Slain in the Spirit… by an Atheist?

December 12, 2007 at 8:15 am 67 comments

slain1.jpgSome of us here at de-conversion, as well as many of our readers, come from, or are affected by, Pentecostal/Neo-Pentecostal movements. HeIsSailing reminisced on several posts, including one on glossolalia, and another on self-exposed charlatan, Marjoe Gortner; The de-Convert also posted a humorous clip by an infamous prosperity gospel teacher. If you are in the United States, even your politics are infused with Charismatic non-theology. The dynamic attributes of the movement has obviously led to a relatively flexible belief system which is all loosely based on a few passages in the New Testament. Some Pentecostals take a more “moderate” stance, accepting Biblical priority, whereas others prefer the voice and actions of the Spirit. A few follow the disciple’s example of living a poverty-stricken life, while many flock to the health-and-wealth promises of Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, and Joyce Meyer.

However, if people want wealth from their religion, Christianity isn’t usually the place to start – just taking a look at the first book of the New Testament should be enough to scare away any religious gold-diggers. No, charismatic Pentecostals do not win converts by Biblical exegesis or even appealing to the heart: they proselytize via the sensations. I know many moderate Pentecostals. I have lived with Pentecostals. I often ask these religionists very intimate questions concerning their conversion experiences. The vast majority that I have “interviewed” (about 80-85% of over two dozen – all from at least five different churches on three different continents) came to their Pentecostal faith through a “miraculous event” held at some sort of revival or mini-revival: prophecies, faith healing, speaking in tongues, slain in spirit, etc. Only two were “born-again” Christians before being “baptized again” – the rest were from either non-religious, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or “nominal” Christian backgrounds.

I have also attended a few of these smaller mini-revivals, usually in Pentecostal or non-denominational churches in the late evening – although nothing like a big tent Benny bash. I have had words of prophecy spoken to me, an attempted slaying, and a friend beside me alternate between whispering and shouting various unintelligible syllables. They say (who, I cannot remember, nor is it important) that around 20% of the general population is pre-disposed to not to be hypnotized – I think I am one of the five. Why? It isn’t that I don’t feel anything, because I do. It is because from a very young age I learned that the senses play tricks. I watched old Moody Institute videos on how people feel things that aren’t there or that don’t happen. I learned that the power of suggestion is greater than the majority of people are capable of admitting.

So, knowing all this – knowing that this charismatic charade could very well be anything from a well-intentioned hoax to purposeful deception to a the genuine work of the Almighty – could a non-believer “convert” another non-believer? Could someone attuned to the psychological workings of the Charismatic “slay” someone without any help from Above? Almost three years ago, an “atheist” British psycho-illusionist, Derren Brown gave it a whirl (granted, it is a video clip and be a fraud due to editing):

The pastor at that church did not end up endorsing Derren Brown. Any thoughts?

-The Apostate

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Atheism vs. Theism 2: Independence from Persons How smart does one have to be to know Jesus?

67 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Matt  |  December 12, 2007 at 10:20 am

    I’m speechless. I want to show this to my pentecostal friends.

  • 2. robd  |  December 12, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Seems honest…
    However, I think the people who came to the meeting self-selected; they probably were searching for something anyway.
    I don’t think it would work for me…

  • 3. robd  |  December 12, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Also,
    I think Randi coud do this too.

  • 4. Rebecca  |  December 12, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Wow.

    In Psychology we learn about the powers of persuasion and how likely people are to be hypnotised. I was especially interested that when subjects were told that being able to be hypnotised was a measure of their gullability none of them were able to be hypnotised.

    I’m from a pentecostal background, and I wish I could show this to my family but I know what they’d say. That it was the devils power or some evil power that he was using on those people.

  • 5. Rebecca  |  December 12, 2007 at 11:34 am

    robd- Yeah I was also thinking that the type of people who’ve volunteerily come along to this discussion might have some expectations.

