Archive for January, 2016

You are heir to a heavenly fortune, the sole beneficiary of an infinite spiritual trust fund, a proverbial goldmine of sacred abundance beyond all common measure or human comprehension. But until you choose to exercise your rightful inheritance of this blessed gift, it will remain unclaimed and forever beyond your reach.” ― Anthon St. Maarten

I have grown to loathe what the American political process has become. Endless quibbling, ruthless character assignations, and the lies… my word… the lies. If it were possible, I do believe some of the founders of this once great nation would burst forth from their graves and rebuke the Gypsies, tramps and thieves who are squatting in the various citadels of American Government. I am often embarrassed for my country, and I apologize to the world that this once dazzling beacon of hope and bastion of freedom has become a drifting ship of fools nearly void (at least at the moment) of genuine effective leadership. Sometimes it feels like we are all living a repetitive loop from that old Stealers Wheel classic, “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.” That’s why, like the ancient Patriarch Abraham, my eyes are ever looking forward to that city with solid foundations of which God himself is both architect and builder.” (Hebrews 11:10)

Similar to politics, religion is also often troubled by foolishness and inconsistency. Much evil has been perpetrated and/or justified in the name of God. But is that the fault of the Almighty? Or is it just the tragic acts of spiritually blind and ill-advised humans? I dare say, God is NOT the problem. Au contraire mon ami, He offers one universal solution – His Amazing Grace. It is the gift worth choosing. Stay tuned.

The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the entire mess of life with one word: GRACE.” ― Max Lucado

Does the Master Spirit, the Creator of all things, the Almighty God have a plan to save all of mankind from obliteration, or does He choose some for redemption and predestine others for damnation.  Can anyone receive restoration from the Liberator Jesus, or only the chosen few?  A subject of considerable debate among Christian theologians appears to center on whether or not our faith in God is a matter of personal choice (free will) or a calling and thus a gift bestowed arbitrarily (a sovereign act of the Almighty).

Let’s talk about it.

Faith as a Choice

Some people say that faith in God is entirely a matter of personal choice (a sole act of the human “free will”). They quote scriptures like Deuteronomy 30:19-20 where Moses called upon the people of ancient Israel to make a choice. He admonished the wayward Israelites to choose life over death and blessings over curses by making a decision to love and obey Jehovah:

19“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Later, after the leadership of Israel passes to Joshua from Moses, notice how Joshua continues to urge the indecisive people of Israel:

15“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord (we serve Jehovah).” (Joshua 24:15 – NLT)

Based on this dress-down, it certainly would appear that faith is indeed a choice. Joshua compels the people to “choose today whom you will serve.” And, he makes it quite clear that his family has chosen to serve Jehovah.

In the Newer Testament the Liberator Jesus said it this way,

4“Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.” (John 15:4 NLT)

So again, it appears we have a choice. If we choose to follow Jesus (live in Him), He remains in an on-going and indwelling relationship within us. In fact, we are told that this cooperative connection is a prerequisite for a living a fruitful life.

Faith as a Gift

Flip over the coin and there you’ll find those people who would say that we do not choose to follow God. They reason that we are already chosen by His sovereign will. For them, our rescue from eternal damnation is strictly a matter of election and therefore a sovereign gift. God chooses us and we have nothing to do with the process. They quote scriptures like Deuteronomy 7:6,

6“For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.”

Or, they might quote the ancient prophetic writer Isaiah who was an oracle to the people of Israel:

1“But now listen, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. This is what the Lord Who made you, Who put you together before you were born, Who will help you, says, ‘Do not be afraid, O Jacob My servant, and you Jeshurun (Israel) whom I have chosen(Isaiah 44:1-2 – NLV)

And then there are these words from the lips of the Liberator Jesus:

16“You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” (John 15:16 – NLV)

So, did the Israelites choose God or did God choose the Israelites? And in this, the Newer Testament era, do we choose God or does He choose us?

Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people choose to withdraw from the gift of God.” ― Augustine
FAITH: Choice and Gift

After considering all of these verses (and many, many others), it would appear that faith in God is both a gift and a choice. I know what you might be thinking, “isn’t that a contradiction?” Not necessarily; a bit perplexing, perhaps, but not conflicting.

Let me explain. Have you ever been in love? Did you choose to fall in love? Did you say to yourself, “Tonight I think I’ll go out somewhere and fall in love?” Sure enough, someone just comes up to you and says, “Hello” (Cue the music and sweet little birds chirping) and, SHAZAM – You fall madly and hopelessly in love!”

