Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Religion and Victimhood

A footnote on the last post.

Religion, especially Christianity, can be sharply criticized for making us feel that we must put up with abuse. That we must forgive even ongoing and unrepented offenses = that we must dociley submit to abuse. As though there is some virtue in victimhood.

Back when I was a Catholic, I was amazed at the disconnect between the actual theology and what we hear in the preaching, whether from the pulpet or from "religious" people telling us what we should do and how we should feel.

For the most part, the actual theology is enlightening and sensible. But on the lips of preachers it gets warped, almost beyond recognition in places. And it DEFIES common sense.

In my opinion, whenever it is being promulgated for show, watch out. That show is either to sell it or to sell the preacher. In that case, what matters is what seems. Not truth and reality.

I discovered Christian theology upon reading Dante's Divine Comedy. That piqued my interest in this fascinating body of thought, so I made it my business to find out what my relgion actually taught.

It was nothing like what I heard on Sunday. For the most part, what we hear on Sunday from the majority of preachers is half-baked. It betrays an amazing lack of understanding. A childish lack of depth in understanding. The result is a picture of Jesus as some long-suffering wimp who chose to sacrifice himself to abuse and whom we're supposed to emulate.

But show me a parable of his that says so. Those parables are nothing but brilliant studies in practical common sense, so where did all that anti-common-sense stuff come from?

Sell copy is just sell copy. It must never tax the prospective customer with the need to think. And religion put on for show is shallow as a puddle too.

In fact, if you check it out, you'll find much preaching today contradicts established doctrine and what people like St. Augustan, St. Thomas Aquinas, and even Jesus himself said. Unfortunately, few know enough about their religion to notice that these days.

For example, take the Christian teaching that punishing an innocent scapegoat for our sins saves us from them. That's what Christianity on this point has been reduced to - a sound bite, the buzzword that "punishing the innocent scapegoat has saved us from our sins."

But how? How could that be, of all things, God's justice? What kind of god would consider that justice? It's a travesty of justice that dooms those who commit it and saves only those so shamed by it that they stop committing it.

Understanding that would require some explaining and mature thinking, but marketers know better than to try to sell anything that way: so it's easier just to believe the doctrine backwards instead.

Similarly, when did "God forgive them" come to mean "I forgive them"? Likewise, how is God praised and honored by your letting others trash what he has made? Didn't he make you too? Then how is he praised or honored by your letting a narcissist trash you?

Common sense, common sense, common sense has gone out the window and virtually made the ultimate good, justice, an evil thing in the heads of the simple-minded. This HURTS the victims of narcissists.

And recent scholarly research on the oldest extant scriptural documents (including the NT), when they were actually written, how apocryphal they all are, how frequently the passages contradict each other, how many passages have gone through so many translations of translations of ancient language that they now amount to gibberish, how often and by how many hands they have been edited over time - all this should sink in already. Where in the Bible does the Bible claim to be authored by God?

Result? Which blurb do you cherry-pick when trying to sound holy? "An eye for an eye" or "Turn the other cheek"?

As a consequence, many victims of narcissists become embittered at religion because of how it made them feel morally obligated to submit to abuse = to give the narcissist permission to abuse them. So, whose side is religion on? Self-righteous holier-than-thous sound holy by using religion to pile on the victim playing the part of Job's Comforters and denying the victim's right to do anything to make the abuser stop it. Anything. They even make it sound evil for the victim to just abandon or divorce the abuser! In other words, they use religion to commit the Sin of Sodom = making the victim bend over for abuse.

In a way, it's a bad rap, because Christian theology isn't really that ridiculous. In fact, even I will say that there is much truth and wisdom in it. But what preachers and holier-than-thous make of it - THAT is a different matter. THAT is garbage.

Then religious leaders wonder why they lose adherants. The blame is not with "society these days." The blame is with THEM. They should do something about the warping of the message, because it's their own fault people find it unacceptable and turn away.

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19 Comments:

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Holy Water Salt said...

