Religious Fear and Pride: An Impenetrable Wall

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

(John 14:27)

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom."

(Luke 12:32)

"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

(Matt. 5:43-48)

How many people have been, are, and will be harmed due to the manifestations or behavior that are associated with religious fear and pride?  Well, we can answer the "have been" as it has been many millions of people, and that is not counting the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

Here is an example of the religious fear and pride dynamic played out.

Person 1 says something about God that contradicts, challenges or calls into question person 2's beliefs about God.  Person 2 says to themselves some form of the statement, "Oh, if I am wrong about God, I might be rejected by God and perhaps sent to hell".  That statement is a fear-based statement.

Person 2's next thought is something to the effect of, "Well, I have all these intelligent people I respect who gave me my beliefs about God and they can't all be wrong, so they are correct and that other person is wrong."  This is a statement of the fallacy of appeal to authority and is a false argument. If person 2's thought is, 'I studied the scripture myself and so I know I am right...', that is a statement of self-pride.

Person 2 then says to person 1, some form of the statement, 'Sorry, but you are wrong about God for this reason...'  If person 1 does not 'admit' they were wrong, but rather uses reason well to try and show person 2 they are wrong, then the mixture of fear and self-pride will often turn into hatred.  Hatred is a strong dislike of another person based on offense of self-pride and it normally includes seeing the person as worthless and worthy of punishment, harm or death.

This simple dynamic - while not comprehensive and while coming in slightly different forms - has played itself out probably trillions of times over the millennia.  Sometimes it just leads to merely a disagreement between two people.  Sometimes, it leads to war with countless thousands killing each other in the name of God.  One thing is certain, though, fear and pride are at the heart of it.  Not necessarily fear of the other person, but rather fear of God due to ignorance about God's character...fear of what God might do to me if I am wrong about who He is or what He wants of me.

A disciple of Joshua will experience this dynamic regularly if they are faithful in speaking the Light's truths to people they encounter.  Here is how it usually plays out.  The disciple is talking to a religious person, and hears the religious person say something that is contrary to what the Light of the world teaches.  The disciple will speak the teaching or saying of Joshua that demonstrates the error in the religious person's belief about God.  The religious person will normally be offended to some degree and want to argue with the disciple.  The disciple might make some clarifications as to why the belief is wrong as the discussion progresses.  If the religious person will not listen to the Light's teaching but instead will try and defend their error, the tone for the religious person will often demonstrate the fear that is driving their effort to hold onto a wrong belief.  At some point - usually when the disciple uses reason well several times to try and show the person their error - the religious person will move from fear to self-pride and start making personal attacks on the disciple.  Since the disciple is using reason well to demonstrate the other person's  false beliefs, the person with wrong beliefs has nothing left to respond with except personal attacks, and so they attack the messenger instead of humble themselves and receive the truth the messenger is communicating.

What personal, fear based attacks are most common?  Some of the most popular attacks from biblians and christians are calling the disciple a "heretic" or "a cult leader" or "part of a cult".  The biblian or christian who has failed in their argument(s) has two choices - be humble and accept the truth the disciple is trying to convey, or let fear and self-pride drive them to attack the messenger.  Sadly, the latter is the most common response.

So, what exactly is a "heretic" or a "heresy"?  Merriam-Webster says "heresy" is "adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma"; "an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards".  Thus a "heretic" is a person who holds that opinion or doctrine or belief.

So, the question is, who determines the correct "church dogma" or "generally accepted beliefs or standards"? The roman catholic people and the protestant people can not even agree on what books to include in their 'sacred scripture' or bible and called the 'other side' heretics - and killed them - for centuries!  In fact, the biblian/christian religious system is made up of thousands of divisions, which divisions are caused by a lack of love manifest by one sects/denominations religious opinions or dogma differing from the others and the eagerness to divide!  The biblians and christians seem to thrive on excommunicating one another - by some estimates, there are tens of thousands of divisions - and often in their forming a new sect, the reason they give was that their previous sect was starting to "adopt heresy" or that 'God has given this guy/gal some new important revelation'.  Ironically, the new teaching that causes the division is often offered by some charismatic individual who says some version of "god says listen to me" - see "cult" below!

