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   Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce Garner Ted Armstrong of Ambassador College with the World Tomorrow. In this series of programs, we will tell you something of the problems of the world today, how they will affect you, and their solution in the World Tomorrow. Ladies and gentlemen, Garner Ted Armstrong.

   Religion is difficult to divorce from politics, from science, from the space race, from the arms race, from international geopolitics, from the monetary crisis, or from the way of life as it is lived by millions of people in different countries all over the world. When you look at the world and its problems, you are looking, the chances are, at various religious hang-ups.

   Take India for an example. Here are millions upon millions of human beings whose lives are held by the tenuous threat of a late monsoon, of a terrible problem of infant mortality, of a very low life expectancy, the midst of a population explosion, terrible malnutrition—most of it protein deficiency, which causes slowness of mind and slowness of mental responses of all sorts, which even impairs the learning process. The nation of India, with its religions—and there are many religions in India, primarily the Hindu religion, but really dozens and hundreds of other tribal religions and various break downs in the Hindu religion itself.

   When you look at India with its habits, its population explosion, its dietary laws, the entire morass of humanity that is India, you are looking at its religious history that has brought it to the place in our modern space age where the nation of India is a problem to itself and, in so many ways, has an impact on much of the rest of the world.

   Now, Indian people are welcomed their religions. They are just as sincere and act more so, in most cases. When you look at this type of religion, whether it's animism, whether it is some kind of a deism or a kind of polytheism, or its ancestor worship or whatever you wish to call it in some of the oriental religions, you see people that are so completely devoted and sincere that they make many Westerners rather ashamed of the fact of the nonchalance and take-it-for-granted approach that Westerners tend to have to their religion.

   You can say the same thing about China and the religions of the Orient. You can talk about the wars of history, World War II, and the enormous, swelling, egotistical, tourist vanity of an Adolf Hitler who imagined himself as a sort of false Christ who was going to rescue the world and save them for all eternity and usher in a German-style 1000-year millennium, as the Bible talks about the rule of the reign of Jesus Christ on the earth for 1000 years. And so, he talked about the Third Reich during World War II.

   And here was a demented idiot who had somehow grasped power and led that nation on the course of preparation for war and conquest because of his own imaginary, vanity-filled role that he had to fulfill in his own personal destiny, his place in life and in the world.

   How can you then divorce religion? What people believe religiously? What people imagine their own private and personal relationship is between themselves and their God from geopolitics, from the economic crises of the world, from the course of nations, from the way things are in the world? You can't do it.

   Japan in World War II or the imaginary belief that the Emperor was a descendant of the Sun God and the son of the Sun God was the Emperor, and the Land of the Rising Sun and he owed it to himself and to the people under him to rule the world. The tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers fanatically loyal to that Emperor who sent toenail and fingernail clippings and a strand of hair or two home and then blew their brains out in Okinawa, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Guam, or maybe Saipan in the Southern Pacific the South Pacific island-hopping campaigns, where they would hold up in their caves in New Guinea or die on the beaches at Buna or Gona or Tarawa or Bovandielle wherever the battle was taking place. By the tens of thousands, those Japanese would commit suicide, preferring to die for the Emperor rather than give up.

   And if you've noticed in the past few years, sensational accounts of yet additional stragglers, there was a book out called "The Stragglers." It's quite interesting to read about Japanese holdouts with that devoted belief, a religious belief basically, not just the Bushido of the officer core tradition, but the religious belief that the Emperor is a divine being.

   Even though following World War II, that entire belief was stripped from the Japanese nation, and that was one of the difficult things for some of these stragglers to adjust to, by the way, in going back to Japan: to acknowledge the idea that the Emperor actually had appeared in public, had even spoken in public, had even gone before the people of Hiroshima and spoken publicly, weeping there about what had happened at the explosion of the first atomic bomb on that August of 1945.

   And that the Emperor was now reduced to human status was something that these people, who had been holding out for these years on these islands in the Pacific, could not accept.

   You look at some of the nations of the world and their religions, and you can basically say this: the more devout, the more almost totally given to religion the nation is, the more repressive, restrictive, the more miserable, the more negative, the more poverty-stricken seems to be the life of the people under the heel of that particular form of religion. Now, maybe you could take issue with that and you could say no, that's not true because look at this country or the other. Well, I'm dealing for the moment in broad generalities.

