Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Purest, Most Noble of Emotions

I have a lot of time to think while I pull weeds out of garden beds these days, and today my thoughts turned towards the subject of greed. What is the first thought that goes through somebody's head when they see a person acting greedy? Here at Rocky Cape we have two pigs that get fed old bread and table scraps, and when we arrive with the bucket of slop, the pigs go nuts because they know they will soon be eating. They seemingly cannot wait the few seconds it will take me to carry the bucket over to their feeding pan. They want their food NOW! When the slop gets poured into the bucket, the larger of the two pigs eats first as much as she can, then the smaller pig gets to eat the leftovers. If there is anything more disgusting than pig slop it's pig slop leftovers. The interesting thing is, though, nobody judges the large pig's behaviour. It is the way of pigs.

Darwinists would have us believe that over the process of about two million years, a ground-dwelling ape-like creature turned into humans by a process known as natural selection, the idea that only those individuals who are the most fit will survive to produce offspring, and those individuals who are least fit will die off, leaving no mark of their ever having been born except for those lucky enough to have their skeletons fossilized. This is what is observed in groups of animals, so the natural thought for the humanist is to assume that's what has happened with humans in the past.

But wait! If that is really how we arrived on this planet, then why are each of us imbued with a complete set of morals?

An example will suffice:

There was an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 that featured a creature known as a ferengi whose name was Quark, and his brother, Rom. The ferengi are a race of sentient beings that apparently spend their lives trying to acquire as many riches as they can before they die. The Star Trek writers would usually focus on the ferengi when a slightly more humourous episode was needed, or as comic-relief as a sub-plot to a very serious episode. There was one episode in which the leader of the ferengi had his behaviour altered by a higher race of aliens, which made him quite charitable instead of greedy. In one scene, Rom and Quark had the following conversation:

Rom: "...it's time for the Ferengi to move beyond greed."
Quark: "Beyond Greed? There's nothing 'beyond greed!' Greed is the purest, most noble of emotions!"

To which everyone watching laughs.

Why do we laugh? Because we are seeing some beings that are the complete opposite of ourselves. We laugh because in reality this is the opposite of what everybody in the world knows to be the truth. What is the opposite of greed? Selflessness. Everybody inherently knows that there is nothing beyond selflessness. Selflessness is the purest most noble of emotions.

Selflessness is to not seek one's own needs, but rather the needs of others. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that Love seeks not her own. True selflessness comes from love. And the world over knows it. Everybody you meet will understand that it's better to love than to hate. Sometimes it's very deep, but everybody knows it to some extent.

And when I think about selflessness, the person who comes to mind first is the man from Galilee, sent by God the Father, to take away the sins of the world, by becoming sin for us, and allowing himself to be humbled by death, even death on a cross.

The creator of all things gave himself for us. We are asked to do the same. Act in love towards all people. That is the purest, most noble of emotions. But love is much more than just an emotion. It is a way of life.

Do we love the folks around us? Are we mirroring that love that Jesus displayed when he took on himself our sins and was punished for it, Him who did no wrong at all?

I fear I get greedy sometimes. First it's me, then it's my neighbour. We have to change that to be: First it's my neighbour, then it's my other neighbour.

I have a long way to go.

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