God’s Holiness (III) Part Two
We have just talked about how Satan uses knowledge to corrupt man, so next let us fellowship about how Satan uses science to corrupt man. Firstly, in using science to corrupt man, Satan uses the name of science to satisfy man’s curiosity, satisfying man’s desire[a] to explore science and probe into mysteries. Also in the name of science, Satan satisfies man’s material needs and man’s demand to continually raise their quality of life. Satan therefore, in this name, uses the way of science to corrupt man. Is it only man’s thinking or man’s minds that Satan corrupts using this way of science? Amongst the people and things in our surroundings that we can see and that we come into contact with, what else does Satan use science to corrupt? (The natural environment.) You are right. It looks like you have been deeply harmed by this, and are also deeply affected by it. Besides using science to deceive man, using all the various findings and conclusions of science to deceive man, Satan also uses science as a means to carry out wanton destruction and exploitation of the living environment that was bestowed on man by God. It does this under the pretext that if man carries out scientific research, then man’s living environment will get better and better and man’s living standards will continually improve, and furthermore that scientific development is done to cater to man’s daily increasing material needs and continual need to raise their quality of life. If not for these reasons, then it asks what you are doing developing science at all. This is the theoretical basis of Satan’s development of science. What consequences, however, does science have for mankind? What does our immediate environment consist of? Has not the air mankind breathes been polluted? Is the water we drink still truly pure? (No.) So what about the food we eat, is the majority of it natural? (No.) So what is it then? It is grown using fertilizer and cultivated using genetic modification, and there are also mutations produced using various scientific methods, so that even the vegetables and fruit we eat are no longer natural. It is not easy now for people to find unmodified food products to eat. Even eggs no longer taste the way they used to, having already been processed by Satan’s so-called science. Looking at the big picture, the entire atmosphere has been destroyed and polluted; mountains, lakes, forests, rivers, oceans, and everything above or below ground have all been ruined by so-called scientific achievements. In other words, the entire ecology, the entire living environment bestowed on mankind by God has been polluted and ruined by so-called science. Although there are many people who have obtained what they expected in terms of the quality of life they seek, satisfying both their lusts and their flesh, the environment man lives in has essentially been destroyed and ruined by the various “achievements” brought by science. Even outdoors or in our homes we now no longer have a right to breathe one breath of clean air. You tell Me, is this mankind’s sorrow? Is there still any happiness to speak of for man to live in this living space? Man lives in this living space and, from the very beginning, this living environment was created by God for man. The water people drink, the air people breathe, the food people eat, plants, trees, and the oceans—this living environment was all bestowed on man by God; it is natural, operating in accordance with a natural law laid down by God. If there was no science, and people could enjoy what was bestowed on man in accordance with the way of God, they would have been happy and could have enjoyed everything at its most pristine. Now, however, all of this has been destroyed and ruined by Satan; man’s fundamental living space is no longer at its most pristine. But no one is able to recognize what caused this kind of consequence or how this came about, and furthermore even more people comprehend and approach science by using the ideas instilled in them by Satan, and by viewing science with earthly eyes. Is this not so very hateful and pitiful? With Satan now having taken the space in which mankind exists and their living environment and corrupted them into this state, and with mankind continuing to develop in this way, is there any need for the hand of God to extinguish this mankind on earth that has been so deeply corrupted and that has become hostile to Him? Is there any need for the hand of God to destroy mankind? (No.) If mankind continues to develop in this way, what direction will it take? (Ruination.) How will mankind be ruined? In addition to man’s greedy search for fame and gain, they continually carry out scientific exploration and in-depth research, then ceaselessly they satisfy their own material needs and lusts; what then are the consequences for man? First of all there is no longer any ecological balance and, hand in hand with this, mankind’s bodies have all been tainted and damaged by this kind of environment, and various infectious diseases, plagues, and haze spread everywhere. This is a situation that man now has no control over, is that not right? Now that you understand this, if mankind does not follow God, but always follows Satan this way—using knowledge to continually enrich themselves, using science to ceaselessly explore the future of human life, using this kind of method to continue living—are you able to recognize what the natural end of mankind will be? What will be the natural final result? (Ruination.) It will be ruination: approaching ruination one step at a time. Approaching ruination one step at a time! It now looks as though science is a kind of magic potion or slow-acting poison that Satan has prepared for man, so that when you try to discern things you do so in a foggy haze; no matter how hard you look, you cannot see things clearly, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot figure them out. Satan, however, still uses the name of science to whet your appetite and to lead you by the nose, one foot in front of the other, toward the abyss and toward death. Is this not so? (Yes.) This is the second way.