   So, let's get back to India. India is a case in point because roaming the streets of India are these millions of sacred cows, so-called sacred cows. I think they're just barman cattle that deserve a 2x4 across the bridge of their nose for not getting up out of the street, making the taxi cabs, buses, and pedicabs and people mill around them while they sit there munching grass, or the chances are they're munching vegetables they got from some poor little street vendor's cart who is there with his emaciated body trying to make little bits of money to stay alive.

   But here is a nation that has, as I have heard reported, more cattle walking around the land than we do in the United States. And yet we're in the midst of a meat crisis, and we're shipping some of our cattle abroad in this thing trying to keep reciprocity in trade agreements and our balance of payments and our export-import quotas somehow in reasonable shape, which we are failing to do.

   But we in the United States are in the midst of skyrocketing meat prices, and therefore, housewives have reacted. And so, the demand is somewhat diminishing, and this is going to be rather a problem for some of the cattle raisers as well as the meat markets.

   But in India, they've got as many or more cattle than we've got in the United States, but they don't ever eat them because their religion precludes it. That would be an absolute unpardonable sin, and whatever god it is that they believe in, or the number of gods, that god would be sitting up in heaven almost waiting for the opportunity for one of those people to commit some sort of an effrontery against this cow.

   And if he did, the chances are that there is some open maw, some eternal abyss, some flaming, seeping, seething pot to over which they would be held, dangling, searing, spitting, boiling like a hot dog turning over there waiting for, you know, not quite burning up but just the drippings, you know, off of this and little blisters appearing on it. I don't know what the individual idea of an Indian Hindu or a Muslim or someone else may be about that other place to which those people think they go, but you know what the idea is in the Christian theology about where people think they go.

   Now, in our Christian theology of the Western world, we're not so emancipated from the sacred cows of some of the oriental religions as we like to think. Because, believe it or not, even in the Western Christian religion, feelings of guilt, feelings of repressiveness, feelings of inferiority, of total frustration have led people to the brink and even over the brink of suicide. And most of this is based upon a complete misunderstanding about what is called in the Bible the unpardonable sin.

   The Ambassador College publication "What is the True Gospel?" answers one of the most divisive questions of our times. We live in a world of many different religions. While teaching peace and harmony among men, their people are led to war against one another. Witness the Hindu-Muslim conflict in India and Pakistan, the Protestant-Catholic confrontation in Northern Ireland, and the Jew-Arab crisis, all believing they have true religion. Ironic, isn't it? With over 400 denominations in the Western Christian world, haven't you ever wondered which one is right? Who teaches what Jesus taught?

   Our free article will help you understand that message in the light of today's world. Send for "What is the True Gospel?" Your copy is free; there is no charge or follow-up. It's called "What is the True Gospel?" Send your request to Ambassador College, Box 345, GPO, Sydney, New South Wales. That's Ambassador College, Box 345, GPO, Sydney, New South Wales.

   Religion in all of its forms around the world basically tends to be negative or pessimistic. You're sort of living on the earth, taking your chances with a God who sits up there in his heavenly armchair with his thunderbolts, who is waiting to really zap you if you do something to incur his displeasure. Actually, even in the Western world of emancipated, free-thinking, so-called Christianity, people still have the idea that you're born with God mad at you. I mean, from the minute you come out into this earth, you're guilty of something that somebody did called Adam.

   Now, some of the major religions believe this: little bitty sweet babies. They're right there, just barely cleaned up and placed beside the loving mother, and the doting father has got his nose pressed against the glass. He's looking in: "Which one is mine?" Usually, of course, in a big hospital, they don't really give the baby to the mother. Now, with natural childbirth, they place it right on the mother's breast immediately, and they have found—I wouldn't like to get into a thing off the subject for the moment—but that there are tremendous advantages to this, that it causes an immediate reaction inside the mother's body, which tremendously helps with the cessation of any hemorrhaging, and it immediately causes colostrum to flow and so on. Now, this is a subject for doctors to take up, not me perhaps.

   But the traditional view is, of course, that there is a large room in which there are about a dozen babies, and they're all crying. And a father, who has nervously gone through about 16 packs of cigarettes and worn himself a rut in the linoleum out there in the stork room where the dumb dope has been waiting and been told to keep out of it all and goes in and says, "Which one is mine?" But here is a sweet, squalling, little tiny baby, and they count his fingers and toes. He seems to be perfect physically. Little old gums are there when he yawns. Maybe he's born with a shock of bushy black hair—some of them are—and maybe a little thin wispy blonde hair, and they'd be bald, but they're just sweet in all sizes and shapes. Beautiful little babies. Parents look at them and just cry out in wonder.