Sorry, it does not work like that; you do not choose to fall in love. Be it the right day, wrong day, good timing or bad – It just happens. Some say, it’s all in the chemistry. Think of falling in love as an unexpected gift.

But there is also choice involved in love relationships. We make a choice to pursue the spontaneous spark of “falling in love” to its logical conclusion – a meaningful relationship. The conjugal union does not just happen to you. A lifetime of exclusive love and devotion to another person is the result of a decision (choice).

It’s not the law of religion nor the principles of morality that define our highways and pathways to God; only by the Grace of God are we led and drawn, to God. It is His grace that conquers a multitude of flaws and in that grace, there is only favor. Favor is not achieved; favor is received by choice.” ― C. JoyBell C.

And so the great debate: Is our redemption the result of the sovereignty of God alone or do we exercise our own free will and choose to follow Him? What if the answer is BOTH? Could faith in God involve both a gift and a choice?

Faith is a gift because God choose us before we choose Him. As recipients of this gift of amazing grace (again, His sovereignty), we lose all bragging rights. The New Testament writer Paul said,

8”God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 – NLT)

Since we did nothing to deserve it, we cannot sing our own praises. There remains but one reaction – gratefulness – as we awaken to the consciousness that an eternal life of joy and peace await us in another world when the illusion of time is no more.

Faith is a choice because we alone are accountable for our individual and unique relationship with God. Hypocritical Christians, corrupt clergy or a bad church experience is no excuse to walk away. Jesus said, “Live in me.” Accepting what Jesus offers you is an on-going personal responsibility. Our choice to follow Him is reaffirmed daily.

So, to believe in God involves absolute trust.  Our faith (absolute trust) is both a choice and a gift. Failure to understand that faith is a choice will lead to self-righteousness. But, if we forget that faith in God begins as a gift, we will live in fear; trying to earn the Divine blessings instead of joyously accepting what God freely gives to us when we believe.

And that brings me back to God’s universal solution – His Amazing Grace. In the words of the English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725–1807):

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear. And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil, a life of joy and peace.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease;
I shall profess, within the vail, a life of joy and peace.

Today, by His Amazing Grace, God freely offers you forgiveness and redemption, regardless of any wickedness committed in your life.  The Creator of all things is full of compassion.  In fact, there is no end to His mercy.

So I say, AMEN to the God who has chosen me to be His own for eternity.

And I say, AMEN to Jesus the great Liberator whom I choose to follow all of my days.

What about you?   Will you say AMEN?  The key to a prosperous life is found in both the Gift and the Choice.

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. Accept the gift that God is offering to you and choose life. To do so is wise indeed.

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2016 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
Insight Today, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656

 

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and is as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” ― Thomas Jefferson  ―

I suppose I’m a bit of a rebel. Some say it’s in my genes. Actually, I can be rebellious in dress trousers too. (Insert groan here). Nonconformity just comes natural to me. I’m not a very good Jack in the Box.

Perhaps I should define my use of the term rebel, lest you think that it only applies to nefarious reprobates.  By simple definition a Rebel is someone who resists or defies authority or convention. Since I tend to obey the law of the land, you will rarely, if ever, find me in open defiance of duly constituted authority. I often disagree with the policies of government, but I’m not a radical militant.

I am however an iconoclast (look that one up in your Funk & Wagnalls); a freethinker who often questions the status quo. That would make me an intellectual and spiritual rebel. I’m in good company. Take Martin Luther as an example. This rebellious reformer from the 1500’s got in the face of some pretty powerful people. He took on the religious establishment of his time. And, they didn’t like it; called him a subversive. Really, he was just another rebel with a cause.

History is replete with its illustrious and infamous rogues and rebels. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few. Names like: Alexander the Great, Marc Antony, Julius Caesar, Herod, Nero, Cleopatra, William the Conqueror, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and of course the biblical cast of characters like Peter, James, John and Saul (Paul) of Tarsus.

Saint and sinner alike can be found on the list. Visionaries, revolutionaries, and creative thinkers mixed with tyrants, maniacs, scoundrels and scallywags. They all have one thing in common; for better or worse, somewhere along the way they defied convention, broke the rules, took a leap of faith, and in the end made a difference that rocked their world. That’s what rogues and rebels do.

