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Chapter 21 - Control Systems
One particular way that the flesh has been manifest in Christian history is the attempt to, what might be called, ‘Put God in a box’. This can be seen every time Christianity is attempted to be reduced to a list of rules. Elevated men (often with good intentions) will seek to establish some sort of system that will operate to insure good outcomes.
Plutarch wrestled with the idea of how men could obtain virtue and resit the influence of destructive desires. His advocacy of the power of reason, like the Stoics, sought to persuade people based on what they thought was compellingly obvious rationale.
The idea of teaching is often based on the assumption that if someone is not doing what he should, it is because he does not know what it is he should do. When education fails to produce expected results, systems of coercion can begin to be instituted. This is done to apply force to motivate people to behave or perform in a desired way.
Governments can use threat of prison, seizure of property, and even death to motivate people in the direction they want them to go. Religious groups can use guilt, family or peer pressure, or even the threat of excommunication.
Christianity was supposed to be about the transformation of individual lives through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in each believer. It is sad how quickly it can become a control system of rules and works
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