Kathy-
I agree. As a practicing Catholic in a traditional parish, meaning: everything is old-school- confession, Mass, and yes teaching-
there's still this disbelief....that people can't be that BAD. That arrogance is found in the pews and on the altar- though I know some religious who are humble and aware of the as they call the "these hands were made for chalices not callouses" crowd- and some truly charitable Christians. But pride abounds. And a fear of practicing what is preached- I know parishoners who should be outright banned, publicly admonished, but instead they parade themselves around every Sunday. It makes me wonder about priests I think are devout and that is too bad, but unavoidable when they hide behind their collars and apparently ineffective " fire and brimstone" homilies. In my church, the teaching is there, the priests are smart, but we have no exorcist. And I know many people would think I am wrong/even deluded and disagree- but logically a traditional Catholic parish should have an exorcist and he should be active- because we should acknowledge there are people full of evil all around- in secular society it's like when we fail to acknowledge narcissists, psychopaths.

Oh- I also believe we need to just tell the truth- outright. I failed in the past to state the crimes committed against me to be fair- not anymore. I tell it the way it is, the listener can choose their response, but I can't and will not alter my reality anymore.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

I never did believe in any personal devil. The ancient words for it, simply mean "ill wind" as in "bad breath" because life was thought to be in a living person's breath. Anyone's spirit can be malign. The word 'satan" means "the slanderer." That's the spirit in which slanderous words are spoken. I see no reason to read more into it than that.

And I don't like the superstitiousness associated with exorcism. The Church has almost completely done away with it. Priests are no longer ordained as exorcists. Only old priests today still are.

That said, the past encounters exorcists have had with people can provide psychologists with some enlightning information on what happens when a narcissist's delusions are challenged. Comsider exorcism as a radical form of "therapy." In a way, it is like trying to cast out the false self, the demon that has taken over the true self's house. For example, exorcists have documented that during an exorcism, the subject will switch from raging to pleading in one second flat. Exorcists are warned to be prepared for this stunning change from Beelzebub to a meek and hurt little wouldn't-hurt-a-fly child. They interpret it as just one of the Devil's tricks - in an effort to try anything that might get the confronter (the exorcist) to stop taking him to task. You needn't believe in the devil to see the wisdom and accurate observation in this though.

Nonethless, you'll never hear me say that we need to fight narcissists with exorcists. We just need to make sure people are aware of there being predators among us and to take the warning signs seriously and stay away.

I agree with you that this notion that everyone is lovable and should be loved is just wrong. It's totally contradictory to established doctrine and belies the first Baptismal Promise. So, where is it coming from?

 
At 8:25 PM, Blogger Alison said...

Wow! I just read your stuff online about narcissists and saw my husband and our marriage in every line. The only thing that didn't seem to fit was the bit about not being interested in their children, but our son is 6 just now and thinks that his daddy is the best, and tells him so. My husband wasn't interested in him as a baby and he'll lose interest in a couple of years or so when our son is old enough to see him more clearly and attempt to criticise him - I've seen this happening with his nephews.

I decided to leave my husband last March when I was finally able to admit to myself and others that it was an abusive relationship. The abuse was emotional and psychological and I am still recovering from it. The hardest things to accept are that he will never apologise and that he will never understand what he did was wrong.

I'm very glad that I looked at your blog tonight because I was just thinking about the enormous support and prayers I've received from my own church. I became a Christian a few years ago, when my son was a baby, and am now training for ministry in the Church of Scotland. I know that some churches and people who call themselves Christian do try to defent abusers and force their spouses to stay, but my experience has been very good. My church have offered me counselling, delayed aspects of my training until I got things worked out and pray with and listen to me. As a full-time student I have no salary, but I was able to leave my husband 5 months ago when a local minister left to go to another charge and I am now staying in his house, as caretaker so I pay no rent.

To those who feel that they are unsupported or condemned by their church or minister/priest, I would say that God loves and cares for you, the narcissist has turned his back on God, indeed, has made himself God. There are other churches and loving Christians who understand and care passionately and compassionately for victims of people like my husband. God is not the church, he is always with us, loving and caring, he sees all and he knows all.

The only time I wept after deciding to leave my husband was when I considered staying. The prospect was too awful, but I felt and still feel that I did what God wanted me to do. To have stayed would have been to sacrifice myself on the false altar of marriage and that is not what God intended for me.

