Sororities and fraternities corrupt
Members of sororities and fraternities form strong social attachments that can last a lifetime. Gods Word warns us against becoming attached with people who are not submitted to God, because they will ultimately lead us astray. A quick look at the practices at sororities and fraternities points to many ungodly rituals and pledges that corrupt our spiritual heritage as followers of Jesus Christ.
(See Chinese versions: 简体中文 > 姊妹会和兄弟会的腐败 | 繁體中文 > 姊妹會和兄弟會的腐敗)
Warnings against ungodly social attachments
The Bible uses the idea of a yoke as a metaphor for the strong attachments that people can form with others. (A yoke is a frame of wood that joined two oxen at their necks so they would move in sync with each other.) This attachment can signify ideological, emotional, psychological or spiritual bonds.
2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
On the other hand, Jesus invites us to take on His yoke. How wonderful it is that He describes Himself as “gentle and lowly in heart” and promises to give us rest for our souls.
Matthew 11:28-30 ESV Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Social attachments can influence us powerfully
1. Biblical evidence
One example of the power of brotherhood is the friendship between King Saul’s son, Jonathan and his attendant, David. The brotherhood was so strong between the two that the Bible describes Jonathan’s soul as being knit to David’s. Jonathan risked his own life and even disobeyed his own father in order to save David. Jonathan’s social attachment with David was stronger than the one he had with his own biological father.
1 Samuel 18:1 ESV As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
2. Scientific evidence
MRI scans and brain research by UCLA psychologist and neuroscientist Prof. Matthew Lieberman provides evidence that social bonding stimulates the pleasure circuits of the brain, whilst social rejection and isolation leads to pain that is neurologically identical to physical pain.
Quoting Lieberman in Scientific American, “There’s a region of the brain called “medial prefrontal cortex” that essentially sits between your eyes. This region has been shown again and again to be activated the more a person is reflecting on themselves. It is the region that most clearly and unambiguously is associated with “self-processing.”… Given that we tend to think of the self as the thing that separates us from others – that allows us to know how we are different and how to walk our own path – it would be surprising if this same medial prefrontal region was involved in allowing the beliefs of others to influence our own. But this is exactly what we have seen in several studies. The more active the medial prefrontal region is when someone is trying to persuade you of something (e.g. to wear sunscreen everyday) the more likely you’ll be to change your tune and start using sunscreen regularly. Rather than being a hermetically sealed vault that separates us from others, our research suggests that the self is more of a Trojan horse, letting in the beliefs of others, under the cover of darkness and without us realizing it.”
3. Practical evidence
Those who are or have been in a sorority and fraternity experience strong bonds to the the societies’ members and will feel guilty for “betraying” them.
After interviewing those who have turned to God and repented for ungodly sorority ties, one person said, “The bonds in the sorority are definitely strong. You feel the need to protect and stand up for your sorority “sisters” especially the ones in your “family”. If your “little sister” or “family” does something bad, you can’t help but feel responsible or guilty. It is as if we are all one body.“
Sororities and fraternities corrupt our souls
Sororities and fraternities are worldly alternatives to Christian fellowships, except they offer sisterhood or brotherhood based on high sounding human wisdom and principles. By combining verses from Bible with Greek text and symbolism, they deceive many into believing that their moral code is righteous and virtuous. God’s Word warns us that this is far from being Christ-centred and is a deception by “spiritual powers of this world”.
Colossians 2:8 NLT Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.
It is helpful to note that most sororities and fraternities were originally influenced by ancient Greek philosophy. Many are denoted by Greek letters and allude to Greek mythology, all of which have symbolic meaning. Wikipedia states that “Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Ancient Greece was part of the Roman Empire. Philosophy was used to make sense out of the world in a non-religious way. It dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, logic, biology, rhetoric, and aesthetics. Many philosophers around the world agree that Greek philosophy has influenced much of Western culture since its inception.” (Text made bold for this blog.)
Interestingly, the apostle Paul is recorded in Acts 9 as debating with Hellenistic Jews. These Greek speaking Jews wanted to kill him.
Acts 9:29 NIV He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.
Idolatry is the practice of placing other things above our relationship with God. The very nature of sororities and fraternities forms the construct for idolatry. There is the exaltation of and sworn devotion to the societies, their founders, mottos, secret rituals, grips, passwords and homages, as well as other sorority sisters or fraternity brothers. Students are told that the Greek words used by their societies are “sacred” and must be honoured above all else. All elevate ideas, things and people in our hearts, instead of God.
Ezekiel 14:3 ESV “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?
There are also ritual altars, procedures and instruction manuals that must be strictly honoured, including society rules and punishment for offences, reminiscent of God’s commandments and warnings against sin in the Bible. Many sorority or fraternity chants and songs pay homage to their founders, symbols and ideologies, and mimic worship songs – only that these declare devotion to ideas, spirits and people.
Every sorority or fraternity has its own creed. A creed is defined in the dictionary as “a system of religious belief, a form of faith.” Essentially, sororities and fraternities preach systems of belief that they call their members to believe without any doubt. The creeds of sororities and fraternities are not drawn from God’s Word, but human wisdom.
1 Corinthians 1:22-23,25 ESV .. Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a … folly to Gentiles… For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Sororities and fraternities place supreme importance on their life-long oaths and pledges to the society, their guiding spirits, creeds and members. The Bible however, warns us against making any oath of any sort. Otherwise, we will “fall under condemnation” from God.
James 5:12 ESV But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
4. Kneeling down before idolatrous altars
Satan tempted Jesus to kneel down to worship him. In His response, Jesus rebuked Satan and declared that we are serve God and God only.
