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Man is a moral being, endowed with knowledge of right and wrong, and accountable to God

Jesus taught us that the first commandment is to love God and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves and that these two commandments encompass all the others. To love our neighbor means to treat him justly, fairly and well, to treat him as we would like to be treated; to do him no harm or wrong. Do not reason, prudence, wisdom recommend treating our fellow man well, doing him no harm. What is the consequence of treating another person unjustly, unfairly, or badly? Is it not argument, strife, conflict and violence? Is it not in our own best interest to live a peaceful life, to coexist in harmony with our fellow man? Reason tells us that if we want to live peacefully with our fellow man we must not wrong him. Treating our fellow man well precludes purely selfish action. If, for example, everyone were to try to grab the biggest piece of pie, there would be argument, strife and conflict. The rules of politeness that we are taught as children come from the teachings of Jesus (or of wise men). People wait in lines at a store to be served. What would happen if they all started arguing and fighting among themselves about who would be first to be served? Another question. Is there not in all of us not only reason but also a higher knowledge that tells us how we should treat other people? Are we not born with a conscience that tells us what is right and what is wrong and that bothers us when we do wrong?

Can we not by reason and conscience alone derive almost all of the rules of conduct that Jesus taught? Are there not universal moral truths in this world that thoughtful men of many cultures have understood, truths that a man violates to his own harm? I personally believe that most mental health problems that most people have are due to violating these universal moral truths.

According to the Bible there is a God, the God of the Jews, Jehovah God, who created this world and who has decreed certain rules that his creation is to abide by. And he has not only decreed the rules, he also enforces them. He exacts a punishment for violating them. There will be a great Judgement Day and those who obeyed the rules in their life on this earth will be rewarded and those who violated them will be punished.

The ancient Greeks and Romans, just by deep thought and reflection, penetrated to profound truth. Following are some quotations from Cicero:

“Whatever that be which thinks, understands, wills, and acts. it is something celestial and



“Be sure that it is not you that is mortal, but only your body. For that man whom your outward

form reveals is not yourself; the spirit is the true self, not that physical figure which can be

pointed out by your finger.”


For while we are enclosed in these confinements of the body, we perform as a kind of duty the heavy task of necessity; for the soul from heaven has been cast down from its dwelling on high and sunk, as it were, into the earth, a place just the opposite to godlike nature and eternity. But I believe that the immortal gods have sown souls in human bodies so there might exist beings to guard the world and after contemplating the order of heaven, might imitate it by their moderation and steadfastness in life.



The real me (my spirit, my soul), is something celestial and divine. It is capable of both great good and great evil. It has been endowed with that great divine ability to distinguish between good and evil. It has been granted the power of reason, the power of thinking and understanding, and a conscience. It knows right from wrong. It will be held accountable by God for its actions and conduct on this earth.

Man was created as a moral being, capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, and accountable to God. Whether a person likes it or not, he is a moral being and thus with moral obligations (i.e. the ability to distinguish right from wrong brings with it moral obligations). He has been given the freedom of being either good or bad. (It is called “free will”.) He tends to be highly gullible. He easily believes a lie. He is inclined towards error and spiritual error can have grave consequences. Fleshly impulses and inclinations pull in the direction of spiritual error. Man would do well to take his creator seriously. Each soul will be judged in the Day of Judgement by moral considerations and no other. Personal morality (righteousness, goodness, virtue) is the important thing in life. A man’s morality is his measure. There is no other.


Following are more quotations from Cicero. Although Cicero was not a Christian, it is surprising how similar the philosophical outlook of Cicero (arrived at through reading, thought and reflection) was to that of Christianity. One doesn’t find here the mind of the atheist. As with Christianity, Cicero believed in a supreme God, the immortality of the soul, a God-given universal moral law that wise and good men obey, final accountability of the soul for its conduct on earth, and the importance of living a life of virtue (i.e. a life of obedience to God’s universal moral law) by resisting, through self-control and self-discipline, the temptations and sinful inclinations of the flesh. Stoic philosophers such as Cicero and Seneca taught such things as the forgiveness of injuries, the overcoming of evil by good, and the importance of treating others justly, benevolently and well. Seneca condemned such evils of his time as gladiatorial contests, slavery, and any form of cruelty of man to his fellow man. He preached against drunkenness and praised plain living and love of nature. It is interesting that the ancient Greeks and Romans could arrive at something so close to Christianity through reason. It indicates deep and profound thought.






Quotations - Cicero



Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God.



The evil implanted in man by nature spreads so imperceptibly, when the habit of wrong-doing is unchecked, that he himself can set no limit to his shamelessness.



The first duty of a man is the seeking after and the investigation of truth.



Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.



The best Armour of Old Age is a well spent life preceding it; a Life employed in the Pursuit of useful Knowledge, in honourable Actions and the Practice of Virtue; in which he who labours to improve himself from his Youth, will in Age reap the happiest Fruits of them; not only because these never leave a Man, not even in the extremest Old Age; but because a Conscience bearing Witness that our Life was well-spent, together with the Remembrance of past good Actions, yields an unspeakable Comfort to the Soul.



It is our own evil thoughts which madden us.



Trust no one unless you have eaten much salt with him.



What is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious.



Virtue is its own reward.



As you have sown so shall you reap.



It is better to receive than to do injury.



Like associates with like.



Let reason govern desire.



Reason should direct and appetite obey.



In everything, satiety closely follows the greatest pleasures.



Rightly defined philosophy is simply the love of wisdom.



The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity and the brute by instinct.



Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.



There is wickedness in the intention of wickedness, even though it be not perpetrated in the act.



So near is falsehood to truth that a wise man would do well not to trust himself on the narrow edge.



No one can be brave who considers pain to be the greatest evil in life, or can they be temperate who considers pleasure to be the highest good.



We should not be so taken up in the search for truth, as to neglect the needful duties of active life; for it is only action that gives a true value and commendation to virtue.



True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrong-doing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment.



Diseases of the soul are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body.



Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so.



To be content with what we possess is the greatest and most secure of riches.





Oct 2013

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