150. The Principles of How to Treat Traditional Culture
(1) The greater part of traditional culture is derived from the corruption of Satan and evil spirits. It is Satan’s poison, hostile to the truth, and is numbered among negative things;
(2) Traditional culture is an invisible shackle that binds and restricts people; it is a tool which Satan, king of devils, uses to beguile, control, and consume people;
(3) Traditional culture makes mankind ever more corrupt, depraved, and degenerate, and leads him ever farther from God. It has made all people the enemies of God;
(4) Use God’s word the truth as a foundation from which to identify and dissect the essence of traditional culture. Be able to thoroughly see through to its corrupt, reactionary essence; detest it and denounce it.
Relevant Words of God:
Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at “institutes of higher learning.” The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy for living, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him. Man’s disposition becomes more vicious by the day, and there is not a single person who will willingly give up anything for God, not a single person who will willingly obey God, nor, moreover, a single person who will willingly seek the appearance of God. Instead, under the domain of Satan, man does nothing but pursue pleasure, giving himself over to the corruption of the flesh in the land of mud. Even when they hear the truth, those who live in darkness give no thought to putting it into practice, nor are they inclined to seek out God even if they have beheld His appearance. How could a mankind so depraved have any chance of salvation? How could a mankind so decadent live in the light?
Excerpted from “To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Pernicious influences that thousands of years of “the lofty spirit of nationalism” have left deep in the human heart, as well as the feudal thinking by which people are bound and chained, without an iota of freedom, with no will to aspire or persevere, no desire to make progress, remaining instead passive and regressive, entrenched in a slave mentality, and so on—these objective factors have imparted an indelibly filthy and ugly cast to the ideological outlook, ideals, morality, and disposition of humanity. Humans, it would seem, are living in a dark world of terrorism, which none among them seeks to transcend, and none among them thinks of moving on to an ideal world; rather, they are content with their lot in life, to spend their days bearing and raising children, striving, sweating, going about their chores, dreaming of a comfortable and happy family, and dreaming of conjugal affection, of filial children, of joy in their twilight years as they peacefully live out their lives…. For tens, thousands, tens of thousands of years until now, people have been squandering their time in this way, with no one creating a perfect life, all intent only on mutual slaughter in this dark world, on the race for fame and fortune, and on intriguing against one another. Who has ever sought after God’s will? Has anyone ever heeded the work of God? All the parts of humanity occupied by the influence of darkness have long since become human nature, and so it is quite difficult to carry out the work of God, and people have even less heart to pay attention to what God has entrusted to them today.
Excerpted from “Work and Entry (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What does this “traditional culture” mean? Some say it is passed down from the ancestors—this is one aspect. From the beginning, ways of life, customs, sayings and rules have been passed down within families, ethnic groups and even the entire human race, and they have become instilled in people’s thoughts. People consider them an indispensable part of their lives and regard them as rules, observing them as though they were life itself. Indeed, they never want to change or abandon these things, because they were passed down from their ancestors. There are other aspects of traditional culture which are ingrained into people’s very bones, like the things that were passed down from Confucius and Mencius, and the things taught to people by Chinese Taoism and Confucianism. Is this not so? What things are included in traditional culture? Does it include the holidays people celebrate? For example: the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, as well as the Ghost Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. Some families even celebrate the days when seniors achieve a certain age, or when children reach one month or one hundred days of age. And so on. These are all traditional holidays. Is there not traditional culture underlying these holidays? What is the core of traditional culture? Does it have anything to do with worshiping God? Does it have anything to do with telling people to practice the truth? Are there any holidays for people to offer sacrifice to God, go to God’s altar and receive His teachings? Are there holidays like this? (No.) What do people do on all of these holidays? In modern times they are seen as occasions for eating, drinking, and fun. What is the source underlying traditional culture? Who does traditional culture come from? (Satan.) It comes from Satan. Behind the scenes of these traditional holidays, Satan instills certain things in man. What are these things? Ensuring that people remember their ancestors—is that one of them? For example, during Tomb Sweeping Day, people tidy up