INHERENT OR LEARNED?
INHERENT OR LEARNED?
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
(This article was written in 2009)"For My people have committed TWO EVILS; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living water and have hewn themselves out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." (Jer.2:8-13)
A number of years ago - on Canada Day - I was a guest on Radio CJCA's Ron Collister Show. For many years I had joined that popular host and his listeners in lively debate on interesting and relevant topics.
Our July 1st program featured the very important subject, 'Is EVIL inherent or is it a product of environment? Is a person born with the propensity to do evil or is it a learned behaviour?'
And Ron asked each caller the same question he asked me: "Which of these - GOOD or EVIL - is winning in our world today"?
Most of the callers seemed to think that the scourge of evil was dominating our society and winning big! My answer mirrored the words of Jesus when He referred to the increase of evil as a sign of the last days:
"Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold". (Matt. 24:12) "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man... Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot...even thus shall it be when the Son of man is revealed." (Luke 17:26-30)
SODOM & GOMORRAH: HOW EVIL?
One might ask: “How EVIL were the conditions on earth before God sent the FLOOD, and wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone”? Very corrupt, perverted and violent - a lot like today! Here's the Bible record of the evil that existed during those two time periods.
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of his heart was only EVIL continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him in his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man..." (Gen. 6: 5-7)
Moses wrote: "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with Violence". (Gen. 6:11). So IMMORAL and VIOLENT were the men of Sodom that when two angels visited Lot - to evacuate him and his family before the destruction began - they demanded that Lot hand over to them the two strangers so they might sodomize them!
The Bible records: "But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came into thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them (sodomize them)." (Gen. 19:4-5)
When Lot refused, the large crowd of homosexuals tried to break down his door, to perform GANG RAPE on them! They told Lot to get out of the way, warning him: "Now we will deal worse with thee than with them". (v. 9) What could be worse than Gang Rape?
The Holy Scriptures describes the Wickedness and PERVERSION of the entire male population – young and old – who were demanding that the two strangers visiting Lot be given to them for a sexual Gang Rape Fest!
This of course, is not the status quo of the average homosexual but could take over if that life-style became the norm as it is in some prisons and is gaining in prominence in parts of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hollywood! History has a way of repeating itself.
The angels forcibly rescued Lot and smote the attackers with blindness, in order to prevent them from tearing down the door! That's strong, and hits close to home...when you consider what's presently happening in many unhealthy, suicide-plagued, AIDS-infested and fear-charged communities around the world!
The Bible declares: “Do you not know that the WICKED will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Cor.6: 9, NIV)
St. Paul warns that Evil will escalate as we near the end of this age: "This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
"Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. But evil men and SEDUCERS shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Tim. 3:1-4, 13)
Again, he admonished: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron." (1 Tim. 4:1-2)
A study of the horrible raping and killing of dozens of young women by pornography sadist Ted Bundy who was executed Jan. 24, 1989, and the serial killings of 33 young homosexual men - whom he first sodomized - by killer John Wayne Gacy, proves that the concience can become seared! He was finally caught and was executed on May 10, 1994.
The horrendous killing spree of homosexual serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (1993) who lured young men into his trailer where he sodomized and killed them and ate some of their body parts, can only be attributed to EVIL spirits!
A normal human being could never perform such dastardly, perverted and evil acts, without having demon spirits as guides!
The killing of parents by children like the 1994 Menendez case when sons Erik and Lyle brutally murdered their mom and dad for their wealth is more evidence of the EVIL that reigns in the hearts of lost and depraved humanity!
No wonder the prophet declared: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: Who can know it?” (Jer.17: 9)
I answered Ron Collister’s question thusly: "Yes, it appears that EVIL is gaining ground and at present may have the ascendancy, but in the end righteousness will triumph. One day, Jesus Christ will return and put away EVIL for good".
I interjected that there is some good news; a great revival of righteousness is presently occurring in our world! Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, a revival of Christianity swept Eastern Europe.
By 1996, it was estimated that 6,000 souls had received Jesus Christ as Lord each day since the break-up of the ‘Evil Empire’.
In our 1992 crusade in Truskavets, Ukraine - a health resort city which boasts many sanitariums and draws people from across Eastern Europe – Mikhael Gorbachev's sister, Galina Sergeovana Gorbachev, answered a salvation altar call to confess Jesus Christ as her Saviour!
