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Loyalty. Trust. Betrayal.

by Carl S. ~

Three very powerful words fraught with meaning. These words have spawned countless novels, traditions, and moral debates. There are descriptions for those who are disloyal : traitors, double-crossing, betrayers, rats, stool pigeons, whistle-blowers, etc. Loyalty itself is held up as being honorable, as in patriotic, honorable, a game player, trustworthy, and true to powers that be. Loyalty and disloyalty are interpreted in black and white terms. Is it really that simple?

John Patrick, a Presbyterian minister, gave a quiz to his congregation. The quiz had three questions on it. Number one referenced the biblical command as the word of God, to, “put to death both man and woman, child and infant,” and asked if this was the same Lord they worshiped. The second question asked if “it is conceivable that the same Lord could again issue the same command in our time?” Number three was, “If you yourself believed you were so commanded by your Lord, could you and would you obey?” After he noticed how many of his parishioners answered “yes” to all three questions, he resigned.

Personally, my own experience is related to John Patrick's. I read a biblical passage to a believer from Exodus, ch.32, v.26 - 30 : “then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Who is on the Lord's side? Then come to me!” and all the sons of Levi gathered around him. He said to them,”thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Put your sword on your side, each of you! Go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor.” The sons of Levi did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand of the people fell on that day. And Moses said, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of a son or a brother, and so have brought a blessing on yourselves this day.” (If you noticed, those who were slain were Israelites, not their enemies.) In this passage, the believer found nothing morally repugnant and nothing to challenge. Should I be vigilant lest at some time this same Lord may tell this same believer to slay me?

Obedient loyalty is the chief command of Abrahamic religions, beginning with Abraham's obedience to the Lord's command that he kill his own son. These religions frequently involve slaying, and often the victim is someone loved or cared about. Personal loyalty to their lives and one's love for them is overruled by loyalty to the leader. In slaying them, the lover betrays their trust in him. If “the Lord” demands this, is it any different than the demands of a Mafia don?

Obedient loyalty is the chief command of Abrahamic religions... Personal loyalty [...] is overruled by loyalty to the leader. Is it any different than the demands of a Mafia don? Bible scripture religions are all based on tribal/clan cohesive loyalty. It is the same kind of loyalty found even today in gangs, the Mafia, cults, and drug cartels. (Even lovers sometimes ask their mates to kill a husband, wife, or parent, to prove their love for them.) Killing someone chosen by the leader is often required for initiation into these outfits. Muslims conduct “honor killings” by parents or siblings in families to prove loyalty. Punishments in the nature of ostracism, enslavement or death, can result as a consequence of disloyalty. The demands of the leader dominate, overriding the individual's conscience. (In the Book of Job, Job swears his loyalty, “even if he kills me.”)

Loyalty to tribe, religion, political ideology, gang, etc. has led to countless miseries, injustices, and deaths. Loyalty to religions is responsible for the cover-ups of the rape of children, the silence of clergy about the lies they and their fellow members perpetuate in the name of their Lord. Their predecessors have been responsible for the tortures and deaths of the whistle-blowers inside their church's membership. Their king, lord, and ruler is none other than God himself, worthy of lying for.

Is loyalty virtuous? The examples given don't support that claim. In fact, they offer persuasive reasons when it is morally wrong to be loyal. On the other hand, the scriptures tell us that to be loyal to “the Lord” blesses whatever he commands, however heinous the act. In fact, we are continually told that we are rewarded for such loyalty! And there are other benefits, such as: status in the society, such as trustworthiness earned by betraying those you care about, to the extent of murdering them for the Lord. One has to become his obedient servant, to be used as his instrument, becoming the proven true believer. The scriptures demand unconditional obedience. In the old testament, rewards for this obedience will be earthly, and in the new testament, they will be heavenly, beyond what wonder the senses or mind can imagine.

But...Is this Lord himself loyal? In the first story of a relationship between the Lord and humans, he tells them that “if you eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, on that die you will die.” This didn't happen. If you have been led to believe that this Lord knew beforehand what the outcome was from eating the fruit, he knew it wouldn't happen. He lied and didn't keep his word. The fact that there are billions of people on earth proves that “Adam and Eve” didn't die that same day!

People prayed and still pray to this Lord to deliver them from evil. Yet they and the ones they pray for are not any more exempt from the evils that believers in other gods or no gods endure. And consider something else : During the rise of Hitler to power, Catholic and Protestant believers in Germany, as citizens, surely prayed that their leader receive Divine guidance for the sake of their nation's welfare. At the same time, their Lord was betraying the trust placed in him by not warning them of Hitler's intentions and by allowing this dictator to deceive them into enslavement. This Lord permitted that tyrant to bring the trusting masses untold destruction and agonies, deaths to innocent millions, and the Holocaust. In our own generation, one Christian Right - supported president of the U.S. involved his country and others in a war initiated on his false claims. Thousands were killed and maimed, physically and mentally, as a result. Where was the loyalty of their Lord to every one of them? Weren't they betrayed by their Lord, since they weren't warned beforehand?

If you pay attention to scriptures, you'll notice that the psalmists and others appealing to the Lord frequently complain that they are not receiving the rewards he's promised, that he has just maybe, not been faithful to his people. They ask just how long do they have to wait for deliverance and for those promised rewards? All of these things are in those O.T. texts. Maybe that's why the Lord's N.T. tactics changed to promising after-death rewards that couldn't be confirmed or investigated. Should anyone trust in or be loyal to “the new improved Lord” of the N.T. than the O.T. one?

It's time to, “think on all these things” because you're gambling your conscience and morality in obeying someone who wants loyalty to the extreme of your being willing to kill those you love. Man, if anyone’s still faithful to this ”Lord” and tyrant, they must really be afraid!