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 Copyright © April 2005

The Aesthetics of Goodness...

And the Anaesthetics of Sin....

~written from the common sense perspective of The Winds of the Soul~

by Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.)

 
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How can that which literally represents the very heart of Christianity be stripped away, and essentially made moot, without nary an objection from so many Christians who profess to know the Name of Christ but are stumped when you ask them about the subject of Goodness? 

As I have remarked in past newsletters, I feel that much of what makes Christianity so intriguing, so fascinating, so "right," has been silently lost to us, replaced by a confused mess of pottage which we have unwittingly accepted in its stead. 

Our understanding of Christianity has become more one of ceremony and rite than of the substance and merit of Goodness that it is supposed to represent.

It's truly odd to me how the whole concept, study, philosophy and practicality of Goodness inherent in the Word itself and the knowledge of transcendental excellence which it subsumes, can become so forgotten. 

How can that which literally represents the very heart of Christianity be stripped away, and essentially made moot and redundant, without nary an objection from so many Christians who profess to know the Name of Christ but are stumped when you ask them about the subject of Goodness? 

I personally cannot see how on the one hand a person can claim Christ as their Savior but simultaneously demonstrate a limited knowledge and little regard for Goodness itself....  You cannot fervently know the one without knowing the other----as they are one in the same.  Goodness is the Love of God made manifest, even made flesh in the personage of Jesus Christ Himself.  So, better put, you cannot love the one without testifying about an all absorbing love of the other.  To love Goodness so keenly above all else, is to put Messiah or Christ as first in your life.

Copyright © 2005 Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.).  All Rights Reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, including but not limited to all forms of media print, audio, electronic and video reproduction, without the prior express and specific written content of the author, except in cases of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

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Without the active presence of Goodness, the heart of their religion would deflate.  Without the power of Goodness (which in effect is the Pattern of God, even the promptings of the Holy Spirit) to guide and direct them, their own arrogance would soon become the dark light of their own path----much like Liberalism is to us today in the secular world.  The parallels are uncanny....

 This being the case, we would all be better served, and be assured that we're reading off the same page, if whenever we read "Goodness," we read "Christ;" and whenever we read "Christ," we read "Goodness." 

But sadly, many claim that they can do otherwise, and deny the Spirit of Goodness, even the promptings of the Holy Spirit----and in that vacuum of reason, then recklessly reinterpret God's intentions and laws in their own image, as they do, without the guidance of Goodness to steer their course.  No wonder we are growing more and more uninformed!

But all of this has happened many times before, and is the sole reason behind "falling away."  To be sure, I believe that this was the very reason that the Jews did not recognize that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Christ who had come to save all mankind. 

Through years of Jewish priestcraft, the sublime understanding of the Character of God's Goodness and how He was to be specifically worshipped according to that primary construct, was gutted and displaced for one involving a preponderance of ceremony and ritual; their true meanings have long since been lost and reduced to memorized rhetoric and circumstance. 

Without the active presence of Goodness, the very heart of their religion would deflate.  Without the power of Goodness (which in effect is the Pattern of God, even the promptings of the Holy Spirit) to guide and direct them, their own arrogance would soon become the lone dark light of their own path----much like Liberalism is to us today in the secular world.  The parallels are uncanny....

Whenever the true Character of God (i.e., the governing and basic construct being His Goodness) is taken out of the equation of either secular or spiritual law, lawlessness is that which will result.  Writing in the American Spectator on 3/16/2005, George Neumayr in his article entitled "Lawless Judges," an article about the antecedents of today's activist judges, succinctly states:

"Having no respect for the laws of God, modern liberalism is by nature lawless, and the judicial tyranny under which we now live is its natural outgrowth. Since liberalism rests on nothing that precedes human will, what else can the rule of law for it be but the rule of corrupt men?"

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We will remember that everything and anything that persuades us to do Good is incontrovertibly from God; Satan would never encourage us to do anything after the Lord's Pattern or mirror His Goodness.  Goodness is from the Lord, and only from Him.  Being eternal and of the Lord's nature, Goodness knows nothing of transience; it is inherently intransient----it is not something that evolves, or changes over time.   Therefore, "Goodness" is defined by God, not by man.  It precedes man, and indeed, because of it, was included as the incontrovertible cause of man's creation! 