Back to my husband. Bacause we have a son, and a house which is to be done up and sold, I still have contact with him. He continues to see himself as the victim and me as the abuser and over the past month has alternated between "temper tantrums" and then being nice to me. I've decided to ignore the tantrums and the nice stuff and speak to him only about practical stuff - what time I'll collect my son, etc. Is this tactic likely to work or will it maybe backfire on me in some way?

Anyway, thank you so much. I'll visit again, no doubt many times!

 
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Holy water salt said...

Personal reply:

Thanks for reading and posting- I know we have vastly different opinions.

It's amazing how different NORMAL differences of opinion are compared to any discussion with an N. Not that they "discuss" anything.

I love this blog- keep up the good work.

 
At 11:16 AM, Blogger sonicido said...

Hi Alison :) I know what you are saying is true. Although I have not been able to experience it directly, since my ex has bamboozled every evangelical church (of my preference) and has shown that he will stick his foot in the door of any church I ever decide to attend in this area.

In spite of that, I know that what you say is true; just as I know that water in the mountains is cleaner than the Mississippi river water. Have I experienced it? no.

What I have experienced is, God's persistence in my life. Since I did not have any support from Christians, or churches. In fact, they aided my ex's war against me; they filled his rifle with ammo.

Therefore, I wanted to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I wanted God, and everything that represented "Christianity", out of my life.

He won't leave.
I question everything now. And Him (a BIG taboo in the church because you might be questioning doctrine than "men" devised).

Meanwhile, He has done some awesome works in my life and my heart that I can never take the credit for. He did it WITHOUT the help of a local "church" but did it with the Church outside of a specific location, or a building.

I'd say, Kathy is part of that Church.

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

In the interest of full disclosure, as I've mentioned before, I found myself no longer to believe in good faith that there is a God. For a time, like many atheists I was bitter. Mainly because I felt conned. But over time I've mellowed. I respect true believers, having been one myself. And I don't denigrate everything taught by religion as useless and wrong. As you can see, I have retained many of the ideas I got from it. So long as believers don't hold that I'm bad for not believing, I have no axe to grind. We all have a right to minds of our own.

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger Alison said...

Hi Sonicido and Kathy and thanks for your comments on my post. I'm pretty new to all this internet blogging/posting stuff, but am finding it very good and fun!

Just some thoughts for both of you, and everyone else out there on the issue of faith and church. I was particularly touched by what Sonicido said about God working in her life and also have an understanding of where Kathy's coming from. I was a happy atheist for most of my adult life until almost exactly 5 years ago when God called me to faith. At that time I'd been having a really difficult time at work and my doctor had signed me off sick and advised me to spend time focussing on me and enjoying time with my baby son. It took a lot of effort to get rid of all the anger and bitterness I had in me, but it was when I had done that and was focussing on "just being" that I heard God - that still small voice of calm and peace.
Christian faith is often confused with the man-made doctrines and teachings of the Church, but what faith is, is a relationship with Christ, through him with the Father and all sustained and supported by the Holy Spirit. What Sonicido describes is just that very direct, unmediated experience of the divine. God is always moving towards us, whether we are aware of it or not. He carries us, He envelopes us in His love and yes, He does give us signs which we may miss or may recognise.
I was at a Church conference when I made the decision to leave my husband, loved and supported by my brothers and sisters in Christ. When I came home, I couldn't face the prospect of going to a church where I was known and having people ask how my studies were going and so on, so I decided to go to the Service at Glasgow Cathedral. God meant me to go there. I sat with tears running done my face as the sermon and prayers spoke to me so powerfully.
I have thought many times since about the sermon and I'd like to share it with you.
The minister spoke about past, present and future. Now, in the present we give our past troubles, pains and struggles to God. He doesn't magic them away, but instead He transforms them and gives them back to us in such a way that we can move forwards into our future. Isn't that the most amazing and encouraging message for someone with so much pain and whose future was so uncertain and so different from that which had been hoped for! He also said that the path upon which God is guiding us is wide enough for us to turn and still continue to move forwards.
As someone moving from atheism to faith I have always felt very close to Saint Paul who moved from persecuting the Church to being the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul speaks of living in the Spirit, being clothed in Christ and being part of the body of Christ. I hope those who feel rejected by particular churches take comfort in the knowledge that the church is not about locations or buildings, but about people of faith, across time and space, who follow Christ, who have Christ in them and together are His body.
In a seminar at Uni today we were talking about how the internet is used to form communities, particularly communities of faith and for people like Sonicido who are excluded, wrongly, from real-life churches I would recommend a look at the on-line labyrinth on www.yfc.co.uk/labyrinth/online. This is a form of contemplative worship which I found very useful recently, and which I will return to, in dealing with my feelings about my marriage and my husband. It's not for everyone, but it may help some connect again with the wider Christian community and help in the healing process.