  • 6. Mike  |  December 12, 2007 at 11:51 am

    TA-

    I really appreciate this post. The charismatic theology has done a lot of harm, and I continue to hear about people who have been terribly hurt by things like “Name it and Claim it.” My brother-in-law and sister are charismatic and are struggling to get pregnant. Because of their theology they think it is their fault, spiritually speaking, that they cannot get pregnant. I watch them going through this struggle and try to communicate to them that their inability to get pregnant isnt because of a lack of faith on their part, but could be a number of different things.

    Anyways, sorry for the personal tangent. All that to say that you are right, not only the charismatic movement, but a number of other different and very harmful things have come about by people taking a few verses of scripture and twisting them to their own ends. I maintain it is for this reason that so many people are deconverting, and to be honest, I dont really blame them. My only hope would be that more and more of those who do seek to maintain the integrity of scripture and actually live out their faith would step up into social arenas such as this one.

    Thanks again for the post, Thinking Ape.

  • 7. J SKI  |  December 12, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    So, what does this prove???I could pay a room of 20 people to bull shizzz for the camera…. I saw nothing great nor did I see anything that convinved me either which way. I think this is another showing of ignorance. Parlor tricks cant sway me any which way.
    But , in the end…..
    I always have believed in GOD. Maybe not your God, but GOD.

  • 8. Rebecca  |  December 12, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Ah yes. They could have been paid.
    And if they haven’t?

  • 9. Matt  |  December 12, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    They could be fabricated, just like anything else, leaving me with a feeling of emptiness, not knowing the truth, even more. Just continuingly not knowing the truth. But on the bright side, I am learning to find comfort that it’s not about whose right and wrong for me, but about love and peace, wherever that can be found. Whether in religion, or out of religion.

  • 10. Thinking Ape  |  December 12, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    robd says (and Rebecca agrees),

    Seems honest…
    However, I think the people who came to the meeting self-selected; they probably were searching for something anyway.

    This is very true, yet still is within the realm of most of the people who attend “revivals.” Very seldom does a charismatic preacher throw “fire” out on a street in New York and watch everyone fall down.

    J SKI and Matt,
    Like I said, I definitely agree that this could of been concocted – and yes, it was for a television show. I would like to add that the pastor of the church that the meeting was being held in was watching, but I am uncertain of what denomination he was.

    I readily admit that a YouTube video clip from a British television illusionist is not persuasive (at least not for me). The point of this clip, however, is that if you are skeptical enough to question this man, you are probably skeptical enough to question the charismatic movement. Pentecostals may seem like easy targets, but the movement is the fastest growing “Christian” denomination in the United States and the African continent.

  • 11. pistolpete  |  December 12, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    A friend of mine went to a healing service. When the preacher called sick people forward, he was led down the aisle. He was yelling at the top of his voice, “I can’t hear. I can’t hear.” The preacher laid hands on him and he fell back. The preacher asked, “Can you hear now?” “Yes,” he said, “but now I can’t see!”

  • 12. LeoPardus  |  December 12, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Very interesting. What he did reminds me of some stunts done by Criss Angel – MindFreak. I saw once where he put a whole room of people to sleep.

    Psychological illusionists are fascinating sort of entertainer to me. The level of concentration, timing, set up, body language, and so forth they need to get just right is really amazing. It looks like magic, but it’s really a rather difficult science.

    Looking at this I am reminded of the touch knock-out (or even no-touch knock out) folks in the martial arts. They depend on gullibility too. Of course they may have bit of a leg up in that there is some reality to pressure points, and you can produce some profound effects with them. The light, or no-touch KO though is going too far.

    I went to a couple George Dillman seminars. I’ve asked Dillman and three of his top people to try their KOs on me. No effect; except for one who tried three times. By the third try, he was hitting hard enough to make my ears ring. No KO though. …. Heh heh, maybe it’s just my thick skull. :)

  • 13. karen  |  December 12, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Derren Brown is fantastic. I’ve watched many of his YouTube videos and he also had a program on cable that aired here in the U.S. last summer. My kids and I watched it and I considered it a great education in critical thinking skills for them.

    The best thing about Brown is that he is an atheist and freely admits up front that what he’s doing is a combination of psychology and magic tricks. By being honest and showing what he’s doing, and how, he can go a long way toward debunking the frauds who do this kind of stuff for money and call it “supernatural.”

