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?
What an awful story.
For some reason people do find the notion of total surrender to the will of God a seductive notion. The idea that what you do is not derived from your own wishes, but based upon divine authority allows you to do almost anything with a smile. Of course even if there were a divine being no human could know his will.
Don't forget that many people feel comfortable with an authority that tells them the DOs and DON'Ts. It means that you don't have to bear the responsibility yourself.
That is a valid point. Following God's laws as interpreted by your church relieves you of the need to think on your own.
This situation is outrageous and should be publicly denounced, if not by the college kids themselves, certainly their parents should have the wisdom and experience to know better.
Sadly, children raised to be dependent adults is not what they need nor what we need. If a young adult submits to such bullying, they need more than just an "I'll pray for you!" They need a congregation who will stand up to that pastor and call him the name that he is. A bully, thug. charlatan.
Now that the marriage is over, I hope some sensible people stand with her as she develops the skills of adult behaviors. She doesn't need someone to tell her what to do, but to sort through options, learn how to do a cost/benefit analysis on each option, what has the highest probability of getting her the skills she needs and the education she needs to stand on her own two feet. She needs to learn how to be a partner in a relationship, not a submissive, acquiescent, dependent adult. She needs to learn how to think, and reason, and make informed choices. If her parents didn't teach her that, and her church didn't, then her education must. A college student is no longer a child and should be made aware of that.
We need to raise our children to be adults.
I'm not kidding you here, people. In my church days the fundy minister would come around as others are praying and moaning to god, standing or sitting there with their hands up in the air. The minister prays with them and starts slowly waving their arms back and forth in the air, supposedly to see how much they have "surrendered" or how far in the spirit they are "under." If many of us are there we all gather around this person and join in. Everyone is praying and moaning.
It's enough to make you sick, but this is how they "judge" your total "obedience" to god. Ministers use this knowledge about you to help decide whether two people can get married or not, and they talk against it unless you both are "equally yoked." ( That means a waver and moaner can't marry one that doesn't wave or moan as much.) Also, you are not "equally joked" (sorry) if both of you don't have the Holy Goat. This last one means you talk out in service like "Fa la la la dit" and "ho see con didli eye, hondala seeka." Once they get that stuttering and stamering tongue in there it just keeps going. Most of the book names in the bible can be cleverly adopted into "speaking in tongues" easily.
Oh, where is Hugh Gortner when you really need him?
It's common in Ba'ali Teshuvah---newly religious Jews going Orthodox---as well. I was one myself and nearly destroyed my marriage by insisting my husband become religious too. I knew several people to whom that happened, and the rabbis didn't care as long as they bagged another soul. Friends of mine divorced right and left back in the 70s over this, usually leaving the women to raise the kids on their own. The poor girls believed they had to "obey" God or go to hell. And the rabbis were just as bad as Christian ministers and Catholic priests when it came to preaching about Gehinnom, the Jewish Hell. Fortunately Reform and Conservative aren't like that, but the idea of obeying no matter what still persists among them even so.
Fran, what happened to change your mind about religion, if you don't mind my asking. What were the triggers? What was your rationale for becoming religious and then changing?
Instead of xianity's central theme, can folk here think in terms of xianity's ends and means?
As I was quitting Catholicism (decades ago), I BRIEFLY wondered if an important END of its sexual ethic was getting young folk past their hormone-driven teen years. I saw obedience to that sexual ethic as a means to this larger end.
I soon decided that Catholicism's END was getting people past their lives on this earth, and obedience was its means to that end.
I now think those are the means and ends of religion. Of all religions,
And, BTFW, while we are obeying, we should also be enriching the religious elite.
Hm-mm, politics has similar ends and means.
Just yesterday, I was at a Christian friend's house. I was admiring her little side yard that had a fountain and nice seating. She told me,"That is where I go everyday to give up my will for God's will."
When I was a believer, this kind of talk use to sound normal to me! Now, besides sounding bizarre, I think that psychologically something in reverse in going on here.
We humans do not like being out of control. Life is chaotic and random, and we naturally feel vulnerable. So the belief that all events are in the hands of some all-powerful and loving creator makes people able to imagine that this chaotic life is under control. The more they can imagine giving up our their own personal will to that creator, the more in control they can personally feel.
There is a common analogy used by Christians: Imagine your life like a tapestry. During life on earth your tapestry will look messy and full of painful events, mistakes, and confusion. But when you die, you will find out that you have been looking at the wrong side! When you turn it around, you will see that the front of the tapestry is a beautifully woven, perfect picture.
If believers are able to see horrible events, and even their own mistakes, as part of some great story that necessarily has a happy and controlled ending, they continually feel more and more in control. So "giving up their will" becomes internally reinforcing. That also makes them let go of a normal human response - the right to wonder about the goodness of God or the fairness of life. They are able do what Oswald says - to "refuse yourself the luxury of asking questions."
More feelings of control, fewer disturbing questions plague their minds. Maybe that is part of what they feel as "God's favor" when they submit their will.
I think you are right Kathleen. I can't listen to that anymore though.
Yes, I'm getting less and less patient. too. Inside, I find myself yelling, "Grow up already!"
I know. I have lost friendships because I say something. I don't even care. One friend said "so does this Atheist "thing" involve bashing christians?" I had posted on FB something about how horrible the Old Testament was. She didn't even get it that the old testament wasn't christian. Then she just started getting ridiculous posting religious things on her FB page. I knew it was to try and piss me off, because she had never done that before. I just said buh-bye. And I was relieved, not sad.