When religious leaders become bad shepherds

Authoritarian and controlling leaders may be emotionally abusive.

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Books : Abusive or Authoritarian Churches
`It's a Tough Job`
Troy Tidwell - stern compassion
'You do the Best You Can'

Troy Tidwell, Florida Story


We had a job to do. Kids hate the rules, But there is a reason for
having rules, and a reason for the consequences, painful as they are.
I am just sorry some of those graduates have not forgiven the lessons.
But a lot of the ones who didn't get caught are now six feet under.

- The Authoritarian Personality -

Why do good Christians, whose pure motive is to serve God and fellow man, continue to be offended and even sabotaged by destructive religion controlled by authoritarians who constantly employ various devices to maintain their position over the brethren? This should not be! Retail stores always refund consumers for defective products, yet when flaws appear in a church, there is barely a whisper of protest and concern.


The greatest threat to authentic Christian faith today is the presence of manipulative, ever-demanding people who negatively influence the rest of the church through unrestrained power politics. These authoritarian types base relationships on acceptance of their ideas, doctrines, and opinions, rather than on love and friendship. All subordinates are patronized, viewed as spiritually inferior. They demand conformity, believing that they have all correct answers, with no tolerance of other views.

Psychologists call this behavior evil, for authoritarians are ever absorbed with self, cultivating an image of perfection. There is no self examination, no taking of blame for mistakes, but instead they project sinful actions on others as a defense mechanism. Controlling the agenda at hand is ever the key; bowl over opponents using any means at hand. In tearing and slashing their way through life, they leave a wake of failure and heartaches behind them. These are the fruits of external religion.

Their rigid thought processes leads to, selfishly, ambitious actions, self-centeredness. Evil is fueled by hatred and a spirit of getting even. They are takers, not givers. They are easily angered, ever wanting their way, driven to expose the faults of others and alleged errors through debate, gossiping or letter writing campaigns. They say they have the true Bible interpretations and they alone are saved. Bad religion emphasizes law over grace, works over faith, focusing upon selected doctrines, to the neglect of weighty matters (Matt. 23:33).

Several important books describe these self-appointed brotherhood caretakers, among them:

by Leo Booth.

The author shows that religion can become an addiction, causing Christians to suffer stress and unnecessary anxiety. Religious authoritarians place people in great burden when they tell others that if they do not act right they will not be accepted by God. Christians must have self-worth and well-being. Religious stress can be resolved in a number of ways, especially in the author's twelve-step recovery program adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous which transforms religious addiction into a healthy relationship with God. 256 pages, $21.95.

by Jay Cartel

A respected psychological counselor and teacher tells his readers how to stop being hurt by religious authoritarians without becoming one of them. He shows that we can spot and conquer nasty behavior which leaves innocent people feeling small, incompetent and insufficient. A large section is devoted to how to break the cycle of nastiness, so that one can live a healthful normal life.
96 pages, $9.95.

COPING WITH CHURCH SHARKS and a Guide for Their Recovery

Why is it that good Christians keep on being insulted and defiled by potentially harmful religion? Why isn't anyone do ing anything to warn them of the danger?

The reason is simple. Like local, state, and federal governments, organized religion today is dominated by authoritarian sharks who lord it over others by employing evil controlling devices to maintain their position over the flock.

Authoritarianism in society is an evil force which seeks to selfishly dominate others through controlling a particular situation or church group. Chapter Three contains six principal identifying hallmarks of church sharks: Control; Denial; Superficial Friendships; Manipulation; Lust for Power; Rigid Thought Pro cesses.

The concluding chapters offer constructive recovery programs for "fat cats" who, after proper self-realization, know that they must change their behavior in order to become a spiritual person who can unselfishly help others and otherwise function normally in society. Scheduled for publication October, 1997.
Text printout available now, $8.00

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God is to be found in many hearts all over the world.
Not limited to one nation or one people, or one religion.
Abraham Joshua Heschel