Opinion: Democracy instead of Doctrine

What else hasn’t ‘organised religion’ understood?

It doesn’t realise that people no longer want to be TOLD what to believe.
They’ve gone off ‘authority’. It’s let them down so much in the past. A fair proportion of both secular and religious leaders have been arrogant or corrupt or just ‘not up to it’.


The culture of ‘organised religion’ is very patriarchal. In an era where concerned folk are striving to obtain equality for women, most religious leadership positions are reserved for men… particularly so (and mediaevally so) in the Catholic church but also in other religions and denominations.

Structures and procedures are also based on what I call a ‘male’ hierarchical model. It is the ‘who can get to the top model’ and the ‘who can we kick off the bottom’ model.

This is a power-based model. Not inclusive. Decisions flow from the top to the bottom. It does have its uses. Emergencies are best handled this way, as are certain key decisions that need to be made quickly and expertly (such as construction and war (both of which men seem to like and to do so well).

The alternative is a flat structure where decisions are made collectively at the lowest suitable level. It is an inclusive model. No-one is left out. Everyone can participate. It does take longer and can be challenging to ‘efficiency nuts’ or people who are impatient, but the outcome is better. People feel involved… part of something. Decisions are more likely to fit the needs of the group. I’m inclined to call this the ‘female’ model. It’s emerging more as more women are coming into their own in the secular world. It seems to be a better way of for people to share decision-making and problem solving.

How far behind can ‘organised religion’ get?

The problem seems to be ‘doctrine’… that’s a set of ‘beliefs’ which have been formalised and handed down over many years.

They appear to be set in concrete… never-changing.

I suppose for many the idea of something unchangeable in an
ever-changing world would make life seem more comfortable, more certain, more manageable.

But people who are searching for ‘Godliness’ should not be using doctrine and churchiness as a mattress to slumber upon… true religion can be a springboard to life abundant… to joy and love and hope.

Bev Floyd

3 thoughts on “Opinion: Democracy instead of Doctrine

  1. paul wildman

    Bev well said could this also be the difference between an association (flat) and a corporation (hierarchical) forms of governance? ciao paul

  2. Bev Floyd

    Hmmm Paul,
    That’s an interesting question. Mega corporations have gained too much power. The greed for profit is cancerous. Perhaps govts and individuals could find a way to sideline them. It would entail moving more decision-making opportunities to lower levels. Perhaps taxing mega-corps severely. Perhaps boycotting products. This is not just a political matter. It’s about meaning and purpose in the world. It’s about poverty, climate change, the environment…

  3. Bryan and Dorelle Gilmour

    Very good comments Bev,
    The church certainly needs to be the voice and action of the people, – the leaders need to open the possibilities, – not determine the action. Bryan Gilmour

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