Religious Trauma Syndrome

This syndrome, which deeply affects millions of people (including me) and which causes a tremendous amount of suffering, should have a prominent place in the new DSM V. I have diagnoses of bipolar disorder and most recently of BPD in addition to that, but I have have always known that much of my suffering from mental health issues has been directly caused by my involvement in the fundamentalist Christian cult. The brainwashing and the indoctrination and the false and harmful beliefs I was subjected to for 15 years of my life has done permanent damage. Christianity destroyed my life. A harmless belief system? Divine Truth? HARDLY. Fundamentalist Christianity is a dangerous cult that destroys the lives of many of its victims  and harms them all.

Symptoms of RTS:

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Brainwashing and FEAR – The Tools of the Church

I used to spend a lot of time debating fundamentalist Christians on a few online debate forums. Most of them are nice enough people but apparently impervious to reason, logic, rationality, common sense, etc., when it comes to their religious beliefs. You can show a Christian the truth and facts over and over and over again and they still won’t get it. I have had the experience of having a Christian state something dogmatic, such as the absurd idea that the Bible is inerrant and infallible, which was easily disprovable. I disproved their claim and any reasonable person would have learned and adjusted their views. Not Christians! They just keep posting the same tired, easily disproved arguments over and over again in spite of the fact that they have been soundly refuted. They refuse to learn. Why?

The reasons are simple but very important to be aware of and understand — BRAINWASHING and FEAR. The Christian church uses several known brainwashing techniques to gain and then keep converts. Here is an example: Ever been to a church service where the same song is sung over and over and over again? I have, and it is a common practice. What the vast majority of church members do not know is that this is a brainwashing technique. The repetition of the song breaks down mental barriers and puts people in an extremely suggestible state. The music plays a part as well. Deep bass tones played rhythmically and repeatedly will cause people to enter an altered state of consciousness – they go in and out of trance while the song is playing. Watch a Charismatic praise & worship service or pay attention next time you are in a church service. You will notice some folks staring blankly into space. They are in a hypnotic trance. Some preachers also use a speaking technique known as “voice roll”, which also has a hypnotic effect. While in a relaxed, altered state, most people’s defenses (and critical thinking skills) are down and what they are taught at that time they will not necessarily think through for themselves. So, while the defenses are down, the brainwashing and indoctrination takes place.

FEAR is another tactic that the Christian church uses and, unfortunately, they use it well. Christians are taught that the Bible is the “word of God” and that they have the only truth. Anything that disagrees with the Bible and/or their denomination’s interpretation of the Bible is a deception. For example, all other religions are a deception. The scientific theory of biological evolution is a deception. If it doesn’t agree with the Bible, it is a demonic deception designed to keep us from believing the Bible and therefore being “saved”. According to the Church, you must believe their way or you have displeased God and are going to Hell forever to be tormented for eternity with no hope of reprieve. The Hell doctrine is nothing more than a heinously cruel fear tactic that has been used successfully for centuries. It should be obvious that the concepts of a Loving God and an eternal Hell are diametrically opposed ideas. With this kind of pressure and these kinds of fear tactics, is it any wonder that Christians don’t think for themselves?

The best thing to do regarding your Christian relatives and friends is to realize that, while they are well-meaning in their beliefs, they have been brainwashed. Brainwashed people cannot see the truth that is right before their eyes and they will deny facts that do not agree with their beliefs. Brainwashing causes a disconnect in the mind of the Christian believer between demonstrable reality and religious fantasy. Reality is filtered out in favor of the religious dogma/fantasy.

Recovery from brainwashing and the fear tactics absolutely is possible! There are those like me who woke up on their own and came back to the real world and there are those who are helped back to the real world by those who care about them.

It is very important to understand that fundamentalist Christianity is a harmful and destructive cult and that it is not by any means a harmless or benign belief system. Any institution that employs brainwashing techniques and fear tactics to win and keep a following cannot be considered to be a harmless organization or one which deserves respect.

Please Forgive Me?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Please Forgive Me?

This heartfelt letter to God, posted here with permission, was written by an ex-Christian who posts as “Margee” on the Ex-Christian.net forums. In expressing her struggles with faith, I believe Margee speaks for many — if not most — of us who consider ourselves to be ex-Christians.

