I’m reading “God, no” by Penn Jillette, yes I think reading these types of books are just as important as things like “Mere Christianity” when it comes to being able to explain what you believe and stand for. Anyway so one of the theory’s about the foundations and reasons of religion discussed is that religion was a system developed by men in order to control others, to keep the masses in line, to give religious leaders wealth and power. On the surface this has a certain possibility to it, although I cannot speak to any religion besides Christianity, once I look a little deeper this starts to crumble.
Christianity calls for obedience that is a fact, but obedience to what? God and the teachings of Christ. Yes render to Ceaser what is Ceaser’s, but what about the believers refusing to deny Christ, to the point of death. Well that doesn’t seem to get everyone in line. So how about as a way to increase the wealth of the religious leaders?
What men do vs. what God commands
Have there been those in positions of leadership in organized religions that have lived off the work of their followers? Of course, you don’t have to look to far back to see more than a few, Jim Baker ring a bell? And there is no need to list all of those just in the past 10 years have lied, embezzled, even out right stolen for their own gain. But that’s what men have done, in stark contrast what God actually does say?
To obey is better than sacrifice 1Samuel 15:22
So how does that bring power, wealth, and prestige to the leaders of Judaism, and Christianity? Here is a book written to control saying to obey, but is that to the benefit of a priest, a preacher or some other leader? Power maybe but what are we being told to obey? The Rabbi? The local preacher? No, God. Not man that’s the point. Christianity calls time and again for the leadership to be servants. “Let he who is greatest among you be servant of all”. I know that is a radical thought. No Muslim, no Hindu, no Buddhist would ever teach such a thing. Only Christianity would dare equate service with greatness.
So Mr. Jilette may be correct with regard to some religions in the world, he is most certainly wrong with regards to the religion know as Christianity.
If your religion brings you into line with the leaders are you submitting to the civil magistrate? Are you ignoring your real leader?