What is a hierarchy?
“A system in which people or things are put at various levels or ranks according to their importance.” http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/hierarchy
“Pyramid-like ranking of ideas, individuals, items, etc., where every level (except the top and the bottom ones) has one higher and one lower neighbor. Higher level means greater authority, importance, and influence.”
“A hierarchy is an organizational structure in which items are ranked according to levels of importance. Most governments, corporations and organized religions are hierarchical.” http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/hierarchy
“Religious organization is the complex of institutionalized roles and procedures which regulate the relations of men with the supernatural order, however such an order may be conceived. It may involve the regulation of religious practice and the promulgation of true, and suppression of false, doctrine; procedures for the recruitment, education, and professional socialization of religious specialists; the structure of authority among them; the basis, extent, and nature of their authority over the laity and its territorial and temporal coordination; the control of religious places, periods, premises, and equipment and such property and temporalities as accrue in the establishment of this control.”
In 2017 one would assume that individuals would be free to associate with any religious community if they chose without all the medieval trappings of creedal insistence from the upper echelons of the male hierarchy which dominates so many of these communities. Instead millions each week become myrmidons where they absorb every announcement from the oracle strata which is totally separated from them like Mount Olympus was from the Greek villager.
The Oracle at Delphi was the center of their belief system which resulted in their culture being viewed as the center of the world. Today, this is how adherents view their own religious hierarchal communities with one major exception.
At Delphi, Pythia was a woman whom everyone sought for her prophetic utterances. Her charismatic persona must have been impressive.
However, in today’s religious hierarchal systems women do not have a place at the table to partake of the ambrosia. Usually, it is old men who believe they have been entrusted with the oracles of truth for their people. They tend to be as rigid as granite.
Women are not welcome to dine in this private club. Women are tolerated, especially the ones who feel the call, but the call is always determined by policy books with hundreds of pages on how the religious community must be governed and controlled.
Control is the key issue here. These men like their control and power.
If you belong to one of these communities or know of family or friends who do, then you know how isolated from reality many of them can be.
They have their own argot. They believe they are the chosen ones.
However, any religious community which demands full obedience in practice to the doctrinal formations of the hierarchy eclipses two fundamental paradigms:
Free will and the ability of the individual to draw their own conclusions from the sacred texts to which they subscribe—one does not need to wear the mantle of religiosity or be a member of the councils to choose their path of enlightenment.
In addition there is a large amount of psychological manipulation in these religious communities. This is especially true when it comes down to filling the coffers each week.
Recently, I saw a religious leader on the web who stated categorically that if you did not return your tithe to the Lord (to his religious community), then you and your family are cursed. Cursed!
This primordial nonsense should have been regulated to the dark ages. Curses are a fear tactic to get your way with someone.
Humans are not pin cushions. They should not be treated that way.
In summary there is one key factor which I have noticed with these hierarchical communities: it is how they view gender roles in leadership, especially ordination. Male hierarchical religious communities which do not grant women full access to ecclesiastical roles are nothing more or less than misogynistic.
G. D. Williams © 2017
Christianity can be classified into certain groups according to different concepts. Primarily, Christianity is divided into three divisions such as Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism. According to another concept, Christianity is divided into eastern Christianity and western Christianity. In this particular article, we will discuss in details about the Christianity religious hierarchy that is prevalent in the Catholic Church.
It is easy to forget that, for centuries, most people were unaware that they had any choice in religious matters. They were surrounded by people like themselves, and only a few ever met believers from other traditions. No more. A mosque is being built around the corner and, look, the Dalai Lama is on TV again. Thousands of religious and spiritual chat rooms and blogs have popped up. This is the age not only of the “cafeteria Catholic,” but also of the cafeteria Buddhist, Baptist, and Mormon. More and more people view the world’s religious traditions as a buffet from which they can pick and choose.
In this environment, religious hierarchy is crumbling fast. The notions of consumer choice and local control have stormed the religious realm, and decentralization of faith is now the order of the day. Religious leaders who once could command, instruct, and expel now must cajole, persuade, and compete.
Buddhist Religious Hierarchy
The whole Buddhist religious life is centered around sanghas, also known as ‘Order of Disciplines’. Sanghas are defined as the communities of monks. The main job role of the monks is to transmit the teachings of Buddha all over the world. The monks live in the monasteries and spread their teachings by educating the students in the monasteries.
The Mormon Hierarchy
Over its nearly two-century history, the LDS church has developed a complicated bureaucracy to oversee what is now a worldwide religion. While every active adult Mormon holds a calling in the church, only those at the very top serve in their positions on a full-time basis. And because only men can receive the LDS priesthood, the top of the hierarchy is entirely male.
Seventh-day Adventist Hierarchy
The SDA’s do not like to advertise the fact that they have developed a hardcore, top-heavy hierarchy, because they know this is not a legitimate form of church organization for any Protestant denomination. So they dishonestly claim to have a “representative form of church government” when in fact they have something far different that has little to do with democracy or a “representative government.”
Southern Baptist Convention
“In my opinion, leaders of the SBC have become increasingly demanding in the specificity of their creed. I think there ought to be the ability for Baptists who have slightly different commitments to Christianity to get along, work together and love each other. … I have always felt and feel very deeply that the ultimate interpreter of scripture is Jesus Christ.” Jimmy Carter