Avoid Evil

``Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.''
(1 Thess. 5:21-22)

This page was online for 25 years (originally on my old website, hosted by the Department of Mathematics of the University of Vienna). Recent events lead me to add the following:

Maintaining an independent, well-researched view of the relations between God and his creatures (or should I write his/her/its creatures not to offend some others?) - a view that makes sense in a world full of disasters and conflict but also full of love - puts me into a position where I often sit between the chairs. Since the time when I became a Christian, I was always far too liberal for many conservatives, and far too conservatives for many liberals and most freethinkers. Thus I am accustomed to critique (and sometimes accusations and slander) from all quarters.

Recently (on June 8, 2022) I learnt that - 25 years after this page was written - my esteemed collegue, Prof. Dr. Michael Eichmair, read his own fears into the quote below and took it as a personal attack on his life style. Since I learnt this from him through a mass mail he sent to all members of the Faculty of Mathematics (faculty and postdocs), I do not add significant publicity by mentioning his name here.

Until then I wasn't even aware of the possibility that someone could be offended by a quote from the New Testament, a historical document printed in many millions of copies around the world and translated into in more languages than most - if not all - other books.

A good friend of mine suggested that I remove the quote as it can be taken as being offensive. Since this doesn't settle the underlying conflict I didn't follow his advice. But my friend's suggestion motivated me to add an additional comments to this old page.

If, for you, ''inheriting the kingdom of God'' is something worth striving for as desirable, you should make yourself acquainted with the conditions to be met - acquainted not from hearsay, unreflected beliefs, wishful thinking, or personal hopes, but by getting advice from the most competent sources. This surely includes the New Testament, and with it the letters written by Paul, the architect of Christianity outside its Judean origins. Then my quote from one of these letters carries at least a little weight.

On the other hand, if, for you, Good and Evil are only social conventions that depend on the culture you belong to, why should you insist - in a multicultural environment like the city of Vienna, Austria - on that your social conventions are the only ones to be honored? Especially given that the Austrian law supports freedom of speech and forbids discrimination on religious grounds?

And if, for you, as for Democritus 2400 years ago and for one of my esteemed collegues at the Mathematics Department today, God (and with him the kingdom of God) is just a fantasy then there are only atoms and the void. Then everything else is a fantasy, including your personality. Why then should you be upset by some black marks on a computer screen that appear when you hit a particular link?

``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. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.''
(1 Cor 6:9-11)

Instead of giving links to evil (see also Good and Evil), I'd like to encourage you:

``Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.''
(Rom. 12:21)

Inspiring quotes of the day

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My Views on the Christian Way of Life
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Arnold Neumaier (Arnold.Neumaier@univie.ac.at)