Saturday, March 29, 2014

Resisting Religious Authoritarians - A Brief Primer for Easter Use

I smack the stuffing out of Religious Authoritarians* when they need it. I have gotten good at it. God has sent me to save them from their error, I tell myself.
Jesus said: Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. 
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them . . . - Matthew 6
Everyone knows an Authoritarian. They come in all persuasions. They make milk curdle and babies cry just standing there in their socks pointing to The Rules.

I am rote and repetitive in my argument until they regain normal consciousness and get real. Here is my rote argument:

1. Do not pray for me. God might think I hang out with you.

2. I am responsible for my own sins. I am responsible for my own redemption. YOU will not come between me and my God.

3. Back up. Do not Jesus at me. I have a permit to carry. (this for severe cases only)

4. It is your Hell. You burn in it.

Listen patiently. Speak gently and quietly. Repeat  the above phrases and creative permutations of said phrases as needed, after every offensive sentence they say to you or outburst they make, until you see them regain consciousness. Broken record them.

Some intrusive persons determined to 'save' you need repeated doses until spiritual health is restored. Some people have trouble when you set boundaries for them and that is why I suggest gentleness and firmness when administering correction. There is nothing to be saved from. God loves absolutely. Everybody goes to Heaven.
* Note: How you recognize a Religious Authoritarian? This is one of the best descriptions I have read below. Or you could watch the video.

© Paschal Baute 1993
  • Inability to think, doubt, or question religious information and/or authority
  • Black-and-white, good/bad, either/or simplistic thinking: one way or the other
  • Shame-based belief that you aren't good enough or you aren't doing it right
  • Magical thinking that God will fix you/ do it all, without serious work on your part
  • Scrupulosity: rigid obsessive adherence to rules, codes of ethics, or guidelines
  • Uncompromising judgmental attitudes: readiness to find fault or evil out there
  • Compulsive or obsessive praying, going to church or crusades, quoting scripture
  • Unrealistic financial contributions
  • Believing that sex is dirty; believing our bodies or physical pleasures are evil
  • Compulsive overeating and/or excessive fasting
  • Conflict and argumentation with science, medicine, and education
  • Progressive detachment from the real work, isolation and breakdown of relationships
  • Psychosomatic illness: back pains, sleeplessness, headaches, hypertension
  • Manipulating scripture or texts, feeling specially chosen, claiming to receive special messages from God
  • Maintaining a religious "high", trance-like state, keeping a happy face (or the belief that one should...)
  • Attitude of righteousness or superiority: "we versus the world," including the denial of one's human-ness.
  • Confusion, great doubts, mental, physical or emotional breakdown, cries for help
The ultimate temptation of the believer is to assume that his or her way to God is the best or only way for others. The particular Way to God becomes what is adored, not the ineffable and incomprehensible Mystery to which we give the name of God."