Grace, peace and love,
Alison

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger sonicido said...

Thank you, Allison. Well, for being "new" at blogging-you are quite good at presenting insight.

I will certainly check the link out tomorrow when my eyes are working better :)
I have learned to "glean" in this life; rather than take big chunks and swallow whatever is handed me.

A friend of mine (who is NOT a Christian, i.e. follower of Christ) said to me one day: "Everything is in Divine Order-and you are doing the best that you can." This simple reality ministered to my heart in ways that will never be measured.

I think that the pastor you mention had good words also.

A famous woman in a wheelchair once said, "God allows what He hates to bring about what He loves." This, too, answers some of my bitter questions.

Having been an atheist until my 20's, I can not go back quite that far-but as you said-there is a greater community which God does work through. I find that community in places such as this-
Places where truth is the focus, and mankind and its failings-along with all good successes are set into the light.

Thank you for the thoughtful post. Thank Kathy for giving us a place to think clearly, and explore all of the possibilities unleashed through the trials in each of our struggles.


:)

 
At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Barbara said...

I was just discussing this topic with someone else. I am Jewish and there's plenty of this exact same misogyny, cover up and disbelief here too.

I just finished reading an article written by a Rabbi that is anti-divorce. He even supports the men that refuse to give their wives a "get" (Jewish divorce decree) leaving them high & dry. This same rabbi talked about verbal & emotional abuse as "temporary upsets" and that the victim needs to look more closely at what "set off" the narc or sociopath.

There are also families that their particularly community PUSHES them to stay together when one of the partners is an obvious Narc. The torture and damage to the family is unreal yet they are told to "keep trying" while their friends at temple turn a blind eye.

Unbelievable. I have a feeling the Almighty has a few b*tch-slaps to give out when these people finally meet him.

 
At 11:53 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Yeah. Except I must say they're just lucky there is no God. If there were, he wouldn't be just unless he did exactly as you say.

Why don't people mind their own business?

Before annulments (= it never happened) were no longer usually denied, a Catholic had to face a life alone or excommunicated (for "living in sin") if he or she escaped abuse through divorce. I think there's some responsibility for religion to accept for all the resulting harm.

If only they were as good about accepting blame as they are about dishing it out.

 
At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Kathy,

I really like your blog; it is so insightful and well-articulated. However, I wanted to both air an opinion while politely disagreeing with you.
You said:
"For example, take the Christian teaching that punishing an innocent scapegoat for our sins saves us from them. That's what Christianity on this point has been reduced to - a sound bite, the buzzword that "punishing the innocent scapegoat has saved us from our sins."

But how? How could that be, of all things, God's justice? What kind of god would consider that justice? It's a travesty of justice that dooms those who commit it and saves only those so shamed by it that they stop committing it."

Kathy, I am a Catholic and here's my take on this. Jesus did not die out of justice. There was absolutely no justice in his humiliation and death. But He had to do so in order to stay the hand of His Father's justice. Think about it, His Father's wrath with humankind was reaching boiling point. They did all evil sorts of things without contrition and His justice called for some kind of recompense. This would have likely meant the annihilation of the entire human race since they completely refused to honour the image in which they were made - God's - and behaved evilly instead. And because we are made in His image, we know what evil looks like and find it repulsive ourselves.

But then Jesus, out of love of us, chose to give His life for us, thus staying His Father's hand. The crucifixion was not a statement of justice, it was a statement of mercy and unfathomable love. God The Father could not very well go ahead and do away with us when His Son had paid such a dear price to keep Him from doing so. Think about it, if your own only child went to great pains for the sake of someone they loved, wouldn't you have to be unnaturally stone-hearted not to yield?

