Joseph Le Bel, an operations manager, enjoyed the article’s insight into the Falun Gong spiritual practice, and found many similarities with his own Christian beliefs.
“What I appreciated [about] the article is that the focus was the belief system … the explanation of how to become better and … who we are as humans,” Le Bel, based in Phoenix, Arizona, told The Epoch Times.
Le Bel, a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-Day Saints, loves learning about comparative religions and belief systems.
“My first initial response [to Mr. Li’s article] was how closely it is to my own beliefs,” he said.
In his article, Mr. Li proposes the idea that the reason people encounter trouble and pain in this world is to cultivate their moral character and improve spiritually.
“And that … just rang with me because that’s the same thing that we preach: To grow up in the most grueling of places is where you can experience the good and the bad,” said Le Bel.
“Our own scripture … states … ‘how can we praise the good if we don’t know the evil?’” added Le Bel.
Mr. Li also postulates that maintaining virtuous thoughts, sticking to traditional values, and believing in the divine amidst modern atheist influences is key for people to return to heaven. Le Bel said this is “basically” the same as what he believes.
“If we can hold true to our own beliefs and our own practices and thoughts, and we become … more of a human, or more devoted, or more moral, we have more divine purpose in our life,” said Le Bel.
“And the day that we wake up, it’s easier for us to wake up because we have purpose,” he added.
Le Bel further praised “How Humankind Came To Be” for focusing exclusively on spiritual concepts, instead of mixing them with personal stories to evoke emotional reactions, which often happens in other religious communities.
“I believe that emotional reactions do not last, you will be able to … react to a speech for a time but those emotions always … come to an end,” said Le Bel.
“When you react to a belief and you accept a belief, that becomes long-lasting,” he added.
The operations manager also said Mr. Li’s article carries a powerful message that can benefit its readers, even if they don’t agree with everything in it.
“The article gives a basis for discussion … It provokes thought and that allows us to analyze our own position in society,” he concluded.
Rising Above Oppression
Laura Hampton, a financial secretary based in North Georgia, said reading Mr. Li’s article sparked her curiosity about Falun Gong. While researching about the practice, she was appalled to learn about the persecution in China.
Mr. Li introduced Falun Gong to the public in China back in 1992. The spiritual discipline, also known as Falun Dafa, is rooted in ancient Chinese traditions and consists of teachings on morality—leading to spiritual enlightenment—that follow three core tenets: truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
Falun Gong gained popularity in China during the 1990s, with estimates putting the number of adherents at 70 million to 100 million. The communist regime, fearing the number of practitioners posed a threat to its authoritarian control, initiated a sweeping campaign aimed at eradicating the practice starting on July 20, 1999, a program that continues today.
“It’s just unfathomable to me why the Chinese government would punish people who are trying to practice being kind,” the 47-year-old told The Epoch Times.
Hampton, who is a Christian, believes Mr. Li is spreading a healing message and helping Chinese people “rise above the oppression that they’re facing.
“I don’t think that what he has introduced should be threatening to the Chinese government,” she said.
“[Mr. Li] is giving a very positive message and people that are given positive messages are given hope. And I don’t think the communist government in China wants their people to have hope,” Hampton continued.
She went on to acknowledge how “commendable” it is for Falun Gong adherents to persevere in following their beliefs, even with their lives at risk.
“It speaks to the fact that it’s real … It has to be real to you in order for you to be willing to die for it,” she added.