Our understanding of the laws of God are critically based upon the primordial aesthetics of His Goodness----i.e., the primordial nature of principles and philosophy of the inherent beauty, wonder, and justice of Goodness.  Goodness is the most fundamentally defining attribute we are commanded to worship in God Himself.  Goodness and God are inseparably connected; they are one and the same.  Goodness is the very heart of our Father in Heaven, and is why Jesus so loved His Father above all others. 

We will remember that everything and anything that persuades us to do Good is incontrovertibly from God; Satan would never encourage us to do anything after the Lord's Pattern or mirror His Goodness.  Goodness is from the Lord, and only from Him.  Being eternal and of the Lord's nature, Goodness knows nothing of transience; it is inherently intransient----it is not something that evolves, or changes over time.  Therefore, "Goodness" is defined by God, not by man.  It precedes man, and indeed, because of it and through it, was included as the incontrovertible cause of man's creation! 

So it is that when the understanding of Goodness is in any way compromised or diminished, or when the aesthetics of Goodness are relegated to a lower place on the ladder of men's priorities, then everything else suffers, both in the secular and religious worlds.

And when we allow the removal of this "heart" of God from religion, spiritual lawlessness and misdirection result.  When we take from our faith the very life blood of Christ (which is His Spiritual Goodness), we thereby exclude the fundamental directions and intervening impressions of Goodness from our lives, disabling the very Eyes of Heaven which act to correctly interpret the Scriptures, and our lives, for us.  Thereafter, we become blind, seeing and subsequently feeding only upon the pottage that remains.  In other words, without Goodness being central to our faith, our religious aspirations are reduced to empty fragile shells, pretensions at best. 

When Goodness is severed from the equation of our faith, our connections with His Spirit are attenuated and become increasingly dimmed, causing our perceptions of God to build from our own darkened imaginings----something purely derived from our imaginations alone; tending towards a religious liberalism that causes our regard for Him and His Goodly ways to tumble off His Throne. 

So to imagine that we can understand God without simultaneously regarding His Goodness is an intellectual and spiritual impossibility, a schism which would result in the deadening and ultimate destruction of our faith.  As I said earlier, God and Goodness are one.  Thus, when an understanding of Goodness is then carelessly removed or unmoored from our worship, we are no longer worshipping the God of the Universe in the Name of Jesus Christ.

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So, when the Messiah finally walked amongst them, He wasn't recognized or identified simply because He didn't measure up to their flawed perceptions, expectations, and presumptions of what a Messiah should be.... a distortion which had long since held sway over their conceptions of God.  Similarly, nor would they understand the Mission of Atonement on which He would embark.

Accordingly, soon after the ways of Goodness are excluded or dumbed down in any organization, religious authority and influence would then grow more from socio-political maneuvering and economic power than from inspiration from God. 

And this is exactly what happened to the ancient nation of Judea & Israel.  Having since lost the capacity to revere the primordial Character of God's Goodness and thereby know the Lord personally and intimately, the Jews starved the heart of God right out of their religion. 

Having lost the sense to see the direct relationship between Goodness and their Heavenly father, they abandoned the very key given to understanding their Lord-----namely, to know of and about His Goodness resonating in their own lives, having substituted the substance and will of Jehovah with an image after their own making.  And under the guidance of such misfeasance----Israel would stray even further from the Truth, being oblivious of their departure. 

This only readied them to blindly desire a more worldly Messiah instead of the One Chosen by the Father of Lights----one made to suit their fancy and not God's.  So, when the Messiah finally walked amongst them, He wasn't recognized or identified simply because He didn't measure up to their flawed perceptions, expectations, and presumptions of what a Messiah should be.... a distortion which had long since held sway over their conceptions of God.  Similarly, nor would they understand the Mission of Atonement on which He would embark.

Accordingly, we will remember that Jesus came talking and preaching about His Father's Goodness;  about His Father's love and merciful compassion and understanding that He holds for His children----claiming, as did the prophets before Him (eg. David's Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah) that the fruits of a broken heart and spiritual contrition, which are love, humility, obedience, forgiveness, etc. (i.e., all the consequences of Goodness) were better and more esteemed in Heaven than burnt offerings and sacrifices. 

