic views, principles, and methods underlying how they view people and things, as well as how they comport themselves and act, are still based on traditional culture. Therefore, traditional culture affects people by subjecting them to its manipulation, orchestrations, and control in their day-to-day lives. It is as unshakable and inescapable as their own shadows. Why is this? Because people cannot uncover, dissect, or expose, from the depths of their hearts, the various ideas and views that traditional culture and Satan have instilled in them; they cannot recognize, see through, rebel against, or abandon these things; they cannot view people and things, comport themselves, or act in the way God tells them to, or in the way He teaches and instructs. What sort of predicament do most people still live in because of this? One in which they have a desire deep in their hearts to view people and things, to comport themselves and act based on God’s words, to not violate God’s will or go against the truth, yet, defenselessly and involuntarily, they continue to interact with people, conduct themselves, and handle matters according to the methods Satan teaches. At heart, people long for the truth and wish to possess a tremendous desire for God, to view people and things, to comport themselves and act according to God’s words, and to not violate the truth principles, yet things always end up contrary to their wishes. Even after doubling down on their efforts, the result they get is still not what they desire. No matter how people struggle, no matter how much effort they put in, no matter how much they resolve and desire to attain a love for positive things, in the end, the truth they are able to practice and the criteria of the truth they are able to hold to in real life are few and far between. This is what distresses people most, deep in their hearts. What is the reason for this? One reason is none other than that the various ideas and views that traditional culture teaches people still dominate their hearts, and control their words, deeds, ideas, as well as the methods and ways in which they comport themselves and act. Thus, people must undergo a process in order to recognize traditional culture, to dissect and expose it, to discern and see through it, and ultimately, to abandon it forever. It is very important to do this, not something optional. This is because traditional culture already dominates the depths of people’s hearts—it even dominates their whole selves. This means that in their lives, people cannot stop themselves from violating the truth in how they conduct themselves, and how they handle matters, and they cannot help but be controlled and influenced by traditional culture, as they have been until today.

If one wishes to completely accept the truth in their belief in God, and to thoroughly practice and gain it, they must begin by deeply and specifically excavating, uncovering, and knowing the various ideas and views of traditional culture. Obviously, these ideas of traditional culture occupy an important place in the heart of every person, yet different people cling to different aspects of its indoctrination; each person focuses on a different part of it. Some people especially advocate the statement: “I’d take a bullet for a friend.” They are very loyal to their friends, and loyalty is more important to them than anything else. Loyalty is their life. From the day they are born, they live for loyalty. Some people really value kindness. If they receive a kindness from someone, no matter if it is great or small, they take it to heart, and repaying it becomes the most important thing in their lives—it becomes their mission in life. Some people value making a good impression on others; they focus on becoming an honorable, noble, decent kind of person, and making others respect and think highly of them. They want others to speak well of them, they want to have a good reputation, they want to be praised, they want to receive a big thumbs-up from everyone. Each person has a different focus in their pursuit of the various statements of traditional culture and moral conduct. Some value fame and wealth, others value integrity, some value purity, others value repaying kindnesses. Some people value loyalty, others benevolence, and some value propriety—they are respectful and well-mannered to everyone, they always give way and precedence to others—and so on. Everybody has a different focus. So, if you wish to understand how traditional culture has affected you and controls you, if you wish to know how much weight it carries in the depths of your heart, you must analyze what kind of person you are, and what you value. Do you care about “propriety” or “benevolence”? Do you value “trustworthiness” or “forbearance”? Look from different perspectives and at your actual behavior in order to dissect which aspect of traditional culture has had the most profound influence on you, and why you are pursuing traditional culture. Whatever essence of traditional culture you pursue, that is the kind of person you are. Whatever kind of person you are, that is what