Matthew 4:8-10 ESV Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.'”
We too must beware whenever Satan tempts us to kneel down before any idolatrous altar. Many sorority and fraternity rituals involve kneeling before altars and may be demonic in origin. Chanting, blindfolds, processions in complete darkness and the use of candles are very similar to witchcraft rituals in ceremony. We must not subject our minds and bodies to such ungodly acts.
Romans 6:13 ESV Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness
Sororities and fraternities have been known to use parts of scripture with changes to the words, and have their members repeat these heresies. Unfortunately, such violations of God’s sacred Word bring heavy penalties on our souls.
Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.
Sororities and fraternities promote a false belief in the power of secrets. There are secret codes, hand-grips, symbols, songs and declarations, all of which are hidden behind forced ungodly oaths and promises. There is nothing we can hide from God Almighty. He will one day weigh every detail of our lives.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 ESV For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Jeremiah 23:24 ESV Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.
7. New names
Members may be given new names, sometimes derived from Greek words. This is a ungodly imitation of our new life in Christ and the names we may adopt during baptism in Jesus’ name.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
8. Financial support
Many sororities and fraternities commit their members to paying fees. Some alumni continue to support their sorority or fraternity houses even after they leave college. We need to remember that everything belongs to God, including the money He places in our hands. Followers of Jesus are to steward finances for their living needs and also His purposes, not to sponsor the ongoing work of ungodly institutions.
Deuteronomy 10:14 ESV Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.
9. Pride and elitism
Any group that sets itself apart from others or claims to be more “enlightened” is in danger of encouraging elitism and pride. Unfortunately, most sororities and fraternities promote status and exclusivity in order to attract college students. Membership is often a status symbol amongst students and there are reports of debauchery and hazing. In contrast, Jesus Christ taught humility and showed us that we are to be servants for God and to others.
John 12:25-26 ESV Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Philippians 2:3-4 ESV Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
There have been reports of hazing in some fraternities that involve physical, psychological, verbal and alcohol abuse. Such acts have been said to involve fighting fellow members, consuming mouthwash or urine, eating live fish or small animals, staying awake for days or being subject to burning and dangerous stunts. Such depraved acts are nothing close to the love and service we are to show others.
Galatians 5:13-14 ESV For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Breaking off spiritual attachments to sororities and fraternities
Whether we joined a sorority or fraternity “for fun” and cannot remember all the secret rituals, songs and oaths, we would have already created ungodly idolatrous attachments which we had pledged to honour for life. This gives Satan a foothold to replace God’s rightful place on the throne of our lives with his demonic spiritual powers. Thank God that He is merciful and we can confess before our Almighty Father and be freed of these ungodly attachments.
First, let us repent of:
- pride and lust after knowledge, elitism or human acknowledgement
- making ungodly pledges or oaths – to the sorority or fraternity, the spirits behind the society, its creeds and its members etc.
- kneeling before an idolatrous altar
- misusing our talent, money and time for ungodly purposes
- participating in ungodly belief systems and creeds
- abusing and harming others through over zealous hazing
- accepting financial support from the society or its members
- … and anything else we said or did that was ungodly at the time
2. Renounce names and pledges, and turn to God 100%
Next, we must renounce and break any promise, oath, name and association with the sorority or fraternity in Jesus’ name.
Similar to the sorority or fraternity oaths we had to declare out loud before witnesses, we should now declare out loud that we pledge ourselves to God 100% in name of Jesus Christ, and no longer give ourselves to anything or anyone else.
3. Cut spiritual ties
After declaring the renouncements, we should also declare to cut off all spiritual, emotional and psychological ties with the society, the society spirit, the sorority or fraternity house and its members. The prayer can be like this, “In the name of Jesus, I cut off ungodly spiritual ties with (…) and all curses related to them, and command all spirits related to these people and places to leave me, namely the spirits of (… allow the Holy Spirit to inspire your prayer at this point).”
2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
4. Destroy all sorority or fraternity objects
Another important step is to destroy and discard all our sorority and fraternity objects, including ritual objects and clothes, badges, pins, crests, emblems, jewelry, t-shirts and other merchandise. Use a scissors, hammer or lighter to ensure that the objects are defaced and ruined, and will not be unwittingly picked up by someone else.
Deuteronomy 7:5-6 NLT This is what you must do. You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God…
5. Renew our minds
Where we might have been heavily influenced by the thinking, beliefs and creeds of the society, sorority sisters or fraternity brothers, we need to renew our minds based on the Bible.
For this, we will have to:
- die to our reliance on our minds and attraction to high sounding ideas and philosophy,
- turn away from a belief in secrecy,
- put away any fear of leaving and cutting off from the sorority or fraternity, and
- surrendering to God completely and giving Him our heart.
1 Corinthians 1:19 ESV For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
6. Receive counselling
Hazing can be traumatising and isolating because one is not supposed to tell other people about their sorority or fraternity experiences. Anyone who has been through systematic group hazing, bullying and abuse needs to confess this to other brothers or sisters in Christ so that they can pray for him or her to receive inner healing. In some cases, professional counselling may be advised.
James 5:15-16 ESV And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
7. Expose the spiritual deception
If you know of anyone who is still unaware of the spiritual ungodliness behind their sorority or fraternity, it is your responsibility to share any new understanding you have gained. Just as Jesus laid His life down for us, we should consider putting aside our past pledges and pride to shed light on these dark issues and encourage fellow sorority and fraternity members who are Christ followers to repent and be restored to fullness in God.
Ephesians 5:11 ESV Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
1 John 3:16 ESV By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Also, see testimony Jesus frees believer from spiritual blindness
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