In his essay ‘Self-Reliance’ Emerson wrote, “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” The Apostle Paul reminds us that whoso would be a Christian must also be a nonconformist. Any Christian who blindly accepts the opinions of the majority and in fear and timidity follows a path of expediency and social approval is a mental and spiritual slave.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
A conformist conforms to Babylon. He is a muggle slave, a muppet slave, an addict slave, a victim slave, sometimes a diva slave and a demon slave. Muggle slaves are the most recognisably conformist. They are slaves to things like social media, soaps, gossip, football, pop music and popular culture, and the strict demands of family and friends. Any deviation from the norm is curtailed through ridicule and peer pressure.
Muppet slaves are also conformists, while often deluding themselves that they are nonconformists. They are slaves to ideologies, often of a counter-cultural hue, whether political, philosophical, artistic, psychological, theosophical or religious. Many modern Westerners are slaves to a materialist worldview, which prevents them from straying beyond the narrow mental space delimited by the natural sciences. Others are slaves to the latest trends in the culture war. The defining features of muppet slaves are dogmatic fundamentalism and cultishness; they are easily identified by their fighting talk and tone of strident self-righteousness.
Addict slaves are slaves to the passions, both substance and behavioural addicts, slaves to alcohol, weed, sugar, nicotine, smart phones, box sets, shopping, gambling, sex. Victim slaves are constantly haunted by a victim mentality, and labour under persecution complexes and conspiracy theories. Certain minority ethnic groups, such as African Americans and secular Jews, are particularly prone to this form of mental slavery. It is also ubiquitous among radical feminists and those who fly the LGBTQ+ flag.
Fear God and you will fear no man. The fear of God is both the beginning of wisdom and the beginning of freedom, freedom from mental and spiritual slavery to man-made idols. Bob Marley sang, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, only ourselves can free our minds.” But the enslaved mind cannot free itself. Only God can do that.
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”