dominates your life—and whatever dominates your life, that is the thing that you need to recognize, dissect, see through, rebel against, and abandon. After you have uncovered and gained an understanding of it, you can gradually cut yourself off from traditional culture, truly abandon it, and finally, completely break away from it and uproot it from the depths of your heart. Then you will be able to forsake it thoroughly and eradicate it. Once you have done this, traditional culture will no longer play the most important role in your life; instead, God’s words and the truth will slowly take on a leading role in the depths of your heart and become your life. God’s words and the truth will slowly occupy an important place there, and God’s words and God will sit on the throne in your heart and reign as your King. They will occupy every part of you. Will the distress of living not then feel smaller? Will your life not become less and less distressing? (It will.) Will it not be easier for you to view people and things, to comport yourselves and act, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion? (Yes.) It will be much easier. I can see that you’re all very busy with your duties every day. Besides reading God’s words, you must also fellowship the truth every day, read, listen, memorize, and write. You spend a lot of time and energy, you pay a great price, you suffer greatly, and perhaps you understand a lot of doctrine. However, when it comes to performing your duty, it’s too bad that you cannot practice the truth and cannot grasp the principles. You have listened to and fellowshiped on various aspects of the truth so many times, but when something befalls you, you do not know how to experience, practice, or utilize God’s words. You do not know how to practice the truth; you still have to seek and discuss it with others. Why does it take so long for God’s words to take root in a person’s heart? Why is it so difficult to understand the truth and act according to the principles through His words? One cannot rule out as a principal cause of this the huge influence that traditional culture exerts on people. It has occupied an important position in people’s hearts for a very long time, and it controls people’s thoughts and minds. Traditional culture gives free rein to man’s corrupt dispositions; they feel at ease revealing them, like a butcher to a knife, like a fish to water. Is this not the case? (It is.) Traditional culture is closely linked to man’s corrupt dispositions. They work together and reinforce one another. When corrupt dispositions meet traditional culture, like fish to water, they are able to show off their full capabilities. Corrupt dispositions love and need traditional culture. So, under the millennia of conditioning of traditional culture, man has been corrupted ever more deeply by Satan, and man’s corrupt dispositions have become more and more severe and inflated. Under its guise and within its packaging, these dispositions not only become ever more severe, but also more and more disguised. Dispositions such as arrogance, deceitfulness, wickedness, intransigence, and being fed up with the truth grow more and more deeply concealed and masked—they are revealed in increasingly cunning ways, making it hard for people to spot them. So, under the conditioning, instruction, beguilement, and control of traditional culture, what has the world of mankind gradually become? It has become a world of demons. People do not live like humans; they have no human likeness or humanity. And yet, people who cling to traditional culture, who have long been indoctrinated, permeated, and possessed by it, have become increasingly convinced of their own greatness, nobility, transcendence. They are incredibly egotistical; none of them thinks that they are insignificant, that they are worthless, that they are just a tiny created being. None of them is willing to be a normal person; they all want to be famous, to be great, to be sages. Under the conditioning of traditional culture, not only do people want to surpass themselves—they want to surpass the whole world and all of humanity. You’ve heard that song that unbelievers sing, “I want to fly higher, fly higher,” and the one that goes, “I am just a little bird, I want to fly, but I can’t fly high.” Are these words not devoid of reason, and bereft of all humanity and sense? Are they not the savage howling of Satan? (They are.) They are the sound of Satan’s mad howling. So, no matter how one looks at it, the poison of traditional culture has long since seeped into the heart of man, and it is not something that can be eliminated overnight. It is not as easy as overcoming a personal defect or bad habit—you must uncover your thoughts, views, and corrupt disposition, and eradicate traditional culture’s poisonous root from your life in accordance with the truth. Then, you need to view people and things, to comport yourself and act according to God’s words and requirements, and to make the truth of His words your life. Only by doing this will you truly be walking the right path in following God and believing in Him.