But also, if that person were to dishonour your child's great sacrifice, wouldn't you be very angry and determined to do something about it this time? Same with God. Because the crucifixion was purely a merciful act and not something we merited in any way, God's justice was not in any way permanently suspended. It was just withheld for a time, to give the people a chance to repent and accept the merits of his horrible death. If they do not, their condemnation will be all the greater.

Not to imply that I don't understand how the idea of such a sacrifice could make Christians leery. We are called to imitate Christ in his humility and love of neighbour. But Jesus was one-of-a-kind. Only a vastly loving divinity would die for crimes he never and could never commit. His human nature rebelled against it in the Agony in the Garden, but His divine nature took over and allowed Him to carry it out anyway. As mere humans, we cannot even understand such a sacrifice, let alone carry it out ourselves entirely. And the Good Lord knows that. He wants you to give to give to Him and your neighbour YOUR best, not HIS. That is impossible and He does not demand that from ANYONE. His love could never contain the cruelty required for such a demand.

If you truly cannot cope with such abuse, and God knows, so many of us just can't, then it is perfectly OK to leave the situation. Remember, the gallant saints gave up their lives for Christ's sake, but nobody ever gave their up sanity! I absolutely do not agree with those who imply that God requires us to be beaten senseless mentally when we cannot bear it. Narcissists leave most of their victims in an alarmingly fragile state and this is not right. Sometimes it is necessary to cut ties and terminate the relationship.

And even if you did decide to stay in the relationship, you have to be strong and healthy of mind. This will likely be sniggered at in this day and age, but I do believe that one can choose to stay in order to demonstrate the abuser's worth in the eyes of Jesus Christ. Christ saw, in the Garden, exactly what the abuser would be like and all the hideous things he would do to his victim. But He didn't say, "Hold up! I'll be dying for the sake of some of these sinners, but cancel out that narcissistic guy over there. He's just too rotten for My great sacrifice.' None of us deserve the merits of his Blood, so it can appear, but not to all of us, that the conscientous thing to do would be to go along with Christ's estimation of the N's worth (his REAL self's worth, mind, not the false, grandiose self) and give him the benefit of the doubt. Pray for his intention. Pray that he converts. It is by no means unheard of to see a former abuser thanking his wife profusely and tearfully for praying for him to see the light. It's happened in all sorts of relationships, so don't be too quick to brush it off. But most of all, pray for God's graces that you may be able to endure the situation in the mean time. Again, this is NOT for everyone.

Religion has got a stinking reputation for making it seem as though EVERYONE can and should make this sacrifice. The Bible does tell us, in some instances, to avoid evil men. It is therefore perfectly permissible to break ties with narcissists.

I understand Kathy, that you are an atheist. This is not to say anything bad about you for your beliefs, I just wished to share mine, and I thank you for letting me. In any case, it is clearly discernible from your writing that you have a very critical, analytical and overall intelligent mind, and therefore this will at least appeal to that part of you. Of course I hope and pray that you find the faith again someday. But it is comforting all the same to know that if you do decide to post this, that you found it to be of at least SOME value then. Thanks for this blog.
Have a good one.
:-)

 
At 9:43 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Thank you, but I understand Catholic doctrine completely.

You say that God needed to punish humankind. So, we take the most innocent scapegoat possible (who, being God is also the offended party), and lay our sins on him and punish him for them. This somehow PLACATES his father?

Yes, I'm aware of the cloud of cliches this message is packaged in. Blow all that smoke away, and this is what you have. Believe it or don't.

I actually defended the doctrin somewhat by explaining what it was before it became thus corrupted in common preaching.

To wit: Jesus' crucifixation can bring either salvation or condemnation, as in pre-Vatican I Communion prayers. It saves ONLY those so shamed by it that they quit scapgoating to escape justice. In that sense, the original Church doctrine does make sense = that it is "perfect justice and perfect mercy."

Otherwise it's like a bad joke.

And BTW, why did Jesus take at least three armed employees with him wherever he went if he was "sacrificing" himself? He was certainly bravely living dangerously, like many heros, but I wouldn't read any more into it than that.

BTW, my reason for becoming an atheist had nothing to do with a narcissist. I just ran smack dab into some facts that prevent me from believing in good faith that there is a God.

