The reason the average American, Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian, Palestinian, North Korean and world citizen is fearful, angry and would just as soon rid themselves of their leaders, is because their leaders have forgotten or never knew they weren't any more special than the people they are suppose to serve. I"m stinking naive I know.
Lutherans are not better than Catholics and South America Catholics are not better Catholics than their North American counterparts. Presbyterians are not better than Baptists and Southern Baptists are no better than Northern Baptists.
Exclusivism and just how to perpetuate that specialness is a hallmark mindset and goal of most religious faiths. It is a mind virus that seems to be rearing it's rather ugly head again. One way, one belief, easily defined rights and wrongs, one law, and one common acceptable mind virus will provide all the comfort and security we need. The Bible in our culture is often misread and misapplied to perpetuate more harm than good. It's what exclusivists do best.
When intollerant fundamentalists. who are infected with exlusivism speak, the goal is to spread the virus and get others to agree and support it's propagation. Once you are in, everyone not in, is out, and the virus then endeavors to become immune from attack through bluster, fear, shame and guilt. I recently tried to read a copy of the prophecy/evil world news publication of one church called the Philadelphia Trumpet, but gave up and opted for chewing ground glass which felt ever so much more pleasant.
I know a minister who was part of the same "One True Church" I used to pastor in, (it wasn't) who has now declared he and his wife the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11. That's pretty darn special even though nothing of what he has predicted on specific dates has happend in the specific ways he foretold them as "God's chosen witness." He even went to Jerusalem over Passover this year to start the three and half year rock 'em sock 'em ministry, but came home we think and haven't heard much since. Stay tuned I suppose. Special Ministers, prophets, priests and kings don't go away over night or easily. Actually, he made himself so special and so chosen, he's dead in the water now...or we can hope.
All ministers and government officials should be run through a mental-detector before being allowed to lead, speak or run for office.
Religion can make a man goofy and foolish in his specialness and chosen status. Another minister recently took four hours in a sermon to wear his small church down enough to allow him to say, that because of all his vast experience, more than any man practically in the ministry...."and yes brethren...I am an Apsotle," after which he commanded everyone to cash in their 401K's , retirements, equity in homes and such and "send it in." This was for the final push of God's only true work and Church on earth before Jesus returns. Interesting enough, once the money was sent in, and it was if you can believe that, his church now needs a new headquarters building, a college campus, and Auditorium and some pretty permanent things to do their "time is short" true work. Personally, I"d ask for my money back.
Too bad the being more like Jesus and less like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Malachi, Elijah and Paul never really caught on in the many prophecy motivated and obcessed churches and denominations. The "we only" mentality is responsible for much of the division in Christianity today. Christianity seems to thrive on division for multiplication, and adds to itself by subtracting others from competing organizations and denominations.
Religious organizations seldom complete the tasks they set out for themselves to do. To succeed is to render oneself obsolete and the goal is always to perpetuate the religion, specialness and chosen status of the group, not end it. This is why no matter how wrong the Chosen leaders are in fact, they can still explain it all quite well as a "misunderstanding" or "spiritually discerned," and keep the cash flowing in.
So how does exclusivism work? What must happen for it to be successful?
First of all it must do two things. It must ensure it can take up a long term residence in the host (Membership or maybe Meme-bership). A meme is an idea that is passed on from one human generation to another. It's the cultural equivalent of a gene, the basic element of biological inheritance. The term was coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene. Secondly, it must bring about the proper conditions for spreading itself (Evangelism).
This is how it is done:In by chosen religionists and deceptive governments.
1. Promise reward for the effort, position, power, inside knowledge and specialness. It's better if the reward is "some day." In government, just pay them way too much for way too little.
2. Threaten punishment for failure to grow, or pay, pray, stay and obey. This can take place almost any time now and/or in the future.
3. Convince them they are the chosen, exclusive and special people. Teach them that all others are false and there is only ONE right way to think or faith to express. Teach them that right way just happens be where they are. Define the separation of church and state by saying, "It's a bridge and our God wants us to rule the world in his name.