We have already done much to dissect and expose the topic of traditional culture, and we have fellowshiped about it at length. Regardless of how much we fellowshiped on it, or how long we fellowshiped, the goal remains to resolve the various difficulties that arise while people pursue the truth, or the various difficulties and problems that exist in their life entry. The aim is to remove all the barriers, obstructions and difficulties—among which the various statements, ideas and views of traditional culture are the predominant ones—that stand in the way of people pursuing the truth. As of today, we have essentially completed our fellowship on the topic of traditional culture. Have we finished fellowshiping on topics that relate to the pursuit of the truth, then? (No.) Was our fellowship and dissection of traditional culture related to the pursuit of the truth? (It was.) It was related to the pursuit of the truth. Traditional culture is the biggest difficulty people face on the path to pursuing the truth. Now that we are done fellowshiping about traditional culture—the biggest obstacle to man’s pursuit of the truth—today we will fellowship on the question, “Why must man pursue the truth?” Why must man pursue the truth? Have we fellowshiped on this question before? Why must we fellowship on it? Is it an important question? (It is.) Why is it important? Share your thoughts. (My understanding is that the pursuit of the truth relates directly to man’s salvation. Because we all have severely corrupt dispositions, and have been indoctrinated and deeply poisoned by traditional culture from a young age, we need to pursue the truth, or we won’t be able to discern negative things that come from Satan. We also won’t be able to practice the truth, and we won’t know how to act positively and in line with God’s will. We will have no choice but to act and comport ourselves according to our corrupt dispositions. If this is how one believes in God, in the end, they will still be a living Satan, not someone whom God would save. Therefore, pursuing the truth is very important. Furthermore, our corrupt dispositions can only be cleansed through the pursuit of the truth; it is also the only way to correct our mistaken ideas about how we should view people and things, and comport ourselves and act. It’s only after a person has understood and gained the truth that they can do their duty competently and become a person who submits to God. Otherwise, they will involuntarily follow their corrupt dispositions to do things in their duties that disrupt and disturb the church’s work.) You made two points. What was My question? (Why must man pursue the truth?) Is that a simple question? It sounds like a simple, cause-and-effect question. Do you all share the view that pursuing the truth relates in one way to a person’s salvation, and in another to not creating disruptions or disturbances? (Yes.) When you put it like that, the question does sound quite simple. Is it really that simple? Share your thoughts. (I think that the question of “Why must man pursue the truth?” is simpler to answer from a theoretical perspective, but when it involves actually practicing and entering into reality, it is not simple.) “Why must man pursue the truth?”—how many questions does this encompass? It encompasses questions like what the significance is of pursuing the truth, what the reasons for it are—what else? (The importance of pursuing the truth.) That is correct: It also encompasses the importance of pursuing the truth; it includes these questions. Taking these things into account, is the question, “Why must man pursue the truth?” simple? (It is not.) Ponder the question “Why must man pursue the truth?” again, in light of those things. First look back—what does it mean to pursue the truth? How is it to be defined? (To view people and things, and to comport oneself and act according to God’s words, with the truth as one’s criterion.) Is that right? You are missing the word “wholly.” Read it again. (“To view people and things, and to comport oneself and act, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as one’s criterion.”) The question “Why must man pursue the truth?” relates to people’s views on people and things, and to their comportment and actions. It is about how people should view things and people, how they should comport themselves and act; and why they should view things and people, as well as comport themselves and act, wholly according to God’s words and with the truth as their criterion. Why they should pursue this way of doing things—is this not the root of the question? Is this not the fundamental question? (It is.) You have now understood the fundamental thrust of the question. Let us go back to the question itself, “Why must man pursue the truth?” This question is not simple. It encompasses the significance and value of pursuing the truth, and there’s something else to it that is of the greatest importance: Based on mankind’s essence and instincts, they need the truth as their life, and so, they must pursue it. Naturally, this also relates to the future and survival of mankind. Simply put, the pursuit of the truth relates to people’s salvation and to changing their corrupt dispositions. Naturally, it also relates to the different things people live out, their outpourings, and their behaviors in their day-to-day lives. If people do not pursue the truth, it can accurately be said that their chances of being saved are zero. If people do not pursue the truth, there is a one hundred percent chance that they are resisting, betraying, and rejecting God. They may resist and betray God at any time and any place, and naturally they may disturb the work of the church and God’s house, or do something that makes a disturbance or disruption at any time and any place, too. These are some of the simplest, most basic reasons people must pursue the truth that can be seen and understood in their daily lives. But today, we are only going to fellowship on some crucial parts of the question, “Why must man pursue the truth?” We have already fellowshiped on the most fundamental aspects of this question, which people have understood and recognized as a matter of doctrine, so today we are not going to fellowship about those basic, simple questions. It will suffice for us to fellowship on several main elements. Why are we fellowshiping on the topic of pursuing the truth? Obviously, there are some more important questions contained within it, questions that people cannot see through to, and do not know of, and do not comprehend, but which require their comprehension and understanding.

