chapter nine:

Sin vs Vice

     This is not a hustle or scam.  I have no desire or intention to spend the rest of my life trying to tell you or show you how to live yours. I have not lived an exemplary life that others should follow, even after my breakthrough. It is not because I haven't practiced what I am now preaching.  God knows I've never been guilty of hypocrisy or false worship since the moment I figured out who or what God is or isn't.  What works for me may not work for you, and I'm still trying to figure out how I want to live my life. 

     Besides, trying to make anyone an example of what righteousness looks like takes the focus of judgement away from where it belongs, which is with God and God alone, and gives it over to the eyes of men.  It could also cause you to either invite something into your life that would have, could have, and possibly should have been avoided or cause you to abstain from something you would have, could have, and possibly should have enjoyed. 

     When right and wrong get determined according to actions, or even intentions for that matter, instead of values, you miss the point of why it’s so important to have a proper understanding of God first and foremost.  A true understanding of God tells you the only way to avoid Heaven and end up in Hell would be to die worshipping something other than God.  That is the only sin…just like the only way to get to Heaven and avoid Hell is to die worshipping God.  That is the only righteous deed.  Worshipping God is objective.  All that other stuff is relative, subjective, and speculative. 

     Visually, the difference between morality and righteousness may be subtle and can go unnoticed, but the difference is rather large and noticeable to those who truly understand God.  There are some similarities between the two, but the big differences are morality is based on success and the relative opinions of man and righteousness is based on peace and the absolute judgement of God.

     When you let that absolute judgement of God part really sink in, you'll realize not only is everyone entitled to their own opinion, but also the only opinion that matters when it comes to your life is yours.  If you believe you are worshipping God, then you are. The judge of whether or not it’s true cannot be fooled, so who cares what words flow from your mouth or what acts you perform? Just make sure you’re not trying to fool yourself in whatever you do, and there will be no room for confusion.

     After making God the highest priority in your life, there is no real way anyone must prioritize anything else they love in order to be righteous.  Of course, it can be easily argued that there might be an order that increases your chances of a successful life, ways of living that maintain or promote social harmony, or acts that just fall in line with nature. Deviation from what is considered the norm or even virtuous is not necessarily sinful. It could just be a vice. 

     I look at it this way: God created the universe.  In the process, some of the matter created was allowed to become self-aware. This self-aware matter has the capability to learn, evolve, and adapt, so that over time some would develop with varying degrees of awareness of their surroundings and control over their environments. 

     There is always some debate or theory on our evolutionary position within the universe; for example, the method of our origin as a species or determining how much our intellectual prowess separates us from common animals.  I have no new theory to add to such a debate because regardless of what you believe about any of those things, I hope we can all agree on this:

     The things that are universally seen as good or superior serve an actual purpose and can't really be disputed against because they are either needed for survival, individually or genetically really makes no difference, or they provide physical comfort and protection from harsh elements or surroundings (purpose). Sensual pleasure, in general, is desired, so we tend to value what pleases our senses as if it is beneficial (pleasure).  In order to gain what we value, we must give up something we already possess that is of equal value according to someone or something outside of ourselves (price). Some sort of pain or punishment awaits the overuse or abuse of anything regardless of how innocently beneficial it may seem (pain).

     With these indisputable realities about our existence, it could be easily assumed that understanding and worshipping God would require that you seek to gain the most of the good things in life as possible, only enjoy the sensual pleasure derived from what also serves a legitimate purpose, and don't enjoy too much of anything, even what's good because that is the logical way to get the most out of life while preparing for Heaven. 

     It is also the safest since it would minimize the temptation to commit the real sin, but it isn't the only way though.  Righteousness and worshipping God does not require that you live an austere life and miss out on whatever enjoyable experiences that are at your disposal.  It is possible to be righteous with vices. 

     To me, vices are the results of having values that aren't the best for you or most conducive to your success or well-being.  It is anytime you ignore or upset the balance of the four P’s I just mentioned: purpose, pleasure, price, and pain.  

     Examples of what I'm talking about would be like: enjoying the pleasure of something good while avoiding its purpose, enjoying the pleasure from something that serves no legitimate purpose at all, or enjoying something to the point of physical pain.  It could be giving too much of yourself or hurting yourself for something that's not really worth it in the end.    Whatever it may be, righteousness and worshipping God will not necessarily stop you from being guilty of any of it. 

     Vices can lead to sin, be the results of sin, or be completely unconnected to sin at all. It all depends on the individual. Some people may be more easily enticed by vice but can't be tempted to sin so easily.  The ability to easily overcome hardships may cause some people to be more reckless.    Some people can use in moderation what would be someone else's addiction.  Some people may not have their priorities straight because they see what most take seriously as something light and frivolous or vice versa…they take seriously the things most consider trivial or inconsequential. 

     I can keep going, but why?  You get the point.  Being righteous and worshipping God doesn't require perfection and we should leave judging anyone but ourselves to God. 

I am sorry to disappoint anyone who hoped or expected more detailed instruction on how to live your life.  You don't need it.  All you need to do is fully comprehend and remember that God is to reality what zero is to math and all that it implies.  Everything else should just fall into place. 

     My advice to you is: get to know yourself before God shows you what you wish you could ignore.  It is better to bruise your own ego while you have time to repair it, than to shelter it from necessary truths only to end in disappointment when no changes can be made. With God is Heaven and Hell.   Anything that distracts you from Heaven leads to Hell.  If you have any doubts, it is better for you to abstain and do without.

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