3/24/2016 11:33:47 AM
Religious Pride and Indoctrination
The greatest obstacle to learning the truth is to believe that you already know it. Some religious people have a dogged determination to never change their position on doctrinal issues. Even when opposing views are presented from God's authoritative word, they refuse to consider the possibility that they could be wrong.
Religious indoctrination is one of the most powerful tools Satan uses to blind people from the light of the Gospel (2 Cor.4:4). Most former Catholics will say they had similar experiences that I suffered after being baptized as a baby. From the time I could think I was indoctrinated with a set of religious beliefs that were never to be questioned. During the process of being catechized as a young boy, I was forbidden to think independently of the church's authority. Looking back, I can see that there was persuasive pressure to submit my mind, intellect and will to the "infallible" teachings of the "one true church."
Religious pride is another powerful tool Satan uses to hold people captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Religious pride usually takes the form of spiritual arrogance or a fierce, unbending loyalty to an institution. Many Roman Catholics refuse to engage in spiritual conversations with non-Catholics because they are so proud of their religion. They are indoctrinated with the false and fatal belief that the Catholic Church is the one true church and necessary for salvation. We were also brainwashed with the fear that we would forfeit our salvation if we ever left the Catholic Church. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read: "Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation...Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it" (paragraph 846).
I witnessed this religious pride in my uncle, a Catholic priest of 61 years. He spent 30 years in southeast Asia leading Hindus and Buddhists to his religion, but not to Jesus Christ. After he returned to America, I was delighted to share God's Gospel with him every time we got together. However, each time he rebuked me with a condescending attitude for daring to question his religion or his position of authority. Blinded by religious pride, he belittled my references to the Gospel of grace because of his stubborn confidence in his priestly rituals and sacraments. Clearly, religious pride is one of the greatest obstacles to genuine saving faith. Many Catholics have an unbending loyalty to earthly priests who offer the same daily sacrifices which can never take away sin (Heb. 10:11).
Satan does a masterful job of using man's religions to conceal God's glorious Gospel of grace. He and his pawns, who disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, deceive the unwary through a variety of false religious systems (2 Cor. 11:14-15). To be deceived about one's relationship with God is the most dangerous and perilous position. To leave this earth embracing a false gospel will result in the most horrifying existence that man could ever experience. Those who die in such a state have no recourse, no escape and no second chance. May God give us all humble teachable spirits and a desire to know the truth of His Word!