"like a bureaucracy"

I found this passage in an interesting novel by Mischa Berlinski, called Fieldwork. A missionary to the (fictional) Dyalo people shares his view of their gods:

Nobody knows what the spirits really are—maybe they're fallen angels, that's certainly a possibility, or maybe some other being created in the spiritual realm. The biblical evidence certainly associates the spirits with Satan. But you know how I've always thought of the Dyalo spirits? They're like a bureaucracy. Like a giant powerful bureaucracy, which imposes a million and one rules on the Dyalo. Fines them a pig or chicken or something worse when they do something wrong. Punishes them, kicks them around, treats them like dirt. You ever try to get a residency permit here in Thailand? Go from office to office, lose two whole days? It's like that all the time for the Dyalo. If the spirit of the big rock makes your kid sick, ask the spirit of your ancestor to protect you. So you slip him a bribe, a chicken, a pig. Maybe he'll help you, maybe not. If not, you go to another spirit, try and bribe him. So it goes.
Or maybe "the spirits" are just idols, creations of the people who serve them, another very biblical interpretation. But I find it interesting that he notices the similarity there. Between the oppression of the spirits in a more primitive culture and the oppression of a more "advanced" bureaucratic political system in our culture. If they are both indeed the creations of "We, the people," of course, then the similarities are not surprising.

We pity people bound by their group's superstitious beliefs, while not even aware of how idolatrous our group's beliefs are, which control so many aspects of our lives.