Breaking With The Pack

pied_piper

The following comment was made by “TheOhioRealist,” who occasionally writes blog posts at OnTheFenceVoters.com:

It takes great courage to break with the pack and think for one’s self. 

While the comment was made in reference to political philosophies, it also relates quite solidly to those who follow Christianity because, generally speaking, once the die is cast, there is little to no room for debate. Or, in many (most?) instances, even for discussion.

Generally speaking, this resistance can be attributed to the doctrines new converts receive at their conversion … and which are reinforced weekly by their chosen pied piper.*

While there are a (very) limited number of Christians willing to consider, examine, and/or discuss their personal spiritual beliefs, few of them are open to conflicting theories (i.e., facts). For most, the original core teachings are the “gospel truth” and are not open for debate.

It’s unfortunate that thinking for one’s self has almost become a lost art. For far too many, the siren’s song of conformity is just too appealing. And sadly, breaking with the pack too often invites ridicule and/or vituperation from the duly dedicated.

*********************************
*Pied Piper:
–One that offers strong but decisive enticement
–A leader who makes irresponsible promises
–A charismatic person who attracts followers

43 thoughts on “Breaking With The Pack

  1. Nan, it does take courage. But, many of the contradictions reveal themselves. The worst thing that happened to Evangelical Christians is actually their support of the former president who does not embody many of the traits Jesus’ teachings ask us to follow. He cannot be set up as a paragon, when he practices such routine deceit and demonization of others. The question that needs to be asked is how can you reconcile the goal to do the right and Christian thing with someone who so obviously flouts those requirements? Keith

    Liked by 3 people

  2. If one is truly “breaking with the pack and think[ing] for one’s self” and arrives at Christianity, I’d say they still have some “thinking”to do. I’d guess that their thinking did not incorporate a thorough reading of the dogma that comes with the commitment. I rarely meet people that know very much about the Bible – especially Catholics. I never met a Catholic layman that knew his Bible – and if your goal is to arrive at a conclusion about faith, this seems like a huge missing.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I think it was always true that very few people do much thinking for themselves. We all do a little, but most people find it easier to play “follow the leader.”

    Christianity might be the original “cancel culture”, what with the common practice of shunning those who do think for themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “And sadly, breaking with the pack too often invites ridicule and/or vituperation from the duly dedicated. And sadly, breaking with the pack too often invites ridicule and/or vituperation from the duly dedicated.”
    You can say that again. And again. And again… ad infinitum!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. The same is true, I think, of any sect or cult … you either follow the rules, the ideology, the mindset, or you’re out, shunned by your former compadres. Religion, yes, but even family units often ostracize the one who doesn’t ‘conform’. It’s a damn shame, for the “tribal mentality” stifles much potential creativity, but the world isn’t really crazy about creative people … the world wants people who “go along”. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When the norm is to identify children with their parents’ beliefs, or their parents’ ideology generally, (as is the common practice for all kinds of government forms to be filled out: for education, medical care, services, voting, culture) then the brain develops within this narrative framework. We become who we are told we are. To then ask the child – and later the adult – to think independently, think critically, as if this identity is somehow secondary is a HUGE ask and, I think, and extremely unfair to then easily and airily criticize the unwillingness to do so as if it’s a character flaw.

    Every time each of us goes along to get along and uses the narrative identity framework imposed on the child and applies this practice unthinkingly, uncritically, on a child, we are doing our small part to make this task of thinking for one’s self even more difficult, even more unlikely.

    So I really do think it takes a unusual amount of courage to break free of this imposed identity, suffer not only the external ramifications of doing so (people often feel the questioning person is therefore attacking one’s closest kith and kin) but must also suffer being unmoored and detached from what was one’s community. That’s really hard to do. And so I think it takes an unusually large amount of personal integrity to stick with reforming how one views one’s self to create an emergent and honest identity capable now of independent and critical and creative thinking.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. And before too many of us get comfortable thinking independent thought and critical thinking has anything to do with intelligence, consider whether or not YOU have identified the common feature in the past few weeks regarding the shooting of sex workers in Georgia, the grocery store in Boulder, and the vehicle attack at the capital building.

    Using your powers of independent thought an critical faculties, what have you discovered? What is the common thread?

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    • Most of us are pack animals; we go along with the narrative we’ve heard… whether growing up at home or listening to media accounts. Why should we think any differently… unless we question and challenge? And how many of us actually do this regularly when we are told doing so is rude or hostile or ant-social?

