Alan Dean Artist

My Book

Introduction Culture   is   a   word   most   of   us   believe   we   understand   very   well.   We've heard   this   word   used   many   times   in   our   lives,   and   we   have   used   it   many times   in   conversations   about   ourselves,   our   way   of   life,   or   when   we   are talking   about   other   people's   way   of   life.   We   also   use   the   word   culture whenever   we   are   talking   about   people   from   other   countries   and   other religions.     However,     I     believe     that     most     people     today     misuse     and misunderstand   this   word,   culture.   Culture   is   the   root   word   of   cultivate and   when   I   say   this   the   meaning   of   culture   should   become   a   little   clearer. Because   most   of   us   understand   the   word   cultivate   to   have   something   to do   with   growing   something.   The   true   definition   of   culture   is   growth   and development.    That    which    helps    us    to    grow    and    develop    as    a    person, family, or society is our culture based on this meaning. If   this   is   true,   then   anything   or   any   way   of   life   that   does   not   serve   to   bring about   growth   and   development   can't   be   considered   as   culture.   What   we mistake   for   culture   in   our   conversations   today,   should   be   classified   as people's   traditions,   customs,   rituals,   and   even   superstitions   that   different societies   have   adopted   over   many   generations   for   various   reasons.   Just because   a   community   of   people   is   practicing   something   in   their   daily   lives does   not   mean   that   this   is   something   that   is   serving   their   growth   and development   as   a   people.   To   begin   to   understand   the   problems   we   are facing    in    our    individual    lives    and    our    societies    today,    we    must    start studying   the   difference   between   culture,   traditions,   customs,   rituals,   and superstitions   versus   religion.   We   must   learn   the   difference   between   that which is helping us from that which is hurting us, and why. Based   on   this   meaning   of   the   word   culture,   I   believe   that   the   belief   in   one God    and    religion    has    served    humanity    the    most    in    our    growth    and development   throughout   history.   But,   if   this   is   true,   then   we   must   ask ourselves   why   is   our   society   so   dark   and   evil   today?   Notably,   with   so many    people    still    claiming    to    be    religious    people    around    the    world. Christians   and   Muslims   make   up   approximately   55   percent   of   the   world's population,   and   all   religions   make   up   nearly   90   percent   of   the   world's population.   One   of   the   reasons   I   believe   God's   knowledge   is   not   shining   in our   world   today   is   that   each   religion   is   claiming   that   their   belief   is   the only   way   to   be   blessed   by   God.   Because   each   religion   is   claiming   that   the other   religions   are   wrong,   I   think   that   this   has   created   confusion   in   our society concerning religion. Each   of   us   who   believe   in   God   was   born   into   this   world   knowing   nothing and   all   of   us   had   to   accept   that   which   was   told   to   us   by   our   parents   and community   as   the   truth.   However,   God   has   given   each   of   us   the   ability   to study     and     grow     in     knowledge.     Eventually,     we     should     develop     an understanding   that   will   provide   us   with   the   ability   to   distinguish   right from   wrong   and   truth   from   lies   for   ourselves.   I   believe   that   each   new generation   that   inherits   God's   books   must   reinterpret   them   to   be   able   to judge   for   themselves   what   is   the   truth   from   God.   Also,   we   need   to   decide for   ourselves   whether   today's   religions   are   misrepresenting   these   books original   message   and   intentions.   On   the   Day   of   Judgment,   the   answer that   you   were   just   following   what   was   passed   down   to   you   won't   be   an excuse   with   God.   If   you   were   born   into   your   religion,   what   makes   your belief   any   different   from   all   the   other   religions   that   also   say   that   their faith   is   the   right   way   and   that   yours   is   the   wrong   way?   If   you   believe   in God   and   His   promise,   I   encourage   you   to   investigate   for   yourself   what God wants you to really believe, say and do to be blessed by Him. I   want   to   share   with   you   my   understanding   of   culture,   religion   and   the real    purpose    of    life    that    God    has    blessed    me    to    understand.    This understanding   I   believe   will   help   you   to   see   why   we   are   having   so   many problems   in   our   societies   and   religions   of   today.   Also,   what   it   is   going   to take for our world to get back on the right track.

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Epilogue
I   believe   that   I   have   been   writing   this   book   for   most   of   my   life   one thought    and    one    paragraph    at    a    time.    My    mother    was    a    devoted Christian,   and   I   attended   church   with   her,   my   brothers   and   sisters   many times   when   I   was   young.   As   a   youth,   I   developed   a   strong   belief   in   God myself,   but   I   can   remember   there   was   a   day   when   I   was   angry   with   God and   believed   that   He   had   done   me   wrong.   I   recall   sitting   on   the   hill   which separated   my   house   from   the   elementary   school   that   I   attended   and asking   God   why   did   He   do   this   to   me?      Just   the   day   before   I   heard   from my   fourth-grade   teacher   in   a   history   class   that   all   black   people   were once    slaves    to    the    white    people    and,    that    we    were    once    or    is    still considered   to   be   just   three-fourths   of   a   human   being.   As   I   sat   on   this   hill so   deeply   saddened   and   no   longer   wanting   to   live,   the   spirit   of   God   came to   me   as   a   thought   speaking   to   me   in   my   head,   and   it   said,   “I   will   make you   a   teacher.”   I   remembered   becoming   even   angrier   at   the   idea   of   just becoming   a   teacher   and   replied   to   this   voice   in   my   head   that   I   want   to   be something   more   than   just   a   teacher.   However,   since   then   I   realized   that there   is   nothing   more   honorable   or   noble   in   this   life   than   to   be   a   teacher and    I    consider    myself    to    be    blessed    to    be    a    teacher    of    God’s    clear message. The    first    name    that    I    came    up    with    for    this    book    was    Climbing    the Stairway   to   Culture   because   I   eventually   realized   that   real   culture   was   a process   of   growth   and   development,   not   people’s   customs   and   traditions that   are   mistaken   for   culture   in   our   conversations.   Further,   that   to   grow in   culture   we   must   leave   something   behind   as   we   step   up   to   the   next level of understanding like climbing a staircase. As   the   contents   of   the   book   continued   to   grow,   I   then   decided   to   change the   title   to   Righteousness,   the   only   Religion   from   God   after   I   realized   that there    is    no    such    thing    as    pleasing    God    without    righteousness.    Even though   I   changed   the   title   of   the   book   from   Righteousness,   the   only Religion   from   God,   to   its   current   title;   I   believe   that   the   overall   theme   of this book is still understanding righteousness.