Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Christian Gaslighting At It's Finest
Let's compare this meme I loathe which I saw all over Facebook, now, with another one...
Dear Yahweh, why did you give me a brain if you didn't want me to use it?
So wonder me and Yahweh parted ways, narcissists never wanted me to use my brain too and tried to practice various methods of "thought control" to get me to shut down the screaming intuition and intellect inside. I don't believe in the existence of a Big Brother god watching my thoughts for various modes of "thought crime" but this is a place where I think religion has served the powers that be. How else do you do this but shut down people's emotions and thoughts?
One odd thought I have about Jesus at times, is here was a guy who broke the "rules" enough to arrested and be crucified, and then his followers today teach absolute obedience and authoritarianism as the highest good. Weird huh? I have discussed with some people, if Jesus existed, how much was added to his teachings later in the interest of empire and control? When you see evangelical Christians support Trump in his racism and xenophobia, obedience to the "strong man" or "daddy" is running that show.
Verse like this one read differently to me now. When someone tells you to "shut down" your thoughts that worries me.
2: Cor. 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Can one have a real relationship with someone when they just want you to basically shut up and shut your mind off, and obey?
Religion has a huge mind control elements in it's toxic forms, and one main part of this is getting you to deny your own feelings, intuition and questioning your own thoughts. This is how cults shut down all thinking. How else do they get people to wear pajamas for daily wear or believe a UFO is going to whisk them away to a better place? If someone was to ask me what my least favorite verse in the bible is now, Proverbs 3:5 "do not lean on your own understanding" is first among them.
I've read where some people have said Christianity is a religion that has separated people from the "Source" and real divinity, and this is why it is so insistent on shutting down our feelings, emotions and thoughts. It has divided us from a world we are a part of. It is an interesting theory. The break down of conscience and self in Christianity leads to cognitive dissonance and people being separated from their "inner man".
Christians are always led to practice thought control on themselves. I did it to keep going as a "good Christian". I have been given this picture of a "decent Christian woman" and spent years just learning to repress myself to fit this mold. Doubts would arise and even questioning compassion when I was to treat people as "others" or judge on wickedness. I knew I was failing to conform, and I spent years in this trap of trying to make myself become a person I really was not. This can make me cry about those years and how self suppression had been taught to me by Christianity.
This is the same process I underwent in my ACON abuse. I was told time and time again, I was deficient, and broken, and that I needed to become someone else to be accepted and loved. I was "not enough". In my family's case that would have meant no longer being autistic, or poor or fat. I held out for too many years taking their abuse and refusals to love me, hoping one day I could achieve a modicum of success to be a person they would love and accept. The overlaps with Christianity here do not escape my notice. My deconversion rested on the very fact, that the same messages came to me from my abusers as from the religion I was in. My abusers even maintained a degree of thought control, too just like religion, telling me various thoughts, and doubts were WRONG.
One main problem with Christianity is that it teaches us to believe in a torturing God, that wants to hurt us [in hell] for listening to our own thoughts! Think about that. We end up being forced to give our power and become victims. We are beaten down and told we are "worthless" without Jesus. We are emotionally and otherwise abused. We also are told we are not good people in ourselves. We are broken and we must become "new creatures" in Christ, and when we are born again, we are to have our personalities and minds replaced to a degree. Think about the message of that. You aren't good enough as you are, the person you became was not good enough, the whole message is to CHANGE or else. This is not a world of unconditional acceptance or love but a world of conformity.
Think about how often religion tells people to submit and especially women and children to OBEY. This definitely is a system of dominance and deception. One irony of the Bible is it tells people to seek for truth. What if you examine your religion and find that it is full of lies? If I die, and end up at some doorway to hell with a condemning God. I would confront it and say, "but you told me to seek after truth and now you contradict yourself."
For those of us who were within narcissistic families, we were told over and over not to trust our own minds and that we are always wrong. We were told not to listen to our own brains that were screaming inside, "This is very wrong!" It has occurred to me that Christianity has given the same message. "The heart is deceitful, don't trust your own mind, don't trust your own thoughts". Where does this lead a person but to be controlled by others?