Evangelical Christianity is so strong in South Korea that the Church is growing faster than the population, in that former Buddhist stronghold! And in 1986, Newsweek carried a Front Page story titled, ‘Latin America: Traditionally Roman Catholic Red is Turning Protestant Black.’
The large feature article reported that the Gospel of Christ as preached by Evangelical Christians was gaining converts at 400 per hour. That’s 9,600 every 24 hours!
The ‘red’ spoke of the scarlet colours used by Roman Catholic prelates and the ‘black’ referred to the Bible carried by Protestants! So great is the Revival that the Evangelicals in Guatemala and El Salvador now tip the scales at about 54 per cent of the population!
CHRISTIANS DYING FOR THEIR FAITH!
Believers in Jesus Christ, however, are presently being tortured in a number of Muslim-dominated countries, and forced to convert to paganism under threat of death and starvation!
A classic case is Sudan, where fanatical Arab Muslims have since 1989 murdered more than two million black Christians and Animists in an unparalleled "religious cleansing and genocide.
They were given the ultimatum, "Convert to Islam, or die". In the last few years, the ruling Arabs have killed 300,000 Black Muslims for their oil, in DARFUR!
This genocide eclipses that of the demonized Idi Amin, who terrorized Uganda several decades ago, and was granted protection by Saudi Arabia until he died at Jedda on August 16, 2003 and went to his eternal doom!
A number of years ago, ‘Newsweek’ reported that the Muslims of the north were selling black animist and Christian women as slaves for $15 US each.
MUSLIMS IN SUDAN CONVERTING!
The GOOD NEWS is that there is now peace in the South, and the Gospel is received by large numbers of Muslims. And a revival is taking place in Darfur which had been virtually closed to the Gospel for hundreds of years! In 2006 and 2007 I had the privilege of preaching the Word of God there and in other areas of Sudan with great success!
The inhumane, EVIL treatment of Christians in Muslim-dominated lands has to go down in history as comparable to Adolf Hitler's holocaust of 6 million Jews, Joseph Stalin's murder of 7 million Ukrainians by starvation in 1933 and Mao Tse Tung's genocide of between 40 to 80 million Chinese!
According to Dr. David Barrett, a statistician - who has been tracking this phenomenon for more than a decade - an estimated 160,000 to 330,000 Christians are martyred every year for their faith in Jesus Christ!
That is what I call real EVIL!
Oral Roberts said a number of years ago: "I don't know how we're doing it, but somehow we are winning". And Billy Graham stated, "I've read the last chapter in the book and it says: 'We win'!"
Daniel Webster defines 'evil' as "morally wrong, immoral, sinful, wicked, causing injury, mischief, trouble, pain, bad, harmful, repulsive". And his definition of 'inherent' is: "forming an essential or intrinsic element of; existing inseparably within an object or person".
Is the human race cursed with two strikes against it at birth? Could there be a genetic defect in those who rise to infamy such as Attila the Hun, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Jeffry Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy?
WHAT ABOUT ENVIRONMENT?
Or has this evil come to us because of the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, as the Bible states? What about the environment; home, church, school, friendships, fraternities? What part does upbringing, training, nurturing, learning and companionship play in a person's character?
During more than 45 years of very active Christian Ministry, I have formulated a definite opinion that – without doubt - EVIL is both inherent and learned!
The Bible says "The wicked are estranged from the womb. They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies". (Ps. 58:3); "The Scripture hath concluded all under sin". (Gal. 3:22)
You don't need to teach infants how to lie. We've all seen them do that even before they can talk. Holding a cookie behind his back, little Billy will shake his head saying, "No, I didn't raid the cookie jar".
HERE IS THE DELEMMA OF THE HUMAN RACE!
St. Paul blames Adam for our fallen condition: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned". (Rom. 5:12)
Then, he gives us the antidote or remedy against EVIL. "For as by one man's (Adam) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One (Jesus Christ) shall many be made righteous". (v. 19)
Again, the Bible says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus". (Rom. 3:23-24)
We were born with a nature that is at enmity with God. We are sinners by birth, by nature and unfortunately, sinners also by choice! But God, sending His Son to die for our sins - as our substitute - paid the ransom price to purchase our salvation.
Through His grace, we receive a new nature and are born again from above! Here is the good news, then: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". (Rom. 6:23)
In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul agonizes: "For I know that in me (that is in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not, for the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not that I do.
"O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Then he declares: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death". (Rom. 7:18, 19, 24; 8: 2)
EVIL IS ALSO A LEARNED BEHAVIOUR!