The whole world loves a maverick and the whole world wants the maverick to achieve something nobler than simple rebellion.” ― Kevin Patterson

So again, I too am a rebel and even a tad of a rogue. Friends and family gave me the nickname “Maverick” decades ago. I have tried not to disappoint them. I ask lots of questions and sometimes reject the conventional patterns of society in favor of my deeply held values. I also question blind allegiance to religions. Faithfulness and loyalty to a “cause” requires understanding and insight. Genuine faith says, “I know in whom I have believed.” I believe in GOD.   And yet, I even question Him sometimes. Not in an arrogant, disrespectful or unbelieving way. I merely follow His invitation to be inquisitive. Here is what the Spirit of the Almighty said,

“Call on Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden things, which you do not know (and do not distinguish and recognize, or have knowledge of and understand).” (Jeremiah 33:3 Amplified)

So, that’s what I do. I ask the Creator of all things for His knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

When the liberator Jesus visited the planet, He was quite a rebel Himself. His words were considered subversive as he wandered about challenging the religious authorities and their customs. It’s not a great stretch to say that He bucked the system. Here’s just one example,

12-17 “Jesus, accompanied by his mother, his brothers and his disciples went down to Capernaum and stayed there a few days. The Jewish Passover was approaching and Jesus made the journey up to Jerusalem. In the Temple he discovered cattle and sheep dealers and pigeon-sellers, as well as money-changers sitting at their tables. So he made a rough whip out of rope and drove the whole lot of them, sheep and cattle as well, out of the Temple. He sent the coins of the money-changers flying and turned their tables upside down. Then he said to the pigeon-dealers, “Take those things out of here. Don’t you dare turn my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:15-17 Phillips)

Wow. Beating up on people with a rope and throwing their stuff all over the place? Jesus was a Holy Rebel indeed. Imagine if he were here today and behaved as the writer John describes. The powers that be would accuse Him of having an impulse control issue. Most likely Intermittent Explosive Disorder which psychologists define as episodes of aggressive outbursts resulting in either destruction of property or physical assaults on others. Ship him right off to the asylum, they would. Listen to what happened when they wanted to know who gave him the right to act the way he did:

1-2 “One day as he was teaching the people in the Temple, and preaching the Gospel to them, the chief priests, the scribes and elders confronted him in a body and asked him this direct question, “Tell us by whose authority you act as you do—who gave you such authority?” 3-4 “I have a question for you, too,” replied Jesus. “John’s baptism, now—tell me, did it come from Heaven or was it purely human?” 5-7 At this they began arguing with each other, saying, “If we say, ‘from Heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe in him?’ but if we say it was purely human, this mob will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they replied that they did not know where it came from. “Then,” returned Jesus, “neither will I tell you by what authority I do what I am doing.” (Luke 20:1-8 Phillips)

Is it any wonder that the religious establishment hated him? Jesus was so real, genuine, and germane to everyday life. That’s why the common people loved Him. He was brutally honest and yet tender, loving and filled with compassion. This radical revolutionary was on a mission from God. He often broke the rules of religion and yet he was himself true justice mixed with grace. In life He lived as a revolutionary and they put him to death as a rebel.

Today, Jesus would be considered a rebel, if not a terrorist, and definitely a threat to the establishment and the status quo ~ as he most certainly was 2000 years ago.” Allen L Roland, PhD

Religious jealousy and hatred toward the message He brought to mankind eventually turned to false accusation and indefensible murder. As Jesus hung on the executioners cross, our brokenness reached deep within His divine spirit. Creation was now inside the dying bosom of her creator. Gasping out his final human breaths the Savior cries,

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46)

The Rebel Jesus identified with all who were forsaken as he died a criminal’s death. Elohim – the Creator and Judge of the universe – experienced our hell, and felt the wrath of Almighty justice toward this lost and doomed world. For a few horrific moments, He experienced the revulsion of a total disconnect from the source of true life so that we would no longer have to live in that state of separation.

And then, placing His spirit into the hands of an otherworldly Father, the physical Jesus died. In that solemn, sacred, blessed moment, every struggle, every valley, every circumstance of human existence was corrected and justified.

Welcome to the Order of the Holy Rebels. We are the waifs and strays who follow that marvelous incarnate Liberator who once came to the earth from a place known to us only as heaven. Daily we struggle to follow His instructions as we “work out the salvation that God has given to us with a proper sense of awe and responsibility” (Philippians 2:12). Care to join us? Membership is free and among us you will always be safe to share your individual fears, disappointments and pressing concerns. We will laugh with you, we will cry with you, we will pray with you and, I promise you, one day we will understand it all.

