One symptom of the Curse of the Fall is our natural tendency to trust charisma over moral truth.
God works through His Creation. Indeed, Creation — Reality — is imbued with His moral character. In terms of human experience, there is no practical difference between saying that God blessed or cursed something/someone versus Creation itself responding characteristically to how we obey the teachings of Christ. Miracles are built into Creation. The only way you’ll know for sure that God went out of His way to do something special for you is to know it by conviction. There is no formula for discerning it mentally.
An element in God’s moral character and divine justice is living in feudal relations. We are hard-wired for it. Our fallen nature generally resists moral truth, so we fidget and fuss about feudalism; it doesn’t make logical sense to us. But it is moral truth, revealed from God. So no matter how we structure systems to avoid feudalism, everything in our unconscious nature pulls us back into it.
And because we do have such extensive systems to militate against feudal relations, we end up doing a very poor job of picking our leaders. Instead of trusting God and His plans for selection, we create elaborate guards against it and deceive ourselves that we are using logic, when our native fallen nature betrays us. We end up choosing leaders merely on the basis of charisma, or we end up with leaders who seize control by gaming the system. Sometimes it’s a mixture of both, but by no means do we end up with genuine moral shepherds appointed by God.
Nowhere do we see this more painfully acted out than we do in evangelical organized religion. I wish I could remember where I read it, but someone did a study and found that the best we can hope for is that one in five religious leader is deeply involved in sexual immorality that will harm the shalom of the operation. And of that same five, something between two and three of them are involved in financial shenanigans. Finally, virtually all of them suffer somewhat from power-tripping.
Paradoxically, when the foundation of leadership is social charisma and/or manipulative talent, you end up with a leader drawing the highest moral expectations. In other words, the people they lead is convinced they are a saint when they are more likely to be the Devil. Even when the leader strives mightily to live up to that standard, such a system actually throws far stronger temptations at them than God ever intended shepherds to face. A proper feudal system is inherently less tempting.
Of course, it would require a major shift in cultural expectations and social mythology. Western feudalism is what we have, though highly disguised. It’s based on property instead of people; our pretense of democratic institutions is quite worldly and materialistic. Thus, it breeds a very bad feudalism. It creates an idolatrous system that puts the leaders in an impossible situation of pretending to promote godly morals, but they are morals with very little connection to genuine divine moral truth. Instead, the system upholds impossible morals.
Because of God’s wrath on America, we are seeing even now a rash of scandals in religious leadership like we’ve never seen before. And it’s only going to get worse.