It has been my experience that fundamentalist Christians do not treat those who leave the faith with much love, compassion, understanding or kindness. Instead, those of us who have left the faith are conveniently marginalized as having been “false converts” who never really possessed “saving faith” or as the unfortunate victims of the Devil‘s deceptions and lies. This arrogant, condescending attitude toward former Christian believers affords those who are still within the fold (cult) the ability to callously brush aside the deep emotions and careful reasoning of the “backslider” or “apostate”. This unfortunately prevalent attitude displayed by professing Christians also has the no doubt unintended effect of confirming for those of us who have left the faith the wisdom and correctness of having done so.

If you happen to be a Christian believer, I strongly urge you to put aside your preconceived ideas and beliefs about former Christians and hear the sincere, heartfelt cries of a woman who once wholeheartedly shared your faith, but who came up empty-handed when she searched for God with her whole heart while in the agonizing throes of a crisis of faith. Don’t just read the word. Feel the emotions behind the words and try to put yourself in Margee’s shoes, and by extension, the shoes of all of us who consider ourselves to be ex-Christians. Isn’t that what Jesus would do?

Dearest Heavenly Bible God, Father, Jehovah, Jesus, Holy Spirit, The Creator of the Universe,

I come to you with the utmost sincerity of my heart, to talk with you. I have wanted to please you all my life. I have searched for you all my life. I have wanted to be one of your chosen. I never wanted to even worry on this earth about going to your hell. So I tried to be good. Yes, I screwed up quite a few times, made quite a few mistakes, but they told me it was because I was ‘blood and ‘flesh’ and that you were like the potter, taking this ‘blob’ of sinful clay and turning me into a diamond. I have always asked for your forgiveness and to give me another chance to prove myself unto you. I always wanted to strengthen and prove myself for you – but you did not want to prove yourself for me, no matter how much I prayed.

Please forgive me for missing any signs that you did try to give me.

I have also, throughout the last 30 years, asked for more faith because I always felt as if I didn’t have enough. I was honest with you about this. I told you everything. I confessed everything. I was told by many, that the ‘mustard seed’ was good enough and that’s all I had to have. But I wanted more than a seed of faith. I wanted big faith; enough to convince my mind of you, enough to stop the questions that I continued to drive you crazy with. Enough to move all the mountains in my life.

Please forgive me for this lack of faith that I had during all the past years.

I even joked with you, so many times that YOU were the one who gave me this inquisitive personality. You are supposed to be all powerful and therefore you could have changed me. I asked you to change me. Why didn’t you? Why did you hesitate? Were you testing me all along like you did your servant, Job? I was even straightforward about that and told you that I would not pass that kind of test. Then I asked you why you would even want to test us? Why would you – a loving, kind father, even allow this devil you allowed to fall from grace, sit by our side and watch as we suffered through many horrific things in life? We are your children. You made us. You created us. You didn’t answer.

Please forgive me for my reservations with this issue.

Now I am learning that you might not be there at all. You have watched me at my computer. You have seen the research I’ve been doing in the past 5 years. You have seen and hear me questioning the bible since the night I was ‘saved’. I have asked you a hundred times in the last year to show yourself to me. I have screamed in agony. I have told you that are about to lose me. I have asked you if you care that I am falling away from the faith. And still you do nothing. You don’t even kill me. I was honest before you concerning this ‘doubting Thomas’ syndrome.

Can you really see what’s in my heart? If you can, and you are truly a loving entity – will you please forgive me?

You give me no clues whatsoever. The world is falling apart. We are killing each other. There are murders, rapes, poverty, and slavery. There are people fighting over whose land is whose and bombings everywhere. Do you see this? There is torture, starvation, cancer, drowning, dismemberment, and very painful diseases. You are supposed to be ‘all knowing.’ You could give us the cure for cancer and yet you remain silent. There is an epidemic of depression and suicide and thus far – you do nothing. How could a good and powerful God who loves you stand aside, unmoved to action, while such things happen?

Please forgive me for being angry at you.

My biggest problem with you is you are supposed to be all powerful, you are supposed to be all good and yet all this evil exists. They have reassured me that when I get to heaven, you will explain all these mysteries to me. Why wait? Why not explain them to me now? Why not appear at the bottom of my bed in the late of night to have a talk? Why not appear in the sky (or wherever), even one community at a time and tell us that ‘’you will bring all things together for good’’ as you promised in your bible. So many unanswered prayers.

