This past election cycle has been crazy. You could put it all under a circus tent because it literally is like a circus on reality TV. Maybe past elections have been like this and I just didn’t realize it….But it’s been crazy. The idea of “fake news” and “alternative facts” have been thrown out there in the last few month or so. This has all been very alarming to me. Why? Because people are taking sides in this big mess when I think it’s safe to say that we have no clue what’s actually going on. Yet we are dogmatic on our politicians and their confusing stances on policy. Just recently , Donald Trump said that “healthcare will be accessible to everyone” when on the campaign trail he said it would be provided for everyone. That’s a big difference and a big deal. They are not the same things…Yet those who champion Trump will not be shaken even though the facts have been alluded.
Doctrine does not give life, Love does. However, Doctrine is very good at taking life.
Our religion is no different. When we meet unwelcoming realizations about what we believe, we tend to brush them to the side while trying to preserve our own religion. Why not? It’s where we belong…fit in…find meaning. Unfortunately, it can be based on something that is not actually real. If it’s not real then what is it? This is fake religion….Because at this point it’s just plain made up with no foundational basis on which to stand but our own egos to try and prove that we are right. In reality we don’t know if your denomination, church, or religion is historically, spiritually, or factually accurate but we sure have been indoctrinated to think that it is and we are just fine going along with it. I have mentioned before that most evangelicals have never even heard the idea that there is more than one acceptable atonement theory held by the church fathers over the last 2000ish years. Just about all the responses are, “I had no idea”. Then how do you know the view you hold is true…or even partly accurate when there were other views that came before yours? Just think about it. Dualistic thinking lends to this and supports the ego.
You are on a journey and be free to be on it. There shouldn’t be a religion or denomination…and especially a pastor, that is telling you they are right and all other views are wrong. Just as you want to reject “fake news”, you want to move beyond the manipulating arms of religion. Tear down that tower of babel that has been constructed around you and be free to walk on your journey. If you want to find God, then Love is the only place to start. Loving your enemies is an outward display that transformation is occurring. Doctrine does not give life, Love does. However, Doctrine is very good at taking life. It’s your choice. Jesus showed us how it all works.
If you have not seen this video of Michelle Bachman and David Barton declaring that God intervened by changing the results of the election by listening to the prayers of millions of Americans, then you need to watch this. This is a perfect example of how human beings can disconnect from reality to create their own gods. We need to think because we have been given the gift of reason. Just go and love your neighbor.
And neither did Jesus…..but we want to think he did. Our fascination with expecting God to be on our side, as if we have the right perspective on everything from the bible to biblical history, is really dangerous. I have mentioned before that there is no Satan as a created being that roams the underworld in search of ways to get us to think bad things, ruin our “walk with the Lord”, or keep us from being fruitful for God. “The Satan”, being a title not a name, is a construct of humanity…to blame something for the things that we willfully do to others but want to. All those “satanic” things done out there were done by people, nature, or the combination of both. The choices we make and the lies we believe can be the satanic. Through that, we are the satanic in the lives of others and in our own life. If this is realized, it puts a whole new weight on what we say, do, and choose every second of the day. We have no one to blame but ourselves (I do understand that early influence plays a huge part on this) for the satanic mechanism that is at work in every aspect of our lives…..from the way we treat our kids to the words spewed by pastors on sunday morning to how we view others around us. We draw the line in the sand and declare anyone not on our side (because we somehow believe God is on our side of the line…always) to be against God or on the side of the devil. All the while, our very action against those people is the Satanic Mechanism at work. We participate in it and think we are standing for God’s principles. However, we have become the accuser and we use the bible to justify it. Jesus came to overcome this religious thinking. To enter into the Kingdom of God is to leave behind this vicious religious thinking….to see a greater way that is seen demonstrated in Jesus. So when we say God divinely interceded for Trump to become President of the United States to defeat the evil Hillary Clinton, we join in on the Satanic Mechanism of drawing the line in the sand and accusing those on the other side of our line. All the while, we don’t see that God has no part of our lines or accusations. And without a doubt, God has no part in Trumps accusations either.
As much as we don’t want to admit it…our doctrines dictate just about everything we do. We look at the bible for all the answers to see what we can and cannot do. We think the bible is a magic looking glass that allows us to see into the future and know what choices we should make. Unfortunately, at the same time, we also interpret the bible to justify our view of who we want God to be so we can be OK when we are exclusive to those that disagree with us. But that’s just being human….we all do that to some degree. In fact, I think that’s why Jesus came on the seen. . So we can see a greater way. The way of Love. However, we all want God on our side and not our enemies side. On the contrary, there is something greater than us that happens, when we become self-humbling and other-centered, that cannot be done when we retaliate, become vengeful, or wish that God would destroy our enemies. If we can learn one thing from the story of the Good Samaritan, it’s that your belief system has nothing to do with your standing with God. You are already right with God….you are already prepared to help your enemy on the side of the road. We need to understand that we are fully loved regardless of anything you could have done or will do. God is greater than the doctrine you use to describe who God is.
Unfortunately……we interpret the bible to justify our view of who we want God to be so we can be OK when we are exclusive to those that disagree with us.
To show that you understand this is key… it’s how you engage in the opportunities to love your enemies regardless of your belief system that show God or makes God become manifest. Remember, truth is subjective but Love is absolute. You can always justify why you would not love your enemies and use the Bible to prove it. However, in spite of your religion, denomination, doctrine, or pastor, you can choose to love your enemies regardless of any verse in the Bible that may tell you otherwise. Why? Because you have seen God do it first. God’s Love transcends all space, time and Law….Love is greater.
I saw this video the other day and it has had me spinning in thought ever since. It asks a very relevant question that may not have been asked 200…400…or even 2000 years ago in religious circles. The reason it interested me so much is precisely that the churches I came out of were notorious for manipulating people. They could get so many people to believe what they said without any hesitation. Even when they said the most hurtful things….people would just nod their heads in agreement because they saw these religious leaders as “anointed”. As if they are speaking for God. What this video suggests is that the work of organized religion and its religious leaders gain these followings and admiration through the same techniques that a con artist takes advantage of in unsuspecting people.
Psychologist and writer Maria Konnikova looks at the mechanisms of human nature that have allowed con artists, religious authorities, and cult leaders to prevail for thousands of years. Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It… Every Time
Agree or disagree with the person in the video…but at least think about the possibilities of what’s going on….even in your own church. Love casts out all fear and does not instill it in you. Love does not control or manipulate. Love does not demand anything from you or shame you to give money to be blessed. But a con artist does…and yet we fall for it all the time. Let me know what you think. I’m eager to know…