  • 14. pluckymama  |  December 12, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Very interesting. You really need to go watch part 2 on youtube as well though.

    I was always the freaky floppy kinda Christian and I’m not anymore. There’s so much emotion that goes into it. People really don’t fully understand the power of the mind. I DO believe in miracles and I do believe that God speaks to people in a way they’ll hear but the every day slain in the spirit mentality bothers me a lot.

  • 15. pluckymama  |  December 12, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    I also would be curious to see him go into a meeting full of Christians and without using trickery try and see if he can get them slain in the spirit. I betcha most people would fall over.

  • 16. Thinking Ape  |  December 12, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    pluckymama says,

    Very interesting. You really need to go watch part 2 on youtube as well though.

    oops, is my part two not working?

  • 17. karen  |  December 12, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    also would be curious to see him go into a meeting full of Christians and without using trickery try and see if he can get them slain in the spirit. I betcha most people would fall over.

    Sure, just like most people at revival meetings fall over. It’s the power of suggestion, over-excited emotion and expectation of the crowd and the “pusher.”

  • 18. DSVA  |  December 12, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    There are numerous Pentecostal/Charismatic preachers who are getting wealthy by fleecing their flock, through staged events and playing psychological games. They justify their large salary, luxurious homes and office by claiming that god wants his people to succeed. They teach that the more faithful one is in working for god and the more successful one is in doing his work the more god will reward them with material wealth. They claim that giving of a tithe is the minimum god wants. Give all you can to god and he will return it two or three fold. Give half your income and in the coming year you will find your income doubled, maybe even tripled.

    When the “name it and claim it language” and “success theology” merges with theatrics and emotions, those who are seeking to believe in something latch on. The psychological thrill of the meetings, the mood music and “the healings” overwhelm the uncritical. If one questions what is happening then one must be of Satin….and no one wants to be off the devil so they close their minds of to discrepancies and accept what they are told to believe.

    In any other business these charlatans who misuse funds for their own advancement and unashamedly mislead people would be charged for committing a crime. Alas, religion has a different standard as it is so hard to work through the issues of faith, the metaphysical world and freedom of religion. The only time a minister is charged for misappropriation of church funds is when it becomes gross and is done repeatedly.

    They are protected by the politicians who every time they are up for election curry their favor, use religious language and speak in their places of worship in order to gain their support. Gaining support of a conservative or charismatic religious leader will tend to gain you 75 to 80% of their flock’s votes.

  • 19. Thinking Ape  |  December 12, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    They teach that the more faithful one is in working for god and the more successful one is in doing his work the more god will reward them with material wealth.

    Sounds like a dumbed down Calvinism… on steroids.

  • 20. JustCan't  |  December 13, 2007 at 1:11 am

    There’s so much of this to see that it is frightening for those of us who have a spouse that is being coached to “accept this gift from Jesus and the scripture”. She says now that one day it will happen. Her “teacher” is a wild one, and although I warned her, she said not to worry. Now? Revivals, constant praying, and the Devil is absolutely everywhere. No family, no friends. In just 3 years. Where can I go to get help dealing with this? I live in the middle of nowhere in Canada, and right now it sure is lonely. Sorry for this, but I’ve been reading this site and find nothing better on the net. I thought you might know more than me. Thanks.

  • 21. samanthamj  |  December 13, 2007 at 2:40 am

    Very interesting post and thread. Reminds me too much of my youth in the church.

    Karen wrote in post #17 –
    “It’s the power of suggestion, over-excited emotion and expectation of the crowd and the “pusher.”

    Exactly! That is exactly how my personal experience with this was – (which I described in a post on my blog (http://savemenot.wordpress.com/2007/06/29/say-what-god-got-your-tongue/ ).