My entire life I was taught to suppress my own thoughts and emotions. How many of us have our health ruined by having everything stuffed inside and being unable to be our authentic selves? Religion often denies this authenticity. Christianity really pushes this, everything is about "controlling" emotions and "fitting-in" and "obedience". One of the main rituals of Christianity, baptism makes it clear, that we are "defective" and "dirty" before being "washed in Christ's blood". What does this do but give all our power away and ensure a weakness inside where one thinks they are "never good enough" just like our narcissistic families taught us to be? Toxic Christianity and Narcissistic scapegoating families are joined together in a dance of disempowerment.
In the meme, the thin feminine young woman in her blue sweater stands in a dark room with God's Word providing it's own flashlight. Her hair is over her eye. She is told not to listen to her own brain and that God knows all. She stands in a library which represents a depository of knowledge but the lights are turned off. The perfectionism of God, to me was one tool used for gaslighting too. Beyond the issue of a perfect being expecting his imperfect creation to measure up to his standards which are impossible for the majority, there's the issue that next to perfect, whenever something goes wrong, everything will be your fault. God can do no wrong but everything you do will be wrong compared to him.There's no winning in that system. No appeals. For all the mercy Christianity spoke of, I saw very little. There's no mercy for those kids at the border. There's no mercy for the fallen away who are supposed to get the lowest level of hell for doubting it all.
1. "You've stopped trusting in your own judgments..."
When a person it told to stop trusting in their own judgment, [#1 on the second gaslighting list meme] that is something that the toxic personalities brainwash people in, "We know better, We know you better then you know yourself." Shutting off one's own judgment, leaves one very vulnerable to predators. How many are shutting off conscience now to vote for evildoers?
2. "You are afraid of speak up or expressing how you feel...."
With #2, silence was a given. For all the claims of a would be relationship with the Lord, one was supposed to sit there and take it, and not argue. Arguing and thinking were sins. Once I was told in one church, that just being a woman, made me more likely to be led astray by my own brain. Think about that one. That preacher told us women were too emotional to make good judgements. This is why we were to be silent in the churches and we were never to preach to men, just other women and children. It shocks me I sat there listening to that nonsense and did not walk out. I heard different forms of that even in Catholicism where we were given these same reasonings as why only men could be priests.
3. "You feel as though you are going crazy and that there is something wrong with you....."
Here with #3, in Christianity the focus is that there is something wrong with you, in fact a lot is wrong with you and you are a wretched sinner. Outside of a few very liberal churches, this is the main point, you must be saved from what God will do to you for being so "wrong" and essentially from yourself. [your "flesh" in the bible]. Some branches of Christianity like Calvinism teach that human beings are fundamentally DEPRAVED.
4. "You always second guess details...."
Christianity can keep one bamboozled under endless bible studies, memorizations, and debates on doctrine. In fundamentalism, getting one doctrine wrong, was enough to be told the hot place was waiting for you. There are apologetics, arguing how many angels can dance on a pin, or when will the last days finally come for the thinking Christians. These are distractions for adults.
"5. You feel the need to apologize all the time...."
This is expected and demanded in Christianity all the time. We were expected to be SORRY all the time. In fact even when I was born again, being sorry for being a rotten sinner was the main impetus for bowing before God and turning to his will. Can one really be close with someone they are always apologizing too? The Catholic churches and many mainline liturgical churches have their apologies scripted into rituals of confession. For the Christian fundamentalist, we were to apologize to God, for everything from watching demon TV to drinking a beer to uttering one cuss word. God sure did seem upset by a lot. Which brings in the idea of having to walk on eggshells, a fact of life for most abuse victims.
6. "You frequently feel confused...."
My brain felt like a stew pot, all the time, stirred with a fast spoon. Reality was always bumping up against the religious things I had been taught. I would literally make excuses for God and Christians trying to fit everything into a narrow mold. The world often made less sense through Christian rose colored glass ideals.
