The Freedom To Think
It's an immense jump from the consciousness of an animal to the consciousness of a human. While animals react by instinct, we have an added gift. It's called "self awareness." And with that gift we can think, reason, use logic, and reach conclusions that could never be achieved at a lower consciousness level.
Our greatest gift is not our lives, but our free will. Even with free will, we have the option to end our lives. But to surrender our free will is the greatest sacrifice. And many of us have made that sacrifice to a worthless cult. We have given much more than our lives. We have given not only our lives, but our wills, and the freedom to think.
Our forefathers knew this. While a patriot was expected to lay his life on the line, the first Amendment to the Constitution was regarding freedom. And no one can have freedom if his will is not free and willing to fly by thinking for himself.
The forefathers looked overseas to Europe and saw the bloodletting by Catholicism for many centuries. The inquisitions had obviously taken their toll. All human progress stopped for centuries while religion ruled and controlled man's thinking. It was aptly called "The Dark Ages." History became constipated while Rome exacted its domination over all the countries it could, and slaughtered millions in the name of God. People were not allowed to think for themselves but simply to parrot the thinking of church leaders and their lackeys.
The hideous lessons learned from this barbaric butchery was that without the ability to question authority and think for ourselves, then we too could be in such a position of mental and physical slavery. So our forefathers gave us a law that would prevent such barbaric conduct for this new fledgling country. Germany, Russia, and China had no time for such a code as our Constitution or the First Amendment, and so we had the likes of a Hitler, a Stalin, and a Mao. Cults also have obviously no time for the First Amendment, otherwise we'd never have had the rise of despots like Herbert W. Armstrong and the minions that followed and obeyed his oppressive laws - to the letter.
So, our forefathers in their wisdom, gave us a First Amendment that would guarantee freedom. This freedom was given to all people in the area of religion, speech, the press, peaceful assembly, and the petition to government. And it we look carefully and examine our lives within the cult of Worldwide Church of God+, no such freedoms ever existed.
So many of us blindly goose-stepped to Sabbath services, Bible studies, and to the Feasts - pulling along with us, our children, our decrepit cars, our bank accounts, our dignity, and our loss of freedom to think. Within the cult of Worldwide Church of God, it was more like the dictatorship of a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Mao.
People could not express an honest opinion if it differed from what Pasadena had decided. Members could not question authority without being branded "rebellious," "treacherous," or (worst of all) "unconverted." While an earlier Germany both admired and trembled before Hitler and his Gestapo, so the members both admired and trembled before Herbert W. Armstrong and son Teddy. If Hitler screamed out in anger, then it was the Fuehrer that was justly angry. When Herbert W. Armstrong bellowed out in anger, then this was actually God talking to and chastising us. And no one thought to question it. We were allowed no mental freedom to do otherwise.
With the freedoms given in the First Amendment, the forefathers took one thing for granted. Before we can have all those above mentioned freedoms, we must have the liberty to think freely. Without this blessing, nothing is possible, but when we can think, question, and reason for ourselves, then anything is feasible. And if religions or cults can suppress or eliminate an individual's right to think freely, then that person becomes a slave to the mentality of that religious system.
There are two main reasons as to why people surrender their thinking to cults. The first is ignorance, and the second is fear. Worldwide Church of God members - it was said - went to services, left their brains on the doorstep, went in and absorbed all that they "needed" to know, and left the building, having been again put "back on the track." If anyone questioned anything, it had to be aligned with church thinking, and the hireling's answer was always final.
The Worldwide Church of God logic was simple, and it's the logic of all cults. Since only Worldwide Church of God had the gift of the Holy Spirit - it was said - and the rest of the world was heathen, then the only truth that was forthcoming was from "God's anointed." So many people decided to give up their Constitutional right of freedom and to think for themselves, and let Herbert W. Armstrong do it for them. Basically, we didn't know enough to have the right questions to challenge the church authority, and even if something sounded weird, we still didn't question the authority because it might get "God" pissed off. And so, Worldwide Church of God's domination over the minds and spirits of people continued.