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

PS, Thank you for hoping that I become a believer again. Not that I will, but I know that sign. It means that you are true believer. (Hypocrites are glad to feel closer to God than others.) And therefore worthy of respect.

 
At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, I could be wrong and I'm not even really religious but isn't the sacrifice contained in the crucifixion akin to Pocahontas throwing her body over Captain Smith just before her father kills him? The old man couldn't kill him without killing his daughter. This is how she defended him, because his daughter was unwilling to let him kill her lover. He didn't want to kill her but she said he'd have to in order to kill him.
Well, wouldn't God have to completely devalue his own son to vent his wrath on the people he gave his life for? He couldn't dishonor Jesus that way and that's the point. Isn't it? That's how he held back God's justice for a time, to give folks a chance to repent?

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Hmm. That strikes me as one way of looking at it.

But then you run into trouble with the Christological-cum-Trinitarian doctrines snarl. Believe it or not, like a dog with a bone, I actually did wade all through all those early Church Ecumenical Council doctrines eventually "reconciled" via a shell game switching bewteen Latin and Greek for "nature" and "person" to: "In God, 2 natures = 1 person, whereas in God, 3 persons = 1 nature" = 1 God (who would have to have a split personality for your interpretation) and how is just, well, a "mystery" ;-)

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger Writer in Washington said...

Hi, Everyone:

My experience has been that God is very faithful but his followers are not.

My husband was a pastor but his former wife ruined his ministry. She wouldn't go to church, used the church credit card for personal purchases and similar things to that. Of course, he took the blame for all of it. Eventually, her tantrums, complaints, manipulations, multiple affairs and so forth forced him to resign and leave the ministry. She then began to spin what happened and placed all of the blame on him. Certainly, he was not guiltless but she basically accused him of embezzling. No one really knows the truth or the whole story because he has kept his mouth shut about it all for many years.

When we got engaged, her mother came out to visit him and the children (all of whom lived with him) but the real reason was to try to break us up. The former spouse had been living with a guy who was just as manipulative as she was (met on the Internet--doesn't anybody question that type of romance starter?) and he dumped her and moved out. The N had always thought that my husband would take her back whenever she wanted and was horrified to find out that wasn't going to happen. When my husband realized that his former m-i-l was trying to break us up he sent her packing. Then is when all hell broke loose.

I won't go into all the lengthy details except to say that his ex-harridan began a campaign of character assasination, assisted by two of his children, and contacted literally everyone she knew that were his friends, my friends, our family (both sides) and started attending the church of a long-time family friend of mine. Needless to say, we are no longer friends with any of them, and have distanced ourselves from several family members who bought into her lies. N's enlist those who are gullible as pawns in their games against you. Christians, and I use that term loosely, are the most stupid of the gullible. I agree with Kathy that it is the result of misteaching. For example, she has "repented" but she has no obligation to make restitution for all she has done that is evil. That is not a biblical precept, true repentance embodies making restitution wherever it is possible. that is the theology of the Oprah generation, but its NOT biblical. I could go on, but I won't. I have found very few real Christians, but many lip-service ones. I've found a great many more who have simply been mistaught. They believe doctrines that are created by men, but don't check them out biblically. I believe Jesus called them "sheep" for a very good reason.

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger Writer in Washington said...

Hi, Everyone:

My experience has been that God is very faithful but his followers are not.

My husband was a pastor but his former wife ruined his ministry. She wouldn't go to church, used the church credit card for personal purchases and similar things to that. Of course, he took the blame for all of it. Eventually, her tantrums, complaints, manipulations, multiple affairs and so forth forced him to resign and leave the ministry. She then began to spin what happened and placed all of the blame on him. Certainly, he was not guiltless but she basically accused him of embezzling. No one really knows the truth or the whole story because he has kept his mouth shut about it all for many years.

When we got engaged, her mother came out to visit him and the children (all of whom lived with him) but the real reason was to try to break us up. The former spouse had been living with a guy who was just as manipulative as she was (met on the Internet--doesn't anybody question that type of romance starter?) and he dumped her and moved out. The N had always thought that my husband would take her back whenever she wanted and was horrified to find out that wasn't going to happen. When my husband realized that his former m-i-l was trying to break us up he sent her packing. Then is when all hell broke loose.