   And yet, they're guilty. They're lying there, a dirty sinner, rotten little kid, guilty of something Adam did. And if something doesn't happen to throw the switch, the instant that baby is born, at the end of his life, the way the Christian evangelical types tell it—except they don't quite put it this way because I'm trying to simplify it for them—they get a little balled up when they try to tell it. The infant, that little baby, is born. I'm trying to help the preachers today.

   You see, trying to kind of give them a little bit of help on how to explain it. The minute that baby is born, he's on a, like, a railroad trip except at the end, there is a double switch and, you know, one shoots you up and the other one goes down. It's like, at the end of life, there's this giant cliff, and you're gonna be airborne. Unless you've got a set of wings to go on up to heaven, then you're going to plummet down to the bottom with all those people, all of those demons with pitchforks, and Satan the devil laughing.

   You know, in a fork, they're leaping from brick to brick and never quite burning up. And this baby has done it. He's guilty as all get out. He's filled with sin. He's a sinful little creature, conceived in sin, born in sin, guilty of all sorts of sin. And it's his fault too, really. Because God is consistent. We know this because Christian theology and theologians tell us this, that God is consistent. You know what his attitude is? Mad. And he's always mad at you.

   What you do is go through life, according to many different religions, and try not to provoke him any more than necessary. And hopefully, by doing a few good acts once in a great while, he kind of eases the harshness of the look on his face and doesn't quite hate you as much as he did before. Most people are smitten with the idea that God is mad at them.

   Now, it's no wonder because the traditional concept of sin versus righteousness is what has caused this. I look around sometimes with amazement even today in the so-called professing mainstream of Christian thought, and I have to ask myself, if I see certain examples, if that person had been alive in the 1600s, would he or she have been a witch burner? You know, a lot of times I have to say, yeah. Yeah, I think so. I think that there are people walking around in 20th century, emancipated, free-thinking Christian nations who, if they had been walking the earth in the 1600s, would have been gleefully dancing outside the cages, watching the witches burn. I think there are people like that even today.

   But the traditional concept between sin and righteousness is what has caused this. And I want to show you where that came from. People always imagine that God was a judge, just sitting there waiting for the opportunity to judge everybody. He's kind of sitting up there before this great big bench, and there are endless lines of people. And what he does all day long, he's got this giant mallet all kind of boomed out on the end because he's been banging it on the desk there. And these people are lined up, and the devil is sort of the prosecuting attorney, and Jesus is the counsel for the defense, so to speak.

   And it's a big courtroom scene, and God is kind of like old Roy Bean. He's a hanging judge. He's sitting there with his big gavel in his hand, his mallet, and his awful look on his face. And down there waiting is hell. Up here, angels are sort of playing, hoping that the few... when you pray, you always do things with your hands. So, they come, endless lines come, and he says, "All right, what did he do?" "Well, he drank, and he smoked, and he went to theaters and so on." Bang, you go down there, and he goes over the brink.

   So, people think that God's basic job is to judge. And he has been presented throughout history by very eloquent spokesmen who seem to have a real folksy relationship with God as a judge, as a matter of fact. And this is a beautiful example, so permit me to kind of play with it a little bit because this is a quotation, and it comes from Jonathan Edwards, who lived in 1741, 1741. And this is back in the Old West stories. The sermons like this came out of the Old West.

   But this is an example clear back even before that in England, 1741, and the congregation was listening to good old preacher Jonathan Edwards, who was saying this, and I quote:

   The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you and is dreadfully provoked. His wrath toward you burns like fire. He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire. He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight. You are ten thousand times so abominable in his eyes as the most hateful and venomous serpent is in ours.

   How's that for openers? I mean, it is a sermon. Parishioners are sitting out there with their starched hats and their little kids all scrubbed and scared half to death. And the deacon is walking along, and he's got this long stick with a thorn on it in case anybody ever goes to sleep, because I guess if you've heard that 100,000 times, you can go to sleep even with a sermon like that coming at you. And if this guy begins to doze, bang, you just draw a little blood out of your thumb or your ear, you know, wake up. And this is the way churches used to be. Well, you know, they never got the idea to jab the preacher to see that the fans were making him preach a little more interestingly to keep those people awake, but they want to keep the people awake no matter what the preacher said.

   Well, he went on with this incredible sermon, and I quote:

   You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it and ready every moment to singe it and burn it asunder. And here you are, you hang over a fire like a loathsome spider, and God hates you worse than you hate a snake. And you've got this little thread, and his lightning bolts are playing around near this thread, and you're feeding the flames, and God is up there just madder than all get out at you.

