An Atheist is a person who questions every kind of authority, and this is the thing that is important. Because if we can, without blinking an eye, question the ultimate authority, god - who must be obeyed, then we can question the authority of the state, we can question the authority of a university structure, we can question the authority of our employer, we can question anything. So I think the primary thing that an Atheist is, is a person who looks at an authoritarian idea, or an authority structure, and says to that authority structure: from whence do you derive your authority and why should I be obedient to you? It appears to me that if I have human intelligence that this is enough for me to try to challenge whatever you're doing.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
This is the essence of Kingdom Authority. Fathers can have no authority in the home until they have surrendered to the headship of Jesus. Mothers cannot pray with authority for their children when they have no submissive spirit to their own husbands. Pastors cannot lead, teach, or preach with anointing and supernatural power without being fully broken and surrendered to the lordship of Christ, the authority of the Word, and the commands of the Spirit.
The authority of the Church was thrown over by the authority of the state. Twenty years only have passed, and the authority of the state is already thrown over by the authority of conscience... I fear for those yet unborn, that they are already betrayed. Robbed of the truth we can inherit, they will know their sins as only misery, and their forgiveness they will not know at all because they do not know God. Then at last men will be free of God. Then they will be slaves indeed.
Mostly we think of people with great authority as higher up, far away, hard to reach. But spiritual authority comes from compassion and emerges from deep inner solidarity with those who are 'subject' to authority. The one who is fully like us, who deeply understands our joys and pains or hopes and desires, and who is willing and able to walk with us, that is the one to whom we gladly give authority and whose 'subjects' we are willing to be. It is the compassionate authority that empowers, encourages, calls forth hidden gifts, and enables great things to happen. True spiritual authorities are located in the point of an upside-down triangle, supporting and holding into the light everyone they offer their leadership to.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
To be free, you have to examine authority, the whole skeleton of authority, tearing to pieces the whole dirty thing. And that requires energy, actual physical energy, and also it demands psychological energy. By the energy is destroyed, is wasted when one is in conflict. So when there is the understanding of the whole process of conflict, there is the ending of conflict, there is abundance of energy. Then you can proceed tearing the house that you have built throughout the centuries and that has no meaning at all. You know, to destroy is to create. We must destroy, not the buildings, not the social or economic system, - this comes about daily - but the psychological, the unconscious and the rationally, individually, deeply and superficially. We must tear through all that to be utterly defenseless, because you must be defenseless to love and have affection. Then you see and understand ambition, authority, and you begin to see when authority is necessary and at what level. Then there is no authority of learning, no authority of knowledge, no authority of capacity; no authority that function assumes and which becomes status. To understand all authority - of the gurus, of the Masters, and others - requires a very sharp mind, a clear brain, not a muddy brain, not a dull brain.
Don't be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you've been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I haven't seen it myself. I couldn't prove by abstract reasoning that there must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary man believes in the Solar System, atoms, evolution, and the circulation of the blood on authority -because the scientists say so. Every historical statement in the world is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Armada. None of us could prove them by pure logic as you prove a thing in mathematics. We believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them: in fact, on authority. A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.
I've always believed that everything that is said from authority is either the authority of one's own heart, one's own brain, one's own reading, one's own trust, but not the authority of someone who claims it because they're speaking for God and they know the truth because it's written in a book. That, essentially, is where I come from. In a sense, tolerance is my religion. Reason is my religion.
In a culture of technique, we often confuse authority with power, but the two are not the same. Power works from the outside in, but authority works from the inside out. . . . I am painfully aware of the times in my own teaching when I lose touch with my inner teacher and therefore with my own authority. In those times I try to gain power by barricading myself behind the podium and my status while wielding the threat of grades. . . . Authority comes as I reclaim my identity and integrity, remembering my selfhood and my sense of vocation.
Parker J. Palmer
Self-confidence is inseparable from submission to the creedal order, and through that order, to the supreme authority expressed in that order. ... Deep individualism cannot exist except in relation to the highest authority. No inner discipline can operate without a charismatic institution, nor can such an institution survive without that supreme authority from a relation to whom self-confidence derives. Without an authority deeply installed, there is no foundation for individuality. Self-confidence thus expresses submission to supreme authority.
We have already seen that when positive authority suggests a change in behavior, the recipient will accept it provided he is capable of doing so and provided it does not require drastic modification of belief or frustrate important needs. By carrying out the suggestion, one can simultaneously reduce dissonance and preserve intact one's relation to positive authority. But what can reasonably be expected when the suggestion to change is beyond the recipient's capability or frustrates his deep needs or predispositions? In such a situation, a conflict arises between his desire to comply with authority and the abilities or needs which make compliance impossible. One way to resolve such a conflict situation (or to reduce the dissonance) is to change one's conception of authority. If a suggestion emanating from positive authority is unacceptable, the conflict may be removed by becoming disaffected with the authority and transforming it either into a negative authority or into a nonexistent one. This is exactly what Leon and Joseph did.
