Sunday, 16 December 2007

Christianity’s slavish attitude

How many practicing Christians are conscious that their attitude towards God is one of slavery, beggary, pitifulness and unworthiness? By feeling totally inadequate and appealing to God as ‘Lord’, thereby reducing oneself to the status of a ‘servant’ – ‘doulos’ (slave) in the Greek N.T. – is not exactly an indication of humility before the Almighty. It is rather a symptom of helplessness and defeatism such as a slave feels towards a cruel master. 

In the liturgical texts of traditional Christian denominations, the phrase “Lord have mercy” appears innumerous times. “Lord have mercy”, plead the Catholics and the Protestants after every other phrase that is uttered during their liturgical services.
But even if that were the right way to be absolved from the guilt of sin, pleading once would be adequate. An over and over parroting repetition of the same request is unintelligent and hence useless. On the other hand, by reminding God some verses from the Bible, supposedly being his own words, in order to oblige him to show mercy is an attitude of distrust and doubt of his kindness.

Instead of getting on with working to put right what we have done, or has gone, wrong, whenever this is possible, Christians endlessly cry for Mercy! Mercy for what? Mercy to avoid the consequences of...
one’s violation of sovereign laws? Mercy to cancel the manifestation of the unwritten law of sowing and reaping? Where else in Nature is that sort of ‘mercy’ to be seen? 

If there is anyone to seek ‘mercy’ from, this is the people we have wronged, and our own Higher Self whom we have grieved by harming ourselves with our foolish deeds… As regards requests for future favors, begging an external “Lord” in a slavish manner is to deny what is in one’s power to achieve; it is like renouncing one’s rights as a son. And, of course, it is denying taking up one’s responsibilities as an heir.

The slavish “Kyrie eleison” (“Lord have mercy”) of the Greek Orthodox tradition is considered as a magic formula for entering heaven! Dozens of times the Orthodox Christians plead “Kyrie eleison”, “Kyrie eleison”, “Kyrie eleison”, every Sunday during the Liturgy, in a desperate effort to be noticed by a seemingly deaf or heartless Master. “Kyrie eleison”, “Kyrie eleison”, “Kyrie eleison”, pleads the Orthodox monk, dropping the rosary beads with each recitation. 

Imagine a father whose son continuously begs him for mercy, calling him ‘Lord’ and himself a ‘slave’, in order to appease him and be granted favors by him. How would such a father feel about his son? Would he not feel sick and tired, and even worried about his son’s mental health? Most probably a good father would take such a confused son to a psychologist to receive professional help. Yet, this is what exactly happens with Christians.

When an infant is being baptized, the priest says: “The servant of God (name) is baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” Again, the Greek word used is ‘doulos’, which means ‘slave’. So the child, before he/she has time to realize its identity, is pronounced a slave of God! 
The same happens in the wedding service: “The servant of God (name) is crowned for the servant of God, (name), in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” The groom and/or the bride might be atheists, but all the same they are considered as slaves of God! The same happens during a funeral service. Again, the deceased is called ‘doulos’ of God, even if in all his live he had served none else than himself.

What is wrong with Christians? Where has this slavish attitude come from? I bet its origin is in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testament. I shall quote here some characteristic verses, replacing the word ‘servant’ of the English translations with the word ‘doulos’ (slave), just as it appears in the Septuagint – the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures that dates from the 3rd century B.C. – and in the original Greek New Testament. Not that the word ‘servant’ is more acceptable anyway, but it certainly sounds a little milder than ‘slave’ (‘δούλος’). We must explain here that the Greek word for ‘servant’ is ‘υπηρέτης’. A ‘servant’ is getting paid for his work. But a ‘slave’ is one who is bound to service without wages.

The first man in the Bible to be called ‘doulos’ was Abraham: “And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, ‘I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my doulos’ Abraham’s sake’."[i] 

Now these are supposed to be the words of God himself! Apparently, people thought that Jehovah needed human slaves in the O.T. This notion does not only diminish Abraham but also Jehovah. Another famous ‘doulos’ of God was Moses! Here is the evidence: “But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your doulos, but I am slow of speech and of tongue’."[ii] 

Here Moses had no choice but to obey the Lord and do as he was, supposedly, told. Nevertheless, later he complained: “Moses said to the Lord, "Why have you dealt ill with your ‘doulos’? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me?[iii] 