In all simplicity, Jesus sought, among other things, to reestablish the basis and teachings of His Father's Goodness in the Law, even replacing the souring of priestcraft-sanctioned dead-end-interpretations with that of which was instead in His Father's Heart, and summarily overturn the courts of liberalism. 

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No matter how well meaning, without the missing ingredient of Goodness properly acknowledged, reinstalled, and re-enthroned in its rightful spiritual place within the heart, study, and practice of Christianity, any evangelistic work will simply be washed away by the next tide, having built the hopes of their house on sifting, changing, and uncertain sands.

No matter how refreshing this news was to the common folk, it was painfully challenging to the clergy of the time.  Jesus' teachings worked to undermine the culturally entrenched priestcraft and openly refute their narrow ecclesiastic hold on the possible interpretations of the Scriptures, as well as their place of social and religious importance among the people.  His "new wine" could not be held in "old wine bags." 

Sadly, the descendants from that same secularly religious culture which originally refused Him then, still fail to recognize him today..., because they stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that Goodness is that which empowers the throne of God, even the breathe of God, the indwelling of the Spirit of the Eternal (in Hebrew: the Shehina). 

And just as Christianity is now fumbling blindly for a needed "revival" to re-enliven and reawaken the church, it too is unfortunately making the same mistakes of those of ancient Israel that came before us, peculiarly leaving the whole matter of Goodness out of the equation----as if sand and water alone can be magically recast into permanent castles of stone on the beach. 

No matter how well meaning, without the missing ingredient of Goodness properly acknowledged, reinstalled, and re-enthroned in its rightful spiritual place within the heart, study, and practice of Christianity, any evangelistic work will simply be washed away by the next tide, having built the hopes of their house on sifting, changing, and uncertain sands.

Goodness is the rock on which we are commanded to build, even that revelation of the Goodness of the Father as defined by the living personage and Name of Jesus Christ.  Again, these are one and the same things.  To segregate them in any way acts only as a disservice to the user, leading him or her astray.

Yet, today in many Christian professing churches, the aesthetics of Goodness are no longer thought to be of primary importance.  Indeed, Goodness is talked about only in passing, like it was an afterthought from God instead of the basis of all True Spirituality, even the very rod of the Gospel.   

And to that end, there is a strong and direct correlation between how far the central theme of Goodness has fallen from current Gospel interpretations and teachings, and that of how culturally secular and liberal our schools, educational curriculum, judiciary and legal systems have become.  As said previously, when the heart of God/Goodness is gutted from our culture and wrongly parsed from political discussion, liberal lawlessness is the only result.

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As the aesthetics of Goodness have been forgotten or ignored for the sake of establishing the lucrative financial trends of quick-fix, hot-tub Christianity, the anaesthetics of Goodness have been preached in its place.  Namely, enter the role of secular humanism within the center courts of Christianity, attempting to make right that which is wrong, such as same sex marriage, homosexuality, relativism, and other divers sins.

Ironically then, it is not the liberals alone that we should be angry at in turning our country towards a secularly direction, but Christians themselves, even those who have slothfully fallen asleep on the watchtower.  Indeed, Christianity has blindly evolved into a state of numbness, a condition of incorrigible insensitivity to the manner and merits of Goodness, and thus undermined its very reason for being. 

Christians love to blame the Liberals for our cultural woes, but fail to see that the measure of the Left's success is due in part to their own failure in keeping reverence for the teachings of Goodness.

As the aesthetics of Goodness have been forgotten or ignored for the sake of establishing the lucrative financial trends of quick-fix, hot-tub Christianity, the anaesthetics of Goodness have been preached in its place.  Namely, enter the role of secular humanism within the center courts of Christianity, attempting to make right that which is wrong, calling good and true that which is evil and untrue----such as the new relativisms of same sex marriage, homosexuality, and of greed and lust wherein the flawed normalization of lies and familial dysfunction abound, and other untoward works and aberrations that work to silence the conscience.

Point aside:  as we all well know, an "anaesthetic" is something about which most of us become immediately familiar upon entering a Dentist's chair.  And "anaesthetic" is given so as to numb the pain, acting as an agent to desensitize us to the Dentist's work on our teeth.

