Sunday, May 04, 2008

We Are All Created Equal

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Our country was founded on this simple premise - that we were all created equal. Wars have been fought, speeches delivered, marches walked, prisons filled and laws passed to ensure that this gilded idea would survive through the centuries. Though the words have faded from the original page shown here, the words have not blanched from our social or political landscape.
There have been conflicting theories put forth by other men since the signing of the Equality Declaration, and people have vainly tried to compromise their theories with the 'self-evident truth' stated in the above document. For instance, Darwin's theory of evolution and the survival of the fittest opposes the theory that we are all equal; for, equality cannot exist if only the strong survive.
If we embrace the concept of equality here on earth, then what about eternity? Are we all equal after life as we are in life? Religions are based on good works, or being good. Paganism required altars and bloody sacrifices to 'appease the gods' and guarantee the fertility of the earth. Even after adopting the single god theory, animal sacrifices were required for the remission of sins. Good works were counted as naught and lapses of acceptable behaviors required restitution. Moving forward, religion required penance (monetary and/or punishment), steps of enlightenment, years of study, attendance at ceremonies, and even an afterlife holding tank to ensure our place of pleasure in the hereafter.
Those man-made religions required a man-made resolution to our eternal problem-sin- and in creating a man-made resolution resulted in another sin - arrogance and bigotry. For, if we can 'work our way to heaven' then we are not all equal. If only the eternally strong survive, then the weak in spirit can never attain heaven. "For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.'" ICorinthians 1:26-31
So if we do not attain eternal bliss by our own worth, how do we ensure our equality in the afterlife? "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 RSV Our afterlife is not based on our wisdom, our sacrifices, our wealth or our good deeds. Our afterlife is based only on our CHOICE. If we choose to believe in the sacrifice of Jesus, we will have eternal life. We all have a choice - yes or no - and that ability to choose makes us all equal.

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