Have you ever felt imposed upon ? I have many, many times—likely, you have also. So what does impose mean? Simply stated, it means directing or forcing something unwanted or undesired onto someone else. Impositions come in many forms and fashions and often are disguised in hopes of being unnoticed. In fact, our society has become so apathetic as to frequently accept impositions without a whimper of rejection.
Nowhere are those impositions more overbearing and noticeable than in government, and I use that word generically—that is to say, all forms of government, from interpersonal relationships to federal. And it’s not just noticeable in human society, but rather in all societies both animate an inanimate.
In the animal kingdom, the largest and strongest imposes its will on all others until such time as it becomes weakened by age or disability and get’s replaced by the next strongest in line. In the world of vegetation, similar imposition occurs. The largest tree in the forest commands surrounding events—it absorbs the most water and nutrients, and it shades the most territory—any plant wishing to live under or near it must accept the meager conditions offered. The same is true of weeds and grasses—the larger and stronger ones force all others into a weakened, debilitated state.
Similar observations can be made about all inanimate objects—each one is bearing down on its neighbors, displacing them and creating more room for itself. That concept extends even to galaxies of stars where black holes in their centers are systematically devouring surrounding celestial bodies by virtue of their imposing, overpowering gravitational pull—eventually, one will win and devour all remaining because it was the biggest and strongest—singularity returns.
Impositions of the most extreme can be observed in the natural elements—wind with tornadoes, microbursts, hurricanes, etc., fire, water with floods and erosion, static electricity with lightening bolts—each imposing its authority on the weaker elements of existence.
All the above mentioned examples of imposition generate feelings of fear, annoyance, discomfort or even sadness in rational beings, and may cause unbelievable financial and/or physical hardship. However, seldom does any one of them effect a perpetual change in our psyches.
As the pendulum swings back and forth, so also do governmental bodies of all types, and , somewhere along the line, we get relief for our point of view. Eventually, the big tree will die for whatever reason, and grant relief to its deprived undergrowth—of course, another ‘big boy’ will show op sooner or later—storms pass, lightening bolts cease, flood waters recede, fires are extinguished, and the rebuilding or repair proceeds intelligently—they seldom leave permanent psychological scars. That is not to say they do not leave permanent conscious scars of death, injury, debt, displacement etc. They absolutely do, but those are conscious hurts and we, as rational beings, can usually deal with them without psychic injury.
The one major exception to that general rule is religion which historically, has imposed a blanket of guilt on its subjects. Of course, that guilt implies a guarantee of punishment by God. The resultant is a permanently injured psyche demonstrated by anxiety with ensuing depression. That exact condition prompted G Rattray Taylor in his comprehensive book, Sex In History, to describe Medieval Europe as a cesspool of psychosis. That observation was based on the Church’s prohibition against normal God-given faculties to the point of death by fire—burning at the stake. In my opinion, the Abrahamic religions are the greatest imposition humanity has ever experienced, and for why?—power, control, money.
This is Holy Week, a time when we commemorate the events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Of course, Jesus was an heretical zealot. He walked the countryside teaching a simple message—love of God and love of neighbor. He knew he would be killed because of his heretical teaching. He had observed how the King lorded over his subjects and how the High Priest became filthy rich by fleecing the people of their hard-earned money—they had to pay him to make a perfect offering of atonement to God, and only the High Priest could both provide and make that offering—an overt scam.
Jesus, on the other hand, instructed his apostles to go into the world and preach a simple message of love—the good news (gospel) that I have loved you to the death—no religion needed. He instructed them to take no provisions—live off what was offered them. In my lifetime of 87 years, I have not witnessed any such dedication by preachers or priests. My mother, Anna Courtney Hunt, who wrote and published in 1945 a History of Fancy Farm, Kentucky and Saint Jerome Church, noted a rather remarkable dedication of a priest or two 100 years prior. They traveled by horseback twice a year from Bardstown, Kentucky to Fancy Farm and back, making stops at various Catholic Churches along the way—such dedication I have not observed.
What I have witnessed by many denominations is a continued effort to impose greater and greater financial burden on their subjects by constructing more and larger, beautifully adorned, structures, while at the same time creating more and bigger ministries, many of which are aimed at proselytizing their competitors constituents—all in the name of pleasing God which is an impossibility—God is perfect and can be neither pleased nor displeased.
My deep suspicion is if Jesus’ command for his disciples (priests and preachers) to “go into the world and tell everyone the ‘good news’ while living off local offerings” were to be imposed today, those preachers’ concern for our souls would vanish like ghosts in the night—most traditional religion would cease to be. Likewise, mankind’s guilt-ridden psyches would be freed.
The world desperately needs and deserves a different understanding and approach to God. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Many may shriek in horror at my statement—even though it covers them with guilt, their blanket also affords them with security because they have been brainwashed into knowing that their religion is the only correct one. Many actually have been led to believe that those of all other religions are doomed to hell—smug attitude???.
Except for the perpetual subconscious misery of guilt with ensuing anxiety and depression for many, imposed by religion, it makes no difference—by the death of Jesus, God has saved us all. If only we would accept God and accept our neighbor as Jesus commanded, all would be much happier.
My little book, Wilderness Cry expands that philosophy completely and irrefutably—Amazon and Kindle (new edition).