I don't understand some unbelievers. They tout the Christian religion as an invention for manipulation and control of people. How so? Sex?
Galatians 5:19-24 (NASB)
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, heresies, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Who in their right mind would create a religion that instructs you to NOT fornicate? I do not believe that a bogus religion could create many followers on that point. Note my emphasis on the practice. We all want to do at least some of those things listed, but that is not the problem. The problem is actually DOING them. One thing you can read into this is that heterosexuals are to be held to the same standards of sexual self-control as homosexuals. No fornication! Christianity is non-discriminatory!
Who does this "control" benefit? Is it for money? Christians are warned against being tied to the material world. "The love of money is the root of all evil", 1 Timothy 6:10. Nope. Try again. Money is not to be the end game. Ministers are asked to not live a life of splendor. Even Pope Francis is rooting out those that do
Matthew 22:21 (NASB)
21 They *said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He *said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
Romans 13:1-3 (NASB)
13 Every [a]person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except [b]from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore [c]whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for [d]good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
Control of what? To create a group of people that are willing to just give up and become slaves? Then WHY is the government not trying to ensure that Christianity is widespread but is instead trying to remove it
? Nope. Christians are to pay taxes and follow the laws.
Subjugate women? Wrong on that, too. Here's a few passages:
Philippians 4:1-23 (ESV)
2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion,[b] help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Did you see that? John was pressing for equal treatment, there. He certainly exhorted the women working in the early church.
1 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)
3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife[a] is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
The word "head" here, in the original Greek, is "kephale". In those days, the head was not the center of intellect as we see it now. It was the center of emotion and life itself. One cannot live without a head! What a responsibility for the husband! He is the source of "life" of his wife and his marriage! Tyranny and blind obedience are not life-giving acts.
Here is another passage:
Ephesians 5:22-24 (ESV)
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
I know this one is almost always taken out of context as showing that women are oppressed. What is missing is the rest of that passage:
Ephesians 5:25-30 (ESV)
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.
Need I point out that Christ DIED for His Church and in a spectacularly horrific and painful way? Husbands are being asked to LITERALLY DIE for their wives, in The Bible. Tell me where the manipulation and control is there. The submission is certainly mutual. There is no master/slave relationship described here, but a PARTNERSHIP. Women are specifically NOT being oppressed so that can't be the basis for the idea that Christianity is just some made up religion for control of women.
I ask you again, what is the manipulation and control and who is it benefiting? Why would a religion that says to not have gratuitous sex, not to get drunk, and to be nice to others even if they are mean to you, not to abuse your spouse, and not to stir up political trouble, be so widespread?
Maybe because it is right?