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Friday, March 2, 2012

Religious Despotism

Show me a man who is only devoted to a set of religious principles and I’ll show you a tyrant (or a despot in the making). There is a vast difference between a devotion to a set of principles and a devotion to a person. The Lord Jesus never proclaimed a cause; He proclaimed a personal devotion to himself. Now this does not only apply to man…it can also apply to a church or institution too.

There is nothing more dangerous and loathsome than an unregenerate religious man who believes that he is the mouthpiece of God. I’m sure all of us have, at one time or another, come across this type of pious, religious alpha-male. This type of individual comes across as a "man’s man". He gives the impression that he rules his life and his family with a divine iron hand. His kids are only allowed to call him “sir” and his wife has the haggard look of a Stepford Wife. This man takes the term "head of the house" to a whole new tyrannical level. Worst of all…he uses the Bible as a weapon against his wife and kids. He turns Ephesians 5:22,23 into a scourge to break down his wife; he interprets a wife’s submission to mean subservient servitude; he believes the “weaker vessel” is something that needs to be broken…he turns matrimony into drawn out uxoricide.

Underneath the macho bravado, of the religious male despot, lies insecurity as well as a morbid fear of losing control. Thus, he feels that if he can rattle the saber of God for his own means, so be it. For if a man claims to be operating under the unction of the Lord, how can you argue with such an idiot?

Growing up I had a couple of friends who had fathers of this ilk. They feared their fathers, but they did not respect them. Today, their relationships with their fathers are either strained, or non existent. However, the worst casualty is that they have no desire to have a relationship with God. Unfortunately, our earthly fathers tend to be our first models for God.

Most Christians would say that the above totally goes against loving ones wife "like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph 5:25). It also goes against Eph: 6:4- "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath". That being said, why does this behavior still occur? A majority of this destructive behavior is learned throughout a person's life and experiences. Then these behaviors are fostered and supported by the attendee's church i.e., 'The Despotic Church'. This type of church tends to be extremely legalistic and extremely invasive into every aspect of a parishioners life. This church is full of manmade institutions and prides itself on the implementation of church discipline. Now church discipline in itself is not wrong…however, the despots' version of church discipline resembles wild, spiritual gymnastics and prostrations that often take months to complete. These acts are implemented under the guise of restoration…but in reality- they are nothing more than religious sadism.

Though I hesitate to stereotype such churches, I will say that they follow a definite pattern and denomination. Most tend to be smaller churches that pride themselves on strict unwavering Calvinistic traditions. Many claim Baptist linage and are almost militant about using the King James Bible i.e., KJV 1611. They also tend to believe that Jesus did not partake of fermented wine and that if Jesus were walking the earth today He would be a gun-toting card carrying member of the Republican party. Members of these churches are so doctrinally rigid, that they are utterly useless when it comes to witnessing/showing Jesus to a lost world. The reality is: these churches are primarily adult daycares- totally devoid of love and understanding.

On that note, I'll put my shovel away!

Have you ever known a religious despot? Have you ever attended a Despotic Church? Have you ever been a victim of religious abuse?