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2016 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
Insight Today, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656
What do you mean, Phib?” asked Miss Squeers, looking in her own little mirror, where, like most of us, she saw – not herself, but the reflection of some pleasant image held in her own brain.” ― Charles Dickens ―

I recently came across some research conducted a number of years ago at the Institute of Child Study at Toronto University. It appears that 1,200 children ranging in age from 2 to 17 took part in an “honesty” test. The study concluded that only about 20 percent of the 2-year-olds were able to tell a lie. But by age 4, 90 percent were capable of cognitive dishonesty. Deceitfulness reached a peek at age 12 according to these researchers.

In another study conducted in 2002 at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, researchers found that 60 percent of adults lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation and most spoke an average of two or three lies in that time frame. The data suggests that while men and women lie about different things, the quantity of their “fibs” was about the same. I could quote from dozens of additional research studies, but in the end we would reach this simple conclusion; we are all big, fat liars. Not necessary compulsive deceivers. But in the strictest sense, even embellishing a story just a bit is considered deceitful by some. Mea culpa, mea culpa.

Of course, we don’t like to think of ourselves as a liar; that kind of transparency bruises our self-esteem. So, we lie to ourselves about that too. Even you pillars of conversational truthfulness may be living a life oblivious to the lies we tell ourselves.

Every lie is really two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it.” ― Robert Brault

By definition, lying means: “to express what is false or to convey a false impression.”  Examples of “self-deception” might include a husband who is lying to himself as he ignores the obvious signs that his wife is carrying on with another man or, an alcoholic who is lying to himself as he seeks to reassure family and friends that his excessive drinking is completely under control. What about you? Do any of these lies sound familiar to you?

Lie #1: “I am not a judgmental person.”

Sorry, we are all judgmental. Researchers have discovered that on average we take less than a second to form preliminary judgments. It’s just how we are wired. Not all forms of judgment are bad. Sound judgment is a balanced process of evaluation ending with well-considered conclusions. On the other hand, judgmentalism is emotional reasoning with only superficial evaluations ending in snap decisions.

I like what the late reggae singer Bob Marley once said,

“Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I’m not perfect – and I don’t live to be – but before you start pointing fingers…make sure your hands are clean!”

For all of my bible touting fundamentalist friends now upset with me for quoting a Rastafarian, the New Testament writer James put it this way,

11-12 “Never rip each other to pieces, my brothers. If you do you are judging your brother and setting yourself up in the place of God’s Law; you have become in fact a critic of the Law. Yet if you start to criticize the Law instead of obeying it you are setting yourself up as judge, and there is only one judge, the one who gave the Law, to whom belongs absolute power of life and death. How can you then be so silly as to imagine that you are your neighbor’s judge?” (James 4:11-12 – Phillips)

Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone”. In other words, if you aren’t perfect, stop judging my imperfections (believe me, I have not forgotten them).

I am politically incorrect, that’s true. Political correctness to me is just intellectual terrorism. I find that really scary, and I won’t be intimidated into changing my mind. Everyone isn’t going to love you all the time.” ― Mel Gibson

Lie #2: “It is ‘politically incorrect’ or ‘insensitive’ to take a strong stand for what you believe in.”

By widely held definition, Political Correctness is an attitude or policy whereby we do not offend or upset any group of people in a society who are believed to have a disadvantage or differing point of view. In the USA, political correctness is most frequently embraced by pseudointellectuals who use this premise to infringe upon the constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion and speech. There will always be people with whom you disagree. Never allow them to shame you into silence and submission under the ruse of not offending or upsetting another group of people in society. Blind subservience will always compromise your good judgment.

Can you imagine if the Newer Testament writer Paul were alive today? What would he say around the PC crowd? Do you think he would tell his followers to tone down the rhetoric because the Gospel might offend someone? I don’t think so. Listen to what he actually said,

16-17  “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I see it as the very power of God working for the salvation of everyone who believes it, both Jew and Greek. I see in it God’s plan for imparting righteousness to men, a process begun and continued by their faith. For, as the scripture says: ‘the just shall live by faith’.” (Romans 1:16-17 – Phillips)

Politically Correct? Not so much. But it is the truth. Remember, “…God is always true even if every man lies.” The Holy Writings say, “Speak the truth and you will not be proven wrong.” (Romans 3:4)

You always do what you want to do. This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself.” ― W. Clement Stone

Lie #3: “I have no choice, this is just who I am.”

