The Hypocrisy of Religious Authority

do-as-i-say“All religions, in their purest form, will tell you God is Love. Power, fear, division, judgment, oppression, hatred and self-righteousness are the opposite of Love. Going to war in the name of religion is a complete contradiction. No truly religious leader would ever support this.”
― The Truth

After silencing the Pharisees, Jesus spoke to the multitude, and to his disciples:

The scholars and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore observe and do all that they tell you. But do not do as they do, for they do not follow their own laws. They bind heavy burdens, grievous to be borne, on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not bear them, nor even lift a finger. All of their works they do only to be seen by other men. They dress ostentatiously, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted in the market, and to be called master by men.

Do not wish to be called master, for only the messiah is your master, and all of you are brothers. Call no man upon the earth your father, for your true father is in heaven. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be abased, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.

Woe to you, scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven against men. You neither go in yourselves, nor allow those who are ready to enter to do so.

Woe to you, scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour the widows’ goods, and make a pretense of piety with long prayers. For this you will receive even greater damnation.

Woe to you, scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and when he is converted, you make him twice the child of hell that you yourselves are.

Woe to you, you blind guides, who say that to swear by the temple is nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is a debtor! You blind fools. What is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold? You say that to swear by the altar is nothing, but whoever swears by the gift upon it is guilty. You blind fools. What is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Whoever swears by the altar swears by all things on it, and whoever swears by the temple swears by he that dwells in it. He that swears by heaven swears by the throne of Yahweh, and by the one that sits on it.

Woe to you, scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay your tithe in mint, anise, and cumin, but forget the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith. You ought to have worried about these, and not about leaving your tithe unpaid. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.

Woe to you, scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but inside, they are full of extortion and excess. You blind Pharisees, clean the inside the cup and platter first, so that the outside of them can be clean as well.

Woe to you, scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed crypts that appear beautiful on the outside, but are full of dead men’s bones, and of all that is filthy. You appear righteous to other men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Woe to you, scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the sepulchres of the righteous and say “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in the persecution of the prophets.” You bear witnesses against yourselves, for you are the children of those who killed the prophets. Fill the measure of your fathers.

You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? I will send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes. Some you will kill and crucify, others scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city. All the righteous blood shed upon the earth will be on your hands, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, who you slew between the temple and the altar. All of these things will happen to this generation.

Oh people of Jerusalem, you who killed the prophets, and stoned those who were sent to you, how I wished to gathered your children together, like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not allow it! Therefore, your houses will be left desolate to you. You will not see me again until you say “Blessed is he that comes in the name of Yahweh.”

It is ironic how much of what Jesus says about the priestly class (the Levites) and the devout (the Pharisees) is true today. When I hear the leader of the Roman Catholic church comparing Jesus and his disciples to ISIS, televangelists soliciting money to forgive sins, or fundamentalists trying to force the teaching of the Old Testament to children as scientific fact, I’m reminded of this epic rant.


About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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2 Responses to The Hypocrisy of Religious Authority

  1. Bonsai says:

    I know right? We have two children (my step children) who were raised Catholic by their mother. I love them so much but I just never understand how anyone can follow that sect as it seems so contrary to many of the things Jesus said and preached. Of course there are issues with certain Protestant groups as well. We attend a pretty open, loving, simple church. Not perfect I’m sure but it seems close to The Word.

    • jimbelton says:

      Catholicism became a cult of greed (pay us to forgive your sins) and exclusion (only priests have access to the bible). Just think: Jesus says “don’t call any man father, because your real spiritual father is in heaven”, and yet Catholic priests are called father. How power corrupts. Don’t get me wrong, I think the many Catholic churches do a lot of good. But simple is almost always better. The more I read what Jesus actually said, the more I realize how far from it so many in the church have strayed from it.

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