    I t wasn’t only the power of suggestion. I do believe I was “pressured” into being “slain” by the spirit. part of me really couldn’t believe it was real (even for other people) as I witnessed it. Then, I felt like it was my fault for being so skeptical… for not quite believing enough… and therefore it was my own fault that I wasn’t being “slain” in the spirit. I felt guilty and like a “lesser” christian because I wasn’t receiving the holy spirit. Eventually, I just tried to go along with it… or in other words “play along”. At the time, and for years I felt very much alone with these feelings – but, am learning more and more how not alone I am on this.

    ~smj

  • 22. Frreal  |  December 13, 2007 at 9:59 am

    I would be very interested to see if he could deconvert some fundamentals.

  • 23. rebecca shannon  |  December 13, 2007 at 10:10 am

    @ Just Can’t,

    Hi. I’m taking it that you are an unbeliever and your wife is a believer? You mention a “teacher” and I’m wondering, is this her pastor &/or a spiritual mentor? I’m guessing that there are churches there, in the middle of nowhere as well.

    What kind of help are you looking for specifically? You say you need help in dealing with it, is that for yourself, or are you looking to rescue your wife? I’m asking these specific questions, because it can help narrow-down exactly what you are needing.

    There are forums on the net for discussions. In this blog’s sidebar, under the heading, Navigation, you’ll find a forum listed there. You could join in and at least have someone to talk to about this. It’s very quiet there, but some of us could pick up a conversation there with you. I’m NinjaBoo at that forum.

    I could point you to some church abuse websites, if you consider that your wife is being spiritually abused and I could point you towards some cult sites if you think that is what is going on.

    I’ll watch for you on the forum if you’d like to pick up this conversation over there. Then the discussion won’t get lost in the ongoing comment system here at d-C.
    :-)

  • 24. hermipowell  |  December 13, 2007 at 10:35 am

    I’ve recently become a thinker, but I love Jesus more. Are you really de conversionists if you keep talking about Christianity? You must like it, be intrigued by Christian faith.

  • 25. Rebecca  |  December 13, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Hermipowell- Christianity has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and still is (as I’m the only deconvert in the fam), I guess it’s nice to be able to talk about it with other people who share concerns and similar pasts to myself. Just as I seek like minded people to share hobbies with.
    Yes, I also remain intrigued by Christianity, and enjoy discussions on the subject.
    As for whether or not the people who speak on this blog are truly deconversionists I don’t know whether or not that was a serious question or whether you were just trying to get a bite.

    SMJ- I felt the same way!

  • 26. Thinking Ape  |  December 13, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    JustCan’t,
    I second Rebecca Shannon’s comment and I just wanted to say that your comment struck a cord in me. I have close family members who have been taken in by spiritual charlatans, sometimes going into debt with family members and friends so they can pay the rent after they just gave thousands to these frauds – and that is just the financial side.
    <blockquote…and the Devil is absolutely everywhere.
    This hit me the most. The people I speak of find fear and evil everywhere. There is little joy. The devil is pragmatically more powerful than their god.

    hermipowell,

    I’ve recently become a thinker, but I love Jesus more. Are you really de conversionists if you keep talking about Christianity? You must like it, be intrigued by Christian faith.

    No, you haven’t “recently” become a thinker – you have been a thinker since you were born. Additionally, I would never argue that someone who says they “love Jesus” cannot be an intellectual – although I would question what they mean by “loving Jesus.”

    Now to answer your question. Of course we are intrigued by the Christian faith, but if you are a “born-again” Christian, you know that it consumes every aspect of your life. God comes first before anything else. Now what happens when you find out that everything you believed was a fraud – historically, psychologically, and philosophically? Most likely you are surrounded by family members that continue to believe you are going to hell, whether they know it or not. For myself, I am a student of religious studies and my area of concentration is syncretic contemporary Christianities, as I am fascinated with the success of occulticism and Gnosticism within American Christianity.

    Saying that de-converts “like” Christianity is more or less like saying a rehabilitating drug addict “likes” heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.

  • 27. hermipowell  |  December 13, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Yes, I like to get a bite, but honestly I commented on this blog because I wanted to hear a response to my question, and you gave me one, kind of. Thanks.