   Now, it is a calculated attempt by somebody to really give you the world's greatest superiority complex. I mean, if Dale Carnegie would have heard of this, he could have built lots of leaders in business and industry, how to win friends and gain friends and influence people, sending all these types running around the streets of all this tremendous feeling of accomplishment and optimism.

   You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it and ready every moment to sing it and burn it asunder, and you have no interest in any mediator and nothing to keep off the flames of wrath. Nothing of your own, nothing that you have ever done, nothing you can now do to induce God to spare you one moment.

   Now, that in the 1700s was traditional Christianity. And actually, it's a pretty eloquent statement of the way many people still conceive of Christianity today. In a few moments, I want to show you some of the pagan impressions of God, and you're going to be shocked to find out that Egyptians, Hindus, people who believe in Karma, Babylonians, people of Ancient Greece, people of Ancient Rome believed things that are strikingly similar in their complete paganized, polytheistic religions, strikingly similar to the so-called mainstream of Christian thought in modern space-age, emancipated, free-thinking United States of America.

   There's a time to be born, a time of youth with its lessons to be learned and its carefree moments, a time to raise a family, to watch your children grow and teach them of life, a time for work, for productivity and doing your part for mankind. There's a time to grow old and enjoy your grandchildren, and there's a time for death at the end of a full, exciting life. But then what? Heaven, hell, reincarnation, transmigration? What is the answer to this question that has long bothered man?

   You need to know. Read the free booklet, "What is the Reward of the Saved?" It answers this question in a unique and surprising manner. The Bible nowhere promises what you've always assumed. Be sure to read this informative booklet, "What is the Reward of the Saved?" Send your request to Ambassador College, Box 345, GPO Sydney, New South Wales. That's Ambassador College, Box 345, GPO Sydney, New South Wales.

   Where do people get these ideas? They don't get them out of the Bible. I'm going to show you in a few moments some of the scriptures in the Bible that explain that God is supposed to be absolute, total mercy; that his eyes are open toward us, and his ears are open to our cry, that he is called merciful and righteous. How David in the Psalms said that he is merciful, that his mercies extend forever, that his mercy is so great toward us as the heavens are high above the earth. It explains God in the Bible as absolutely limitless in mercy.

   But there's that one thing that people keep getting hung up over, and that is the idea of the unpardonable sin. Now, is there such a thing as an unpardonable sin? Yes, there is. Jesus spoke of it. What is it, though? Is it a sin that finally gets God so mad at you that he won't forgive you? That's what people think. Now, they may put it in different ways, but the idea is that the unpardonable sin is basically the time when God runs out of patience. It's a particular category of sin. I mean, you can do this and play with that and toy with the other thing and make this mistake and slip over there. You could backslide. You know what a backslider is? Well, it's a church word. Now, it's not a little kid playing on mud banks and trying to climb up and falling down, but it's a particular expression that is used in many different churches.

   Backsliders are people who apparently were all righteous and all white and good and everything, but they got a little bit weak and they kind of quit going to church. And one day, they were observed by some other member of the church in a honky tonk. Now, wait a minute, how do we square that one there? Uh, that's kind of like somebody saying, why do you guys have your eyes open when you pray? But anyhow, maybe they were observed by some other person who told somebody who goes to their church that they were on the golf course, or they were in the honky tonk, or they were seen drinking, or, you know, the guy got kicked out because he tipped his glasses like that to pour his milk. It can happen. So, backsliders are people who sort of begin to backslide religiously. They lose some of their original fervor and they begin to kind of slip back on some of these various laws and rules that the particular church may have.

   Now, there is such a thing in the Bible mentioned by Jesus Christ of Nazareth himself as the unpardonable sin, a sin which God will not forgive. What is that sin? It is spoken of as a sin against the Holy Spirit. I'm going to cover that very thoroughly.

   But let's notice the pagan impressions of God that some of the other religionists had and how alike they are from the pagan world to the so-called Christian world. The Egyptians thought that after death, the soul proceeded to final judgment. Strange, isn't it? That was an Egyptian invention. They invented that. They thought the soul went on after death to final judgment. Well, so do so-called Christians. To determine its righteousness, though, the heart of the individual was laid in a balance at the last judgment. The spiritual pessimism in the Egyptians can be seen by the fact that the heart, however, even though it was sort of like a spiritual transplant, is lying there, his heart kind of pulsating spiritually on these scales. But the only difficulty was that it had to be so pure that it was weighed against a feather. So, the heart didn't have much of a chance. You know, wham, you have a two-pound heart, feather flies around. But the Egyptians really did believe that the heart had to balance against a feather, and that didn't leave an awful good, optimistic chance of survival.