Why, indeed… Needless to remind that Moses, a giant ‘doulos’ of Jehovah, who supposedly spoke with God “mouth to mouth”[iv], was not blessed to enter the “promised” land. Instead, another ‘doulos’ was favored: “But my ‘doulos’ Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.”[v]

Another O.T. ‘doulos’ of Jehovah, infamous for his brutal crimes against the gentiles, was Joshua. “And he said, ‘No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, "What does my Lord say to his ‘doulos’?"[vi] 

It is evident that every Jewish leader or patriarch considered himself as being ‘doulos’ of God, and that everything he did, good or evil, was in obedience to Jehovah! David, also, labeled himself as ‘doulos’ of God – a ‘doulos’ after God’s own heart, as it is evident in his Psalms: “But David's heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your doulos, for I have done very foolishly’."[vii] 

By the way, this “iniquity’ was most probably a superstition; yet, the Scripture tells us that he was punished by God in spite of his prayer. The ‘punishment’ was brought against Israel [viii] by the curse of prophet Gad, another ‘doulos’ of Jehovah, to whom David had submitted himself believing that the prophet’s words were the Lord’s words! (Remember, it takes two for the disastrous ‘tango’: one who speaks evil and another who believes in what the former said…)
Likewise, King Solomon declared himself a ‘doulos’ of God.[ix]

Let us now see what the Bible says about the most famous personality of the Bible, Jesus himself. Apparently, Jesus was also a ‘doulos’! Never mind that the Greek and Roman Church Fathers declared him to be God, and all Christians took their word for it, the Bible tells us that he was only a ‘doulos’ of God. Here is what Isaiah prophesied about him: “Behold my ‘doulos’, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.”[x] 
This is confirmed by the Gospel of Mathew[xi]: “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles’.” Mary, the mother of Jesus, also considered herself as ‘douli’ of God: “And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the ‘douli’ of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.”[xii]

The Apostle Paul went even further: he considered himself as a ‘doulos’ of Jesus! Here is what he said: “Paul, a ‘doulos’ of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.”[xiii] Never mind that Jesus called his disciples friends and brothers, Paul prefers to be his ‘doulos’! 

At other occasions, however, Paul signs in as a ‘doulos’ of God: “Paul, a ‘doulos’ of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which is according to godliness.”[xiv] 

In the “Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his ‘doulous’…”[xv], John, who had bowed down and was ready to worship the messenger, is exhorted: “You must not do that! I am a fellow ‘doulos’ with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."[xvi]

In conclusion, all Biblical figures, angels, patriarchs, prophets, kings, Jesus and the apostles, have had the assignment of “doulos” of God! No wonder Christians have inherited a slavish attitude towards the Deity! No wonder Christianity is a religion of defeatism and begging! 

Christians beg God almost about everything… Instead of being good stewards of their great inheritance, instead of attaining their own godhood and wisely manage themselves and the earth, they beg an outside Power for it. And when they undertake to do anything higher than eating, drinking and being merry, they do it with a slavish attitude, as if an austere God out there gave them a difficult task for his own sake! 

This partly explains why Christianity is in such a pitiful state, and why Christians have not being able to transform the world, despite of the billions of dollars that are spent in Evangelistic campaigns. Unless Christians realize that they are heirs and not servants, 
unless they understand that God, if He were a personal Spiritual Being, needs them as much as they need Him, 
unless they stop asking and start receiving from the Universe’s great reservoir of abundance, 
unless they stop expecting someone else to pay for their sins, and take up full responsibility for their actions and our planet, there is not much hope for this world to become a better place for all creatures.

God neither punishes nor rewards. God is Law and spiritual energy and to the extent our life is tuned into the universal Law to that extent positive energy will be flowing through us, thereby fulfilling our needs and transforming the world around us. What we all need, Christians and non-Christians alike, is enlightenment, in order to realize that we are not slaves to any real or imaginative Being out there but masters of our destiny and stewards of the earth.

[i] Genesis 26:24
[ii] Exodus 4:10
[iii] Numbers 11:11
[iv] Numbers 12: 8
[v] Numbers 14:24
[vi] Joshua 5:14
[vii] 2 Samuel 24:10
[viii] 2 Samuel 24:15
[ix] 1 Kings 3:7
[x] Isaiah 42:1
[xi] Mathew 12:17-18
[xii] Luke 1:38

[xiii] Romans 1:1
[xiv] Titus 1:1
[xv] Revelation 1:1
[xvi] Revelation 22:9

No comments: