• Fool's Paradise

    Fool's Paradise
    by Howard B. Rand

    It is surprising to notice what a lot is said in the Bible about fools and their folly. One comes to the conclusion that there must be very many in the world. Some amazing things are said about them, and the general verdict seems to be that the only thing to do with them is to leave them alone. No sentence of greater severity can be passed on any man than that. To leave a man alone, because every attempt to help him will be in vain, means that he must inevitably perish in his folly. It was Christ's sentence on the Pharisees and for Him to have uttered it shows them to be beyond even His help. The difficulty with a fool is that he does not know that he is a fool. You can correct a man who knows that he is wrong, guide a man who knows that he has missed the way, but a fool is hopeless. For any single man to be all that is said under the dictionary definition of a fool seems almost incredible, and this must account for the fact that none are absolute fools, but that all are fools in certain directions. One man may be a fool with his money, another with his tongue, others by the company they keep, the places they frequent, or the literature and habits in which they indulge. Or it may all be in the reverse order: Folly may be evident by money not spent, words unspoken, associates avoided, places never visited, books not read or habits never acquired.

    But surely the greatest mark of a fool is when he says in his heart, "there is no God"! (Ps. 14:1), and deliberately excludes God from his calculations while persisting in some outward form of religion. The religious fool is the worst fool of all because he is fooling himself. A religious fool's paradise exists mainly in the imagination. To conceive that indifference to God, neglect, prayerlessness, abstention from Christian fellowship, disregard of Divine sanctions, waste of God's Day are compatible with a religious profession in the religious fool's paradise, a kind of spiritual and moral no-man's land from which to advance is to enter enemy territory and to retreat is to risk being mistaken for an enemy by one's own friends.

    There is also a theological fool's paradise. To have a creed that gets you nowhere and yet refuse to discard it, to hold a wrong belief and yet persist in advocating it because of denominational or family tradition, to theoretically believe the Bible to be God's inspired word and yet refuse to allow it to be the final appeal in all matters of doctrine and accepted religious views is to live in a theological fool's paradise.

    To live in the straitjacket of some theological or creedal bias of a one-track sectarian view or interpretation of the Bible is to bar the way to that freedom Christ would have us all know and experience when He said, "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is what He would have all men know and enjoy. No church denomination can claim to have that. Even the apostle Paul claimed no more than to "see through a glass, darkly" and to "know in part" (1 Cor. 13:12).

    Yet even thus, there is far more to know than we at present understand, and it behooves us all to break away front the mental restrictions which limit our vision and learn gladly to welcome knowledge and light that comes to us, no matter through what channel or from what source. It demands courage and fearlessness to break away from the ties which bind us to orthodoxy or the accepted creeds of the many religious sects and cults and to launch out into the deep of God's vast ocean of emancipating truth, but once there we experience an exhilaration of spirit as our quest leads us into hitherto unknown, unfathomed boundaries of the theological fool's paradise.

    Many readers all over the world will peruse these lines and among them will be those to whom what is termed "Anglo-Saxon-Israel Truth" is still open to question. Some will be among the "almost persuaded;" others will hesitate to commit themselves openly fearing the ostracism it may involve; Christian ministers will ponder the advisability of alienating their church officers or influential church members by definitely indicating their conviction that it has the sanction of both Scripture and history. Our sincere hope is that many will cast aside all prejudice, doubts, fears, hesitancy and acknowledge before all that they must "obey God rather than men," declaring with Martin Luther, "I can do no other!"

    World events today point to the approaching time when the fact of Israel's identity will be revealed before all nations and God Himself will declare, "This is My People." Then every fool's paradise will be known for what it really is: an evasion of truth.
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