   Now, in Hinduism, the highest degree of spiritual pessimism might be found in Hinduism, to the Hindu, all life is on a wheel of rebirth, sort of like an orbital pattern. And the spiritual success is getting off that wheel. You're on it, you're turning interminably, and you're trying your very level best to get off of it. But you know you'll never make it from the word go because Hinduism is pretty pessimistic about the chances of one getting into that final ultimate heaven.

   One was held to the wheel or released from the wheel by Karma. And Karma, the law of deeds, is kind of an outreach of the self of the better you ideas. Any bad deeds had to be expiated by penance, so they would certainly result in horrible punishment in the next life. So, the Hindu religion has penance.

   How hard it was to defeat the judgment of Karma can be seen by taking a quick look at some of the ancient Hindu penances. If you committed the mortal sin, like drinking an intoxicating beverage, then you had to go through the agony of drinking that same beverage boiling hot. I mean, while you're walking around the earth, you see now that does lots of things. It scalds your tongue, it burns the skin off the roof of your mouth, it parches and burns your throat, it clears up anything you got with a problem in the esophagus. It sends part of your lungs in a way down and it boils the acid in your stomach. And it hurts too. When your body has been completely scalded by this process, you are considered freed from the guilt of having imbibed that liquor.

   That's Hinduism. For some misdeeds, the lunar penance was required, and this consisted of eating no more than 15 mouthfuls on the day of the full moon. Then you diminish this amount by one mouthful each day till you went along to nothing. And then you increased it again to 15 mouthfuls by the next full moon. And so, you really got to while you're waiting for the full moon to come out because you can eat 15 mouthfuls on that day. But in the middle of it, you got none. Then the next day, one.

   Then it was to swallow the products of the cow. The cow was sacred no matter what you and I think. That's what Hindu people did think and do. And the five products of the cow were milk, sour milk, butter, urine, and dung. These all had to be swallowed as forms of various penances in a religious ceremony by Hindus. And some of these penances could be so severe that they consisted of following whole herds of cattle for an entire month.

   The Greeks had gods that to them were very, very human. And I see now that I won't have time to take up too much about the Greeks because I've only got a couple of minutes left. But I would like to see that you get the point in this, that there is a tremendous relationship between what some of the pagan—we think they're pagan—and the Western Christian religion at least, the pagan oriental and other religions think what they came up with their own inventions about God's wrath, about God's makeup and his nature, about his desire to punish people, about what kind of sin, about how to get righteous, whether you do it through deeds of your own suffering in this life here and now. And the tremendous similarities between some of these purely pagan religions, heathen religions condemned in the Bible, "were not the way of the heathen," it says. And yet, isn't it strange how some of the mainstream Christian theologies are almost unmistakably pagan to the core?

   I've taken that up in times past. I've offered booklets on subjects like heaven and hell and the soul, etc. But now I think people are pretty hung up. Religious types, many of them are. And we have some very heartrending letters that I want to show you a little later on in this short series on the unpardonable sin. I'd like you to write for this booklet and find out exactly what is the unpardonable sin. What do you mean - The Unpardonable Sin? Just what is it? Where is it mentioned in the Bible? Do people commit any such sin as this today? Is there a sin which God won't forgive? Where you just get to the point where you absolutely drive him clear past the limit of all of his patience and he is going to get you no matter what?

   There are people who believe this, and there are people who have committed suicide. And I have received, we have received, letters and phone calls from people who thought they had committed the unpardonable sin. I'm going to read a couple of letters like that for you next time. They were so desperate, they were either right at the verge of suicide or were already attempting it. They needed to know. So, you get this book that will help you understand what is this thing called the unpardonable sin. It's free of charge at no price.

   You know that there are very many thousands of people who, on the one hand, are professing Christians, but on the other hand, they know that they haven't measured up. They know they've made a lot of mistakes. They know that they have sinned. They know that there are certain lacks, and they know they don't do this and act the way they should. They feel that they're not as devout as they ought to be. They wish they could, but you know, the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. And so they go around with this guilt complex, kind of in fear of what's going to happen when they die.

   Well, this booklet, as nothing else I can give you, can clear up an awfully lot of guilt complexes in people's minds. If you will read this Ambassador College publication, "What do you mean - The Unpardonable Sin?" it explains it thoroughly from the Bible. It's not our ideas, it's not a philosophy. It is exactly the biblical definition of the unpardonable sin.

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Broadcast Date: 1974