This is the final post of a 3-part series comparing the characteristics of dictators with people who spiritually abuse. The other two parts can be found here:
Comparing the Two, Part 1
Comparing the Two, Part 2
“Anonymous” posted this comment on Part 1:
The last sentence really made my head spin. I had been thinking of the parallels of physically and spiritually starving people. But “Anonymous” is correct in that there is a kind of death in both environments. This thought should not be minimized. How can someone be growing spiritually and emotionally in that kind of environment? Isn’t the ultimate goal of a pastor and shepherd to help his sheep grow spiritually? Who is benefiting by spiritually dead members?
And this part was profound: “What I wonder is what the leaders hope to gain . . . .” Having this type of authoritarian rule over people only benefits who? The leader. This is a self-absorbed leader which is completely contrary to the heart of a true shepherd that we read about in scripture.
After reading the CNN article, I did a quick Google search on the word “dictator”. I don’t know what school teaches this stuff, but spiritual abusers, dictators, cult leaders seem to have learned the same tactics to control and manipulate the people “beneath” them.
Most dictators have several characteristics in common. They usually rule autocracies, governments with a single self-appointed leader and no governing body to check his power. Often, dictators have totalitarian regimes, keeping their power through control of the mass media. Totalitarian dictators also use secret police and spy on the citizens of their state as well as restrict or completely remove their personal freedoms.
Many of these dictators foster cults of personality, a form of hero worship in which the masses are fed propaganda declaring their leader to be flawless (and in some cases, divine or divinely appointed). The North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung (father of Kim Jong-il) was essentially the sole subject of all forms of art created in the country. Schoolchildren were taught to give thanks to Kim Il-sung, the source of all of their blessings, as part of their training. Critics spoke of him as being megalomaniacal and extremely narcissistic.
Do you notice similar patterns?
We are not in N. Korea being ruled by a dictator. The mom in the CNN story spent 10 years in China and has been living free in the US ever since. She and her daughters now help others who are going through the same experience. Many of us “defected” the church and are still being sought out by the “dictator” months if not years after leaving. Where is our freedom? We are in America where we should be free to worship where we want to worship without having a former pastor interfering in our lives.
Lastly, take a look at this video. It’s amazing to see the devotion, honor, and respect these mourners are demonstrating. Their deceased dictator is the same man who literally starved so many of his citizens, some to the point of death. He was held to a god-like status by his people. In light of the parallels between the devotion of the people to their dictator and the devotion of church congregants to their pastor, I found this video disturbing.