Please forgive me for questioning your invisibility and indistinguishable lack of presence.

You are hiding from me so effectively, that the world looks just as I would expect it to look, and be, without a God running the show. It doesn’t have any of the characteristics I would be anticipating to find, if there was a caring, intervening, superseding God. All of my attempts to confirm your existence have come up empty handed. You are hiding so successfully. I have to admit that in order to believe like I did for years, I must do it by ignoring the contrary evidence. I must resolve to this concept called ‘faith’. You are hiding so stubbornly, I must conclude, among other things, that you do not want or care if I believe anymore. If you wanted me to believe, you think would show me evidence in a thousand obvious ways, because my heart has yearned for the proof.

Please forgive me for giving up the search.

One last quick discussion. Why didn’t you make us the way you wanted us to be in the first place? It could have been so simple – you are god! Why tempt us in the garden? Why make hell? Why scare people? Why would you do this to us? I have been taught that all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will go to heaven, but the amount of reward in heaven will be directly related to how closely each one followed God’s will in his life. I really tried to do this. Likewise, all those who reject Jesus Christ will go to hell and will be punished to the degree of how much evil they committed in their life.

Why did you need to resort to human sacrifices to ‘satisfy’ the sin disease – which you created and tempted us with in the first place? Why be so cruel? Obviously, I will go to this hell you created for people who reject. It’s not that I want to reject you – I just don’t trust you anymore. Trust is reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, of a person or thing; confidence. It is the confident expectation of hope that someone really cares for your well-being. It gives you confidence in the certainty of the future. It is a loving person on whom one relies. It is the condition of one, to whom something has been entrusted with, like custody or care. It is a commitment of love, and that love would not hurt you.

Please forgive me for not trusting you anymore.

I loved you for a long time and yet, you scare me with hell? And then you tell me that you are a loving God. Would you be affectionate and forgiving enough to take my hand and walk in hell with me?

I really wanted to believe in your existence, but you have gone to extraordinary lengths to make that difficult for me. The world looks just like there is no Bible God to me and I am heartbroken. It saddens me from the bottom of my heart to admit that I do not believe that the Holy Christian Bible is the ‘Word of God’ anymore. It grieves me very much to say goodbye to the God of the bible. It is your ‘Holy Scriptures’ taken literally from all over the world has made the planet into the mess it’s in today. Please forgive me for saying this.

One last prayer of forgiveness:

I pray that you will understand all my questions and forgive me for not believing the ‘Holy Bible’ that I was brought up to believe in. I am asking for your forgiveness for my doubting. I am asking for forgiveness for not really believing in you – but please – before I end this letter – would you always try to remember the heart that searched long and hard for you?

I will forgive you – if you will forgive me.

Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart – Your Child, Margee

LINK: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/44259-please-forgive-me/

Fundamentalist Christianity is a CULT!

jesus-on-the-cross

“What is a Cult?”

Alan Gomes writes: “A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.” Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults (Zondervan, 1995)

“A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.” (West & Langone, 1986)

This article will make the case – from the cult identification materials offered by Fundamentalist Christians themselves – that Fundamentalist Christianity itself is a cult. My comments will be in bold. cult identification information available here was used as the basis for this article.

“A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing…”

Fundamentalist Christianity stresses excessive devotion to Jesus above all else, marking them as a cult.

“employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control …”

The Christian Church uses several known brainwashing techniques to gain and then keep converts. Here is an example: Ever been to a church service where the same song is sung over and over and over again? I have, and it is a common practice. What the vast majority of church members do not know is that this is a brainwashing technique. The repetition of the song breaks down mental barriers and puts people in an extremely suggestible state. The music plays a part as well. Deep bass tones played rhythmically and repeatedly will cause people to enter an altered state of consciousness – they go in and out of trance while the song is playing. Watch a Charismatic praise & worship service or pay attention next time you are in a church service. You will notice some folks staring blankly into space. They are in a hypnotic trance. Some preachers also use a speaking technique called “voice roll”, which also has a hypnotic effect. While in a relaxed altered state, most people’s defenses (and critical thinking skills) are down and what they are taught at that time they will not necessarily think through for themselves. So, while the defenses are down, the brainwashing and indoctrination takes place.

Continue reading “Fundamentalist Christianity is a CULT!”