147. The Principles on Treating Traditional Culture
1. Most of traditional culture comes from Satan or evil spirits, and it is the satanic pernicious influence that denies God and is an enemy to the truth, and is a negative thing.
2. Traditional culture is an invisible bind that ties and shackles mankind. It is a tool for Satan, the king of devils to confuse, control, and swallow people whole.
3. Traditional culture makes people more and more corrupt, depraved, degenerate, and farther and farther from God. It makes people become enemies of God.
4. If you discern and dissect the essence of traditional culture based on God’s words and the truth, you will be entirely able to see into its corruption and reactionary nature, and you will be able to hate and reject it.
Relevant Words of God:
The Chinese nation which has been corrupted for thousands of years has continued on until today. All sorts of viruses continue to expand and are spreading everywhere like the plague; just looking at people’s relationships is enough to see how many viruses are in people. It’s extremely difficult for God to develop His work in such a tightly closed and virus-infected area. People’s personalities, habits, the way they do things, everything they express in their lives and their interpersonal relationships are all broken beyond belief and even their knowledge and their cultures have all been condemned by God. Not to mention the various experiences they learned from their families and society—these have all been judged in the eyes of God. This is because those who live in this land have eaten too many viruses. It seems to be business as usual for people, and they think nothing of it.
from “The Path … (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Most of the words of Confucius, who is held up by Chinese people as a “sage,” especially have become man’s life. There are also the famous sayings of Buddhism and Taoism and the classic sayings frequently spoken by famous figures; these are all outlines of Satan’s philosophy and Satan’s nature. They are also the best illustration and explanation of Satan’s nature. These poisons that have been infused into the heart of humankind all come from Satan; not the least bit of them comes from God. These lies and nonsense are also precisely in opposition to God’s word. It is completely clear that the realities of all positive things come from God, and all those negative things that poison man come from Satan. So, you can discern a man’s nature and to whom he belongs from his view of life and values. Satan corrupts people through the education and influence of the national governments and the famous and great. Their lies and nonsense have become man’s life and nature. “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost” is a well-known satanic saying that has been instilled into everyone and become the human life. There are some other words of life philosophy that are also like this. Satan educates people through each nation’s fine traditional culture and causes humanity to fall into and be engulfed in an expansive abyss of destruction, and in the end people are destroyed by God because they serve Satan and resist God.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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 terrorist world of darkness, 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, 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. Anyway, I believe that people will not mind Me uttering these words since what I am talking about is the history of thousands of years. To speak of history means facts and, moreover, scandals that are obvious to all, so what point is there in saying that which is contrary to fact?
from “Work and Entry (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Entrenched ethnic traditions and mental outlook have long since cast a shadow over the pure and childlike spirit of man, they have attacked the soul of man without the slightest humanity, as if bereft of emotion or any sense of self. The methods of these demons are extremely cruel, and it is as if “education” and “nurturing” have become the traditional methods by which the king of devils slays man; using its “profound teaching” it completely covers its ugly soul, dressing in sheep’s clothing to gain man’s trust and then taking advantage of when man is sleeping to completely devour him. Poor mankind—how could they know that the land upon which they were raised is the land of the devil, that the one who raised them is actually an enemy who hurts them. Yet man does not awaken at all; having sated his hunger and thirst, he prepares to repay the “kindness” of his “parents” in bringing him up. That is how man is. Today, he still doesn’t know that the king who raised him is his enemy. The earth is littered with the bones of the dead, the devil makes manic merry without cease, and carries on devouring the flesh of man in the “netherworld,” sharing a grave with human skeletons and vainly attempting to consume the last remnants of the tattered body of man. Yet man is ever ignorant, and has never treated the devil as his enemy, but instead serves it with all his heart.
from “Work and Entry (9)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
From top to bottom and beginning to end, it has been disturbing the work of God and acting in discord with Him. All the 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 developed industry, agriculture, and business are nowhere to be seen. Rather, it simply emphasizes the feudal rites propagated by the ancient “apes” to deliberately disrupt, oppose, and destroy the work of God. Not only has it afflicted man until this day, but it wants to consume man completely. The teaching of the feudal code of ethics and passing down of knowledge of ancient culture has long infected man and turned man into devils big and small. There are but few who would readily receive God and jubilantly welcome the coming of God. Man’s face is filled with murder, and in all places, death is in 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. Idols are spread across the land of the devil where man is constantly taught there is no God. Above this land permeates a nauseating odor of burning paper and incense, so thick that it is suffocating. It seems to be the smell of sludge that wafts up when the serpent twists and coils, and is enough that man cannot help but vomit. Besides, there can faintly be heard evil demons chanting scriptures. This sound seems to be coming from faraway in hell, and man cannot help but feel a chill down his spine. Across this land are scattered idols, with all colors of the rainbow, which turn the land into a dazzling world, and the king of devils keeps a smirk on its face, as if its evil plot has succeeded. Meanwhile, man is completely unaware of it, nor does man know that the devil has already corrupted him to such degree that he has become senseless and defeated. It wishes to wipe out God’s all in one blow, to again insult and assassinate Him, and attempts to tear down and disturb His work. How could it allow God to be of equal status? How can it tolerate God “interfering” with the work among men? How can it allow God to unmask its odious face? How can it allow God to disrupt its work? How could this devil, fuming with rage, allow God to govern its court of power on earth? How could it willingly admit defeat? Its odious countenance has been revealed for what it is, hence one finds himself not knowing whether to laugh or cry, and it is truly difficult to speak of. Is this not its essence?