God calls his creatures to live under authority. He is our authority and has vested authority in people within the institutions he has established (home, church, state, and business). You must not be embarrassed to be authorities for your children. You exercise authority as God's agent. You may not direct your children for your own agenda or convenience. You must direct your children on God's behalf for their good. Our culture tends toward the extreme poles on a continuum. In the area of authority, we tend either toward a crass kind of John Wayne authoritarianism or toward being a wimp. God calls you by His Word and his example to be authorities who are truly kind. God calls you to exercise authority, not in making your children do what you want, but in being true servants - authorities who lay down your lives. The purpose for your authority in the lives of your children is not to hold them under your power, but to empower them to be self-controlled people living freely under the authority if God. Jesus is an example of this. The One who commands you, the One who possesses all authority, came as a servant. He is a ruler who serves; he is also a servant who rules. He exercises sovereign authority that is kind - authority exercised on behalf of his subjects. In John 13, Jesus, who knew that the Father had put all things under his authority, put on a towel and washed the disciples' feet. As his people submit to his authority, they are empowered to live freely in the freedom of the gospel. As a parent, you must exercise authority. You must require obedience of your children because they are called by God to obey and honor you. You must exercise authority, not as a cruel taskmaster, but as one who truly loves them.
The fearful danger of the present time is that above the cry for authority, we forget that man stands alone before the ultimate authority, and that anyone who lays violent hands on man here, is infringing eternal laws, and taking upon himself superhuman authority, which will eventually crush him.
The reason why the simpler sort are moved with authority, is the consciousness of their own ignorance; whereby it cometh to pass that having learned men in admiration, they rather fear to dislike them than know wherefore they should allow and follow their judgments. Contrariwise with them that are skilful authority is much more strong and forcible; because they only are able to discern how just cause there is why to some men's authority so much should be attributed.
I am already living, but something is telling me with unchallengeable authority: you are not living properly. The numinous authority of form enjoys the prerogative of being able to tell me 'You must'. It is the authority of a different life in this life. This authority touches on a subtle insufficiency within me that is older and freer than sin; it is my innermost not-yet. In my most conscious moment, I am affected by the absolute objection to my status quo: my change is the one thing that is necessary. If you do indeed subsequently change your life, what you are doing is no different from what you desire with your whole will as soon as you feel how a vertical tension that is valid for you unhinges your life.
As a parent, you have authority because God calls you to be an authority in your child's life. You have the authority to act on behalf of God. As a father or mother, you do not exercise rule over your jurisdiction, but over God's. You act at his command. You discharge a duty that he has given. You may not try to shape the lives of your children as pleases you, but as pleases him. All you do in your task as parents must be done from this point of view. You must undertake all your instruction, your care and nurture, your correction and discipline, because God has called you to... If you are God's agent in this task of providing essential training and instruction of the Lord, then you, too, are a person under authority. You and your child are in the same boat. You are both under God's authority. You have different roles, but the same Master.
There is a great difference, then, between "power" and "authority." Power refers to one's ability to coerce others (through physical, economic, or other means) to do one's bidding. One can possess the means of power: physical strength, armaments, and money. But authority must be performed. Authority refers to one's ability to gain the trust and willing obedience of others. While power rests on intimidation, authority survives through inspiration.
Put away the book, the description, the tradition, the authority, and take the journey of self-discovery. Love, and don't be caught in opinions and ideas about what love is or should be. When you love, everything will come right. Love has its own action. Love, and you will know the blessings of it. Keep away from the authority who tells you what love is and what it is not. No authority knows and he who knows cannot tell. Love, and there is understanding.
Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority... Every historical event in the world is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Armada.
C. S. Lewis
Some people believe that it isn't so much power that is exchanged in TPE, as it is authority. The intrinsic difference between power and authority can best be explained thusly: If we were talking about a car, then power would be what was under the hood. Exercising that power would mean taking the car out for a spin. Having the authority to do so might involve a driver's license, possessing the keys, or having the title and registration.
True gospel authority, the authority to heal and renew things and people, is not finally found in a hierarchical office, a theological argument, a perfect law, or a rational explanation. The Crucified revealed to the world that the real power that changes people and the world is an inner authority that comes from people who have lost, let go, and are re-found on a new level.
I think you are wrong, partner Elijah. My briefing on human characteristics here among the people of Earth includes the information that, unlike the men of the Outer Worlds, they are trained from birth to accept authority. Apparently this is the result of your way of living. One man, representing authority firmly enough, was quite sufficient, as I proved. Your own desire for a squad car was only an expression, really, of your almost instinctive wish for superior authority to take responsibility out of your hands. On my own world, I admit that what I did would have been most unjustified.