Saturday, 03 July 2010
The secret societies of fraternities and sororities have always fascinated me. If I had known more about them in high school, I probably would've pledged in college. Belonging to a sect of people with similar views and opinions sounds like a rewarding experiencing.
Especially as an African-American female, I would've like to pledge to one of the Black Sororities. But, are sororities, fraternities and secret societies outside of God's will for Christians? How might belonging to a fraternal organization impact the life of a Christian? Should Christians take the oath of fraternal organizations?
In C.S. Lewis' novel The Screwtape Letters, he pens the utility of secret society's for the devil's purposes in Chapter VII. Lewis writes: "Any small coterie, bound together by some interest which other men dislike or ignore, tends to develop inside itself a hothouse mutual admiration, and towards the outer world a great deal of pride and hatred which is entertained without shame because the "Cause" is its sponsor and it's thought to be impersonal...."
Upon first glance, fraternal organizations have the appeal of joining like-minded individuals. The other side of the coin is the ultimate reality of exclusivity which these organizations perpetuate. Of all things, God wants His people to be unified. Secret societies assemble with noble intents of unity, hope and dedication to higher morals.
Lewis continues to write: " the uneasy intensity and the defensive self righteousness of a secret society or a clique." Lewis, one of the greatest Christian authors of all times, writes that inherently secret societies are self righteous and intense. Clearly, Christians struggle with enough intensity and severe self righteousness. Why heap more on our plates?
With every new addition to their ranks, fraternal organizations violate moral codes of Christianity. A small group of older members of the sorority "pledge" the interests to test if s/he is suitable for their organization. Love is free in Christ's eyes and acceptance is a given. Should we seek acceptance into groups with people who require us to "prove" we are "good enough" for their club? This line of reasoning goes against the message of salvation and Jesus' death on a cross.
Fraternal organizations require that their members take an oath to one another and to the organization. Though the wording may be different, most oaths include this life long promise to each other and their group. I'm guessing that there isn't a mention of God in the oath, the creed or the life long promise. Christians may be in the organization but it is not necessarily a faith organization. Christians can and should partake in secular groups and activities but should we pledge our lives and its purpose to an organization that doesn't have the purpose of furthering the Gospel?
While admirable, fraternal organizations also strike a nerve of uneasiness within me. Creeds, rituals and symbols that represent their cause are eerily Middle Century cult like. Shouldn't Christians be solely represented by the cross? Not to sound like a religious fanatic, but symbols of ancient Greek lettering and colors seem unsettling in my spirit. I'm truly torn on this topic. There is an undeniable appeal to Greek organizations but I'm curious if Jesus would pledge His life to one of them.
What are your thoughts on Greek organizations? Do the fundamental beliefs and rituals of groups stand outside the inclusive loving message of Christ? If Christ were alive, which fraternal erg would He pledge to?