Why must man pursue the truth? We will not start with the basic aspects of this that people already grasp and understand, nor from the doctrine that people already know. So, where will we start? We must start at the root of this question, with God’s management plan and God’s will. What does starting at the root of the question mean? It means that we will start with God’s management plan, and God’s creation of mankind. Ever since there were people, ever since a living being—created mankind—received the breath of God, God has planned to gain a group from among their ranks. This group will be able to comprehend, understand, and abide by His words. They will be able to act as stewards for all things, for the myriad of God’s creation, its plants, animals, forests, oceans, rivers, lakes, mountains, creeks, plains, and so forth, in accordance with His words. After God made this plan, He began placing His hopes upon mankind accordingly. He hopes that one day people will be able to act as stewards for this mankind, for all of the things that exist in the world, and the different creatures that live among them, and that they can do so in an orderly way, according to the methods, rules, and laws He has laid out. Though God has already formed this plan and these expectations, His final goal will take a very long time to achieve. It is not something that can be accomplished in ten or twenty years, or in a hundred or two hundred years, and certainly not in one or two thousand years. It will take six thousand years. During this process, mankind needs to experience different periods, ages, eras, and different stages of God’s work. They must experience the stars moving in the skies, the seas running dry and the rocks crumbling, they need to experience dramatic change. From the first and fewest humans, mankind has experienced great highs and lows, and the vicissitudes and shifts of this world, after which people have gradually grown in number and gradually gained experience, and mankind’s agriculture, economy, and ways of living and surviving have gradually changed and given rise to new methods. Only when a certain period and a certain age have been reached can people achieve the level at which God will judge them and chastise them and conquer them, and at which God will express to them the truth, His words, and His will. To reach this level, mankind has experienced great upheaval, as have all of the things in this world. Naturally, dramatic change has also taken place in the skies and the cosmos. This series of changes has occurred and appeared gradually alongside God’s management. It has taken a long time for people to reach the point where they come before God and accept His conquest, judgment, and chastisement, and the provision of His words. But that is fine; God can wait, because that is God’s plan, and that is His wish. God must wait a long time on account of His plan and His wish. He has so far been waiting for what has truly been a very, very long time.

After mankind went through their initial stage of ignorance, delusion, and confusion, God led them into the Age of Law. Though mankind had entered a new age, an age in God’s management plan, though people no longer lived unrestrained, undisciplined lives like flocks of sheep, though they had entered an environment for their lives that had the guidance, instruction, and prescription of the law, people only knew a few simple things that they had been taught, told, or informed of by the law, or that were already known within the ambit of human life: What theft is, for example, or what adultery is, what murder is, how people will be held accountable for murder, how to interact with one’s neighbors, how people will be held accountable for doing this or that. Mankind had come from their initial circumstances, in which they had known nothing and understood nothing, to learning some simple, essential laws of human conduct that God informed them of. After God had proclaimed these laws, the people living under the law knew to follow the rules and abide by the law, and in their minds and inner worlds, the law acted as a restraint and a guide for their conduct, and mankind had an initial likeness of man. These people understood that they should follow some rules and abide by some laws. Regardless of how well they followed them and how strictly they abided by them, in any case, these people had more human likeness than those who came before the law. In terms of their behavior and their lives, they acted and lived to certain standards, and with certain restraints. They were no longer as lost and ignorant as they once were, and no longer so bereft of goals in life. God’s laws, and all the statements that God had declared to them, put down roots in their hearts and occupied a certain position there. Mankind was no longer at a loss for what to do; they no longer lived without goals, direction, or restraint. Despite this, they were still far short of the people of God’s plans and God’s wishes. They were still far from being capable of acting as masters of all things. God still needed to wait and be patient. Though people living under the law knew to worship God, they did so as a mere matter of form. The position and image of God in the depths of their hearts differed completely from God’s true identity and essence. So, they were still not the created humans whom God wanted, and they were still not the people whom God envisioned, who were capable of acting as stewards for all things. In the depths of their hearts, God’s essence, identity, and status were merely those of mankind’s Ruler, and people were just the subjects or beneficiaries of that Ruler, nothing more. So, God still needed to lead these people, who lived under the law and only knew the law, to keep moving forward. These people did not understand anything except the law; they did not know how to act as stewards for all things; they did not know who God was; and they did not know the right way to live. They did not know how to comport themselves and live according to God’s demands, nor did they know how to live more significantly than they did, or what people should pursue in their lives, and so on. People living under the law were completely ignorant of these things. Aside from the law, these people knew nothing about God’s requirements, about the truth, or about God’s words. Because this was so, God had to keep tolerating mankind as they existed under the law. These people were a big step beyond those who had come before them—they at least understood what sin was, and that they should abide by and follow the law, and live under the framework of the law—but they still fell far short of God’s requirements. Nevertheless, God was still eagerly hoping and waiting.

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