Can you be considered a good shepherd if your followers misinterpret your guidance?
Ever heard something like this?
“By all means, kill. That’s what you should do!” the shepherd said with raised voice. “Do it! If you are bent on it, go out and look for your target!”
The crowd, including you, would be shocked at first. But since you respected his vision and beliefs, you would shout your agreement in unison with the others. Like fanatics, your spirits would be one.
“Kill poverty,” he shouted. All of you yelled your consent loudly, drowning the rest of his message, “not poor people.”
“Kill homelessness,” the same thing happened, “not the homeless.”
“Kill hunger,” similarly approved in the same fashion, “not the hungry.”
“Kill discrimination,” again for the fourth time, “not the discriminated.”
A heightened sense of hysterical self-justification engulfed your being. Killing was the operative word that it brainwashed the good in you.
Much later, whenever your shepherd enumerated the ills of society according to his understanding, you could automatically connect the word killing as a permanent solution. There’s no need to convince you because you have convinced yourself beforehand.
You are now prepared to take matters in your own hands. You believe in your heart that your shepherd commanded you.
The maddening influence of religious leaders on their followers parallels such scenario. Even if they do not incite them to take a life, their constant incantations of who is the enemy push their members to the edge, their subliminal wishes fulfilled when the killing begins.
History showed how the purported good could be used as basis to kill. All that was needed were ill-minded shepherds and like-minded supporters, on either sides of conflicts.
After the smoke clears, with dead bodies all around, no one could claim that the good prevailed. More likely the good died when innocent victims suffered horrific fates.