Faith is defined as belief with strong conviction; firm belief in something for which there may be no tangible proof; complete trust, confidence, reliance, or devotion. Faith is the opposite of doubt.
Webster's New World College Dictionary defines faith as "unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence; unquestioning belief in God, religious tenets."
Most of our world’s major religions each assume that its their faith alone that's the “absolute truth” and refuse to concede that their views could also be mistaken. Instead, they discover ways to force conflicting information to adapt to their own doctrine, regardless of how effective the evidence is at actually disproving the rationality of that specific religion.
Many religious adherents have no problem understanding the irrationality of the beliefs of others, but are unable to use an equivalent logic when observing their own belief system. Instead, every effort is formed to justify why its theirs, and only their religion that's barren of any fault. If they were to watch their own faith with an equivalent set of scrutinizing eyes that they see through when evaluating other religions, they might understand what many folks have already concluded, and that being all of the religious texts were written by people, and not gods. They're the stories and traditions that we created so as to elucidate our world within the context of the past.
For instance, the bulk of Christians would agree that the thought of Mohammad riding a Pegasus into the heavens is an impossible fairy-tale; while simultaneously, they're unable to ascertain how their own story of a talking snake or a person living inside a fish for 3 days is additionally impossible. We all know that horses can’t fly, as they are not a airborne animal. Further, we all know that snakes can’t speak as they they lack the vocal cords to supply the sounds necessary for speech. We also know that the digestive mechanisms of the fish would make it impossible for a person to truly live (let alone breathe) inside a fish for 3 days. These stories, a number of them with deep and purposeful meanings, can't be understood, including correctly interpreted for beneficial use, once they are assumed to be truth, instead of for the allegories that they are.
The problem with this is often that by insisting that an obviously fabricated story is absolute truth, the chance of arriving at the particular truth is greatly diminished. It creates a world where wild stories are placed above hard reality and reality isn't accessible. It creates a mental mindset in folks that is driven by misinformation then passed on to future generations where misguided concepts are perpetuated.
I think that we all can agree that religious leaders must have integrity and strong moral ethics. There’s no question about it. When a leader starts to slip in some crazy predictions or talks about others in a unkind fashion, that leader is heading for failure. They begin to cut corners. When they let a few little slip-ups go by, they will eventually let bigger ones slip by. Eventually they expose themselves to others as having little to no faith in the religion they espouse.
When we hear wild false prophecies, crazy theory's, dysfunction within the organization becomes evident. There is something drastically wrong. Toxic leaders inflicted “serious and enduring harm” on followers, organizations and others in their personal lives. They destroy the faith of those who trust in them. As social animals, humans easily fall into dominance hierarchies (like Dave Pack's cult) where people are prone to follow the leader without question. As humans, we want our leaders to protect us, even if in the face of evidence to the contrary we seek them out.
This is what I call "the sheeple complex."
When these leaders neglect their physical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual needs, they are headed for disaster. Self-preservation isn’t selfish, its vital to the health of those they lead. Leaders all across the planet get power hungry. After a time, they begin to believe that they're better than others. A sense of entitlement overcomes them. It is unfortunate these men act as if their position of leadership is completely secure no matter what they do or say. They treat others within the organization like a means to an end. Its all about them because they feel they are special.
So why are these type of leaders not removed by others within the organization?
In social theory this is the contract of the oppressor with an oppressed people. However, you don’t need an army to reinforce your dominance if you only choose mediocre underlings. You see, mediocrity breeds more mediocrity, and poor leadership hires for poor performance and/or blind loyalty in order to keep their overinflated egos supercharged. We all know what happens to that lone voice standing up against the tyrant. The lone voice is crushed while others stand around passively, silently hoping they will not be singled out as the next victim. This is why people such as Dave Pack and Gerald Flurry are never challenged. The mediocre underlings are cowards, and the people who make up the membership are but stupid sheep. Followers of men.
"Armstrong was a man utterly without honor, without principles, without a shred of genuine decency or patriotism. He was the ultimate exterminator of religious life for thousands, and the grand compelling creator of a vast army of atheists."
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