    I take it that you have had some religious experiences and discussing those experiences is a hobby, but have you met Jesus? Have you experienced a relationship with Him? He’s the best! Christ is the only one who never fails, He’s faithful, doesn’t change. If you have a relationship with Christ de coverting would be like walking away from the best friend you’ll ever have. My guess is that you have walked away from religion, but are still seeking the Savior, still seeking the Truth.
    My faith is not based on the fact that I grew up in a Christian home. Lots of people I know follow Christ who were the only believers in their home. How we are raised and our own personal decision to receive relationship with Jesus is two different things. In fact the choice to follow Christ and know him more is continual. There’s no such thing as de converting from a friendship and then discussing its’ experiences with others as a hobby.

  • 28. Thinking Ape  |  December 13, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    hermipowell exclaims,

    I take it that you have had some religious experiences and discussing those experiences is a hobby, but have you met Jesus? Have you experienced a relationship with Him? He’s the best!

    I recommend to you our contributors link. Many of the people contributing to this site have been evangelical pastors and teachers. Not that this will matter to you. Nothing I tell you about my previous life as a born-again evangelical Christian in training to become a pastor will ever convince you of anything. Even excerpts from my trying times will not help. So before I bother to respond to anything you said, since you don’t seem to take the time to care what we say, let me ask you something. What does your “relationship” with Christ entail? How is Christ “faithful”? How is Christ your “best friend”? How do you account for the fact that your “buddy Jesus” mentality has nothing to do with the Bible? How do you know that this imaginary friend is actually Jesus, and not the floating soul of Socrates? Or the Fallen Angel of Light himself, Lucifer? How do you know it isn’t all in your head?

    Please, answer those questions honestly and with integrity. If you simply give me another response full of the same gibberish I use to spill out to non-believers, I really won’t bother.

  • 29. The call for miracles « de-conversion  |  December 13, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    [...] I was trying to explain my doubts and thoughts on another site. Some responses to the recent “slain the spirit” post brought it back to [...]

  • 30. LeoPardus  |  December 13, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    hermipowell:

    Before posting here, you really should find out who we are. Let me recommend you go to the archives and read the posts “Who are the De-cons”.

    Regarding your 2nd paragraph in post 27 of this thread, look in the archives for “A Personal Relationship with Jesus”.

  • 31. Thinking Ape  |  December 13, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Before posting here, you really should find out who we are. Let me recommend you go to the archives and read the posts “Who are the De-cons”.

    Well, post away, just don’t assume certain things about our religious lives that you have no clue about.

  • 32. Samanthamj  |  December 14, 2007 at 12:23 am

    Hermipowel –

    “de converting from a friendship”?

    No.

    More like, detoxing from a bad trip.

    This group is like any group that is trying to find their way after giving up a bad habit, and making a lifestyle change.

    These are real people, who had real beliefs and feelings, with real experiences… negative and positive.. that left real scars and created many many questions.

    We are healing.

    It makes perfect sense that we would want to talk about it and try to understand… and hear from others who we can relate to… and not just get preached at and further misunderstood. It has nothing to do with wanting to go back or still seeking to find God (again).

    I hope that makes sense and didn’t sound rude… I wasn’t trying to be rude.

    ~smj

  • 33. Rebecca  |  December 14, 2007 at 12:28 am

    Hermipowell- As with Thinking Ape I do wish you wouldn’t assume things about our religious lives when you have no idea. And I resent the fact (that you seem to think) that because I grew up in a Christian home that made it any less of my choice to become a Christian, or to stop being one. And because of that belief you also assume that I haven’t ‘met Jesus’ and therefore am still ‘searching’.

    Discussing it is a hobby for me, but so I treat it more like an expansion of my views.

    As for searching for the ‘truth’, I hear this a lot from my Christian friends and relatives who assume that their faith is the real truth that everyone out there is secretly searching for it. But what exactly do you mean by truth? philisophically speaking? In everyday life?
    I constantly search critically for truth in science, and in life, but it’s a far cry from, the ‘why am I here’ questions to which you may be referring. You find meaning in Christianity, and at one point so did I. But the choice to deconvert has been a ‘continual’ one, a relationship with ‘Jesus’ is highly one-sided.

