Friday, 5 December 2008

Modern Religious Sentimentality

Modern religious sentimentality has been heavily influenced by the resurgence of social and psychological theories, which became very fashionable in the 1950s. Simply put, these theories state that we must focus on the good in human nature, and that people's deviant behaviour derives from their social and psychological background. Therefore, people are not solely responsible for their roguery.

As a consequence, punishment for criminal behaviour should either be suspended or be used in conjunction with methods of rehabilitation. So, when dealing with criminal behaviour, the emphasis should be on forgiveness, compassion and mercy. At the same time, helping the guilty to understand and come to terms with the social and psychological factors that caused them to be any thing from petty criminals to malevolent psychopaths. And, of course, in this process very little thought is given to the feelings or sufferings of the victims.

This irrational mindset is very evident amongst the so-called churches of God, but it is not to be found in the pages of the bible. Most in the churches of God continue to make excuses for the behaviour of those who have sought to divide God's church, or fed themselves instead of the flock. The flock is supposed to understand the social and psychological conditions and factors that caused the ministers to betray God's people. The flock is expected to forgive, show compassion and extend mercy to those evil men who lied to them. At the same time, the pain and suffering of the flock are to be seen by them as God's way of testing their faith. Well, this mindset is pure religious sentimentality, and is a product of "the spirit of the world"(1 Cor. 2:12).

On the other hand, the mindset of the bible is that people are responsible for their actions, whether they are good or bad. And although God is love, he is also a God of justice. And he does not give any consideration to the social or psychological factors that influence those who break his laws. On the contrary, the history of Israel is replete with examples of God's attitude towards those who broke his laws. Those who repeatedly ignored his warnings to repent and turn from their godless ways, suffered the most dreadful of calamities.

So for hireling "ministers" to emphasise God's mercy to the exclusion of his justice is to lull people into a false sense of security.

To be continued....

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