Warning signs

It disturbs me that in religions of personality*, adherents have no independent means by which to judge the actions or teachings of their leaders. Everything the leaders say or do (or write) has to be accepted. “What have our leaders taught about this?” is the only test they use in determining whether something is morally right or wrong.

Would that clear warning signs would go up each time their leaders’ teachings or actions crossed the line from supportive/compassionate/beneficial to abusive/controlling/harmful.

The flags could say:
“Emotional manipulation”

“Unsupported claim”



“Double standard”

“Us vs Them”

“Unreasonable demand”

“Overly simplistic”

“Peer pressure”

“None of their business!”

“Out of context”

“Exclusionary and divisive”




“Group think”



“Opinion stated as fact”

“Blind obedience”



I worry that, being without this kind of warning system, people in such groups end up doing or believing things that are harmful to themselves and others.

I wonder if one way people can train themselves to avoid blind obedience is to regularly ask themselves, “How would I feel about these ideas if it were Adolph Hitler delivering them? Are these ideas worthy of my devotion?”

What other mental warning flags do we need, do you think?


*in which “infallible” leaders are revered and trusted as the final word on truth-knowledge-divine will.

About Shaunalei

"Peace by Piece" is a storehouse for my exploratory journey of discovery and healing. Feel free to reach me at: shaunalei@codepoet.org.
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