    “There’s no such thing as de converting from a friendship and then discussing its’ experiences with others as a hobby.”

    I wonder, do you discuss things that have happened to you in the past with friends?
    Do you talk to your Christian friends about God?
    Do you like talking to people who share similar views?
    And there you go again assuming that you actually do have a friendship with Jesus.
    People seek out those who are like-minded to discuss things and share experiences, there’s nothing wrong with that.

  • 34. Samanthamj  |  December 14, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Correction to my post above…

    I should not have said “we” when I was writing (as in “we are healing”). For one thing, II am not really a regular contributor to this site… just a regular reader and frequent commenter.

    When I said “We are healing.”… I should have spoke for myself alone and said “I am healing”

    For all I know… there are thos here who are not here for that reason, and feel no need to heel… but maybe just like to discuss all this for other reasons.. maybe to help folks like me. ?? But, I still doubt it’s because they want to go back, or because they are searching for God to be their savior (again)….

  • 35. Rebecca  |  December 14, 2007 at 12:45 am

    Samanthamj- Funny because I was going to say that you said what I wanted to say; only, better.

    I love that you don’t box everyone into the healing part! but I am also in that category.

    “But, I still doubt it’s because they want to go back, or because they are searching for God to be their savior (again)….”
    YAY! Exactly.

  • 36. JustCan't  |  December 14, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Rebecca:

    Thank you for your interest. My wife’s “teacher” is really her horse trainer. He has decided to mentor her on Christianity, albeit a very fundamentalist version of it. This man, in his 60’s and very pushy with me, has been thrown out of many churches for his extreme stances on scripture. He has my wife convinced that his version is the true version, because it is not based on church, but the bible itself. She says churches are afraid of him because of the truth he has the strength to speak — they just can’t handle the “light”. How direct is his line with God? Well, for instance he points to glossolalia, etc. as proof.

    What help am I looking for? I really don’t know. I want her back! She says she’s not changing her beliefs now, and that if I plan on staying, I have to not question it at all, and let her do what she wants with it without opposition. And I should convert for my own good, it being my own fault I haven’t already. I should also plan to feel a lot more uncomfortable as it continues to evolve. The teacher has adopted a very aggressive stance to convert me, calling me names, convincing my wife I am being run by the Devil.

    How can I be tolerant of such a divisive ideology, while they cannot accept the way I think at all, and dismiss my distress as irrelevant and ridiculous — the devil playing with me.

    Last night I got her to say something I found very illuminating. She had stated that I should stop “thinking” and close my mind. She said I should look at the wonderful things that drew her to it in the first place. I asked what those things were. Her response? “Well, I don’t want to go to Hell, that’s for sure!”

    “So, it is fear?” I asked. She said, “Well, that’s one reason, yes. I am very fearful of my God.”

    Mmmmm. Sounds like fun! I think she may be already in hell, if there is such a place.

    I can’t say what help I need except to say that I need help. She resists all discussion of it, and is not open to any criticism at all (this is the teacher talking, when she opens her mouth that is all I hear now, and she freely admits she isn’t smart enough to think for herself — that God gets her teacher to teach her what she thinks, and what opinions to have). So I cannot help her, so maybe I need the help. Do I need to be more tolerant? Do I need to go to a psychiatrist? It just feels like this ideology has stolen my life and poisoned my wife’s mind. I can’t do it alone, am outnumbered, and are constantly fighting off aggressive conversion attempts. I have no experience with this fight.

  • 37. LeoPardus  |  December 14, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    JustCan’t:

    Do you have kids to deal with too? If so, you’re problem’s a bit bigger.

    There are things like interventions (like AA sometimes recommends) that might be done.

    Of course there is the option of leaving her. Not what you want I know, and you may not be anywhere near such a point right now. If you have kids, this option would be a lot harder.

    Personally I’d be inclined to escort the “teacher” out of town with clear instructions never to return. But then that’s just my personal viciousness coming through. You’re probably a much nicer sort of person.

