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Island of Red Paper

The Island of Red Paper, A parable about the Pursuit of Happiness.

Once upon a time there was an island full of happy natives. They had only one law: "Be kind to one another."

Each family had a small plot of land where they grew pineapples and bananas. The sea provided a bountiful harvest of fish which they prepared in their little huts.

Everyone was content until one day when a ship arrived from a distant land. The natives ran to the shore to meet these clever men from afar, welcoming them with smiles and showering them with orchids.

The clever men did not smile, but with solemn faces began telling the natives how backward they were. "The reason you people are so miserable," said the clever men, "is because you have no money to buy the things that make you happy."

The carefree natives were puzzled by the startling news. They had not known until now that they were not happy. "Can you give us these things that will make us happy? asked the natives. And with that invitation the clever men began telling them of all the wonderful things they could have.

They painted glowing pictures of the natives humble huts being transformed into grand villas with many hallways and staircases. They told them of marvelous machines that would speed them around the island. The women were captivated by the beautiful silk and linen gowns that the clever men brought with them to try on.

"Oh what can we do to have these wonderful things that will make us happy?" cried the natives. At these words the somber men smiled and revealed their plan." We will lend you shiny red pieces of paper that you can trade for these wonderful goods.

We'll give you each 120 pieces of this special paper to trade with and there are only two requirements: 1. You can't make any of these shiny red pieces of paper yourself. and, 2. You must give us a hundred and twenty red pieces back, plus ten more red pieces in interest for a total of a hundred and thirty pieces."

The natives were so excited at their good fortune that they readily agreed to the terms and the clever men sailed away. Soon, ships arrived carrying elegant clothing, jewelry, building supplies, automobiles and many other delights to their eyes. The natives eagerly traded their red paper for these goods. They had also begun trading the red paper among themselves. When one native would help his neighbor expand his hut, he was paid with the red paper.

A year later the clever men returned and demanded a hundred thirty pieces of red paper from each native. Those who had traded well paid back the clever men, but some could not make the payment. These unfortunate souls were thrown off their land and their goods seized.

The clever men had another idea. They would lend the natives more red paper under the same terms as before. But when they returned the following year, there seemed to be an even greater shortage of red paper. The clever men continued lending the red paper to the natives, always requiring more red paper back than they had lent.

After twelve years, it was impossible for any of the natives to pay back the red paper. The clever men now owned the island and the natives were reduced to working as their slaves in factories set up by the clever men. The only way to keep this financial system going is to lend more red paper into circulation.

By the second year each native must return twenty more pieces than they were lent. By the 12th year, they owed as much in interest (Usury) as they originally borrowed. It became so difficult to pay the clever men all that is owed that the native started stealing and killing to obtain the red paper.

You see, the clever men had made it impossible to ever pay back the debt. There will always be a shortage of red paper to pay back. The more time goes by, the bigger the debt becomes. The money supply is fixed, but the interest owed is always growing.

If everyone on the island surrendered all the red paper, it would still be impossible to pay off the clever men. Therefore, the Islanders are hopelessly in debt. Today if you visit the island, the natives will no longer run out to greet you with smiles and flowers. They are stuck inside sweatshops grimly laboring for those things that will make them happy.

There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.

The natives were not the only ones that were offered riches in exchange for becoming a slave. The devil led Him to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to Him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor. It has been given to me and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you will worship me, it will all be yours.

Jesus answered, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" (Luke, chapter four, verses five through eight).

Wake up and repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.