More broadly though, an "anaesthetic" works to stupefy and dull our sensorium, actually thwarting our common sense, paralyzing our awareness, making us unfeeling and remote, pococurante, indifferent, and aloof from the reality around us.  The long term effects can even dim our intelligence, detaching us from inspiration in its many cognitive and spiritual forms.

Accordingly, the "anaesthetics" of Goodness are all the ways of sin.  Sin, or those thoughts, words and deeds which are contrary to the will of God and His Goodness, are the agents and actions which numb us to that which is of God, and therefore, makes us negligent of that which is Good and that which is critically derived from the beauty, intelligence, and majesty of Goodness. 

This in itself is one very good reason why sin is so abhorred in the Scriptures.  Sin, or those things that compel us to ignore the persuasions of Goodness and act against its tenets, if not corrected becomes crippling to all aspects of life.

When left unchecked, sin has a peculiar viscosity that spreads easily and quickly to all areas of our life.  It darkens our awareness, making us less sensitive to the differences between Good and evil.  To be sure, each and every sin we may commit, acts to numb us to that which is Good, and thereby take us away from His Light.  Consequently, such anaesthetizing numbs us as well to our surrounding world, desensitizing our awareness and thwarting the accuracy of our perceptions. 

To that end, before finally extinguishing the life of its user, sin first acts as a sedative and an anodyne within our lives, breeding a darkness of incuriousness, disinterest, and slothfulness...,  deadening our sensibilities, making us insentient and insensible, uncaring and unobserving of everything around us except for ones own selfishness and self-absorption. 

These realities become self-evident to anyone who, upon repenting, immediately witnesses the beguiling darkness and lethargies from sin slowly disappear and lift from our countenance, even as our sincerity is verified.

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Before finally extinguishing the life of its user, sin first  acts as an anaesthetic within our lives, breeding a darkness of incuriousness, disinterest, and slothfulness...,  deadening our sensibilities, making us insentient and insensible, uncaring and unobserving of everything around us except for ones own selfishness and self-absorption.  In this regard, to willfully sin is tantamount to spiritual suicide, because a willful sin is one that is repeatedly self-inflicted.

In this regard, to willfully sin is tantamount to spiritual suicide, because a willful sin is one that is repeatedly self-inflicted.  That's yet another reason why it is written that "the wages of sin are death." 

Furthermore, it's my belief that every time we sin, something inside of us literally dies----be it physically, intellectually, or spiritually.  Every sin we commit has the consequence of inflicting death on some part of us, turning some part of us "off," darkening our mind, our heart, as well as introducing death to the biology of our cells prematurely.  We may brush this idea away from us thinking it fanciful because we do not experience some of these effects immediately, or indeed are further anaesthetized because of them, but that doesn't mean that detrimental changes haven't taken place, and that over time their accumulation won't be noted and realized. 

Experienced from the onset, it is the curse of this process of desensitization which brings about the intitial condition of spiritual and intellectual leprosy, even that which has come to be known more modernly as Liberalism..., yesterday's Socialism repackaged, and then eventual spiritual death. 

And we must remember, it is this self-designed obsessive-compulsive condition of narcissistic elitism in which the self-absorbed, the self-indulgent, and the self-important learn to practice that further anaesthetizes the personality----a prerequisite in which the philosophy of Liberalism, the ever more self-reinforcing and delusional potent anaesthetic cocktail, especially thrives. 

Yes, you heard me correctly...., I am defining Liberalism as a potent self-consuming form of socio-political and spiritual anaesthetic;  since it (and it's forbearer of Socialism) gives no place for the continuing and enduring concept of God's Goodness.  By abandoning the rock of Goodness as its defining base and adopting the tenets of secular relativism instead, having first been prepared by the unchecked antics of inane self-preoccupation, Liberalism results in its own form of lawlessness, just as George Neumayr was quoted earlier.  

Now, just as an "anaesthetic" acts as a numbing agent, an "aesthetic" should act to do the very opposite.  Namely, to enliven or re-sensitize us to things around us. 

Thus, any study of the aesthetics of Goodness should act to sensitize us to Goodness, make us more aware of the soundness, balance, and beauty of its tenets and properties.  The aesthetics of Goodness should prove to awaken us and inspire us to see connections and understandings that hitherto we could not see because of the anaesthetic spell we were previously under.

