Updated: Jun 16, 2019
Some time ago BBC4 aired a program which begged the question... "Who was the most powerful person in England during the Tudor period, (1485 - 1603) ?"
For this great and noble service to Christianity, Tyndale was brutally tortured and executed by the Church, for daring to usurp the power (not the glory) of the holy Roman empire of the established church.
The Church claims that it alone and its clergy and officers acting on its behalf are the sole authority to carry out the Shepherd's (God's) work. It also demands that the thoughts, words and authority of such officers/ representatives may not be questioned, and the failure to obey would attract severe punishment including death.
So great is the power and influence of religion that as per the World Christian Encyclopaedia now there that there are now approximately 33,000 denominations of Christian Churches each following its own way of exclusively doing the Shepherd's work.
The Church functions in a complex hierarchy from a Deacon at the junior most level rising up through numerous ranks and levels right up to the Pope, as per the [Hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
Though the example of the sheep and Shepherd is applicable to Christian and Jewish practice, treating followers like sheep is mandatory in every monotheist religion.
All organised religions are exactly that, organisations. They are run like multinational Corporations, structured with multilayered hierarchies. Each layer has its authority powers, targets and responsibilities clearly defined. Hierarchies and rank mean inequality, and politics, leading to power struggles inevitably involving greed for wealth and often vice.
Religious people are by default, followers. They must follow instructions, issued by the clergy and priests and their interpretations of the words inscribed in a 'holy' book. Followers must simply follow and do as commanded without question. If they keep blind faith they will be rewarded if not in this life then definitely in the next.
As long as there are so many individuals, institutions, and rules, demanding compliance to complicated unintelligible processes, rituals and procedures, spiritual growth will continue to elude religious individuals from being one with Creation and the Creator.
Nevertheless, religious people who have never tried or had the opportunity to look for spiritual guidance and support have no choice but to keep the faith for long, sometimes all life long, almost always without spiritual success.
Sometimes people lose faith in these human shepherds, so they choose to wake up and try to find and be one with the Divine on their own.
Whether they succeed or not , one thing is very clear; Once we wake up, we can never go back to sheep.