Q&A: Discipleship

Did the COG push forsaking everything and living by faith? with no other option or you are not following the True Jesus? 

When I first met the COG in 1973, that is exactly what they preached - forsake all and follow Jesus. Be a disciple like the early Christians who left all to follow Jesus.

I was given a little card with lists of Bible verses to memorize, and they worked powerfully to form my beliefs. "He that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." "A man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me." Who wouldn't want to be "worthy of the Lord," right? Certainly, that is what my 16 year old self thought.

Even more, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit..." I was chosen of God! An elite class of Christian! A member of a special club.  

Those are just a few of the verses that I repeated until they were rock solid truth in my brain. They "strengthened my faith." "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

Or, as Daniel Kahneman wrote, "A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth." (That is from his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow.)

Now I see, rather too late, that such ideas leave much room for manipulation and abuse. Thinking myself "special" and "called-out," led me to be isolated from society at large, along with their mores and standards. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord."

But extreme was the way of the COG. "Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Nope, can't be lukewarm. It's all the way, give 110%, as we used to say.

Now that I've experienced living in a cult for 30 years, and also having lived abroad for 40 years where I've seen how other cultures thrive, I cannot hold to such a rigid belief that there is one select group of humanity that alone possesses "the Truth." What I can see is how the rigid belief system of the COG and even fundamentalist Christianity - or any monotheistic religion - can be very harmful.

It is good to stay aware of our tendencies: we naturally see what we are looking for, and believe what we hear oft repeated.

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