I won't go into all the lengthy details except to say that his ex-harridan began a campaign of character assasination, assisted by two of his children, and contacted literally everyone she knew that were his friends, my friends, our family (both sides) and started attending the church of a long-time family friend of mine. Needless to say, we are no longer friends with any of them, and have distanced ourselves from several family members who bought into her lies. N's enlist those who are gullible as pawns in their games against you. Christians, and I use that term loosely, are the most stupid of the gullible. I agree with Kathy that it is the result of misteaching. For example, she has "repented" but she has no obligation to make restitution for all she has done that is evil. That is not a biblical precept, true repentance embodies making restitution wherever it is possible. That is the theology of the Oprah generation, but its NOT biblical. I could go on, but I won't. I have found very few real Christians, but many lip-service ones. I've found a great many more who have simply been mistaught. They believe doctrines that are created by men, but don't check them out biblically. I believe Jesus called them "sheep" for a very good reason.

 
At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jolly Nihilist said...
I feel the need to decry Christianity because many Christians are authoritarian and morally narcissistic about their beliefs. They are not content to live their own lives according to biblical precepts. Instead, they wish to use the power of government to impose Christian moral opinion on others. When Pat Robertson is content to manage his own life--while leaving everybody else alone--I will feel less need to rail against Christianity. 'Til then, I shall fight for freedom from religion.

 
At 3:34 PM, Blogger Writer in Washington said...

Hi, Nihlist. I hope that someday you meet a genuine Christian, I think you really haven't yet. I am not arguing that there aren't many false christians out there. The fact is that evangelical and pentecostal/charismatic denominations are riddled with them, along with abusers and MNs. They hide behind the corrupted, superficial doctrines of the modern church. I've been their victim in the past.

I was raised in the ministry, my family's history is deeply rooted in the ministry and my husband is a former minister. I know, probably much better than you do, what sorts of charlatans masquerade as "christians" are out there. Let me give you an example:
My mother (who was also a PK) suffered from religious addiction (legalism) and was quite probably an MN. When my father (also a PK and addicted to religion) was diagnosed in 1998 with prostate cancer my mother agreed to his having surgery but violently opposed his having chemo or radiation. The reason: God was going to heal my Dad. She was determined that God would do that, almost like she could force Him to it. My father died from esophogeal cancer in 2000, the cancer having metastisized. I have absolutely no doubt that my mother's fanatic fear of chemo and radiation therapies, which promulgated her insistence that Dad would be healed, led to his death. He would probably be alive today were it not for that. Incidentally, she herself died in 2006 from lymphoma/leukemia and again, God was going to heal her, too.

When I say religion addicts, I want to differentiate between that and real Christians or even mistaught ones. Addicts are narrow, legalistic to an alarming degree and generally off-balance. They are just like other addicts in their behaviors but religious addicts are more acceptable, because of the religious garb they cloak themselves in. They usually blame "God's will" for the most heinous behaviors. While my father was more moderate than my mother, he suffered from the same sort of black-and-white dogmas. I know whereof I speak--and could easily give other details.

What differentiates the addicts from the misguided is that the misguided are often unwitting pawns for the MNs in their midst. My husband's niece is a classic "victim" MN. She is "close" to my husband's ex, which is probably where she has learned much of her behaviors from. The niece has drifted from one Christian church and/or group to another, playing a litany of how she has been so terribly abused by her family, and the fools swallow it like chocolate. Consequently, she has been enabled to live off of many misguided "christians" who aren't "wise as serpents" as they have been instructed to be in the Bible. I literally mean that she has moved all over the country from one group to another, most of whom have some connection with her parents (who are in the ministry) and think they can help her. So she is both enabled to keep using people for her own ends and to assassinate her parent's character with their friends. She has no incentive to stop because she understands how absolutely gullible the mistaught are. And those who won't buy her game, or begin to recognize her for what she is? They become further targets for her character assassinations.

It is the most frustrating thing in the world how MNs get away with their lies. The Church almost encourages it, it certainly enables it. In any case, to return to my original point, there are Christians out there who are both wise and true believers. They are the ones who don't play the "super-christian" game but are real about their lives and themselves.

 

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