The issue of how Satan uses traditional culture to corrupt man also needs explanation. There are many similarities between traditional culture and superstition, only traditional culture has certain stories, allusions, and sources. Satan has fabricated and invented many folk stories or stories in history books, leaving people with deep impressions of traditional cultural or superstitious figures. Take China’s The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea, Journey to the West, The Jade Emperor, Nezha Conquers the Dragon King, and Investiture of the Gods, for example. Have these not become deeply rooted in the minds of man? Even if some people do not know all the details, they still know the general stories, and it is this general content that sticks in your heart and sticks in your mind, and you cannot forget it. These are things Satan set up for man long ago, having disseminated at different times its various ideas and life philosophies. 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 these things that arise from traditional culture, stories or superstition, once these things are established in your mind, once they are stuck in your heart, it is just like a spell—you become enmeshed and influenced by these cultures, these ideas and traditional stories. They influence your life, your outlook on life and they also influence your judgment of things. Even more so they influence your pursuit for the true path of life: This is indeed a spell! You try but you cannot shake them off; you chop at them but you cannot chop them down; you beat at them but you cannot beat them down. Is this not so? (Yes.) Furthermore, after man is 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 set Satan up as their idol, an object for them to worship and look up to, even going so far as to treat it the same way they would God. Unknowingly, these things are in people’s hearts controlling their words and deeds. You unknowingly acknowledge the existence of these stories, making of them real figures, turning them into real existing objects. In 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 you feel the same? (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.) Is it absurd to pray to Satan for peace? Does Satan bring peace? (No.) Thinking about it now, were you ignorant back then? (Yes.) That kind of manner is absurd, ignorant and naive, isn’t it? Satan cannot give you peace. Why? Satan only ponders how to corrupt you and cannot give you peace; it can only give you a temporary respite. But you must take a vow and if you break your promise or break the vow you have made to it, then you will see how it torments you. In making you take a vow, it actually wants to control you, doesn’t it? When you prayed for peace, did you obtain peace? (No.) You did not obtain peace, but on the contrary it brought misfortune, unending disasters and a whole host of calamities—truly a boundless ocean of bitterness. Peace is not within Satan’s domain, and this is the truth. This is the consequence for mankind of feudal superstition and traditional culture.
The issue of Satan taking advantage of social trends to corrupt man also needs specific explanation. These social trends include many things. Some people say: “Are they about the clothes we wear? Are they about the latest fashions, cosmetics, hairdressing and gourmet food?” Are they about these things? These are a part of trends, but we do not wish to talk about these here. We only wish to talk about the ideas that social trends bring about for people, the way they cause people to conduct themselves in the world, the life goals and outlook that they bring about in people. These are very important; they can control and influence man’s state of mind. One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan “bestows” on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist. So what on earth are these trends? I have picked a simple example that you may come to understand. For example, people in the past ran their business in a way that cheated neither old nor young, and which sold items at the same price regardless of who was buying. Is a hint of conscience and humanity not conveyed here? When people used this kind of credo when conducting their business, can we say that they still had some conscience, some humanity at that time? (Yes.) But with man’s demand for ever increasing amounts of money, people unknowingly came to love money, love gain and love enjoyment more and more. So did people come to view money as more important? When people view money as more important, they unknowingly neglect their reputation, their renown, prestige, and integrity; they neglect all these things, don’t they? When you engage in business, you see someone else taking different approaches and using various means to swindle people and get rich. Although the money earned is ill-gotten gains, they get richer and richer. Their whole family engages in the same business as you, but they enjoy life more than you do, and you feel bad, saying: “Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I earn as much as they do? I must think of a way to get more money, to make my business prosper.” You then ponder this through. According to the usual method of making money, cheating neither old nor young and selling things at the same price for all, the money you make is in good conscience, but it cannot get you rich quick. However, under the urge to make a profit, your thinking undergoes a gradual transformation. During this transformation, your principles of conduct also begin to change. When you first cheat someone, when you first defraud someone, you have your reservations, saying “This is the last time I cheat someone and I will not do it again. I cannot cheat people. Cheating people will only earn retribution and bring disaster upon me! This is the last time I cheat someone and I will not do it again.” When you first deceive someone, your heart has some scruples; this is the function of man’s conscience—to have scruples and to reproach you, so that it feels unnatural when you cheat someone. But after you have successfully deceived someone you see that you now have more money than you did before, and you think this method can be very beneficial for you. Despite the dull ache in your heart, you still feel like congratulating yourself on your “success,” and you feel a little pleased with yourself. For the first time, you approve of your own behavior and approve of your own deception. Afterward, once man has been contaminated by this cheating, it is the same as someone who gets involved in gambling and then becomes a gambler. In unawareness, he approves of his cheating behavior and accepts it. In unawareness, he takes cheating to be a legitimate commercial behavior, and takes cheating to be the most useful means for his survival and his life; he thinks that by doing this he can get rich quick. At the beginning of this process people cannot accept this type of behavior, they look down on this behavior and this way of going about things, until they try it out and experiment with it in their own way, personally and firsthand, and then their hearts begin to gradually transform. So what is this transformation? It is an approval and admission of this trend, an admission and approval of this type of idea instilled in you by the social trend. In unawareness, you feel that if you do not cheat in business then you will suffer losses, that if you do not cheat then you will have lost something. Unknowingly, this cheating becomes your very soul, your mainstay, and also becomes a type of behavior that is an indispensable rule for your life. After man has accepted this behavior and this thinking, does the heart of man undergo a change? Your heart has changed, so has your integrity changed? Has your humanity changed? (Yes.) So has your conscience changed? (Yes.) Man’s entirety undergoes a qualitative change, from their heart to their thoughts, to such an extent that they are changed from the inside out. This change puts you further and further from God, and you become more and more in conformity with Satan, more and more similar to it.