from “Work and Entry (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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, 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?
from “To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Knowledge of several thousand years of ancient culture and history has closed off the thinking and concepts and mental outlook of man so tightly as to be impenetrable and nondegradable. Man lives in the eighteenth level of hell, as if they have been banished by God into the dungeons, never to see the light. Feudal thinking has oppressed man such that man can barely breathe and is suffocating. They have not the slightest strength to resist and just quietly endure and endure…. Never has any dared to fight or stand up for righteousness and justice; they simply live a life, no better than an animal’s, under the abuse and assault of feudal lords, year after year, day after day. Man has never thought to seek God to enjoy happiness on earth. It is as if man has been beaten down, like the fallen leaves of autumn, withered and browned. Man has long lost their memory and helplessly lives in the hell by the name of the human world, waiting for the coming of the last day so that they may perish together with the hell, as if the last day that they yearn for is the day they shall enjoy restful peace. Feudal ethics have taken the life of man into “Hades,” so that man has even less ability to resist. Various kinds of oppression forced man to gradually fall deeper into Hades and farther away from God. Now, God has been a complete stranger to man, and man still hastens to avoid Him when they meet. Man does not heed Him and isolates Him as if man has never known or seen Him before. … Knowledge of ancient culture has quietly stolen man from the presence of God and turned man over to the king of devils and its sons. The Four Books and Five Classics have taken the thinking and concepts of man into another age of rebellion, causing man to further worship those who wrote the Books and Classics, furthering their notions of God. The king of devils heartlessly cast out God from the heart of man without their awareness, while it gleefully took over the heart of man. From then on, man was possessed of an ugly and wicked soul with the face of the king of devils. A hatred of God filled their chests, and the maliciousness of the king of devils spread within man day by day until man was utterly consumed. Man no longer had freedom and was unable to break free from entanglement with the king of devils. Therefore, man could only stay in place and be seized, surrendering to it and becoming subjugated to it.
from “Work and Entry (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What are Chinese people’s traditional concepts? People should be filial toward their parents as taught by Confucius. If you are not filial toward your parents then you are an unfilial son. Aren’t you all indoctrinated with this from childhood? Nearly every family indoctrinates this and schools are also indoctrinating this: how you should respect the elders and cherish the young, how you should be filial to your parents, as well as some other things. Take filial devotion as an example. After your minds have been indoctrinated with this, you will think: “Being filial to my parents is more important than anything else. If I am not filial to my parents then I am a scoundrel, a bad person, an unfilial son, and I will be condemned for not having a conscience.” Isn’t that what you think? That’s also what society and families teach. When you start believing in God, the truth and God’s words don’t mention these things. What does God’s word require as the principle for treating others? Love what God loves, hate what God hates. That is, the people loved by God who truly pursue the truth and who carry out God’s will, are the people you should love. Those who don’t carry out God’s will, hate God, disobey God, and are despised by God, are people we should despise and reject. That’s what God’s word requires. If our parents don’t believe in God, then they hate God. If they hate God, God will of course despise them. If we are asked to despise them, can we despise them? If they can resist God and can curse God, then they are surely loathed by God and cursed by God. Under these circumstances, if your parents don’t obstruct you from believing in God, or if your parents go to the extent of obstructing you from believing in God, how will you treat them? You should act in accordance with the requirement of God’s word: “Love what God loves, hate what God hates.” Further, during the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus said: “Who are My brothers, My parents and My sisters? Only those who do the will of My Father are My brothers, My sisters, and My parents.” There was already this saying in the Age of Grace, and now God’s words are even more apt: “Love what God loves, hate what God hates.” These words cut straight to the point, but people are often unable to appreciate their true meaning. If a person is cursed by God, but they seem to be quite good from the outside or they are your parents or relatives, you might find yourself unable to hate them, and your dealings with them might be even quite intimate and your relationship quite close. When you hear such words from God you get upset, and you are unable to be cruel-hearted and cannot abandon them. Why is that the case? Because you are bound by traditional concepts inside. You think if you do this you will be punished by Heaven and even incur the wrath of Heaven, be cast aside by society and condemned by public opinion. And the more realistic problem is that it will be on your conscience. Isn’t that so? This “conscience” comes from what your parents taught you from childhood or the influence and infection of the culture of society, planting such a root and way of thinking inside you so that you cannot practice God’s word and love what God loves and hate what God hates. But inside your heart you know that you should hate them and reject them, because your life comes from God and was not given by your parents. Man ought to worship God and return himself to God. Even though you say that and also think that, you just can’t come around and you just can’t put it into practice. Do you know what’s going on here? It’s that these things have deeply and tightly bound you. Satan uses these things to bind your thoughts, your mind and your heart, so that you cannot accept God’s words. These things have filled you up completely and God’s words cannot fit. Plus, if you try to practice God’s words, these things will take effect inside you and conflict with God’s words and His requirements, making you unable to break free from this rope and this bondage. You can’t do anything about it. After a period of useless struggle you will compromise. Some people will break out of the struggle, but others will struggle a little then compromise. They think that it is still traditional concepts and traditional standards of morality that matter most and God’s words can be put aside for now, because they are still living in this world and have to rely on those people. They cannot bear social public opinions or condemnation—they are unable to bear these things—so they would rather choose to sin against God and abandon the truth and God’s words, and to surrender to the bondage of social public opinions or traditional concepts. Aren’t humans pitiful? Doesn’t mankind need God’s salvation?