Do you really believe that? We always have a choice – even if it’s only a choice to control our own attitude. But I admit, it’s much easier (and less painful) to place blame on someone or something rather than to accept personal responsibility. Life is all about choices.  There is no such thing as doing nothing. A failure to make a choice is in itself a choice. In the end, the sum of your existence here on earth is the outcome of all the choices you make, whether intentional or by default.

Even our religious faith is a choice. Christianity teaches that Jesus opened a door for us to return to our Creator through trust. Actually, faith (which is absolute trust) is both a choice and a gift. Failure to understand that faith is a choice will lead to self-righteousness. But, if we forget that faith is also a gift, we will live in fear; trying to earn God’s blessing instead of joyously accepting His Amazing Grace.

I like what the Older Testament Prophet Joshua wrote in the scriptures,

15 “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will choose to serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

Absolute trust in the gift of God’s grace is the single most important choice you could ever make.   Choose to love God and He chooses to show you His love. And nothing – sickness, sorrow, oppression, failure, hostilities, or even your own death – can take that love away.

And so my fellow liars; let’s all get a grip. “There are none as blind as those who will not see”. The most deluded people on earth are those who choose to ignore what they already know. At worst, lying to ourselves can destroy us. At best, it makes life much more difficult. What other lies do you tell yourself? Think about it.

Oh, and I have one more tall tale to share. Consider this the bonus lie:

Lie #4: “I’m just fine. I don’t need to believe in a God. I know what is best for me.”

Sure you do, my friend. Sure you do.  Just keep telling yourself that and let me know how well it’s working.  I’d like to tell you that you might be right, but I’m trying to cut back on the lies.

Peace!

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2016 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
Insight Today, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656
Idiots are not responsible for what they do. The real guilt falls on the rational people who sit on their hands while the morons run wild. You can opt out if you want to. Play it safe. But if you do, don’t complain when the roof comes down.” Jack McDevitt (1)

In a well-mannered society it would usually be considered bad form to call someone an idiot. But since it appears as if you and I no longer live in a social order that would even recognize the meaning of the word polite, let me make this one thing perfectly clear; we are undeniably surrounded by idiots. Really stupid people have somehow gained the upper hand. It’s as if all the guards have fled the building leaving only the inmates to run the asylum. In this case the “guards” are all of the rational people who sit on their hands while the morons run wild.

Please hear me out. I am not some angry right wing, gun touting, bible thumping crazy, nor am I a whinny, anything goes, Utopian social left winger. I do not carry water for any particular political party. And while I drink tea, I have not joined that group of partisans either (although I do empathize with many of their concerns). Since I pay my own bills, and shoulder numerous responsibilities, I have long ago abandoned the naïve, and somewhat delusional mindset displayed by so many of todays’ coddled college students. My life path is one of mostly traditional moral values and I am a devout follower of the teachings of the Liberator Jesus. That would make me a Conservative Christian, I suppose, if you really must attach one of your labels upon me.

So why do I speak so harshly of some people, calling them Idiots and stupid? Isn’t that rather judgmental? Perhaps. But I think not. Normally, a conversational reference to someone as an idiot might be perceived as rude, insensitive, and/or critical. But my observations are not merely idle chatter. And, I have not singled anyone out for specific reproach. I will say it again, societal idiocy has run amuck. Look around you. From the White House to the Court House to School House; madness, folly, foolishness and stupidity reign.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.― Mark Twain

Just out of curiosity, do you even know from whence the contemporary word Idiot originates? Thought so. Our English word Idiot appears to come from the Greek word ἰδιώτης (idiōtēs) which was often used when referring to an individual or private citizen who lacked a “professional” skill. Similarly, the Latin word idiota was used for a commoner (layman). I found it rather amusing that for a time the ancient Greeks viewed anyone who was selfishly concerned with only private matters (as opposed to serving the greater interests of “The Democracy”) to be an idiot. Not much has changed there. Many politicians still seem to think that “we the people” who would like to be left alone as we pursue “life, liberty and happiness” are just a bunch of idiots.

Anyway, over time, the term “idiot” morphed and by the Late Latin period (3rd to the 6th centuries AD) it came to mean an “uneducated or ignorant person”.  Today, in modern English, an idiot is a person who regularly engages in the extremes of foolishness (or stupidity) and consistently exercises overall bad judgment. Often the idiot is either incapable or unwilling to separate what is good from wickedness. In the end an idiot is slow to understand, makes poor decisions, careless mistakes, and is often marked by a lack of intelligence. In other words, they are stupid and foolish.

“You’re not a very nice person… so offensive. Right and wrong are relative. It’s whatever works for me. You are the real idiot… urrrrr… I mean… you suffer from “profound intellectual disability.

