There is security in zealotry. It feels good to belong and feel like you’re on the right side of something, a scrappy minority fighting for good against evil. When you find yourself defending and believing whatever your leader says, take heed, blind loyalty to any person or organization is idolatry. Zealotry can be blinding and very difficult to escape from, particularly if you’re surrounded by other zealots and any questioning of your leader is met with censure. This is also the earmark of a cult.
I am not pointing fingers in one particular direction. I know zealots on both sides of the spectrum. I read posts and articles fraught with bias and misguided fearmongering. The media is often perpetuating particular narratives – left or right depending on the source. Such bias in reporting has only served to further mistrust in our “free press” and incited more zealotry as people flock to their preferred medium and absorb whatever it says without questioning.
The notion of “facts” as universal constructs is virtually invisible in today’s age of media bias and conspiracy theories. And few make the effort to really research the issues before drawing conclusions. After all, when your leader speaks, you trust him or her implicitly. It feels good to feel morally superior. It feels purposeful to have an enemy to fight. It is so satisfying to get those likes and high fives for speaking the “truth”, particularly if it is controversial.
Friend, my hope for you, for our country, is for each of us to resist the temptation of idolatry and zealotry. A good first step is to honestly evaluate whether you’re blindly following something. Are you afraid to question what your leader says? Are you threatened by good questions from others? Do you get your “facts” from only one source or type of source? Do you make an effort to learn more before deciding what you think? Do you seek to understand those who think differently than you? Do you listen more than you speak? Do you feel like you have to defend your leader against all attacks? Have you placed this call above what Jesus deemed to be the greatest commandments – to love God and love your neighbor? Have you?
I will end by saying sincerely that my wish is that we will all be liberated and free, truly free from whatever captivates us; that we would know the deep, deep, freeing love of God; and that we would treat each other better, so much better than what I see today. Don’t believe the lies. We are not meant to be each other’s enemies.
Wayne Zelenak says
Cynthia, in your January 2019 blog, you mentioned you prayed for a word to reflect the events of the year and one that would resonate throughout the entire year. “Speak” became loud and clear as the Divine answer to your prayer. It was the will of God for you to speak the truth, regardless of the consequences, speak words of kindness to console those who were suffering from the challenges in their life, and speak to worship God while inspiring and lifting the spirit of those in need at the same time. Lastly, you were encouraged to speak with thoughtfully written words on cards, letters, social blogs, and published material while listening to the whisper of truth by the holy spirit of God.
We are experiencing the prelude to “The Great Apostasy” mentioned in Thessalonians 2:3-4: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he set himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”
We are witnessing prophesy unfold before our eyes, where God’s truth is being manipulated by the evil pervading our country, expeditiously through social media and nefarious actors. Without a strong foundation in God’s word through faith and devotion, the lies of idolatry and zealotry will be consumed by those interested in the insurrection, violence, and the destruction of our nation.
Words of faith matter as I’m drawn to Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God help us in these tumultuous times.