I was thinking recently about various cults, religions and other groups that control people by controlling their access to information. It is an effective ploy, by limiting access to educational opportunities, or access to the internet, or even access to books, people are deprived of the resources they need to make decisions that will improve their lives and the lives of families. I have read several stories lately of people who have been caught up in cults and other similar groups, and although the circumstances were quite different there was one thing they had in common. These cults or groups did not educate their children past 14 years of age.

Oppressing people by denying them access to information takes many forms. In the dark ages the common people were denied access to the Bible because the church would not make it available in the common language.

If the oppression continues long enough the day will come when the oppressed will rise up with the only thing at their disposal, violence. Some believe that terrorism is a response to oppressing people and denying them access to education/information.

On a personal level, while I don’t have many answers for the world situation, I’m engaged in several programs which encourages literacy skills in young children. I see this as important and even life changing. If we teach children the value of reading and learning they will be less likely to fall prey to those who would oppress them.

As adults I wonder how we use information in our daily lives. Do we use information as power? Do I deliberately not pass on information that would be helpful to you? If I know something you don’t, do I use my knowledge to help you or to dominate you? Do I use my knowledge to encourage you or intimate you?

May we be wise and use information to bless others and not as power over them.