Your Own Beliefs, Or Submitting to Authority?

How religious authority is a catalyst against your natural kindness

For a long period of my life I submitted to authority—Religious authority. A well known study (Milgram Shock Experiment) had participants administer shocks to a learning participant. 61% of subjects were willing to eventually administer lethal shocks to a stranger, solely because the authority figure had directed it. The shocks were fake, but the participants were unaware of that fact.

One subject wrote a letter to the study’s founder during the Vietnam war. He said, “While I was a subject in 1964, though I believed that I was hurting someone, I was totally unaware of why I was doing so. Few people ever realize when they are acting according to their own beliefs and when they are meekly submitting to authority … To permit myself to be drafted with the understanding that I am submitting to authority’s demand to do something very wrong would make me frightened of myself … I am fully prepared to go to jail if I am not granted conscientious objector status. Indeed, it is the only course I could take to be faithful to what I believe. My only hope is that members of my board act equally according to their conscience ...

The religious are ripely submitting to authority. I do not believe for a moment that discrimination against gays, immigrants, women, transgenders, or any other focus of hate today is rooted in the minds of the people. It is rooted in the foundations of faith, which purported hate is the result of pulpits—and the authority we allow is a preacher behind a bible.

Eric Hoffer, one of my favorites writes, “Whenever we find a dispensation enduring beyond its span of competence, there is either an entire absence of an educated class, or an intimate relationship between those in power and the men of words (the preachers).

I’d say we have both. If you want to see what your own natural beliefs are before the preachers get to you, watch 2 young children play together before indoctrination.