Now these social trends are easy for you to understand. I just chose a simple example, a commonly seen example that people will be familiar with. Do these social trends have a big influence on people? (Yes!) So do these social trends have a deeply harmful effect on people? (Yes!) A very deeply harmful effect on people. Satan uses one of these social trends after another to corrupt man’s what? (Conscience, reason, humanity, morals.) What else? (Man’s view on life.) Do they cause a gradual degeneration in people? (Yes.) Satan uses these social trends to lure people one step at a time into a nest of devils, so that people caught up in social trends unknowingly advocate money and material desires, as well as advocate wickedness and violence. Once these things have entered man’s heart, what then does man become? Man becomes the devil Satan! This is because of what psychological leaning in the heart of man? What does man advocate? Man begins to like wickedness and violence. They do not like beauty or goodness, much less peace. People are not willing to live the simple life of normal humanity, but instead wish to enjoy high status and great wealth, to revel in the pleasures of the flesh, sparing no effort to satisfy their own flesh, with no restrictions, no bonds to hold them back, in other words doing whatever they desire. So when man has become immersed in these kinds of trends, can the knowledge that they have learned help them get free? Can the traditional culture and superstitions they know help them cast off this dire predicament? Can the traditional morals and traditional ceremony that man comprehends help them exercise restraint? Take the Three Character Classic, for example. Can it help people pull their feet out of the quicksand of these trends?[b] (No, it cannot.) In this way, man becomes more and more what? More and more evil, arrogant, condescending, selfish, and malicious. There is no longer any affection between people, no longer any love between family members, no longer any understanding between relatives and friends; human relations have become full of cheating, full of violence. Every single person wants to use cheating means and violent methods to live in amongst their fellow man; they lie, cheat and become violent in order to seize their own livelihood; they win their positions and obtain their own profits using violence and they do anything they want using violent and evil ways. Is this humanity not terrifying? (Yes.) After hearing Me talk about these things just now, do you not think it terrifying to live in amongst this kind of crowd, in this world and in this environment that Satan has corrupted? (Yes.) So have you ever felt yourselves to be pitiful? You must feel it a little now. (Yes.) Hearing your tone, it seems as though you are thinking “Satan uses so many different ways to corrupt man. It seizes every opportunity and is everywhere we turn. Can man still be saved?” Is there still any hope for mankind? Can man save themselves? (No.) Can the Jade Emperor save man? Can Confucius save man? Can Guanyin Bodhisattva save man? (No.) So who can save man? (God.) Some people, however, will raise in their hearts such questions as: “Satan harms us so wildly, so frantically that we have no hope of living, nor any confidence in living. We all live in the midst of corruption and every single person resists God anyway, so that our hearts have now all completely grown cold. So whilst Satan is corrupting us, where is God? What is God doing? Whatever God is doing for us we never feel it!” Some people inevitably suffer some loss, and inevitably feel somewhat disheartened. To you, this sensation, this feeling is very deep because all that I have been saying has been to make people slowly come to understand, to feel more and more that they are without hope, to feel more and more that they have been forsaken by God. But do not worry. Our fellowship topic for today, “the evil of Satan,” is not our real theme. To talk about the essence of the holiness of God, however, we must first talk about how Satan corrupts man and the evil of Satan to make it clearer to people what kind of condition mankind is now in and to exactly what extent man has been corrupted. One aim of talking about this is to allow people to know the evil of Satan, while the other is to allow people to understand more deeply what true holiness is. You understand now, don’t you?
Are these things I have just talked about a lot more detailed than last time? (Yes.) So is your understanding now a little deeper, then? (Yes.)
a. The original text reads “satisfying man’s exploration of science and probing into mysteries.”
b. The original text omits “the quicksand of.”