graves and offer sacrifices to their ancestors, so as not to forget their ancestors. Also, Satan ensures that people remember to be patriotic, of which an example is the Dragon Boat Festival. What about the Mid-Autumn Festival? (Family reunions.) What is the background of family reunions? What is the reason for it? It is to communicate and connect emotionally. Of course, whether it be celebrating Lunar New Year’s Eve or the Lantern Festival, there are many ways of describing the reasons behind these celebrations. However one describes those reasons, each one is Satan’s way of instilling its philosophy and its thinking in people, so that they will stray from God and not know there is God, and offer sacrifices either to their ancestors or to Satan, or eat, drink, and have fun for the sake of desires of the flesh. As each of these holidays is celebrated, Satan’s thoughts and views are planted deep within the minds of the people without their knowing. When people reach their forties, fifties or even older ages, these thoughts and viewpoints of Satan are already deeply rooted in their hearts. Moreover, people do their utmost to transmit these ideas, whether right or wrong, down to the next generation, indiscriminately and without reservation. Is not this so? (Yes.) How do traditional culture and these holidays corrupt people? Do you know? (People become constrained and bound by the rules of these traditions, such that they have no time or energy to seek God.) This is one aspect. For example, everyone celebrates during Lunar New Year—if you did not celebrate it, would you not feel sad? Are there any superstitions that you hold in your heart? Might you feel, “I didn’t celebrate the New Year, and since Lunar New Year’s day was a bad day, won’t the whole of the rest of the year also be bad”? Would you not feel ill at ease and a bit afraid? There are even some people who have not made sacrifices to their ancestors in years and who suddenly have a dream in which a deceased person asks them for money. What would they feel? “How sad that this person now gone needs money to spend! I’ll burn some paper money for them. If I don’t, that just wouldn’t be right. It might cause trouble for us living people—who can say when misfortune will strike?” They will always have this little cloud of fear and worry in their hearts. Who gives them this worry? (Satan.) Satan is the source of this worry. Is this not one of the ways that Satan corrupts man? It uses different means and pretexts to control you, to threaten you, and to bind you, so that you fall into a daze and yield and submit to it; this is how Satan corrupts man. Often when people are weak or when they are not fully aware of the situation, they may inadvertently do something in a muddle-headed way; that is, they inadvertently fall into Satan’s grasp and might act unwittingly, might do things without knowing what they are doing. This is the way Satan corrupts man. There are even quite a few people now who are reluctant to part with deep-rooted traditional culture, who just cannot give it up. It is especially when they are weak and passive that they wish to celebrate these kinds of holidays and they wish to meet Satan and satisfy Satan again, to bring comfort to their hearts. What is the background to the traditional culture? Is the black hand of Satan pulling the strings behind the scenes? Is Satan’s evil nature manipulating and controlling? Does Satan hold sway over all of this? (Yes.) When people live in a traditional culture and celebrate these kinds of traditional holidays, could we say that this is an environment in which they are being fooled and corrupted by Satan, and moreover that they are happy to be fooled and corrupted by Satan? (Yes.) This is something you all acknowledge, something that you know about.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique V” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
There are many similarities between traditional culture and superstition, but the difference is that traditional culture has certain stories, allusions, and sources. Satan has fabricated and invented many folk stories or stories that appear in history books, leaving people with deep impressions of traditional cultural or superstitious figures. For example, in China there are the “Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea,” “Journey to the West,” the Jade Emperor, “Nezha Conquering the Dragon King,” and “The Investiture of the Gods.” Have these not become deeply rooted in the minds of man? Even if some of you do not know all the details, you still know the general stories, and it is this general content that sticks in your heart and your mind, so that you cannot forget them. These are various ideas or legends that Satan prepared for man long ago, and which have been disseminated at different times. These things directly harm and erode people’s souls and put people under one spell after another. That is to say that once you have accepted such traditional culture, stories, or superstitious things, once they are established in your mind, and once they are stuck in your heart, then it is like you are spellbound—you become enmeshed and influenced by these cultural trappings, these ideas and traditional stories. They influence your life, your outlook on life, and your judgment of things. Even more so they influence your pursuit for the true path of life: This is indeed a wicked spell. Try as you might, you cannot shake them off; you chop at them but you cannot chop them