The Bible narrative of man's relationship with God begins with the story of his first disobedience and all of Christian theology is summed up in verse 19 of the fifth chapter of Romans:

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Obedience is the theme of most Bible stories—Noah, Job, Abraham and Isaac—but few believers understand the degree of obedience demanded by Christianity. Oswald Chambers, who wrote the devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, put it this way:

Are you prepared to let God take you into total oneness with Himself, paying no more attention to what you call the great things of life? Are you prepared to surrender totally and let go? The true test of abandonment or surrender is in refusing to say, “Well, what about this?” Beware of your own ideas and speculations. The moment you allow yourself to think, “What about this?” you show that you have not surrendered and that you do not really trust God. But once you do surrender, you will no longer think about what God is going to do. Abandonment means to refuse yourself the luxury of asking any questions.

I don't believe I have met many Christians who go that far, but I did know one. When I was a teenager working the soda fountain in a drug store, the owner of the photography shop next door became intoxicated with Roman Catholicism. He began to display religious pictures and statues along with cameras and photographic equipment. Gradually the religious items displaced the merchandise and customers became fewer, but he persisted in his delusion despite the pleas of his friends and family until his business was utterly ruined.

Does anyone else know of examples of this type of total devotion?

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Obedience to whom? For what purpose? Imposing on the common person to be obedient to god, king, employer, or husband, coupled with obedience and submission to domination of a superior person or position sets up out-of-balance relationships. A perfect formula for dysfunction.   

There were no criteria any of these dominators had to follow except the stories of god leading Abraham and the subsequent stories that continued through the centuries. Since god could slaughter innocents at will, plunder property, confiscate resources, that provided the model for dominators. God, king, employer, or designated superior could use any means necessary to achieve ends they desired.  

Wives treated as chattel, children beaten even to death, workers exploited, and all in the name of obedience and submission to authority; to domination and exploitation by superiors. 

Jump ahead a millennium or two and what we see is submissive wives, battered children, exploited workers and the horrid economic conditions confronting modern life. Dysfunction exists, and we wonder why. 

God was not just and was not expected to be just, because god was god. That model continued down through generations until we come to a time when such barbarism just does not stand up to reason. We teach children to obey their parents and teachers and follow direction instead of teaching children to think critically, experiment and explore. We teach children to be adult-children, instead of mentally healthy, mature, adults who can identify problems, imagine preferred futures, think interdependently, develop plans to solve conflicts and problems, put plans into action and evaluate outcomes. 

Beware of people who pretend obedience to a deity's will.

My experience has persuaded me that they are closeted tyrants.

The most obvious clue? It's always their deity that they claim to obey. Only their deity exists.

The behavior? Though they often seem helpless, when they feel uncertain they will insist on control.

I can describe times that seemingly helpless people had, with no warning, suddenly insisted that others obey them. It most recently happened a week ago. Describing the circumstances would require more time than I now have.

Instead, consider yourself warned.

»My experience has persuaded me that they are closeted tyrants.«

That is an interesting insight. In imposing what they denote as 'God's will' they are able to take control into their own hands without assuming responsibility for the outcomes.

That they are tyrants, closeted or not, should be intuitively obvious.  Their pronouncements and encyclicals, supposedly declaring their deity's intentions for this world, are less about their god than they are their own desire to exercise power and influence.  It is as Bill Maher said at the end of Religulous:

... since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people with their own corruptions and limitations and agendas.

Perhaps worst of all, their god provides them with the perfect, untouchable scapegoat.  "Oh, this isn't what *I* want; it's what GOD wants."

...without assuming responsibility for the outcomes.

This is an interesting addition and it describes well what happened.

Hey, did you know my father, Tom?

Is his first name Edmond?

no but your description was really striking - still get nausea when I think of that ------------.

I am still profoundly disgusted by the xtian system of education: learning long lists of uninteresting things and being forbidden to draw conclusions or ask questions. Stifling!

Excellent.. Just excellent.

Joan.  That excellent was meant for your Plato post.  I often forget that things will sometimes hit the board out of order and remarks meant for one person will show up under another. As one did yesterday when I was questioning a statistic ME gave and it seemed I was questioning yours.


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