How to beat your flock into submission

October.31. 2014

Despots throughout history have understood the power of God to establish their legitimacy.

It’s uncanny, almost without exception, every ancient ruler was clued in onto this secret.

From the Egyptian pharaohs to ancient Chinese emperors to the later Aztec civilization, every despot worth his salt had claimed a direct connection to God, some even to the point of calling themselves “Sons of God.”

God is a handy tool.

Because if you have God on your side (or better still if you are God himself) no one will dare to question your authority.

It’s either obey me or suffer eternal damnation. (Yes, I know I’m simplifying things here. For ancient rulers, it was more about a mandate from heaven than any punishment in the afterlife.)

But as with every good racket, others soon began to discover the secret and of course, they too wanted in on the action.

And that’s how the phenomenon of “religious leaders” was born.

But these “religious leaders” were really political leaders operating under the cover of religion. What they wanted was political domination, not spiritual authority.

And they were smart; they took the idea one step further.

If God is so potent a tool, why not just dispense with the political angle altogether and go straight to God?

This was how one of the most bizarre episodes in religious history occurred, the Spanish inquisition. During those dark ages, the so-called leaders of the church assumed even greater power than their political leaders, the kings and emperors.

But those were the bad old days, you say, these days, we’re too smart and educated to be conned and subjugated like that. We can see through any would-be religious imposter.

But you would be wrong.

Everywhere in the world, it seems, religious fundamentalism is on the rise, dominated by a small number of clergymen, operating under the same self-righteous sense of infallibility and tolerating no dissent from anyone.

And seemingly smart and educated people all over the world are being hoodwinked by their propaganda, some to the point of giving up their lives.

Anyone who wants to study the methods of religious powermongers would have to study David Koresh, perhaps the greatest religious imposter who ever lived. (And yes, he too claimed to be God.)

I used to think that Koresh ruled over his flock through the sheer force of his charm and charisma, but after watching some TV documentaries, I’ve began to understand that his real weapon was fear. He instilled the fear of eternal damnation into his flock and from then, it was anything goes for him.

Truly, God as a tool to control and manipulate people is second to none.

It is more powerful than any army, more powerful than any ideology, more powerful than all the weapons in the arsenals of all the nations on earth.

Because you’re dealing with people’s souls and fears, mostly the fear of eternal damnation.

Because if a leader claims to have God on his side, any dissent against him automatically becomes a dissent against God, and who would dare risk the wrath of God by doing that.

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