down; you beat at them but you cannot beat them away. Furthermore, after people are unknowingly put under this kind of spell, they unknowingly begin to worship Satan, fostering the image of Satan in their hearts. In other words, they establish Satan as their idol, an object for them to worship and look up to, even going so far as to regard it as God. Unknowingly, these things are in people’s hearts, controlling their words and deeds. Moreover, you first regard these stories and legends to be false, but then you unknowingly acknowledge their existence, making of them real figures and turning them into real, existing objects. In your unawareness, you subconsciously receive these ideas and the existence of these things. You also subconsciously receive devils, Satan, and idols into your own home and into your own heart—this is indeed a spell. Do these words resonate with you? (Yes.) Are there any among you who have burned incense and worshiped Buddha? (Yes.) So what was the purpose of burning incense and worshiping Buddha? (Praying for peace.) Thinking about it now, is it not absurd to pray to Satan for peace? Does Satan bring peace? (No.) Do you not see how ignorant you were then? That kind of behavior is absurd, ignorant and naive, is it not? Satan only concerns itself with how to corrupt you. Satan cannot possibly give you peace, only a temporary respite. But to gain this respite you must take a vow, and if you break your promise or the vow that you have made to Satan, then you will see how it torments you. In making you take a vow, it actually wants to control you. When you prayed for peace, did you obtain peace? (No.) You did not obtain peace, but on the contrary your efforts brought misfortune and unending disasters—truly a boundless ocean of bitterness. Peace is not within Satan’s domain, and this is the truth. This is the consequence that feudal superstition and traditional culture have brought mankind.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Knowledge of ancient culture and history spanning several thousand years has closed off man’s thinking and notions and his mental outlook so tightly as to render them impervious and non-biodegradable. People live in the eighteenth circle of hell, where, just as if they have been banished by God into the dungeons, the light may never be seen. Feudal thinking has so oppressed people that they can barely breathe and are suffocating. They have not the slightest jot of strength to resist; all they do is endure and endure in silence…. Never has anyone dared to struggle or stand up for righteousness and justice; people simply live a life worse than an animal’s, under the blows and abuse of feudal ethics, day after day, and year after year. They have never thought to seek out God to enjoy happiness in the human world. It is as if people have been beaten down to the point where they are like the fallen leaves of autumn, withered, desiccated, and yellow-brown. People have long since lost their memory; they live helpless in the hell which is called the human world, waiting for the coming of the last day so that they may perish together with this hell, as if the last day that they yearn for is the day when man shall enjoy restful peace. Feudal ethics have taken the life of man into “Hades,” further weakening man’s power to resist. All sorts of oppression push man, step by step, to fall deeper into Hades, farther and farther away from God, until today he has become a complete stranger to God and makes haste to avoid Him when they meet. Man does not heed Him and leaves Him standing alone to one side, as if man has never known Him, has never seen Him before. Yet God has been waiting for man all through the long journey of human life, never hurling His irrepressible fury toward him, merely waiting quietly, without a word, for man to repent and start anew. God long ago came into the human world to share the sufferings of the human world with man. In all the years that He has lived with man, no one has discovered His existence. God only endures in silence the misery of shabbiness in the human world while carrying out the work He brought in person. He continues to endure for the sake of the will of God the Father and for the sake of the needs of mankind, undergoing sufferings never before experienced by man. In man’s presence He has quietly waited upon him, and in man’s presence He has humbled Himself, for the sake of God the Father’s will and also for the sake of the needs of mankind. Knowledge of ancient culture has surreptitiously stolen man from the presence of God and turned him over to the king of devils and its progeny. The Four Books and Five Classics[a] have taken man’s thinking and notions into another age of rebellion, causing him to give even greater adulation than before to those who compiled the Book/Classic of Documents, and as a result to further exacerbate his notions about God. Unbeknownst to man, the king of devils heartlessly cast God out from his heart and then occupied it itself with triumphant glee. Since that time, man became possessed of an ugly and wicked soul and of the countenance of the king of devils. A hatred of God filled his chest, and the spiteful malice of the king of devils spread within man day after day until he was utterly consumed. Man no longer had the least bit of freedom and had no way of breaking free from the toils of the king of devils. He had no choice but to be taken captive on the spot, to surrender and fall down in submission in its presence.
