God’s law is the gateway drug of indoctrination in fundamentalist Christianity. It seduces you to surrender critical thinking and decision-making to religion by making you feel helpless. Nothing tormented me more as Christian than the law of god. It’s a control mechanism that led me to slavish dependency and profound inadequacy. The law promises “grace” but drags you deeper and deeper under the influence of cruel demands and a sense of failure. The purpose of the law is to crush faith in yourself and make you hopeless, so that you need someone to save you. Then fundamentalist preachers of control (“grace”) offer you salvation (“the good news”). This is no just legislation or message of hope: it’s a devious trap. When you feel helpless, you become vulnerable. You will make irrational decisions to save your own life, like surrendering your decision-making and critical thinking to someone powerful enough to save you. This is how dictators come into power; vulnerability and desperation in the people, and a cleverly devised message that promises hope but delivers brutal enslavement. Abusers make their victims dependent by proclaiming themselves as saviors, even though they committed the crime. Indoctrination is control. Religious or political indoctrination works when people are made to feel powerless and inadequate.
God’s law is enslavement legislation. It’s explicitly designed to break you like boot camp, and put you in full submission to the divine commander’s rule. This is the message: You are inadequate; your human strength is pathetic. You are a wretch, you were born with an eternal death sentence to hell. The bail price is your soul. The law demands you surrender your willpower and entire life, down to every single action and thought, to the service of the deity (=religious authorities). Even your most benevolent actions are judged as evil by the law if you are not a Christian, because they are done apart from god’s strength working in you. You need Jesus, you need “grace” to come into your soul and work through you. It’s no longer your power: it’s “god’s power.” There’s no “you” in this system anymore (except when you fail, then you are bad)–all the good is god. This language is disgusting; it’s the language of mind-control. Salvation is found in the act of surrender, literally surrendering your soul. And you are taught to beg for god to control you, weeping and begging for forgiveness (confession), asking him to take over your life (“come into my heart and save me”), thanking the deity for controlling you. Congratulations: religion has just co-opted your identity.
You are now a spiritual slave. According to the law, you can only do anything good if the deity is working through you: your strength is too weak and your decisions are untrustworthy. You must meditate on the bible and go to church (indoctrination) in order to make good decisions and do the right thing. If you don’t live according to the law, god will punish you but in love–this is discipline to help put you back on track, back into “grace” (=control).
The law of god is brutal to psychological health and happiness. The standard is the law isn’t reasonable, it’s divine perfection! The whole point is that you can’t be perfect; you need god (=religious control) to come save you at all times. But you are still required to try to be perfect! Thus, you become obsessive about every action and thought, caught up in your mind (paralysis analysis). And you always feel inadequate because the law has crushed your self-confidence. Yet you still try as hard as you can because you have to be perfect in order to please the deity. It is literally impossible to be good enough. The standard is always raised so you always fall short. So many people are mired in ridiculous amounts of guilt, shame, perfectionism, depression, anxiety, and obsession because of the law. This is crazy-making, and it makes for obedient, pathetic, and broken slaves. Those are the kind of slaves slave masters prize.
The solution to our feelings of powerless is never to surrender control. Anyone who tells you to surrender your life to him does not love you: he has bad intentions. Even if he has good ideas, he has bad motives. We find salvation by helping each other, by recognizing and calling out the beauty of those in need, not by calling attention to their flaws or appealing to their desperation. It may be easier and feel relieving not to have to think or make your own decisions, but you will suffer the loss of your humanity if you do so, your very soul. Resist the yoke of religious slavery, stand firm in the freedom of your humanity. We reclaim our souls by reclaiming our personal power, and we help people find their power through empowerment. This is the true meaning of grace.