First published 20th September 2013

Are rebels good or bad? The answer to this question will depend on your point of view.

If you are a member of the establishment of your particular organisation, then a rebel will be, at least, a thorn in your flesh, maybe a troublemaker, or even a dangerous revolutionary that is a threat to your position of power.

If you are a member of the oppressed classes of your organisation, then a rebel may appear to be, at least, a voice crying in the wilderness, maybe a shining light, or even the charismatic leader of a cause that you are inspired to follow.

Throughout history, rebels have been perceived and portrayed in such ways. Yet, throughout history, rebels have rebelled against what they perceived to be undeserved privilege, inexplicable inequality, injustice, the abuse of power, and hypocrisy which seems to be the inevitable bedfellow of power.

Sadly, throughout history, where rebels have succeeded in overthrowing the powerful, they have then become the powerful people and have been seduced by the perks that accompany power for power tends to corrupt; and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

In recent years, we have seen a rebellion against religion in this country, particularly against Christianity (but, for some, against Islam). Some of the rebels call themselves secularists; and some are somewhat aggressive atheists (though they are often evangelical about their belief!). But are they rebelling against religion or against many of the evil things that have been perpetrated in the name of religion?

Many of todays doctrines have been developed over the years by theologians and leaders of the church as their interpretations of the teachings of the originator of the religion (Christ or Mohammed) as documented in the holy books (Bible or Koran). Many of the evils perpetrated in the name of religion have no place in the tenets of that religion they are the evil acts of evil men (they are nearly always men!) who abused their position of power within the church. And, sadly, throughout history, the church has become embroiled in politics; so it has become involved in the struggle for power to control the people with the inevitable (unchristian) brutal methods used to hold onto power.

Of course, Jesus, himself, was regarded as a rebel by those in power in his day! He was constantly criticising the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees who were the establishment of the Jewish church in his time. He accused them of misinterpreting, and misapplying, God's commandments in todays terminology, he might even have been called a whistle-blower! Thus, he was perceived as a threat to their position of power and they would use that power (and the corruption of false witness) to ensure he was crushed.

But his message lives on. It is a simple one Love one another. He lived out his own message; he showed us how to do it I am the way, the truth and the life. He invited, and still invites, us to follow him; but it is sometimes far from easy to resist the seduction of secular societys creature comforts or the temptations of the trappings of power!

Written by

Malcolm Morrison, Wroughton

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