Do Fearful People Choose a ‘Strong Man’ to Their Eventual Regret?

Written by Allan Erickson on March 15, 2016

On the one hand we have a candidate with born-again bona fides, a man whose words align with his actions, the definition of integrity.

On the other hand we have a candidate who says he is a Christian yet he denies any need for forgiveness, thereby rejecting the finished work of the Cross, the heart of Christianity.  In this, he is either confused about the greatest question confronting humankind (the deity of Christ), or he is intentionally deceiving people.  In either case, he does not inspire confidence.  Still he aspires to the highest office on earth.

The first is a man of God.  The second is not.

Christian leaders in significant numbers prefer the latter candidate to the former, ignoring his track record, and shunning the man of integrity, evidence we live in the age of incoherence.  

Whether deceptive by calculation, or self-deceived, the celebrated candidate has admitted he is a womanizer and an adulterer.  In fact, he brags about it.  He has displayed other immoral behaviors, for many years.  He admits he has bribed public officials.  He is constantly being sued for illegal or dishonest business practices.  There are concrete reasons to conclude his past behavior predicts future performance, that he is not the man he appears to be, that once in office, he will do as he has always done.

Throughout history, people allowed themselves to be deceived.  Driven by panic, fear and anger, they have sought out the Strong Man, crying out for a savior, a deliverer.  At the right time, one usually shows up, just at the height of mass hysteria.  He promises deliverance, seducing the crowd with emotionalism, grand promises (without specifics) and false statements: demagoguery.

Pilate sought the crowd, the crowd sought him, and they came to an accommodation.   

Many demagogues down through the ages have done likewise. It always leads to ruin.  There is no servant leadership without moral leadership, there is no moral leadership without a moral people, and without a moral people, it is easy for the demagogue to exploit the situation, always for personal gain.

In the end, standing in the rubble, the people scratch their heads and wonder what caused the catastrophe, rarely understanding the cause was their decision to choose feet of clay instead of the everlasting Arms.

Image: Donald Trump via photopin (license)

Share if you think the “strong man” lesson from history needs to be remembered today.

Allan Erickson
Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter, and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012.