Human affiliation alleviates the most fundamental dread of human nature, that of being alone. All social institutions and mass movements, including religions, owe their existence to that reality, and their success – their growth, their longevity, their coherence – to the salve of their affiliation.

Successful shepherds – be they politicians or entertainers or gurus – provide effective means of escaping loneliness to their sheep. The most successful become idols, human gods, for a time.

Christianity, the religion, is usually advocated, like many other religions, as providing an eternal remedy for that dread, an eternal escape from loneliness. That is its allure to human nature.

But the Good Shepherd does not seek to satisfy the nature of the sheep. He seeks to change it.

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