How about the "cult" accusation and attack?  Merriam-Webster defines "cult" as, "a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous"; or, "great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work."

Here is Wiki's shot at "cult" - "In the sociological classifications of religious movements in English, a cult is a religious  or social group with socially deviant or novel beliefs and practices. However, whether any particular group's beliefs and practices are sufficiently deviant or novel is often unclear, thus making a precise definition problematic. In the English speaking world, the word often carries derogatory connotations, but in other European languages, it is used as English-speakers use the word "religion", sometimes causing confusion for English-speakers reading material translated from other languages. The word "cult" has always been controversial because it is (in a pejorative  sense) considered a subjective term, used as an ad hominem attack against groups with differing doctrines or practices, which lacks a clear or consistent definition."

Wiki's description hits the nail on the head in two respects.  First, they recognize the lack of authoritative standard to judge "whether any particular group's beliefs and practices are sufficiently deviant or novel" - exactly who makes that judgement!  Second,  the term is often used as an ad hominem attack (personal attack) against a person or other group who does not tow the party line of the religious person (or their sect or division or denomination) who is leveling the accusation.

I find the accusation of "cult" by biblians and christians against disciples of Joshua like myself as particularly ironic and irrational.  Here are two reason's that show the accusation is based on fear and/or self-pride.

1.  We disciples have "Jesus Christ" (specifically, the words of the historical Jesus or Joshua of Nazareth as recorded in the four gospel books) as our ONLY Standard for knowing God just as he says we ought!  Odd that that would be such a problem or offense for those who claim "jesus christ" as their God!;

2.  Those who define "cult" as more of this - "great devotion to a person" - seem to be quite blind to the fact that many of their religious leaders are venerated and 'followed' by their congregations, thus fulfilling the definition of "cult"!  Ironically, we as disciples of Joshua seek to follow ONLY the real Joshua of Nazareth revealed by his own words in the four gospel books!  In other words, we disciples seek very hard to NOT receive the adoration of other people towards us since our Master says "do not call another person a spiritual leader or teacher"...rather, we point people towards the Light instead of ourselves.  In contrast, the religious world (just like the other world realms, like entertainment, for example) is filled with men and women who clearly have many followers who are devoted to them to some degree, and those religious leaders eagerly encourage this adoration since they like the power over of all those people looking to them, and thus are considered 'successful' as a result. In short, many christian leaders and sects fit the world's definition of "cult" and "cult leaders"!;

In truth, any God-belief that varies from a religious person's beliefs - and whatever sect they are apart of - if spoken with conviction and shown plainly to contradict what the religious person considers their core or foundational beliefs - will likely be judged as 'heresy' or 'cultic'.

In truth, throwing "heretic" or "cult leader" at someone is done so by a person who is losing or has lost the 'truth' battle and is operating by fear and/or self-pride and thus attacking the messenger.

In times past and in certain places, that could get a person burned at the stake.  In many nations still today, you might well be killed for expressing a God-belief that goes against the ruling or majority groups 'accepted orthodoxy'.  Today in the U.S, and for the moment anyway, they will just 'unfriend' you or stop 'following' your page on Facebook!

In conclusion, religious fear and pride cause a huge amount of conflict in the world - it always has and it always will.  Human's 'operating system', as given by their Creator, includes a conscience which knows as some level that having a proper understanding of one's existence and what to do with that existence/life - and the likely Cause of one's existence - is very important.  Thus God-beliefs are a very sensitive issue for many billions of people...and that sensitivity is caused by fear of the Unknown God.  Whether Christian or Muslim or Jew, etc. - they all have the same unstable, schitzophrenic god who is scary, vengeful, wrathful part of the time and who shows mercy and love partof the time - a god who, they have been taught, sends many to hell - one of the great lies that the religious people of the world create and believe in order to stay away from the Creator and His Light.

The good news is that you don't have to be afraid of your don't have to be ruled or controlled or heavily influenced by fear.  Nor do you have to put yourself in a cage of ignorance created by your self-pride.  All you need to do is to care about what is true and right no matter where that leads you, and if you do, you will find the Life He so much wants you to enter into!

Please, enter into his Life and come, join the Peaceful Revolution!

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