Today I’m happy to share with you another guest post from Jim Ferguson.

When Jim sent this post to me, I frankly hesitated. Hmmmm… this doesn’t sound like me.

As you likely know, I profess myself as an atheist. Jim (as you may know, and if not, will soon find out) is a devout Baha’i adherent.

Religiously, we are 2 trains on separate tracks. And yet.

While I don’t confess to a belief in God, I do admire and respect many many of the teachings of the various religions. And I respect Jim’s beliefs and understanding of religious texts and philosophies.

Many of you who read this post today share a religious commonality with Jim. And others may not.

Making the world a better place cries for understanding each other. A willingness to listen, and if we don’t totally agree on everything, we know that humans are one, and all have the same right to share this world, so long as we cause no harm to another.

I think Jim’s final paragraph is a lovely summary.

So without further delay, here’s Jim:

Greetings MOTF-ers, tis I, Jim Ferguson, back for another rendition of guest blogger for Larry.

I am, as usual, happy to give the lad a break from the mental strain of coming up with blog topics every week or two. Okeedokee…let’s get at it!

Have you ever come across the old bumper sticker “WWJD”?

It was popular a couple of decades ago as people wondered “What Would Jesus Do” (WWJD) in this situation or that situation!

I’ve been pondering this myself lately as I have witnessed the forces of societal decay and disintegration manifesting themselves before my very eyes. Maybe you are observing it too.

It is hard to be blind to the fast decline setting in with daily accounts of war, rumours of war, mass shootings, poverty, political unrest and corruption, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, crime…need I go on?

Let me state up front that I am not a card-carrying Christian BUT as a member of the Baha’i Faith, I love and revere Christ and His teachings.

I could not be a Baha’i without acknowledging the validity of Christ and Christianity as I acknowledge the validity of the other great spiritual Teachers to humanity-Krishna (Hinduism), Buddha (Buddhism), Zoroaster (Zoroastrianism), Abraham and Moses (Judaism), Muhammad (Islam), and Indigenous spiritual Teachers such as Deganawida (Iroquois Confederacy), among others.

Baha’is believe that the Creator has sent a new Prophet to humanity for this age-Baha’u’llah, who teaches that there is only one God and that all the great religions come from one God and all humanity are members of one family. That’s another story for another blog.

I consider myself a student of religion having studied the history and spiritual teachings of various religions since childhood.

The other day as I was pondering and meditating on the destructive and negative forces plaguing humanity and what the solutions were to the myriad problems confronting humanity, I found myself thinking of that bumper sticker and wondering what Jesus had said to humanity in His teachings. What did He tell humanity to do or how to live that could contribute to the betterment of our world? 

I decided to go to the Bible and read only the red-letter words as they are the words of Christ.

My conclusion has been and remains that Jesus brought many teachings for the spiritual upliftment of the individual and of society. If one ignores the man-made interpretations attached to the religion today and goes directly to the red words one can find gems that can inspire goodness in the individual which can then translate into goodness in society at large.

Here is an answer to “WWJD”.

I am providing a sample of His teachings for you but have a more extensive list if anyone wants it. This sampling focuses on basic qualities that I feel relate to making the world a better place. Also…I am not offering any interpretation. I leave that up to you in your personal meditations. 

So…” WWJD”? He would tell you/remind you:

Not to live by bread alone but “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matt 4:4

To worship “the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Matt 4:10

That: Matt 5:3-10

-the poor in spirit are blessed “theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

-those who mourn are blessed “they shall be comforted”

-the meek are blessed “they shall inherit the earth”

-those who hunger and search for righteousness are blessed “they shall be filled”

-the merciful are blessed “they shall obtain mercy”

-the pure in heart are blessed “they shall see God”

-the peacemakers are blessed ”they shall be called the sons of God”

-those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are blessed ”theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

That “You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5: 14-16

That “whoever therefore breaks one of the least of the commandments and teaches men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” Matt. 5: 19

That “unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5: 20

That “whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement. And whoever says to his brother “Raca” (worthless) shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, “you fool” shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matt. 5: 22

To hold true to your word, “But let your yes be yes, and your no, no. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” Matt. 5: 37

To turn the other cheek, “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” Matt: 5: 39

“And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two” Matt. 5: 41

To “give to him who asks you and do not turn away those who want to borrow from you.” Matt. 5: 42

To “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” Matt. 5: 44-48

Not to “do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men…But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” Matt. 6:1-4

To say the Lord’s Prayer Matt. 6: 9-13

That “if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matt. 6: 14-15

That “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matt. 6: 19-21

That “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness” Matt. 6: 22-23

That you cannot serve both God and material wealth and to not worry about worldly affections. Matt. 6: 24-34

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” Matt. 7: 1-2

Not to look at the sins of others when you yourself are a sinner. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in thine own eye?…Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” Matt. 7: 3-5

That “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matt. 7: 12

That whoever hears His teachings and practices them “I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” Matt. 7: 24-27

That “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matt. 12: 25

That “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Matt. 12: 35

“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul” Matt. 16: 26-28

That “if you have faith…nothing will be impossible for you” Matt. 17: 20

To be humble: “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 18: 4

Not to offend: “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” Matt. 18: 7

To forgive your brother his trespasses: “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” Matt. 18: 35

Not to murder, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to bear false witness, to honor father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. Matt. 19: 18-19

How to be perfect: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matt. 19: 21

To “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt. 22: 37-40

To “have peace with one another.” Mark 9:49

Well…there you have it.

A sample of the teachings of Christ on the nature of peace, humility, forgiveness of others, righteousness, turning the other cheek, meekness, not being judgmental, giving to the poor, living a spiritual life, etc.

I conclude that if the world demonstrated more of these qualities, we would be living in a better world. One does not need to be a Christian to appreciate the teachings brought to humanity by Christ and to realize they are good medicine for what ails the world. Next up…WWBD? (What would Buddha do, or, What would Baha’u’llah do? We could do a whole series…😊)

Peace,

Jim Ferguson