WHAT CREED DO YOU LIVE BY?
Everyone lives by a creed, consciously, or otherwise. A creed is a set of beliefs that govern behavior. As believers in Christ, our creed should be the Golden Rule: Do unto others as we would have done to us. A better way of expressing this would be Christ's command to us: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” If the Body of Christ could get this one thing right, evangelism would practically take care of itself. Who wouldn't want to be part of a community that lived by such creed? Instead, we have a great conflict between what we say and what we actually do. Theologian Brennan Manning described this conflict wonderfully: “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Is our confessed creed our actual creed by practice?
THREE BASIC CREEDS
There are three basic creeds that people live by, whether it be inadvertent or by intent.
1. Love thy neighbor as thyself
2. Do as thou wilt is the whole of the law
3. Do as thou wilt and harm none.
Surely as you read this list, at least one creed resonates with you, two creeds may actually seem reasonable. In reality, only one creed number 1 is acceptable for a believer.
DO AS THOU WILT IS THE WHOLE OF THE LAW
This creed was coined by the infamously wicked magician, Aleister Crowley, who named himself "The Beast 666." Crowley, though dead for almost 70 years, continues to influence popular culture, especially through pop music. Numerous musicians, from the Beatles to Lady GaGa, have paid homage to Crowley and his evil teachings. A more user friendly version of this creed became very popular with the Hippie culture and continues to influence society: "If it feels good, do it." This is a very egocentric, self centered way of life that appeals to the basest of human desire. It is no wonder that marketing firms exploit this philosophy while attempting to sell things we don't need but can't seem to live without, after all, you deserve it, don't you?
To subscribe to this creed is to disregard the needs and feelings of others, while "looking out for number one." This is a philosophy that was expounded upon by Anton LeVay, the founder of the Church of Satan. As humans, we naturally default to this philosophy of life, that is why we need laws and authority. The evolutionary idea of survival of the fittest works very well within this worldview, as in that framework, might makes right and only the strong survive. In practice, society would devolve into a chaotic ball of violence, not unlike the conditions that led to the flood of Noah.
This philosophy best describes our fallen nature and demonstrates our need for a savior. One could easily identify this as a creed of Satanism.
DO AS THOU WILT AND HARM NONE
Do as thou wilt and harm none is a creed which seems reasonable to most people, a Libertarian philosophy, embodying the very idea of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." One would be tempted to rationalize this creed by asking the question, "what could be wrong with a philosophy that protects the rights of others?" In a perfect world, this would be a viable argument, but we do not live in a vacuum and our actions affect others, even if only indirectly. To think that a person can live to please self while protecting the best interests of others is intellectually dishonest. Every choice we make, every action we take affects those around us. Though this creed has an element of virtue, it is still self centered at it's core and has evil origins.
Circa 1950, Wicca, the official religion of witchcraft, adapted Aleister Crowley's Do as thou wilt philosophy with the addition of "and harm none." Our modern philosophy to "live and let live" is nothing more than a kinder and gentler version of self service that gives the illusion of caring for others. At it's heart, this creed is meant to allow the adherent to serve self without guilt as no direct harm is done to others. Most people who ascribe to a "live and let live" philosophy would be very surprised to learn that it evolved from the witch's creed, "Do as thou wilt and harm none."
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. If this is what God expects from us, then "Do as thou wilt and harm none" is incompatible with Christian life and practice. Do as thou wilt and harm none is a liberal philosophy that condones sin and allows for an "I'm not hurting anyone" attitude. This philosophy defines much of Western culture and has led to nationalized sin such as the legalization of abortion on demand. The Supreme Court, using the 14th Amendment, concocted an imaginary right to privacy clause which grants a woman the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy. This Judicial overreach is a direct result of the flawed philosophy discussed here. According to the Court, a woman's right to control her own body is no one else's business. Basically, the Court asks, "What's it to you," in the case of abortion. By dehumanizing the unborn child, the Court has determined that women who want to terminate a pregnancy should be able to do so, as it hurts no one. Unfortunately, this removes the rights of the father and deprives him of a child he helped conceive and it murders a baby who has no voice. Do as thou wilt and harm none...indeed!
It is impossible to live a life of self fulfillment without, at least inadvertently, harming others. As long as I do not intentionally hurt someone else, I'm good, right? Wrong! To live according to the verse above, I am to intentionally do good to others, not serve myself, while trying to not hurt others. It seems rather ironic that so many churchgoers are living life according to a philosophy that is known as The Witches Creed...
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF
This creed is the only God honoring, spiritually obedient philosophy of life. This creed is also the most difficult to master. We are naturally bent against this idea, yet, this is what Christ, our savior, commands us to do. To call ourselves Christian and not at least attempt to live according to this creed is blasphemy. Jesus told us, "If you love me, you will obey my commands." So, if we love Jesus, we will, by definition, love our neighbor as ourselves, or, at a minimum, make the effort. This philosophy embodies what Christ modeled for us in His life and death. The term Christian literally means "little Christ" so in order to live up to the literal meaning of a title that is so flippantly thrown around, it is imperative that we model Christ's behavior and lifestyle.
What would the world look like if every born again person lived according to this creed? What would the Church look like if even half of it's membership put aside the "pursuit of happiness" and pursued holiness and loved others the way Jesus commanded us to? Especially in our Western culture, we expect ease and comfort. We expect our cup to run over without submitting to the Shepherd. So many seem to have the attitude of, "I'll serve if it fits into my schedule" or "I'll help out as long as my needs(ie. wants and desires) are met first." This is not what we are called to.
The biggest secret is that by denying ourselves and loving others, we find true fulfillment. When we forget our perceived rights and look to the needs of others and find ourselves actually making a difference in someone else's life, our life becomes more meaningful and enriched. This does not make sense but it is undeniable.
THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION
If most people are completely honest, they would admit they can see their favorite person anytime they wanted... by looking in the mirror. Part of our fallen human nature causes us to seek our own best interests first. The scourge of no fault divorce and messy custody battles over children attest to this fact more than anything else. We live in a "what's in it for me" culture. "I just want what's rightfully mine, is that so wrong?" The Church is filled with broken people beset with sinful natures, that is the bad news. The good news is, the Church is filled with people who have been made new creations in Christ and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The good news is that we have Christ as our example and the Holy Spirit as our empowerment. The good news is that we have the Word of God to teach us. The good news is we have all we need to live according to God's will. We can claim to be Christ followers, but if we live by a creed that is anything other than "Love thy neighbor as thyself," we are self deluded and not only serving ourselves, but on some level, serving Satan. Jesus said, "He who does not gather, scatters." This means our lifestyle will either draw people to Christ or drive them away. Gathering people to Christ = God's work, scattering people away form God = Satan's work. This brings us back to the quote of Brennan Manning, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Dear Christian, love thy neighbor as thyself and gather for Christ. Give the unbelieving world something they can believe in.