Excerpted from “Work and Entry (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
From top to bottom and from beginning to end, Satan has been disrupting the work of God and acting in opposition to Him. All this talk of “ancient cultural heritage,” valuable “knowledge of ancient culture,” “teachings of Taoism and Confucianism,” and “Confucian classics and feudal rites” has taken man into hell. Advanced modern-day science and technology, as well as highly developed industry, agriculture, and business are nowhere to be seen. Rather, all it does is emphasize the feudal rites propagated by the “apes” of ancient times in order to deliberately disrupt, oppose, and dismantle the work of God. Not only has it continued to afflict man until this day, but it even wants to swallow man whole. The transmission of the moral and ethical teachings of feudalism and the passing down of the knowledge of ancient culture have long infected humanity, turning them into devils big and small. Few are those who would gladly receive God, few who would jubilantly welcome His coming. The face of all humanity is filled with murderous intent, and in every place, a killing breath pervades the air. They seek to cast God out from this land; with knives and swords in hand, they arrange themselves in battle formation to “annihilate” God. All across this land of the devil, where man is constantly taught there is no God, idols are spread, and the air above is permeated by a nauseating odor of burning paper and incense, so thick as to be suffocating. It is like the stench of sludge that wafts up with the writhing of the poisonous serpent, so much so that one cannot keep from vomiting. Besides this, there can faintly be heard the sound of evil demons chanting scriptures, a sound which seems to be coming from faraway in hell, so much so that one cannot keep from shivering. Everywhere in this land are placed idols of all colors of the rainbow, turning the land into a world of sensual delights, while the king of devils keeps laughing wickedly, as if its dastardly plot has succeeded. Meanwhile, man remains completely oblivious, and nor has he any inkling that the devil has already corrupted him to the point where he has become senseless and hangs his head in defeat. It wishes, in one fell swoop, to wipe out everything about God, and once again to defile and assassinate Him; it is intent upon tearing down and disrupting His work. How can it allow God to be of equal status? How can it tolerate God “interfering” with its work among men on earth? How can it allow God to unmask its hideous face? How can it allow God to put its work in disarray? How can this devil, apoplectic with rage, allow God to have control over its imperial court on the earth? How can it willingly bow down to His superior might? Its hideous countenance has been revealed for what it is, so that one knows not whether to laugh or cry, and it is truly difficult to speak of. Is this not its essence? With an ugly soul, it still believes that it is beautiful beyond belief. This gang of accomplices in crime! They come down into the mortal realm to indulge in pleasures and cause a commotion, stirring things up so much that the world becomes a fickle and inconstant place and the heart of man is filled with panic and unease, and they have toyed with man so much that his appearance has become that of an inhuman beast of the field, supremely ugly, and from which the last trace of the original holy man has been lost. Furthermore, they even wish to assume sovereign power on earth. They impede the work of God so much that it can barely inch forward, and they close man off as tightly as walls of copper and steel. Having committed so many grievous sins and caused so many disasters, are they still expecting something other than chastisement? Demons and evil spirits have been running amok on earth for a time, and have sealed off both the will and the painstaking effort of God so tightly that they are impenetrable. Truly, this is a mortal sin! How can God not feel anxious? How can God not feel wrathful? They have gravely hindered and opposed the work of God: How rebellious!
Excerpted from “Work and Entry (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Chinese have a traditional notion that holds that people should observe filial piety toward their parents. This is what Confucius taught. Whoever does not observe filial piety is an unfilial child. This idea has been instilled in people since childhood, and it is taught in practically every household, as well as in every school and in society at large. When a person’s head has been filled with such stuff, they think, “Filial piety is more important than anything. If I weren’t to observe it, I wouldn’t be a good person—I’d be an unfilial child, and I’d be denounced for having no conscience.” This is how you think, is it not? Since coming to believe in God, you have found that the truth and God’s words make no mention of these things. In God’s words, what principle is mentioned with regard to how people should treat each other? Love what God loves, and hate what God hates. That is, the people God loves, who truly pursue the truth and do God’s will, are the very ones you should love. Those who do not do God’s will, who hate God, who disobey Him, and whom He despises are ones we, too, should despise and reject. This is what God’s word requires. If your parents do not believe in God, then they hate Him; and if they hate Him, then God certainly loathes them. So, if you were told to hate your parents, could you do it? If they resist God and revile Him, then they are certainly people He hates and curses. Under such circumstances, how should you treat your parents if either they obstruct your believing in God, or if they do not? During the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus said, “Who is My mother? and who are My brothers? … For whoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.” This saying already existed back in the Age of Grace, and now God’s words are even more apt: “Love what God loves, and hate what God hates.” These words cut straight to the point, yet people are often unable to appreciate their true meaning. If a person is cursed by God, but from all outward appearances seems to be quite good, or is a parent or relative of yours, then you might find yourself unable to hate that person, and there might even be a good deal of intimacy and a close relationship between you. When you hear such words from God, you get upset and are unable to harden your heart toward or abandon such a person. This is because there is a traditional notion here that is binding you. You think that if you do this, you will incur the wrath of Heaven, be punished by Heaven, and even be cast aside by society and condemned in the court of public opinion. Furthermore, an even more pragmatic problem is that it will be on your conscience. This conscience comes from what your parents taught you from childhood, or from the influence and infection of social culture, either of which has planted such a root and way of thinking inside you that you cannot practice God’s word and love what He loves and hate what He hates. However, deep down, you know that you should hate them and reject them, for your life came from God, and was not given by your parents. Man ought to worship God and return himself to Him. Even though you say and think that, you simply cannot come around and are simply unable to put it into practice. Do you know what is going on here? It is that these things have bound you, tightly and profoundly. Satan uses these things to bind your thoughts, your mind, and your heart so that you cannot accept God’s words. Such things have filled you up completely, to the point that you have no room for God’s words. Moreover, if you try to put His words into practice, then those things will take effect inside you and make you controvert His words and requirements, thus making you unable to extricate yourself from these knots and unable to break free from this bondage. It will be hopeless, and, without the strength to struggle, you will give up after a while. Some people manage to struggle free, while others give up. “Traditional notions and moral standards are what matter,” they think. “Let’s set God’s words aside. We’re living in this world, after all, and we have to rely on these people.” Rather than court negative public opinion and censure, which they would be unable to bear, they choose to offend God, abandon the truth and God’s words, and surrender themselves to the bondage of public opinion or traditional notions. Is man not pitiful? Does he not have need of God’s salvation?
Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Every person who lives in our present society, no matter how much education they have received, has many things within their thinking and views. Traditional Chinese women, in particular, believe a woman’s place is in the home, that women must be good wives and mothers who spend and devote their whole lives to their husbands and children. Three meals a day for their family, cleaning, laundry—they must do everything in the house, and do it exceptionally well. This is, of course, the standard in our society for a “good wife and mother.” Every woman believes this is how she should act, and that, if she does not, she is not a good woman, and will have gone against her conscience, and will have violated standards of morality. There are even some who, having played this role poorly or without regard for society’s standards, are gnawed by conscience, and feel they have let down their children and their husband. Does having come to believe in God and being called to perform your duty create a conflict with your being a good wife and mother, a model mom, a woman who conforms to standards? If you wish to be a good wife and mother, then you cannot spend one hundred percent of your time on your duty. When a conflict arises between your role as a wife and mother and your duty, which do you choose? If you chose to perform your duty and take responsibility for the work of God’s house, to do all you can, with absolute devotion to God, and, in doing so, were obliged to set aside your wifely and maternal obligations, how would you feel? What would reverberate in your mind? Would you feel you have failed your children? Where does this sense of failure, this unease come from? Do you feel uneasy when you have not performed the duty of a created being well? You are not uneasy, nor do you feel blame, because this positive thing is not instilled in your thoughts, views, and conscience. What, then, is instilled in them? Being a good wife and mother. If you are not a good wife and mother, then you are not a good woman, not a “decent” woman. Is that not your standard? This standard binds you; you are made to carry it with you as you believe in God and perform your duty. If a conflict arises between these two things, though you may reluctantly choose to perform your duty or be loyal to God, there will be a measure of unease in your heart, and a greater measure of blame. When you are not performing your duty, you go home and take good care of your children or your husband, trying to make up for your absence, though, in doing so, you endure greater hardship of the flesh. It is a mental injunction that makes you do this. Yet have we performed our responsibility, our obligation, and our duty before God? When we are careless and perfunctory in our duty, or when we do not wish to do it, is there a sense of blame in our hearts, or a sense of reproach? We feel not the slightest reproach, as such a thing does not exist within people’s humanity. Therefore, though you might perform a bit of your duty, you remain quite removed from the standards of the truth and of God. God said, “God is the source of man’s life.” What is the meaning of these words? They are meant to let all people know this: Our lives and our spirits come from God, not from our parents, and certainly not from mankind, or this society of ours, or from nature. They were given to us by God, and, though our fleshly bodies are birthed by our parents, it is God who controls our destinies. That we can believe in God is an opportunity He has given us; it is ordained by Him, and it is His grace. Therefore, you are under no obligation to undertake obligations or to take responsibility for any other person; your only obligation is to perform for God the duty a created being should perform. This is what man is most supposed to do, and, among all the great matters in a person’s life, it is the one they most ought to complete—it is the main affair of one’s life. If you do not perform your duty well, you are not a true created being. In the eyes of man, you may be a good wife and mother, a wonderful housewife, a dutiful daughter, and an upstanding member of civil society, but, before God, you are one who rebels against Him, one who performs none of their obligations or duty, and one who did not fulfill the commission they accepted from God. Would such a person still have standing before God? Such a person is not worth a copper penny.
Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Traditional culture is not the truth, that much is clear, but is it enough for people to know that it is not the truth? The fact that it is not the truth is one thing; why do we need to dissect this? What is its root cause? What is the essence of the problem? How can people let go of this thing? Dissecting it is meant to engender a completely new perception in the depth of your heart of the theories, ideas, and views about it. So, what must be done to arrive at this completely new perception? First of all, you need to be aware of where traditional culture comes from—it comes from Satan. And did Satan say this directly, or do this directly? No, it did not. Satan has produced these ideas at various times by means of various famous people, producing these so-called explanations and theories, and these have gradually become systematized, made concrete, and gradually drawn closer and become more central to people’s lives; they have gradually become pervasive among mankind, and, bit by bit, these concepts, these explanations and theories have been infused into people’s way of thinking. Since being infused into people’s way of thinking, people have come to regard these concepts as the most positive things, which they should practice and obey, and Satan has used these things to shackle and control people’s thought. It is in such an environment that mankind is constantly being educated, nurtured, and controlled, and this has been passed down from generation to generation to the present day. All these generations of people have believed that traditional culture is right and good, and no one has made the effort to dissect this so-called good, correct thing to find its exact origin and source. Herein lies the seriousness of the problem. Even believers in God, who have read His words for many years, still believe that these things are right and positive, and they even think that they can be substituted for the truth, and replace the word of God. Even worse, some people think: Regardless of how often you read the word of God, you live among men, and you cannot abandon so-called traditional concepts and culture, such as the Three Obediences and Four Virtues or the Five Moralities, because they have been passed down from our ancestors, and, because our ancestors were sages, we cannot go against their teachings simply because of our belief in God, nor can we tinker with or discard these teachings of our venerable ancestors. These are some of the perceptions that are in people’s minds, and people are unconsciously controlled by these things.
Excerpted from “For Leaders and Workers, Choosing a Path Is of Utmost Importance (4)” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Every single thing that exists in our hearts is in opposition to God. This includes the things we think are good, and even those we already believe to be positive. We have listed these things as truths, as part of normal humanity, and as positive things; however, from God’s perspective, they are things that He loathes. The gulf between what we think and the truth spoken by God is immeasurable. Hence, we must know ourselves. From our ideas, viewpoints, and actions to the cultural education we have received, each thing is worth delving deep into and thoroughly dissecting. Some of these things come from social environments, some come from families, some come from school education, and some come from books. Some also come from our imaginations and notions. These sorts of things are the most frightening, for they bind and control our words and actions, dominate our minds, and guide our motives, intentions, and goals in what we do. If we do not unearth these things, we will never fully accept God’s words within us, and we will never accept God’s requirements without reservation and put them into practice. As long as you harbor your own ideas and viewpoints, and convictions of things that you believe to be correct, you will never fully or unreservedly accept God’s words, nor will you practice them in their original form; you will surely only put them into practice after first processing them in your mind. This will be how you do things, and it will also be the way in which you help others: You may still fellowship on God’s words, but you will always have your own impurities mixed in, and you will think that this is what it means to practice the truth, that you have understood the truth, and that you have it all. Is man’s state not pitiful? Is it not scary?
Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Mankind’s traditional culture and way of existence will not become truth because of the changes or passage of time, and neither will the words of God become the words of man due to mankind’s condemnation or forgetfulness. This essence will never change; truth is always truth. A fact exists herein: All those sayings that are summarized by mankind originate in Satan—they are human imaginings and notions, even arising from human hot-bloodedness, and have nothing at all to do with positive things. The words of God, on the other hand, are expressions of God’s essence and status. For what reason does He express these words? Why do I say they are truth? The reason is that God rules over all the laws, principles, roots, essences, actualities, and mysteries of all things, and they are grasped in His hand, and God alone knows all the principles, actualities, facts, and mysteries of all things; He knows their origins and what their roots really are. Therefore, only the definitions of all things mentioned in the words of God are most accurate, and the requirements for mankind within God’s words are the only standard for mankind—the only criteria by which mankind should exist.
Excerpted from “On What the Truth Is” in Records of Christ’s Talks
1. “Non-biodegradable” is intended as satire here, meaning that people are rigid in their knowledge, culture, and spiritual outlook.
2. “Swallow” refers to the vicious behavior of the king of devils, which ravishes people in their entirety.
3. “Accomplices in crime” are of the same ilk as “a band of hoodlums.”
a. The Four Books and Five Classics are the authoritative books of Confucianism in China.