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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %RELIGIOUS FANATICS ADDICTS COLLUDE SELF DECEIVE 940205 Religious fanatics are often addicts who are engaged in collusive games of mutual self deception --- wherein they make God's gracious blessings to be taboo, forgiveness unthinkable, reconciliation with enemies traitorous, conflict resolution treasonous, and honesty in being true to self and others an intolerable threat. Such religious leaders carefully pick the fundamentals of their extremist faith, so as to heighten the alienative differences between themselves and those people whom they fear; and the fear of whom motivates them to engage in alienative preaching. They seek to heighten conflicts, not to resolve them. They seek to win battles, not to transcend them; so they sin rather than win. They promote both personal and communal disintegration. The essence of sin is alienation and disintegration, not any failure to conform. The essence of evil is alienation, not disobedience. The devil is unreal in the absence of alienation and is made real in the presence of alienation. In the presence of alienation, misunderstanding and ignorance---trying to win battles seems reasonable, because of the collusive games of mutual self deception in which alienative people indulge themselves. In such company many people conceive themselves to be in charge of their god's army going into battle against the alienated forces of evil people from whom they have alienated themselves. They cannot conceive that the Creator God of Truth, Love and Forgiveness calls them to reconciliation and conflict resolution; rather than into battle. In such a setting were God to appear in the form of a mere mortal telling the truth about God-the-Creator of all, including even the least of those present in the city, and calling all people to come together to eat at God's Table in peace and tranquility---the religious extremists would probably call such a person a traitor and have her crucified for blasphemy! (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================