Humans are created in the "image of God", or so the believing community affirms. Therefore, humans are special, or distinct from other forms of life. Human life is to be respected. Therefore, those who choose to believe must affirm that humans cannot be manipulated, controlled, oppressed, or "trained" as animals.
In the Old Testament, there is a story about a man who attempted to "steady the ark of the covenant". His intentions were well-meaning, as he didn't want the ark of the covenant to "fall to the ground" and defile it. But, what happened to him struck fear in the heart of others as to the seriousness of "touching the ark of the covenant" for any reason, well intentioned or not.
The Ark of the Covenant was symbolic of the Presence and Law of God. In the New Testament, it is understood to be "the human being" who is created in God's image that is the "ark of the Covenant".
Other communal understandings is "the Church", as the "Ark of the Covenant". The problem with this view is the problem of any group type form. But, in this sense, the Church is a cult. A cult or sectarian faiths have certain irrational beliefs that defend their practices. These are symbolized in communion, marriage, baptism and other sacraments. These symbolize "the community" as ancient cultures understood themselves in "communal ways".
Enlightenment via the Reformation has understood the importance of the individual, not the communal. Some have thought that this is what has undermined America's civil responsibilities. But, I believe that what the individual child is taught and becomes is based in the family. Family is understood by both pyschological and sociological science and faith communities as a formative community. Therefore, the individual is formed in the framework of care, concern and commitment.
Those who choose to believe will not presume or assume upon the community nor the individuals within those communities.
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