The gaslighting in Christianity is extensive..... when I recovered from my abuse, I couldn't ignore the overlaps with religion and how religion gave me the same messages as abusers. I had lost contact with myself which I am still working on finding now. I wanted there to be a god who was loving and kind but I had to face my disappointment. None of this was real. There was no one there. I got nothing but silence. Does anyone who is still in, figure out that those of us who deconverted tried but the "god" didn't hold up it's end of the bargain?
And this overlaps too with the abuse process as well, some of us tried and tried for years. We tried to win the love from people who had no capacity for it and simply did not love us. We were too "wrong', well the same goes in religion. How many feel the disappointment for years and remain within? I doubted Christianity by 2007, only 5 years after my conversion in but hung on out of guilt, and gaslighting same as I did too long with abusers.
We are told we must be perfect but we were made imperfect to start with. We are told God loves us unconditionally but then are handed a long list of conditions. We are told someone has to die in our place a hideous horrible bloody death to be made worthy of anything but eternal suffering and fire. We are told Christianity will make us free, but then are told we must be worthy servants and slaves to Christ. We are told all our requests in prayer will be answered but then told maybe the answer is No and to not put God to the test. We are told to have a personal relationship with an entity who never looks on us as an individual and only gives back silence. Our emotions are played with our imaginations, telling us, that this Being truly LOVES us, but we are all subject to hideous medical suffering or the possibility of death or the pain of losing loved ones.
Ask yourself is this about any love or truth or is it a cage of deception and control? My experiences with severe ACON abuse, has led me to some very deep questions about religion and it's messages. Why do so many religions and the predominant one in America [Christianity] focus on our unworthiness?
What good does it do, the constant labeling of faults, does it improve goodness or does it simply bring a conquer and divide ethos to humanity? If Christianity has at it's core a scapegoat, doesn't this mean some gaslighting comes with that too? It is a victim and victimizers set up. While Jesus whether he truly existed or not, had some decent messages about love your neighbor, and caring for the poor and sick, I think about what religion became with the passage of centuries. It became more of a power system, to build empire and keep people suppressed. We are in dangerous times now where Christianity is now serving as a vehicle of totalitarianism in America and where humanity could be facing extinction to a rapidly heating up earth, but instead of facing reality, we are being gaslighted by the majority of Christianity. Having our realities denied. Told to ignore things that are happening. Told Trump is a loving man who wants to make America better.
I saw this quote on the ex-Christian reddit board. I totally related to it. I can't love the Christian god. It hurt me on levels I can't even explain. It took me to the same places, that my abusers did. I no longer believe it exists.
“You know that Christian idea that God is perfect? How he’s always waiting for you and anything that goes wrong must be your fault because he can do no wrong and it’s all about you having to come to him and meet his perfection?”
“That’s called gaslighting.”
That was the moment that really defined me as an atheist. When I saw that the Christian God I had been begging to save me was at best nonexistent, and at worst a horrific abuser.
ACON healing led to my deconversion, but there's new discoveries I am confronting like this one, religion gaslighted my mind as much as my narcissistic parents did. I was told not to trust my intuition. Intuition keeps us safe in this brutal world. It warns us when things are wrong. It tells us not to give evildoers the benefit of the doubt and to flee, but sadly this religion says "Don't trust your own thoughts." How is one supposed to even stand up for themselves when they have been indoctrinated into their own mind, brain, and intuition supposedly failing them?
Religion can drive one to madness, because some of them focus on telling you that you must fix yourself over and over, and then they put up more hoops for you to jump through. Some get tired of being told how they "ought" to be, and how they don't measure up. Why did humanity create a God that was so impossible to please? There must be religions out there, where they worship gods or "divinity" that do not expect perfection or force the acceptance of an offer of perfection. I always thought perfectionists were rather abusive. The demanded perfectionism is part of the gaslighting process as well.
Religions gain power confusing and gaslighting their victims.