Subsequently, the prayful study of the aesthetics of Goodness should broaden and deepen our understanding of all things in this world to be discovered----opening the doors to His Spirit, not closing them.  It should enliven and reacquaint us with the principles of Goodness, and expand to increase our intelligence and analytic capacities, demonstrating how and why such are tenable and preferred over all other pretenders, and persuade us through its course of experience to become modeled after its tenets.  And lastly, we would learn how Goodness becomes the vehicle to understand all other things that are still unknown and yet to be understood, be it in the sciences, the arts, or even in the realms of theology.  Indeed, if we would accept it, it is a basic constituent of all that can be understood, and the leveraging fulcrum for this entire creation. 

The priority and scope of this knowledge should be commonly shared amongst us....., but it's not.  We are rarely instructed about such matters.  Oh, it's true that we may occasionally hear as to how good a man Jesus was, that His Father was good, and that it's good to keep the Commandments, etc.  And conversely we are taught that sin is bad and should be avoided if we want to go to Heaven.  But you'll notice that nothing more specific about the wisdom of Goodness, and what its absence brings, is often voiced, or that sin in divers ways is the anaesthetic of Goodness. 

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About the Author:  Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.) is a Clinical Psychologist and Neuroscientist having been educated abroad where he completed his postgraduate studies at King’s College, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and then graduated and received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. He has been in private clinical practice and medical research for over 25 years, being active as an author, popular radio and TV personality, public speaker, and biomedical researcher. An expert in a number of fields including Forensic/Criminal Psychology, Child and Family/Relationship Psychology, and Neuropsychology.  He has also served as an expert scientific advisor, product innovator and formulator, and professional consultant to the Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries. He is the author of The Winds of the Soul~Heaven’s First Voice To Us, as well as numerous other scholarly papers and works.

 

 

 

 

Most pointedly, very few ever speak about why Goodness is so excellent and transcendental, and why it should be observed above anything else, and how, when emulated and obeyed in every aspect of our lives, it will cause us the most increase of joy and happiness.  In other words, we've not often been taught about the aesthetics of Goodness by the standards and directions of today's hot-tub Christianity.  It's admonitions have long since been parsed, then silenced, from most pulpits. 

Rarely do we hear someone say why Goodness is to be loved, and how central it is to our faith.  I for one have never heard someone say so clearly that our love for the Master is based upon our love of Goodness, that we cannot love the Lord unless we first have elected to love Goodness more than anything else...., or that it's not possible to even understand what He says unless we first adopt His Prescriptive Lenses of Goodness for our own eyes and heart.  These are basic, but now embarrassingly missing, elements of faith no longer threaded and connected together for those who want instruction as to how to follow the Christ more precisely and perfectly. 

And the results of such modern misfeasance is already obvious.  Such an impoverishment leaves us easy targets for unwitting acceptance of Liberalism's rationale for secular relativism into our culture.  That Liberalism has been allowed such a pass, and has already incurred such invasive and penetrating damage to our culture, is in itself proof of its anaesthetizing powers of indoctrination, filling a vacuum that today's diluted Christian teachings have failed to counter. 

How like ancient Judea & Israel we have become....  Begging the question...having not been a party to His First Appearance, and not now being equipped with the key of how to recognize Him, how will we recognize His Second Coming?  Will we, like ancient Israel, miss the opportunity altogether because we have failed to see Goodness as the basis of His Character, and thereafter miss the opportunity of having His peculiar mark left upon His true followers? 

Will we only boast about our being able to recognize the signs of the time, yet still not have learned how to recognize and love the Goodness which He represents?  How can we know the voice of the Master of whom we've never served or loved in that regard, having not understood nor developed a love for the music of Goodness when first presented to our ears and heart?  Will we prove unable to see the Goodness of His Countenance, and instead be persuaded to look for another, and miss the Rapture altogether? 

 

More on the tenets and powers of Goodness, especially how it can steer our happiness, can be found in Chapter One, The Winds of the Soul~Heaven's First Voice to Us....as well as in the Winds of Forgiveness~Heaven's Healing Promises. 

Why don’t you take a moment and become part of the discussion.  Of course, more of this discussion can be gleaned from in the book.  Share with me your perspective, questions, and comments; tell me what you think of all this by emailing me at: DrYoung@WindsoftheSoul.com.

 

 

Get Dr. Young's latest:

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