In September 1995 in Waco, Texas cult leader, David Koresh refused to submit to a government warrant. The members of the Branch Davidian, a sect that split away from the Seventh-Day Adventist church, had been excited into an anticipation of the end of the world. Following mostly the book of Revelations in the Bible, they focused on Armageddon and believed they would be a large part of it. They believed that the Branch Davidians would be the only ones to descend to heaven when God came. The obedience of this doomsday cult to the beliefs of Koresh, despite the warning signs, led to destruction and death of many members and their children. (Robinson, B. A., 1995)
Obedience is the act of carrying out orders or conforming to certain beliefs. Being obedient is a very important part of religion. There are many different faiths and denominations that belong to religion. Followers of each religion possess different beliefs.
There is a certain amount of unconditional obedience that comes with believing in a higher power, but individuals should approach this obedience with caution and critical thinking. There is a limit to how and when people should be obedient. People should allow their conscience to dictate. People have the capability to develop their own opinions and make their own decisions based upon their beliefs. Groups and peer pressure have a way of causing individuals to conform, therefore, it is important to make decisions as an individual. At the same time individuals should question what obedience means to them. When questioning obedience, individuals should use good moral judgment their conscience, and religious guidance before submitting themselves to an unconditional obedience. The conscience should be the deciding factor in a person’s decision to obey.
“What is dangerous is not belonging to a group, or groups, but not understanding the social laws that govern groups and govern us” (Lessing, 1998, p. 307). We live in a world where most everyone belongs to some type of group or groups. The largest groups that people belong to are religious. As with most groups, religions have a form of guidance or an outline. The Qur’an is the Muslim or Islamic guide. By following a guide, we submit to our beliefs, as we perceive them. “When we’re in a group, we tend to think as that group does: we may even have joined the group to find “like-minded” people. But we also find our thinking changing because we belong to a group” (Lessing, 1998, p. 307). Often, people stray from what they truly believe and conform to the way of the majority for fear of standing alone. It is hard to rebel against peer pressure and power of authority but it is important that people learn to keep their individuality. The fear of independence makes a person submissive to an opinion or belief that is not their own, and by submitting to the ways of others they are not true to themselves or their religion.
Most people want the freedom to follow and practice their religion or beliefs, and to feel secure in doing so. But obedience must be questioned and evaluated before carrying out an act. When evaluating moral judgment, conscience, and religious guidance should be used as tools.
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