Friday, May 1, 2020

The Art of Living

By Ron Thomas

    The Bushido code is a code of the Samurai warrior. It is a code that speaks to honor, loyalty, courage, compassion, veracity and respect of life (, a philosophy of Zen Buddhism. It is easy to see the virtues of the code instilled in those taught. A great problem exists, however. It is from a philosophy of life that has no ultimate purpose for when life is over. It’s a philosophy that seeks moral guidance and discipline without God.
    Consider the following questions. What reason is there for a person to exhibit courage in life when exhibiting that courage has no benefit when life is over? The same question can be asked for all the moral qualities taught. In fact, what is the underlying foundation for the moral code? Is it the generated philosophy of one man, or men?
    The thoughts above came to me after I read an article in the Columbus Dispatch wherein a man in the community is doing much good instilling confidence and discipline in the lives of young people (6.7.2017, Section B:1-2, “Karate Kids”). There is no way to minimize the impact of his work; neither should one try. The value of his work is only limited to this life.
    Teaching morals is imperative in our society where immoral standards are certainly the norm. The morality that is taught, it is reasonable to ask, is based on what? Is it based of God, or not God? These are the only two options known to man. If the moral foundation is based on the philosophy or thinking of man, then for what purpose should I or any other person seek to implement it in my life? To whom am I accountable?
    If someone comes along and speaks against the virtue of courage as actually immoral, on what basis can I say he is wrong? Do I count noses (that is, how many people agree with me, compared to how many agree with him)? What about compassion – why should I be compassionate?
    On the other hand, if the moral foundation has at its base (or foundation) in God, then that means I am held to a higher standard, I am accountable to God. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding (Proverbs 9:10, KJV). The contrast is clear: one can fear man, learn a moral discipline, even the warrior code, but still in the end, end up with nothing beneficial when this life is over. Compare this approach with the approach to the Lord, and how we should fear/respect Him, the Creator of life.

- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.

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