September 12, 2011

The Joy of Submitting to Authority

Eat your damn oatmealNobody likes to be told what to do, right? Actually, I'm not so sure. If nobody likes to be told what to do, how does one explain the many people who are altogether eager to submit to religious authority? Surely, some people not only do not mind being told what to do; they crave it.

Among religions, Christianity in general (and Catholicism in particular) is a great example of an authoritarian hierarchy. Christians value their bibles in part because they are told what to do. Many Christians regard their clergy as people who have more answers than they do. And what of the jealous god they worship? Can there be any real dispute that this mythical contrivance is little more than a symbolic father dispensing rewards and punishments?

The thing about being told what to do is that it provides a measure of psychological relief by convincing one that one is absolved of responsibility. Hey, I was only following orders! And if the orders are "divine," all the better.

Some people yearn to be told what to do and will seek out virtually anyone - no matter how absurd - who is willing to play this role for them. Throughout history, we have seen the plight of many who have blindly followed a charismatic leader into the abyss.