The Bible verifies this as well: "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners". (1 Cor.15: 33). Here are a couple of true sayings: "Birds of a feather flock together", and "Show me who your friends are and I'll show you who you are".
It's a known fact that most child abusers were themselves abused as children. And the majority of perverts were themselves corrupted by older relatives, friends or authority figures!
PERVERTS know how to infiltrate places of respectability, influence and position of authority among the most vulnerable to their advances, namely teenage boys!
Our hats go off to NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy - who blew the whistle on well-known hockey coach, homosexual predator Graham James, who is now serving time in prison for his EVIL sexual crimes!
When Sheldon Kennedy testified that Graham James sexually abused him hundreds of times when he was a boy, screening became a reality for many organizations. It also ended the unspoken agreement by many victims to stay silent about abuse.
Homosexual pervert Gary Blair Walker admitted to having sexually molested over 200 boys over the course of 30 years while he held a variety of positions of trust as a paid worker, and as a volunteer; a sport coach, a police officer, a Scout master, a church camp counsellor, a school bus driver and a martial arts instructor!
TRAGIC REPORT FROM IRELAND!
Adding to the tragedy of Roman Catholic priests sexually molesting altar boys in Newfoundland and Indian boys in Canada’s Residential Schools for decades, here is another sad story reported by Associated Press, May 20, 2009.
DUBLIN -- A fiercely debated, nine-year investigation into Ireland's Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades -- and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.
More than 30,000 children…were sent to Ireland's austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last church-run facilities shut in the 1990s.
The report found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys' facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger…” Was that not EVIL?
HERE IS THE BENCHMARK RULING: In the 1995 Rosenberg decision, a Canadian Federal Court ruled that the age of consent for SODOMY must be reduced to 14 years from 18, since anal sex is “a basic form of expression for gay men.”
Is this not blatant DISCRIMINATION which could easily have set up impressionable boys as fodder to be corrupted by sexual perverts?
The above UNHOLY and EVIL law that brought pedophiles in droves to Canada in search of 14 year old boys to lawfully molest is now history. By the grace of God, the evil lawmakers who enacted that perverted Law have lost their power in Ottawa! Without doubt, they will stand trial before God one day!
On May 1, 2008 Prime Minister Stephen Harper – much to the disappointment of the dysfunctional Liberal, N.D.P and B.Q. Parties – prevailed in passing a new law protecting children from pedophiles by raising the age of consent for anal sex from 14 to 16 years of age!
US President Ronald Reagan called the former Soviet Empire an Evil Empire, and he was right! We now know the enormity of the crimes of that wicked system, which left Eastern Europe bankrupt economically and the environment so terribly polluted that it will take billions of dollars and decades of hard work to bring things back to normal there!
The Bible says that God will destroy those who destroy the earth! (Rev. 11:18). The callous attitude of Soviet Communists toward human life and the environment has brought God's judgment upon them!
God’s Word warns about those who "call evil good and good evil". (Is. 5:20). Prophet Amos exhorted, "Seek good and hate evil". (5:14-15). And Moses warned: "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do EVIL". (Ex. 23:2)
Jesus knew that we would be targeted by the “enemies of righteousness”, who seek our destruction. Being in “all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”, He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. (Heb.4: 15)
He can therefore help us when we are tempted, tried and buffeted by the flesh, the world and the devil. The Bible says: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4: 16)
DELIVER US FROM EVIL!
He gave us ‘His Model Prayer’ so that we would know how to pray and what to pray about, in order to receive strength from Almighty God!
Our Lord declared: "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matt.7: 17-20)
Again Jesus stated: "For out of the heart proceed EVIL thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:" (Matt. 15:19)
The tragic killing of two-year-old James Bulger in Liverpool, England a number of years ago by two ten-year-old boys certainly tells us something about EVIL!
How the two boys could have conceived in their hearts to trick a little toddler - who had walked away from his mothe in a shopping mall - to accompanying them to his own death is inconceivable!
Except for one thing...There is a real DEVIL who came only to “steal, kill and destroy”, and he is to BLAME! And so are parents who refuse to serve God themselves with no regard for their Children’s spiritual upbringing!
The Golden Text of the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life". (John 3:16)
Jesus said: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (v. 19)
We can never become good enough in our own strength, to please God or become righteous: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph.2 : 8, 9)
HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS: Only through the all-atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross for us, can we attain righteousness or goodness!
The Bible says, "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7); "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new". (2 Cor.5: 17)