Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

authoritative religion

2/9/13

 

You will notice that Christianity is usually practiced as an authoritative religion, a system of humanly exercised authority under a divine mandate. All such authoritative systems are based on following the prescribed rules, with necessary enforcement mechanisms. Christian enforcement methods have evolved from the more draconian forms of the not so distant past to the present day subtlety of ostracism and calumniation.

 

Authoritative religion is by far the most prominent kind and its history is an ancient one. Nothing about its nature is new or particularly edifying.

 

By definition, authoritative religions see a need to drive people to God by external pressure. God is not to be willingly embraced but rather properly appeased to avoid His disapproval. Again this is human religious thought at the most elementary level. It reflects nothing which elevates the human experience or provides a meaningful God relationship. Dutiful submission to divine power may seem noble and praiseworthy to some, but many find such to be no more inviting than accepting human authority figures, especially so when the supposed divine submission only happens concurrent with submission to the humanly directed church. The religious authority can be no more impressive than the weakest link in the chain of command. The observant see as much and therefore reject Christianity's authority claim all together.    

 

Paradoxically, while demanding that everyone must submit to their authoritative religious system, many Christians are the most vociferous in denouncing secular human authority. For those exercising religious authority, we are asked to submit based on a personal claim to be God called or appointed to leadership.  Alternatively, for those in secular authority we, at least, have a selection process with some level of transparency. The secular process can be explored, generally understood, and even challenged. How does one verify a religious calling? Piety? Miracles? Knowledge? Passion? Vehemence? These are the forms of evidence some would claim, but do they constitute real verification?

 

No one can miss the fact that authoritative religion is a hotbed of intrigue and abuse. Its leaders routinely chastise one another and grow rich and influential in the great power circles of secular governance. Religious leadership presents all those who practice such with the impossibility of being divinely powerful and yet incorruptible. It is a temptation to failure vastly greater than that to which Adam and Eve so easily succumbed in the Garden.

 

Seemingly, a true religious experience, one which advances my relationship with God, would need no intermediaries. Why can't God deal with me directly, just like He obviously did with so many Bible characters and just like He promised in Hebrews 8:10-12?

 

Additionally, why must a religious experience be initiated by fear and submission to another human being as my instructor. Why must people be cajoled and blatantly manipulated into having a necessary religious epiphany. Why must relinquishing self willed behavior involve submission to other self willed humans instead of directly to God? These are the supreme questions for all those who seek God under the guidance of an authoritative religion.

 

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