      Who among us actually listened to the Georgia shooter who said he was terribly tempted to engage in immoral sex – and had given in to this temptation repeatedly – and was trying to save his soul from eternal torment as his religious beliefs led to think by killing his real world ‘tormentors’? Nope. Media and politicians told us the same narrative over and over: it was really about racial hatred towards Asians. Yup: a hate crime… because 6 of the 8 victims were Asians.

      Who among us assumed the Boulder shooting of 10 white people was a hate crime? Well, it was reported the shooter was a ‘white’ man and so gun control was the real issue. But the shooter was Muslim and a Syrian-American and said it was his religious duty to kill Jews. Did you hear that the victims were shot in kosher section? But e are told this was just another tragic example of a lack of gun control. Not a hate crime, of course, because, well…. you know, victims were presented as ‘white’ rather than supposedly ‘Jewish’.

      Who among us bothered to find out Noah Green, the driver who killed a capital police officer with his vehicle, was a member of the a follower of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam? Nope. The only news I heard was that this was just an isolated incident from a disturbed young man, not a black man targeting and killing a long serving white police officer (that would maker it sound like hate crime but, you know, white…), nor a religious man demonstrating his commitment to Islam by following religious orders to kill the kafir.

      Religion plays a central role – a common thread – in these three events but who has the presence of mind, the independent thinking, and the critical means to seek out what’s actually true and form a belief afterwards compared to being fed a belief narrative and going along with interpreting real life through an imposed ideological frame? Don’t presume for one second this framing is accepted and used only by the weak-minded or religiously addled… unless you are willing to describe yourself this way when you forget how hard it is to be an independent and critical thinker.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the challenge, but speaking for myself, I broke from the Christianity “pack” MANY years ago and started “thinking for myself” (which included thoroughly examining all the pros and cons) so, for me, discussion of your life’s bet would be a waste of time.

      HOWEVER …some of my blog-followers may wish to jump in. I’ll leave it to them.

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        • CHICKEN! 😈

          No, seriously. “Creeds and beliefs” are the reasons why people follow Christ. If not for them, he would simply be another religious person in history. Are you not willing to defend your personal perspective on those creeds and beliefs?

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          • Absolutely not! Rules are distracting, and I think that’s where Christianity fails- thinking we can live up to commandments, creeds, beliefs. Can’t be done but by his life ‘springing up in me a river of living water.’ Christ lived his life always in his Father’s eyes. And so ‘Walk in the light’ is how I live.

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            • Oh dear. I think I’m getting sucked in.

              Arnold, the “creeds and beliefs” that you deny are essential to your belief in Christ because they are what make up the bible — and without the bible, Jesus would have been just another Jewish fisherman that none of us would have known ever existed.

              Further, the “rules” that you claim are distracting are what make up your Christian experience. The “light” you claim to walk in is just one of the “rules” mentioned.

              “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7)

              Liked by 1 person

          • I practice discipleship because I’m not following his ways, I’m following him. ‘Now is the day,’ in real life moments. Jesus did stuff according to the people, places and things his Father put in his path. They shared every moment.

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            • Well that makes about as much sense as any religion. You’re following him but not the ways he specifically told you to live your life? Let’s see how that works out for you, I’m guessing you’re in for a huge surprise!

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            • ‘A huge surprise’ is the stuff of life! Expect the unexpected. Today I went out my door expecting monkey wrenches.

              Christ didn’t give specifics. He was more, “Come unto me, believe me, follow me, walk in the light.”

              “Be perfect, even as your heavenly father is perfect.” To Jesus, BEING preceded DOING.

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            • How can you be following “him” when he (supposedly) now lives in the upper realms? Do take a picture and share it with us!

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            • First, I am born of his Spirit. Because he’s my life — my spiritual breath and flesh and blood. Then, I follow him by keeping him always in view. Get the picture?

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            • For me to “see” your picture, I would need rose-colored glasses. I used to have some, but they broke many, many years ago so I threw them away — and definitely have no plans to buy new ones.

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            • Christ lived a real-world life with commoners. And before he ascended to his Father he promised them, ‘I will come to you, I will not leave you comfortless.’ The bible theme is, ‘God with us.’

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            • OK, Arnold. I’ve been patient, but enough preaching. Most of my readers are EX-Christians so they have been there, done that, and heard it all. There’s really NOTHING you can say that is new.

              Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. I don’t deny beliefs, just don’t base my life on them, don’t fuss over opinions. Rules are inanimate (John:5:39+40), whereas Christ a living person. He’s the light I walk in- the light of his 24/7 eyes. That’s a common bible theme that points directly to a personal God wanting relationship with me. Thanks for your personable reply Nan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I dont know what you’ve been reading or studying but Jesus had a LOT more to say about “DOING” than you’re accepting. You MUST adhere to the Law, period, end of story if you are to walk in his steps. You can’t just go making up your own rules.

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5, 17-19

      Nothing for nothing, Arnold, but he seems pretty clear here. It seems like you’re making up your own, very convenient new version of Christianity? Or, maybe this is another example of someone that seems to know what others don’t. No worries, many cults have been created this way., maybe you’ll start you’re own?

      Liked by 2 people

      • In Matthew 22.40 Jesus boiled the law down to two- ‘Love God, love your neighbor (fellowman).’ Jesus Christ is the common denominator between God and man.

        Doing the law of Christ requires I be the law of Christ in my heart- being indwelt with his holy Spirit. ‘Be perfect as is your heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Matthew 5.48)

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    • All cults – “religions”, if you like – discourage independent thought since it often leads to dissent and conflicts within the dogma or foundational beliefs that religions/cults require. Consider the very many arguments and conflicts caused in the early 1st and 2nd centuries by the numerous groups of “Christians” all believing they were the possessors of the “right” – orthodox – beliefs. All of this is, of course, the results of independent thought and conjecture.

      It could be said that the final “right” belief is simply the spoils that go to the victors. In this sense the development of the orthodox belief is the final result of whomever won the argument of the day, at least for as long as it lasts. As you know, there are literally hundreds of variations of just Christianity sects alone, all believing they are the sole holders of the “truth.”

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      • Whenever I hear this claim about ‘religion’ discouraging independent thought, I immediately think of how over-represented Jews are in Nobel prizes (~20% across all award subjects, but only one fifth of one percent in population). So… not necessarily.

        When I was in the public school system, for example, it was not unusual to have the small cohort of Jews achieving an inequitable excellence in academics, athletics, and art for their numbers. My friends who were Jewish had home environments that had exceptionally high standards for attaining excellence in all things undertaken in education because of the religious impetus to do so. And the awards for various science fairs and art exhibitions demonstrated this strength of independent thought. So the number of Nobel laureates coming from this religious community doesn’t surprise me any more than ‘Asian’ cohorts that have similar home environments also have very high achieving students. (Mind you, not one of them was orthodox.)

        So I think it’s an overreach to claim ‘religion’ as if one thing discourages independent thought, although some religions and specific denominations certainly do just that… just like some cultures can be similarly criticized that do not attribute high value to obtaining academic excellence should not paint ‘culture’ as a whole as discouraging independent thought. And I also think it would be fair to say that one reason for this aspect of Judaism is because I see no clear boundary between the religious identity and the cultural; thus I hear many, many accomplished people describe themselves as ‘secular’ Jews!

        If anything, I think religious belief generally does not help teach independent thought and very often actively suppresses it. Culture, I think, is a far more powerful engine but it seems to me to get a free pass from legitimate and necessary criticism because doing so will often result in charges of ‘racism’ and ‘bigotry’ to state such obvious correlations.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I tend to think many would agree with you on this — I think religious belief generally does not help teach independent thought and very often actively suppresses it.

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          • I think no such person ever existed. At best, the character is a compendium of different people but JC is a figure much loved by the people who bring him into being in their imagination. A rough equivalent is Harvey. Let us not forget the wisdom of Elwood P. Dowd, who tells us, “You see, science has overcome time and space. Harvey has overcome not only time and space but also any objections.” Harvey, Dowd explains succinctly, is “Six feet three and a half inches. Now let’s stick to the facts.”

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        • I was referring to independent thought as it pertains to their religious beliefs specifically. But certainly religious groups hardly preach independent thought, you’ll agree.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Precisely why we need disregard rules, regs, creeds, beliefs- who knows who is right with all that stuff?!

        Go direct to God, go direct to Jesus Christ come in the flesh; ‘You must be born again.’

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        • Arnold, being “born again” does not make you exempt from regarding the “creeds and beliefs” that are presented in the bible. The problem arises when individuals (yes, “born again” ones as well) attempt to “interpret” what the bible is actually saying.

          Being a Christian is not simply claiming to be “born again” and having “Jesus in your heart” The entire bible is supposed to be your guide on how to live your life after this event. The problem, as many have attempted to point out, is NO ONE can agree with the tenets presented therein. And that includes you.

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          • You’re right, believers disagree on everything. I’m looking through those rose glasses and see only the Lord Jesus. And try see people through his eyes. Of course I fail.

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