What do traditional Chinese women believe in particular? Women must assist their husbands and bring up their children, be an understanding wife and loving mother. What being an understanding wife and loving mother means is that they must expend and devote their whole lives to their husbands and children. Furthermore, every woman believes that they should do this, and if they don’t they are not a good woman and are betraying conscience and the standards of morality. There are even some who can’t do it well or do it up to their own standards who won’t be able to live with themselves and will think they have failed their children and their husbands. Their husbands’ three meals a day, cleaning up here and there, and their duty at home—all of these have to be done well and especially well. This is of course society’s standard of an understanding wife and loving mother. After you believe in God and if you are asked to fulfill your duty, will there be a clash between your duty and you being an understanding wife and loving mother or being a model mother or a standard woman? If you want to be an understanding wife and loving mother, you won’t be able to devote all of your time to fulfilling your duty. Or if being an understanding wife and loving mother conflicts with fulfilling your duty, how will you choose then? If you choose to fulfill your duty properly and be responsible to the house of God, or do whatever you can and be completely loyal to God, you must let go of being an understanding wife and loving mother. What will you think then? What kind of fluctuations will there be in your thoughts? Won’t you really think you owe a debt to your own children? Where does this sense of debt and unease come from? Will you feel uneasy when you don’t fulfill your duty as a created being properly? You are not uneasy, because this thing is not in your ideas and viewpoints. Therefore, when you don’t fulfill your duty properly, you don’t feel any blame because this positive thing is not equipped in your conscience. What are you equipped with then? Being an understanding wife and loving mother. If you are not an understanding wife and loving mother then you are not a good or decent woman. Isn’t that the standard? This standard binds you, causing you to carry this thing when you are fulfilling your duty and believing in God. If being an understanding wife and loving mother conflicts with fulfilling your duty, or when both have to be performed at the same time, you can grudgingly choose to fulfill your duty or be loyal to God, but you will feel uneasy inside and feel more blame. When you are not fulfilling your duty you will stay at home to serve your children or husband, trying more to make it up to them even if your physical body has to suffer more. You being able to do this is driven by a way of thinking. But before God, have we fulfilled our responsibilities and obligations or our duty? Do we feel any blame? Isn’t there no blame? When we perform our duty in a perfunctory manner, or when we don’t even want to fulfill our duty, do we feel any blame or accusation? There is not a shred of accusation. This is because this thing is not inside mankind’s corrupt disposition and their humanity. … Every single thing that exists in our hearts opposes God. This includes the things we think are good, even things we already think are positive. We have listed these things as the truth, as normal humanity, and as positive things, but from God’s perspective, these are things that He loathes. Tell Me, how far off are we from the truth that God speaks of? This is immeasurable. Hence, we must know ourselves, from our ideas and viewpoints and our actions to the culture and education we have received. Each thing is worth digging deep into and deeply dissecting. Some are from social environments, some are from families, some are from schools, and some are from books, while some are also from our imaginations and notions. These things are the most frightening because they bind and control our words and actions, control our minds, and control our motives, intentions and goals of doing things. If we don’t dig these things out, we will never fully accept God’s words into us, and we will never accept God’s requirements without reservation and put them into practice. As long as there are your own ideas and viewpoints and things you think are right inside you, you will never fully and unreservedly accept God’s words and practice them in their original form. You will surely process them in your heart and then practice them. You do things in this way and you also help other people in this way, adding a bit of mankind’s things and a bit of God’s things. Then you think: Okay, I’ve practiced the truth. I understand, I have everything. Isn’t mankind’s situation pitiful? Isn’t it scary? These things cannot be explained thoroughly or clearly in just a word or two. Of course, there are more things in life, like those toxins we summed up before—one hundred of them—and everyone has seen them and understood the words. But how do you check them against yourself? How do you practice? Are you affected by the toxins in these aspects too? Do you also think that way? Do you also rely on these principles when you do things? This requires you to dig into and check against your own experiences.
from “Knowing Yourself Requires Knowing Your Deep-rooted Thoughts and Views” in Records of Christ’s Talks
1. “Content with their lot in life” indicates that people stick by the rules and do nothing that violates laws.
2. “Consume” refers to the violent behavior of the king of devils, which plunders people in their entirety.