Thursday, October 9, 2008

Judas and Saul (before being Paul) shared

Both the betraying Apostle Judas and the Jewish zealot Saul (who later became St. Paul) had something very good in common. They both fervently, and even fanatically, believed in the reality of the one true God, as revealed to the Chosen People, to whom they belonged, the Israelites.

Many modern people misunderstand "sound bytes" about both Judas and Saul and think they were unbelievers who lacked faith. Actually, the opposite is true. They both had enormous faith in God. What they shared was such a great faith in God, with accompanying zealotry, that they failed to recognize Jesus Christ. This is where the comparison between the two ends. Judas actually was chosen by Christ and worked side by side with him, yet in the end did not recognize him. Saul never met Christ and thus didn't recognize the Jesus Christ that he had heard about and who he had only "seen" in the faces of Christians who believed, and who he helped to persecute.

However, the minute that Saul met the resurrected Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he saw and believed. This is how two people who shared a great faith in God demonstrated radically different characters and faith profiles. Judas didn't believe even as he lived with Jesus and saw him, spoke with him, and learned from him with his own eyes and ears. Saul immediately knew Jesus and believed when he was thrown down from his horse and saw the resurrected Christ.

I mention this because it's instructive to people who ponder the events related in the Bible, but also part of my constant work to debunk cults. There are cultists today who "relate" to either Judas or Paul. It would be laughable if it were not so serious. You see, no one can "relate" to either Judas or Paul (Saul) without having an unshakeable belief in God. Modern cultists do not have that, thus they have absolutely no reason to "relate" to either Paul or Judas. In fact, they have no right to "relate" to either of them, because both would spit on and trod upon any modern human who is cultist or denying of God himself.

The same is true of Lucifer, by the way. Many modern cultists "relate" to him and have "faiths" dedicated to him. Again, this would be funny if it were not so sad and serious. Lucifer himself would be the first to attest to the reality of the one God, the person of God, not some "squishy" view of God as a force of nature or something like that. Lucifer, also known as Satan, is demonstrated in the Bible as being very knowledgeable about God, quoting scripture and even initiating conversation with God. The last thing that Satan would "respect" is "believers" in him who then portray him as replacing God, or that God does not exist, or that God is not in charge and active in the world. Satan seeks to shake one's faith and make bad choices, but he never would seek (and is indeed horrified and contemptuous) of people who read the Bible only enough to learn that he exists, and then ignore the reality of God (whose own scripture Satan quotes).

Furthermore, even the stupidest and lowest minion of Satan's, the "demons," recognize not only God but Jesus and fear his authority on sight. Demons trembled at the sight of the approaching Jesus, knowing of the both the reality of God and the authority that Jesus had over them, including the ability to cast them out. Demons hailed Jesus first, before he even spoke to them.

Satan and the demons are enraged by so called "Church of Satan" and other "believers" who basically conduct "identity theft" on Satan by portraying him as someone who is not subject to God, or who competes with God as a divinity (that is not true, Satan's only sin was disobedience, not usurping of power) and Satan most firmly hates and scorns people who "cherry pick" his existence from the Bible and then frame him as being the "reason" to not believe in God. Satan's "gig" is disobedience (with the inevitable result of hell), not disbelief in God himself. Satan, for example, tests Job's faith in God, not his belief in God. These are two real differences that people with a moderate IQ and thinking ability should understand. Satan does not attempt to portray God as not existing. Satan seeks to shake people's faith in God's goodness, mercy, love and attentiveness to individual humans. Satan tries to do this when people suffer at the hands of other humans, when they experience cruelty and deprivation because, frankly, people are not so nice. Satan does not cause human cruelty to other humans and he never denies the existence of God. Satan has nothing but scorn for people who do not understand that and further, he despises those who "identify theft" him, and he does not have a nice greeting for them when his alleged pseudo "followers" fall into his hands in their eternity in the very real fires of hell.

I hope that you find this helpful.