Growing up there was one thing one never did and that was to question authority. If someone was older, they were right. If they were an adult and I was just the kid, they were right. If they were elected or appointed by some group for some reason, they were right. If they were a minister, priest or even a preacher, by God then, they were really right.
Problem is, they were often wrong and people suffered for it.The problem is that over the years, you learn just how wrong people in authority can be and that being in authority, that is being in charge, or the founder, or the grand poopa, does not make one correct. In fact, it often simply allows error and stupidity to flourish because, after all, they are in authority so they are right. Problem is, they were often wrong and people suffered for it.My area of observation has been with Christian ministers. I aways cringed when the reason some minister was right was because he was the minister.
Wow, did that ever allow the guy a lot of leeway and authority over others. Because he was "the minister" you could not even question him and you could tell that if your question was one that seemed to question his ready made and oft repeated explanations, you were already almost on the outside looking in. Here a few examples of foolish, yet authoritarian ministerial declarations I have heard in my time, which , while authoritative, are hogwash.I remember sitting in a lecture once where the authoritarian pastor declared that the reason dinosaurs didn't reproduce was because they were of Satan's pre-flood world and since Satan didn't reproduce himself, the creatures of his world could not. That week National Geographic had some great pictures of dinosaur eggs found preserved in Mongolia.
The minister was full of dino-dung and his authority or theory made no difference when it came to reality. Question authority.Recently, a minister, has informed his congregation that he not only has been what he calls "The Watcher" who is God's called spokesman, but now is "The Apostle" of his one tiny true church. He isn't kidding, and you do not question his authority and stay in his congregation. He is in fact, the one true Apostle to the entire world because he believes that if you don't go to is tiny church, you are not even one of God's people, or you would find his one true church and join it, if he let you.
He now says that his magazine has reached every nation on the planet. That is 193 nations, and of course, this means that at least one person has requested his magazine in every nation, so thus it is fulfilled. This being accomplished, it is now fulfilled that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God has gone to the whole world as a witness, the Bible does say this, and the end can come. Of course, he says this on his own authority and delusional perceptions of his role in the world of humans and it is bullshit. The ideas, antics and teachings of this man deserve watching. Question authority.
I have sat and listened to ministers declare that the Bible teaches that the true people will be "born up on eagles wings" and taken to a place of safety in the end times. If you don't follow the authoritarian leader's instructions, you will die in the great tribulation. Of course, I always thought dying in any way was no biggie to Christians, but many of them seem bent on saving their hides "until God's wrath be passed." This fleeing would entail leaving your home, unconverted family, pets, relatives and somehow getting to Petra in Jordan and being ministered to by Angels and Ravens I suppose to survive the coming carnage.
Only they will survive and be taught more truth, perhaps by Jesus himself as they wait out the three and a half years or seven depending on what it takes for the world to go to hell in a handbasket.A thousand shall fall at their right side, and ten thousand on their left, but of course, it will not come nigh unto them. The Bible says that so it has to be so in this case. I have sat through hours of this speculative kind of religion and felt it was BS when I did and had no intention of passing this fairy tale on as truth.
Please understand the Bible does give plenty of scriptures than can be twisted many ways for many agendas, but the person who perpetuated this myth is now long dead, didn't get to flee as he spent his life proclaiming and the church he represented has long since fallen apart. Question authority.I have met ministers who said that, when sick, you can only ask for anointing with oil and God will heal you (James 5:14), but that you can't be both anointed by that particular minister AND call your doctor.
That is a breach of faith. The Bible does not say "if any among you is sick, let him call for the elders of the church AND Doc Jones, and be anointed with oil, and the prayer of faith, and DOC JONES MEDS, will save the sick." Nope, all or nothing.
Of course, people die doing this as do their children who get no real attention. It's an ignorant and tragic misuse of perceived authority, but it happens in some fundamentalist churches to this day.I have to say, I blame the Bible itself, because it DOES say that and leaves little room for modern progress since the first century and much misunderstanding. So often the sick are intimidated into having faith the authoritarian minister expects them to have, while he is healthy himself at the moment, and complies.
They don't believe it, but they are intimidated into feeling they must. Most get well on their own, but some don't or some don't seek proper care as they should and go through much more than would ever be necessary with common sense medical care. I have often seen the authoritarian spokesman for God, emotionally enforce this mentality on the sheep, but the resort to medical self care when push comes to shove in his own life when he becomes afraid he might die if he isn't healed. Quetion authority.
