Friday, March 30, 2012

Comparing the Two, Part 3

This is the final post of a 3-part series comparing the characteristics of dictators with people who spiritually abuse.  The other two parts can be found here:

"Anonymous" posted this comment on Part 1:

The last sentence really made my head spin.  I had been thinking of the parallels of physically and spiritually starving people.  But "Anonymous" is correct in that there is a kind of death in both environments.  This thought should not be minimized.   How can someone be growing spiritually and emotionally in that kind of environment?  Isn't the ultimate goal of a pastor and shepherd to help his sheep grow spiritually?  Who is benefiting by spiritually dead members? 

And this part was profound:  "What I wonder is what the leaders hope to gain . . . ."   Having this type of authoritarian rule over people only benefits who?  The leader.  This is a self-absorbed leader which is completely contrary to the heart of a true shepherd that we read about in scripture. 

After reading the CNN article, I did a quick Google search on the word "dictator".  I don't know what school teaches this stuff, but spiritual abusers, dictators, cult leaders seem to have learned the same tactics to control and manipulate the people "beneath" them. 

Most dictators have several characteristics in common. They usually rule autocracies, governments with a single self-appointed leader and no governing body to check his power.  Often, dictators have totalitarian regimes, keeping their power through control of the mass media. Totalitarian dictators also use secret police and spy on the citizens of their state as well as restrict or completely remove their personal freedoms. 
Many of these dictators foster cults of personality, a form of hero worship in which the masses are fed propaganda declaring their leader to be flawless (and in some cases, divine or divinely appointed). The North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung (father of Kim Jong-il) was essentially the sole subject of all forms of art created in the country. Schoolchildren were taught to give thanks to Kim Il-sung, the source of all of their blessings, as part of their training. Critics spoke of him as being megalomaniacal and extremely narcissistic.

Do you notice similar patterns?

We are not in N. Korea being ruled by a dictator.  The mom in the CNN story spent 10 years in China and has been living free in the US ever since.  She and her daughters now help others who are going through the same experience.   Many of us "defected" the church and are still being sought out by the "dictator" months if not years after leaving.  Where is our freedom?  We are in America where we should be free to worship where we want to worship without having a former pastor interfering in our lives.

Lastly, take a look at this video.   It's amazing to see the devotion, honor, and respect these mourners are demonstrating.  Their deceased dictator is the same man who literally starved so many of his citizens, some to the point of death.   He was held to a god-like status by his people.  In light of the parallels between the devotion of the people to their dictator and the devotion of church congregants to their pastor, I found this video disturbing.  


  1. Some of these emotional outbursts do not appear genuine. I imagine the mass hysteria of it...being directed to go to the square for a memorial instead of to school or work, observing key leaders of your organization start to wail and feeling like you must do likewise. Not unlike being in an authoritarian church service.

  2. Hypocrisy:

    1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
    2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.

    See Chuck O'Neal's sermon 'Peaceful Love' on BGBC website under 'Our newest sermons'. Listen at twelve minute mark as he exposites Matt. 5:38-40 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also."

    Compare this to his google comment: "After three and a half years of suffering a great many injuries tamely, without stirring for our own relief, we are now using lawful means to right the ministry of the Gospel at BGBC and to protect our families. It is not a “threat”."

    And he is suing other Christians.

    Hypocrisy therefore permeates the soul with a predisposition against genuine repentance. That is why Jesus referred to hypocrisy as "the leaven of the Pharisees" (Luke 12:1).

    Hypocrisy also works directly against the conscience. There's no way to be hypocritical without searing the conscience. So hypocrisy inevitably makes way for the most vile, soul-coloring, character-damaging secret sins. Thus hypocrisy compounds itself, just like leaven.

    Matthew 23:1-3 23 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe,[a] that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.

    I pray the Lord opens the eyes of those still trapped under such hypocrisy.

  3. Some of these grief reactions do not appear to be genuine. I can imagine this scene of mass are told to go to a memorial instead of to church or work, you observe key leaders in your organization or town start to wail and carry on, you feel you must respond the same way or face retribution. Not unlike being in a church in which you are expected to do as you are told.

    1. oh, i meant "school or work" not "church or work"!

    2. oops, I meant "school or work" not "church or work".

  4. These are typical paid mourners. This is a common practice in Asian cultures. Paid mourners, protesters, supporters, it's all done for media and propaganda. Yes I've been to Korea and China and Japan and the Philippines and this is common in all of these places.

    1. There is also the fear of being sent to a labor camp if they were caught not mourning, or not mourning sufficiently enough:

      From the Daily Mail (UK):
      The informant from North Hamkyung Province told the website: 'The authorities are handing down at least six months in a labour-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate in the organised gatherings during the mourning period, or who did participate but didn’t cry and didn't seem genuine.'

      From CNN:
      It is a lamentable characteristic of totalitarian regimes that they often demand acts of deceit from those they oppress. Often it is a matter of simple survival. Those who hate the regime are obliged to demonstrate patriotism. To fail is to risk persecution. The only alternative is to flee, a choice made by tens of thousands of North Koreans in the past two decades. --

      Ironic how the latter quote sounds eerily familiar....

    2. Scary stuff! People are dictated on how they are supposed to feel!


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