But in time, as our ignorance cleared and our minds started to reason correctly, many started to ask questions. The freedom to think was now expressing itself. And this really teed off the Worldwide Church of God leadership. They were now losing control. In order to control our bank accounts, they had to control our minds. Now, no longer did we submit blindly to everything that was said, but instead we examined things, really proved things, and used our freedom to think.
How many times do we all remember if someone had an idea contrary to Pasadena's thinking, that the answer invariably came back, "But Mr. Armstrong has never thought that way." So, it's not surprising that the same thing also existed in the Church of God, Seventh Day. Many a time I'd question something in the doctrinal or teaching areas, and give a logical but different conclusion to theirs. The answer always came back: "You're probably right, but that's not the way we think."
So much in our modern day churches has to do with peoples' surrender of their thinking. Certainly with cults, it's far more serious, but it happens in churches all over. A hireling can stand up before a congregation with the most hallucinogenic drivel spewing out of his mouth, and the members dance with joy. But whatever you do, don't ever tell a member that their minister is full of it.
The big difference, however, between cults and the regular religions is in the aspect of fear. Fight with a religion and you'll get shunned. Fight with a cult, and it could mean your life. While egotism is extant in most big religions, with cults, it usually rises to the heights of Hitlerian madness. And as always, members are denied the right and freedom to think for themselves. Looking back, we can all see that if this freedom was allowed, then no one would have ever stayed with the cult.
When we lose our freedom to think, it's almost as if our brain becomes atrophied. We lose our sense of logic. We lose our sense of direction. We lose our sense of proving all things. And we hypnotically place our minds and thinking into the hands of another and say, "Please think for us." They do. And our greatest gift of freedom is gone.
It's said that the truth shall set us free. But there can be no understanding of any truth if we are denied the freedom to think clearly and without pressure from the likes of religion and/or Herbert's cultic madness. It is this type of organization/s that intimidates, threatens, and drives fear into the hearts of the questioner. As such, and if the member is ignorant of all the facts, then he or she will probably succumb to the cultmaster's pressure, throw away their logic, and the path to truth has been suppressed.
Truth may be a nebulous term, because truth is constantly growing. For example, we know that 2+2=4, but the next day we add to that truth with 2X2=4 as well. Truth will always continue to expand if we allow ourselves the freedom to think. This is what happened when we exited the cult/s of Worldwide Church of God+. Some things struck us as odd, or we read reports of the atrocities within the cult, and we allowed our minds to think. It was from this thinking that the spirit of logic prevailed, and we finally questioned the authority and its teaching. And this is where the fun started. The cult leadership was furious because we "dared" to think for ourselves.
When a cult member starts to think for themselves and ask questions, this scares the heck out of the cultmasters. They have no logical answers, and if the member persists in thinking and using logic, then these members will always win out against the cults. Cults have no truth. They have no logic. They are only bullies, thieves, cowards, oppressors of the truth, and as such, any freedom to think is not allowed.
The same is true with all dictatorships throughout history. For example, look at the pathetic example of the Chinese people during recent history. The little red book, "The Thoughts of Mao Tse-Tung" was in every Chinese person's hands to learn, quote, and reverence. There was no freedom of thought here. The Chinese population marched like zombies to the adoration of a mad dictator and an ego maniac. No wonder Herbert W. Armstrong admired him enough to want to have a chatty interview with him.
The spirit of control and domination is always the same. But it always starts with the elimination of a person's freedom to think. If that's removed, then total domination of the human spirit is possible.
Those who rule cults are not stupid. They know exactly what they're doing. They know they're dominating other people, ruling their minds, milking their bank accounts, destroying members' futures, and destroying families. Apparently - judging by the cultmasters' fruits - none of these injustices seem to worry them. They also, for the most part, know that their theology is wacko, but it is profitable. While they may shine and glitter on the outside, and have the oily tongues and golden throats of con-men, their main goal is the advancement of a cult's profits and the glory and ego of the cultmasters. In Biblical vernacular, they're called "Tares."
If we're given the freedom to use our minds, then let's use them. Not only need we question things like cult madness, but our minds must also have the freedom to explore. As we learn more and more truth, the ignorance of cult teaching fades and a new vista of Infinity opens up. Ahead, there's an infinity of learning to come.
Let no man tell us what to think. It is our right and our freedom to think for ourselves.
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