1 Kings 12:27-30
"If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the L-RD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah."
Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!" And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan.
Beginning with stage five, fanaticism develops. Loyalty to the Word of G-d and its observance is considered criminal. When the apostate is beginning to sever ties with those who are determined to remain loyal to G-d's Word, he often tries to argue that a man is responsible only to G-d for his relationship to Him, and he demands the right, usually in the name of tolerance and freedom, to live according to his so-called personal "convictions."
He is particularly irritated and incensed when the people who don't share his convictions are specifically the ones who have decided to remain loyal to the convictions he so happily and wisely abandoned. For the apostate who initially championed and touted "tolerance" of his convictions and the freedom to do as he wanted, the freedom of others to remain devoted and committed to the truth of their convictions soon becomes intolerable.
It is not long before he is waging a fanatical war against them and accusing the faithful of being "intolerant" and "fanatical" in their devotion and obeisance to G-d's Word. The apostate frequently use the words "tolerance" and "freedom of conscience." He is now no longer content just to live according to his "convictions." He is distraught and upset as soon as he realizes that his convictions are not universally recognized as the only ones which are correct and valid.
The apostate no longer understands or fathoms how people can remain so devoted to the Word of G-d and the sacrifices it demands of people. Intoxicated by the "truth" of his own convictions, he is no longer capable of recognizing principles that are pure, deep, and firmly rooted in the truth of G-d's Word. What he had previously only pitied and lamented, he must now vehemently condemn to justify his choices. From his warped perspective, devotion to and faithful observance of G-d's Word is hypocrisy which must be exposed, and since he is the most enlightened man in the room, who better to expose the charade.
Up to this stage, the apostate has abandoned the study of G-d's Word and the fulfillment of it, he has scorned those who remain loyal to it, he hates the Sages and those who teach it, and now he is ready to openly persecute those who continue in their observance of it. He argues that our only obligation to the Word of G-d is to the spirit, but certainly not the letter and that each person can construe the spirit as he sees fit in his own eyes.
The apostate is convinced that the Word of G-d must adjust itself to the demands of our era in order to be relevant and up-to-date, as it were. The apostate becomes adept at taking the Scriptures out of context and assigning meanings to the Word of G-d which harmonize with the desires of his heart and principles he has forged for himself. The apostate soon begins to find fault with the Word of G-d, and attempts to use the Word of G-d against itself, hoping to demonstrate that its origins are anything but Divine. The apostate is moving in inexorably to stage six.
The logic is undeniable and falsehood is no match for the Truth: if the account of the Divine origin of G-d's Word is no fairy tale, then G-d's Word remains binding today. If G-d has truly spoken to us by His Word, which is eternal, then all human thought, opinions, and sophistry are meaningless:
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of G-d, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of G-d may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Therefore, His irrevocable Will and the eternally binding nature of His Word leaves no room for, as one of our Sages put it, "the idea of some implicit, self-exempting authority, conferred upon an era." If the Word of G-d is truly G-d breathed and Divine, then it is impossible for it to ever become obsolete or overcome by the mere passage of time.
Therefore, the apostate, who is determined to abrogate every vestige of G-d's Word will inevitably, on account of his own twisted and perverted imagination, deny that the Word was ever revealed to us by G-d.
And yet, the apostate has yet to reach the final stage.
(To be continued . . .)
Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch