Mind Control and Faith
By Barrett Wolf
Organized religion (including Christianity) has been accused of trying to “control” people. Of course we’ve all heard “did God create man or did man create God (or many gods)?” And the reason some people offer for rejecting organized religion, is that religion attempts to control people, even people’s thoughts.
Well, I’ll share a few things from the Bible and you can decide for yourself.
1. Hebrews 11:1 says that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In other words, the “evidence” that we should have to believe is the faith (belief) itself. Meaning faith = evidence.
This doesn’t make any sense to me. Evidence is not faith and faith is not evidence. This feels like circular logic that simply gets accepted by millions of children (like me) when we memorized this famous verse in Sunday School.
2. Remember the Wizard of Oz when Oz says, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Well Psalm 1:1 seems to say a similar thing when it says, “Do not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” In other words, do not listen to or obey the counsel or advice from those “other guys”.
I’m suspicious of anyone who instructs me, “Don’t listen or pay attention of a certain person or group.” It makes me think, “What do they have to hide?” Why do they only want me to listen to them and not consider the ideas of others?
3. Do not think for yourself, advises the Bible. Proverbs 3:5-6 “do not lean on your own understanding” suggests the reader should abandon his own sensibilities and reason.
4. Submit your mind and your thoughts to Jesus.2 Corinthians 10:5 “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” and “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” both suggest the reader should reject critical and skeptical thoughts about God and submit individual thoughts to “Christ” instead of evaluating personal thoughts and submitting them to the reasonable faculties of one’s mind or surrounding community of other thinkers.
What happened to appreciating the noble-minded Bereans of Acts 17, who were not so quickly persuaded as the Thessalonians? They thought for themselves and did their own homework. Good for them. If I were a Christian, I would want to be identified with the Bereans.
5. Sheep? Flock? Really? How is it that Christians can so easily accept the title of “sheep”? Everyone knows that sheep are dumb animals. And Jesus intentionally uses this title “shepherd” to describe himself and “sheep” to describe his followers throughout John 10. Sheep are mindless and obedient followers. They are not eagles, lions, wolves or cats. Christianity doesn’t encourage independent thinkers, leaders who create their own ideas, explorers, wonderers, or those who doubt and imagine possibilities.