Fundamentalism claims that god loves you unconditionally. This love is only unconditional if you obey. Conformity is primary in this authoritarian system; love is a side-benefit. Unconditional love means I love you for who you are, not whether you obey me or not. Those who don’t adhere to the religious system’s conditions for membership are judged unworthy of love. In fact you’re unworthy to begin with until you join the system! The only love for those who refuse to be part of the system is fire and fury. Unconditional love means I don’t define your value based on what you believe, or even on whether you’re a good person (if this phrase made any sense to begin with). Unconditional love cannot have anything to do with obedience, or it would be conditional.

Fundamentalism is an authoritarian ideology. Fearing the supreme leader (=”god”), not critical thinking or love, is said to be the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Goodness is defined in terms of believing what the deity says. Love is a benefit given only to those who submit to authority. The deity claims to love outsiders but only treats them kindly if they follow him. The basis of the fundamentalist society is the most extreme form of subservience: worship. It’s not enough just to obey; if you do not love the deity and flatter him excessively, you are given the death penalty. If you don’t give him your highest and best at all times, you don’t deserve his gifts and the benefits of his rule; his “love.”

The deity’s creation is explicitly set up so that obedience to him is everything. His plan to “save humanity” is setting up his reign by a hostile takeover of earth through weapons of mass destruction (the plagues of the book of Revelation), killing all his enemies, and putting those who don’t obey him in an eternal concentration camp with no hope of remediation (hell). Is this love? Is it unconditional? This is a charade; it’s a clever slogan and a lie. This is a reign of terror, a divine North Korea, and a heavenly crusade. Forced obedience with threats of violence is no love; it’s an assault on human dignity and freedom. If you’re looking for unconditional love, you will never find it by surrendering yourself to the will of another. Love comes from the realization that there are no conditions for love. That means no one can take it from you, and no one can give it to you. The only condition for love is existence.

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