Even the Bible itself of course claims authority over one's life and so often does not deliver on it's promises.and there are direct PROMISES! If I kept promises like the Bible keeps promises, well, I"d be a liar often. On tithing, the Bible says that I should prove God and see that if I give my tithes to Him, as if a real God needs the money--it's the priesthood that wants it, I will have windows of heaven opened in such a way that I will not be able to contain all the goodies I shall get. Apologists say that the benefits are spiritual, but that is not what it says and is a cop out. I have given $75,000 in tithes to a church that threw me away, thank God actually, after encouraging the giving of millions over decades and find myself working weekends to pay rent. I promise you, I could contain more than this! :) The fact is that many authoritarian churches and ministers use these scriptures to make big bucks and then make the giver feel badly for noticing that the Bible God did not deliver on the open windows of heaven part.
They will say "oh you just want to give to get." Well, isn't that what the books says."if you do this, I will do that." Problem is it doesn't happen so on this topic feel free to question authority and keep your money.The authority of the Bible says to ask "whatever you will, and I will give it to you." But it doesn't work that way in reality.
The Bible says a lot of things that authoritarian ministers repeat for the people to practice and they don't receive any benefit whatsoever from it as promised. An even bigger rub comes when you find that the Pastor somehow is exempted from the practice he wants you to follow, which is usually a financial one. When one notes this, they are often told that they lack faith, are misunderstanding the intent of the scripture, are impatient, should be glad they have air and water, or the benefit is in some way a spiritual one that you can't quite get a handle on.
ever. You are made to feel bad for noticing that the authoritarian statements of the Bible don't pan out so well and if not careful you might be labeled as having little faith or in a bad attitude. I guarantee you, the authoritarian type who reads this to you every week is never wrong and would never admit to his own doubts about just what and how this scripture works in the real world.Authoritarian ministers, with mandates from God himself, that you really can't check up on, are full of things that you are to do to stay in God's good graces as defined by the pastor. It may be what you eat, or what you don't eat.
It may be how you dress or don't, or what you watch or refuse to watch or at least admit to watching. He may tell you that you must be at every church function or be revealing your lack of zeal or conversion. He may have a way your kids must be or how your wife should act around him or men or the ministry.
He may feel she can't ask questions in church but has to ask her husband at home as the Bible clearly teaches but leaves no room for a woman who has a stupid husband when it comes to her questions. He might not allow her to teach because, well Eve taught and screwed up the whole planet, so we're not doing that again. ( I never happend, so don't worry about what Eve did or did not do). It's all abuse of authority and control and sooner or later one has to make up one's mind to question authority and make value judgements for themselves, no matter the consequences with their church affiliation.I suppose time would fail me to review all the example of the misuse of authority in churches. "Because we said so," does not work, never has and never can as a final attempt at compliance by the sheep.
How do you know when to question authority? We need authority at times for our good and the orderly running of society. But how do you know when to question it? You'll know! When your head says yes and that feeling in your tummy, right below the end of your sternum says "no", then go with the feeling in the gut! You know. But all too often we know for a short time, and then we think too much and the knowing fades to a thinking which talks us out of it with ideas like, "well the BIble says," or "the Pastor says." Once that happens, we lose and comply to that which our tummy has tried to warn us about.I remember once listening to a minister tell the audience how the chief Apostle of the church would live to see the second coming of Jesus and that the end was almost here etc. That as a long time ago.
I asked this man what would he think when the grand Apostle died like everyone else and he looked shocked I would even ask. He said, and I kid you not, "I will believe it after three days and three nights." Ugh.there went my tummy. My guts said this guy is nuts even though I was suppose to respect this blather and let him go on and on explaining it in my congregations on his world tours for the Church.
I told him that his visits were more trouble than comfort and I think that did not help my career much either. He died a few years after the great Apostle did and the world, no matter how screwed up, keeps spinning. Question authority and listen to that "eh" you get in your heart and stomach when you are told something that just does not seem so. If you are not careful and refuse to recognize the feeling over the thoughts of compliance, the Bible does say, and this man is the minister, you will miss the moment and comply with something that does not deserve your time, and can hurt you badly in the long run.
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By: Dennis Diehl