Why Do Humans Crave Domination?

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 
— John 15:14 

Anyone who embraces the above scripture as the central theme to their relationship with a god must be a submissive at heart. The kind of friendship described in the verse has never appealed to me, but then I have a fairly dominate personality. 

They say the world can be divided into cat lovers and dog lovers, beer drinkers and wine drinkers or dominants and submissives.

Strictly speaking, we probably all fall somewhere on the spectrum in all three categories, but it's long been apparent to me that there are plenty of people who prefer to dominate in a relationship and they tend to attract those who want to submit. I am told that in the world of the dominatrix, a lifestyle that is largely kept underground but has many loyal participants, there's a tiny itch that must be scratched both by the submissive and the dominate personalities. Some people actually derive pleasure from submitting to the forceful will of a dominatrix. And, the dominant person does indeed derive equal pleasure from controlling, sometimes even inflicting a little pain. 

The drive to create a god that apparently needs as many friends as he can get but only as long as they let him do whatever he pleases to them doesn't take into account that there are many people who will never thrive in such a relationship. 

The powers given to this god, however, far exceed that of any domineering human being. The scriptures say ye must do whatsoever I command you. That means anything. Anything! In the case of Abraham that meant being willing to kill his own son because god told him to do so. The god of the Bible certainly didn't hesitate to demand some very harsh things of his friends. Jesus was pretty darn exacting as well. Sell everything that you own, give it to the poor and follow me. That kind of devotion is unprecedented. Want to really test a friendship? Ask your friend to give you their money. 

The sacrifices that humans have reportedly made in order to submit to their gods are endless. 

It has even been rumored that some priests and monks self castrated with the hope of pleasing god. Their desire to submit to his will far exceeded their desire to copulate. To be willing to do anything to please someone else in order to keep them in your life is what we now refer to as a codependent relationship. It's not considered healthy by psychologists and is extremely difficult to terminate. Two people become so utterly enmeshed that boundaries no longer exist between where one person ends and the other begins. To reestablish a sense of independence and personal autonomy is almost impossible no matter how devastating the relationship. Yet, that's the grounds upon which god's friendship is offered.

Submission to a god is in a category of its own. 

The encounters between a dominatrix and a submissive involve two consenting adults. Submitting to the will of god, however, leaves no room for personal preferences, new ideas, bartering (although many try through prayer), negotiating and no promise of reciprocation. It's an all encompassing deal, a one-sided friendship where god gets his way and his friends comply or else they'll be punished. How will they be punished? They'll be cut off from god forever. He won't be their friend any longer. It's either his way or the highway. If you refuse the deal, you're doomed. 

That's coercion, plain and simple. 

We see this same unexplainable behavior in humans when they choose an authoritarian leader over a democratic leader. Currently, the western world is flirting with fascism again, even in countries where some of the citizens can remember living under a dictator in the not-so-distant past. I suppose I need to consult my psychology books to find an explanation for this strange behavior on the part of human beings, but there you have it. Some humans crave submission. They actually feel safer with a dictator. There's a need in many to have someone else take care of them, to turn the responsibility for solving problems over to an authority figure. They don't even require that it be a benevolent dictator. Taking responsibility for their own lives is too daunting. 

Of course, humans can and do get around god's many and often ridiculous commands by cherrypicking the ones that they can endure. 

They look for any means possible to still have some control over their own lives. Yet, it has always surprised me that there remains an enormous number of highly conservative religions in the world that have invented the harshest approach to god imaginable. What makes those people tick? I've always wanted to know. Why are there those that are drawn to religions that deny almost all pleasure whereas other people choose a way to serve their god that demands almost nothing of them? I have no desire to be religious, but if I did, I certainly wouldn't choose the most rigorous belief system available to me. 

I'll never understand how anyone would actually want to be a friend to the god of the Bible. 

Submissive or not, humans desire at the least a minimum amount of freedom and autonomy. Most of us would be appalled by a person who demanded that we give up everything we want in order to be counted among their friends. In the real world, those are the kinds of relationships that people have to recover from and then learn to avoid in the future. Yet, we so glibly quote a scripture like the one above without seeming to realize what a sick idea it perpetuates. From this type of thinking many harmful religions have evolved. Religions that often irreversibly damage individuals. We indoctrinate our friends, relatives even our offspring with this kind of detrimental thinking without even the tiniest prick to our conscience. 

There you have the rub, the nasty impact of religion upon humankind. 

As though there isn't already enough pain and suffering in the natural world that we have absolutely no control over, humans choose to create gods and then give them this incredible power to make our lives even harder. If there's an easy way to do something or a hard way, people choose the hard way more often than not. I can't explain why we are prone to such behaviors. Our big brains trick us over and over again. 

Why humans do what they do remains the biggest mystery of all. 

Teresa Roberts is a myth buster. Her recently published book - Have We Been Screwed? Trading Freedom for Fairy Tales - can be purchased on Amazon.