|Vol. 12 No. 11 November 2010||
Donald R. Fox
In the year of 1964, a young lady known, as Kitty Genovese was brutally stabbed to death near her home in Queens, New York. It gained national recognition because of the nature of this terrible murder. You see, although the neighbors were fully aware of the killing, no one responded to help Kitty. The neighbors were non-responsive to Kitty’s screaming and crying for help, allowing the killer to continue his act of violence.
An investigation was conducted to try to find out why citizens refused to help this young lady. The homicide case and the investigation went into the social, psychological phenomenon that now is known as the bystander effect. This phenomenon is also known as diffusion of responsibility. This behavior is sometimes called the Genovese Syndrome.
This account of terror and detachment reminds me that human conduct has its highs and lows. I am further reminded of The Parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37. In this portion of Scripture, we find a lawyer trying to justify himself, who asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Verse 29). Jesus relates the parable of how one “fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead” (Verse 30). The priest and then the Levite failed to render aid; they “passed on the other side” (Verse 31-32.) Did these uncaring two mumble or think within themselves, “This is none of my business?” “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and had compassion on him” (Verse 33). Blessed be such human beings that take positive action in doing that which is right.
From his wonderful book entitled, Lessons from the Parables, Neil R. Lightfoot comments on the Good Samaritan in part as follows: “In the parable the Samaritan exemplifies the principles of Christian conduct. All the world remembers his compassion, but this is so because his compassion led to instant action. Compassion is not real if it is no more than an emotion. Real compassion affects conduct. And that, after all, is what Christianity is about” (Page 66-67).
Personally, I have had a few encounters with friends who did not inform me of facts that would have changed my mind for the better. After making mistakes because of not knowing the whole truth, my friends basically on these occasions said, “Well, we knew you were making a big mistake, but it was none of our business.” It is one thing to be a busybody and another to be conscious of one who is facing danger. To warn one of coming danger would be a good and compassionate deed. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
D. Gene West
Down through the ages there have been many strange ideas regarding Elohim whom we worship. For more than two thousand years now, Christians have believed that He is the one true and living God in whom we live and move and have our being. We believe because the Bible so teaches that God has been our God from all eternity even as the Psalmist declared when he wrote, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalms 90:1‑2). From all eternity God has been God, and there is not another like Him in all the universe.
However, not all people believe that. A man who claimed to be a prophet of God said, during a funeral sermon back in the mid 1800s, “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you might see.” Hence, we have the declaration of a self-proclaimed prophet that God was not God from all eternity.
According to the theology of these people, our Heavenly Father lived on another planet similar to the earth. Where did He come from and how did He get to that planet? Well, a man who claimed to be an apostle of, we know not whom, said, “We were begotten by our Father in heaven; the person of the Father in Heaven was begotten on a previously heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by a still more ancient Father; and so on, from generation to generation…” So, according to this religious doctrine, which is totally out of harmony with the Bible, there has been an infinite regression of gods creating gods for all eternity. If that is the case, it is only fair that one be allowed to ask, “Where did the first god come from?” Something either has always been, or it has a beginning. If Elohim had His beginning with another god, and he with another, and he with another, ad infinitum, where did the first one come from?
Another question that must be asked regarding this doctrine is, “Of whom were the gods begotten?” The self-proclaimed apostle said each begot the other from generation to generation. Assuming that all these gods of whom this so-called apostle spoke were male, since he refers to them in the masculine gender, we ask, “Who conceived these gods? Did each of these generations cohabit with human females, or are there mother gods?” Their solution to this problem is to teach that the Being we know as God the Father was once a man who lived here on earth. That would mean all the other gods were likewise men living somewhere, perhaps on a planet similar to earth.
Another self-proclaimed apostle in this religious movement said, “Remember that our God, our Heavenly Father, was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved forward and overcome, until He has arrived at the point where He now is.” Well, if God started His career as a man, then there is hope, according to this theology that we too will one day become gods. Still another self-appointed apostle of someone wrote, “We believe in a God who is Himself progressive, whose majesty is intelligence; whose perfection consists in eternal advancement – a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow, whose glory it is their heritage to share.” So, this theology teaches that men and women are created to become gods and goddesses in the next life.
The God whom Christians worship, and consider the eternal God of the ages, is according to this theology, only a figment of the imagination. However, that is the way He is presented in the Sacred Volume called the Bible. We have no desire to worship a god who is, or ever was, a mere human being. We wish to worship the God who is far above the angels, who is the Creator of all things, the Ruler of the universe, whose Son died to save us. This is the God of the Bible.