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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 LEADERS CONCEPTIONS GOD APPEAR INHUMANE 040105 %DOMINATION OMNIPOTENT OMNISCIENT ETERNAL CONTROLS 040105 %ATTRIBUTES COVET BATTLE DOMINANCE SIDELINE GIFTS 040105 %POOR VULNERABLE WEALTHY HEALTHY SICK THIRSTY SELF 040105 %THEISM PROJECTION HEAVEN COSMIC EGG SHELL PRISONS 040105 %AUTHORITY BIAS CONSEQUENCE EXPERIENCES CAUSE FALL 040105 Religious leaders' conceptions of their God often make their God appear to be amazingly like the religious leaders themselves: 1. Domineering religious leaders conceive God to be an omnipotent, omniscient and eternal God demonstrating the attributes which they covet for themselves. They conceive God to be on "their side" and willing to give His most faithful worshippers what they most covet. 2. Politically-poor, monetarily-poor, health-poor and other vulnerable people conceive God to be committed to rescuing and helping people like themselves. SHE is clearly not a god who serves the interests of domineering, selfish, self-centered, arrogant and self-righteous men who are indifferent to the needs and views of women and children. Given that religious leaders so often conceive their own gods in ways which are self-serving --- how are we to discern which kind of god to take seriously, honor, reverence and support? Upon what authorities can we depend most reliably? Are we to depend upon: 1. The authority of ancient scriptures of cultures and religious leaders about which we know relatively little; e.g., about shades of meanings of words, traditions, expectations, cosmologies, mythologies, friends, enemies, etc? 2. The authority of the most successful and wealthy modern business-men? 3. The authority of modern exact scientists who are narrowly committed to objectivity and quantitative considerations? 4. The authority and teachings of leaders of modern religious fads and cults which prey upon current dis-eased and mentally sick people? 5. The authority of religious leaders and teachers who are most: self-confident, sophisticated, popular, politically-connected, and appealing to us and our friends? 6. The authority and writings of the best educated and scholarly --- of the modern researchers, writers and preachers. 7. The authority of the religious leaders who can raise the most money to build wonderful church buildings, temples, and palaces for religious people to gather in to praise their generous gods? It is not a simple thing to transcend all of the biases which are suggested and/or hinted at above. Simple-minded people are likely to fall into the trap of thinking that there is an easy way out of the dilemmas presented by the pervasive presence of bias. Simple- minded people are particularly vulnerable to the biases of domineering religious leaders. Domineering religious leaders are often generously supported by successful domineering/wealthy followers. Both prosper! (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================