Embassy of Heaven

Demands of World vs Christ

 

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Christ's teaching practical and simple

It is not necessary to be a martyr in Christ's name - that is not what he teaches. He only bids us cease to torment ourselves in the name of the world's false teaching.

Christ's teaching has a profound metaphysical meaning, it has an all-human meaning, and it has the simplest, clearest, and most practical meaning for the life of every single man. That last meaning can be expressed thus: Christ teaches men not to commit stupidities. Therein lies the simplest meaning of Christ's teaching, accessible to all.

Christ says: Do not be angry,11 See Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapters 5-7 - P.R. do not consider anyone your inferior - to do so is stupid. If you get angry and insult people it will be the worse for you. Christ also says: Do not run after women, but unite with one woman and live with her - it will be better for you so. He also says: Do not promise anything to people, or else they will oblige you to do stupid and evil actions. He also says: Do not return evil for evil, or the evil will return to you yet more bitterly than before: like the heavy log suspended over the store of honey, which kills the bear.12 The reference is to the practice of hanging a heavy block, or log, over a deposit of honey. When a bear tries to take the honey he knocks himself against the log, which swings back and hits him. The bear then strikes more fiercely at the log, which rebounding, strikes him still more heavily, and so on, until, it is said, the bear is sometimes killed by the blows he receives. - A. M. He also says: Do not consider men foreign to you merely because they live in another country and speak another language. If you consider them as enemies and they consider you such, it will be worse for you. So do not commit all these stupidities, and it will be better for you.

'Yes', people reply, 'but the world is so arranged that to resist its arrangements is more painful than to live in accord with them. If a man refuses military service he will be sent to a fortress and perhaps shot. If a man does not safeguard his life by acquiring the property he and his family need, he and they will die of hunger.' So people say, trying to defend the world's arrangement, but they do not think so themselves. They only speak so because they cannot deny the justice of the teaching of Christ in whom they are supposed to believe, and they must justify themselves in some way for not fulfilling that teaching. They not only do not think this, but they have never even thought about the matter at all. They believe the world's teaching and merely employ the excuse the Church has taught them,13 When Tolstoy says "Church" he means the established church who asserted themselves "with oaths that they possessed the truth" - P.R. to the effect that if one fulfils Christ's teaching one must endure great suffering; and therefore they have never even tried to fulfil it. We see the innumerable sufferings people endure for the sake of the world's teaching, but in our time we never see sufferings for the sake of Christ's teaching at all. Thirty millions have perished for the world's teaching in warfare; thousands of millions have pined in a tormenting life for the sake of the world's teaching, while I know not only no millions, but not even thousands or dozens, or even one single man, who has perished by death or by a painful life of hunger and cold for the sake of Christ's teaching. It is only a ridiculous excuse, showing to what a degree Christ's teaching is unknown to us. Not only do we not share it, we have never even seriously considered it. The Church has been at pains to explain Christ's teaching so that it has appeared to us not as a teaching of life but as a bugbear.

Christ calls men to a spring of water which is there beside them. Men are tormented by thirst, eat dirt, and drink one another's blood, but their teachers tell them that they will perish if they go to the spring to which Christ directs them. And people believe this; they suffer and die of thirst at two steps from the water, not daring to go to it. But it is only necessary to believe Christ, that he has brought blessing on earth and that he gives us who thirst a spring of living water, and to come to him, to see how insidious is the Church's deception and how insensate are our sufferings when salvation is so near at hand. It is only necessary to accept Christ's teaching simply and plainly for the terrible deception in which we all and each are living to become clear.

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