Really?  Thank you.  That’s very Politically Correct of you to say so.

The problem is that it has become politically awkward to draw attention to the absolutes of bad and good. In place of manners, we now have doctrines of political correctness …Therefore if you say people are bad, you are the one who is bad.” ― Lynne Truss

In the Bible’s Older Testament Book of Jeremiah, the prophet laments over the condition of his people and the great nation that he loved. Through tears he said,

19”My heart, my heart—I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still. For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets and the roar of their battle cries. 20 Waves of destruction roll over the land, until it lies in complete desolation. Suddenly my tents are destroyed; in a moment my shelters are crushed. 21 How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war?  (Jeremiah 4:19-21 TLB)

Jeremiah recognized the negative spiritual and social changes of his day and the destructive consequences those changes were bringing down upon the land. And so he asks of the Divine Spirit,

21”How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war?” (Jeremiah 4:21 – TLB)

No direct answer is given to his question. Instead the Spirit of the Almighty tells Jeremiah the cause of Judah’s calamity is,

22 “My people are foolish and do not know me,” says the Lord. “They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!” (Jeremiah 4:22 – TLB)

The people of Jeremiah’s times had effectively become “idiots” – deniers of the one true God. They had sown to the wind and now they were reaping the whirlwind. But here’s the troubling part, this rejection of God and His ways is happening in our time too – right now – all over the world. If you don’t believe me, just look with discernment at modern politics, entertainment and popular culture. They are swarming with idiots – fools who do not know God.  And even those who profess to “believe in God” often act like “stupid children who have no understanding. …no idea how to do right!”  Decades of ignoring God has accelerated our societal downward spiral. As human acts of wickedness, deception and defiance accumulate, the truth is hidden or distorted.

“I’m all in favor of the democratic principle that one idiot is as good as one genius, but I draw the line when someone takes the next step and concludes that two idiots are better than one genius.” ― Leo Szilard, Nuclear Physicist (1898-1964)

Even so, whenever sincere men and women open their eyes and begin a search for meaning, they can find the truth. It is imprinted on every human soul and each atom of creation reflects the reality of its Creator. Hence, no human being has a legitimate excuse for denying God. The New Testament Apostolic writer Paul expressed it this way,

18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all wicked, evil men who push the truth away from themselves. 19 For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts. 20 Since earliest times men have seen the earth and sky and all God made, and have known of his existence and great eternal power. So they will have no excuse when they stand before God at Judgment Day. 21 Yes, they knew about him all right, but they wouldn’t admit it or worship him or even thank him for all his daily care. And after a while they began to think up silly ideas of what God was like and what he wanted them to do. The result was that their foolish minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming themselves to be wise without God, they became utter fools (idiots) instead. (Romans 1:18-22 – TLB)

Foolish minds filled with darkness? Men and women who think up silly ideas of what God is like and what he wants them to do? Yes, that is exactly what Paul said.  Modern idiots who “Claiming to be wise without God, …became utter fools instead.” No wonder the Psalmist declared,

53 “Only a fool would say to himself, “There is no God.” And why does he say it? Because of his wicked heart, his dark and evil deeds. His life is corroded with sin.” (Psalm 53:1 – TLB)

You’ll find these idiotic fools, among: politicians, the media, university professors, Hollywood superstars, even friends and family. Because of a conscience corroded by iniquity, they cannot separate right from wrong (classic idiot). Some of them may feign Spirituality, and even speak of God with platitudes, but their foolish hearts are far from Him. Consequently, by their actions they proclaim “I do not really know God”. Thus, they are fools.

Don’t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with their experience.”Greg King

I am a recovering idiot. God, in His amazing Grace, opened my foolish eyes and let me see the wretched man that I am without Him. And even though I still may act foolishly on occasion, I am no longer an idiot by definition. I know the Divine Spirit. I follow the liberator Jesus Christ. His message of absolute truth trumps all of the wisdom of mankind combined. Of course, it’s your right to disagree with me. Call me the idiot if it will make you feel any better. Laugh out loud as you heap ridicule and scorn upon my words. I will not argue the point any further with you.  Why not? Because I am coward and thus afraid to do so?  No, simply because of this verse I read in the Older Testament book of Proverbs,

4”Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool;  you’ll only look foolish yourself.” (Proverbs 26:4 – MSG)

And on that note, I rest my case.

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
Insight Today, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656

(1)Odyssey (2006), Ch. 6, p. 48