  • 38. JustCan't  |  December 14, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    No, not a nicer person am I — I see this teacher as someone who has poisoned my home. I’d love him to be gone, but she will have none of it, and he loudly denounces me and calls me names for resisting God.

    Yes, we have a 3yr old boy and I fear if I leave or she does — he’ll be served up to the ideology and have no daddy to save him. I’m trapped. If I call it quits, the courts will give him to Mommy, and he’s lost too. I love him so much.

    If I stay, I’m dying inside more by the hour.

    Intervention? Don’t think I haven’t thought about it, but it would be fruitless. She has forsaken her family, friends and now “us” for this radical new belief. She has made it clear that she will not put up with any type of mediator that isn’t her teacher — because he is the truly wise one — and not some secular hack that is so obviously being used by the devil. In fact, she’s resistant to any form of softening of stance, and insists the rhetoric will escalate. She would walk out of an intervention even if it was comprised of her own family, friends and husband. She says the teacher is her family now.

  • 39. rebecca shannon  |  December 14, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Just Can’t,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Have you considered joining the forum I mentioned? :-)

    It would be easier to do this over there.

    There are so many other things I’d like to ask. Was she raised a Christian? Did she convert recently or was she a believer when you married?

    I’m concerned a certain event has triggered this need to follow this guy who clearly is a cult unto himself. How long has he been her horse teacher? Has there been a major crisis in her life lately?

    Has this man treatened you in anyway? He’s verbally abusing you, which also is emotional abuse, but, do you fear him? If there has been any threat to you by him or her for that matter, you need to report it to the police. I’m not sure if they will do anything, but it would be documented and that’s important should this situation esculate.

    I also suggest you keep a journal of what is going on.

    You mention that you are in the middle of nowhere, so I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Assuming you are a fair distance from the nearest town or city?

    For yourself, you could look into a social agency. Make a phone appointment with them or make an office visit and see if they have any suggestions.

    I’d really like to talk with you more about this, but as I suggested I’d prefer the forum area. :-)

  • 40. rebecca shannon  |  December 14, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    sorry about the type-o’s :-(

  • 41. JustCan't  |  December 14, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Rebecca:

    Thanks again. Yes, I will join the forum you mentioned, and look forward to speaking with you there. This evening once home from work, I’ll see what greets me, then go online if I can. I so wanted to last night, but this man called her yesterday to slander me again, and I had to defend myself for 3 hours after getting home.

    Yes, there was a rough patch in life that aided in her conversion. No she was not always like this — born again 4 years ago, started going to church 5 years ago, quit 3 years ago and started dealing with this guy exclusively, along with a steady stream of books, dvds, television programs and internet sites. And the music too. She reads nothing that isn’t Christian based.

    This man is abusing me mentally and verbally, but not physically. Nor am I afraid of that, for me or her.

    My location is in Manitoba, Canada. The nearest “large” city is three hours away, and there are no services in this town. Trying to meet her halfway, I tried speaking with a Christian counselor a few days ago, located over an hour away from my home. After all was explained to the counselor, with a straight face, he began asking why I couldn’t just accept God. And he told me to pray.

    I left the meeting so upset that I drove through an intersection and was almost hit by a large moving van. I had to pull over to collect myself before being stable enough to drive. I stopped several more times on the way home for the same reason. That was help? Just give in? What a racket.

    Thanks again Rebecca, I’ll see you in the forum I hope.

    Thanks also to you Ape, and you Leo. You are all I have at the moment.

  • 42. LeoPardus  |  December 14, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    JustCan’t:

    Sounds like you’re in a mess. Wish I had a wonderful solution for you, but I don’t. Were it me, the teacher would disappear. I fear I sometimes wear “civilization” rather thinly.

  • 43. Samanthamj  |  December 14, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    Just can’t…
    Quick two cents…

    There are many bible verses that support that the husband should be the head of the family… the wife should submit… etc. I don’t agree with them… but, my mother did… and it was one of the main reasons she and my father lasted as long as they did even though he was an atheist and she was a radical born again. Maybe, you could ask her how this “teacher” can go against God’s word on these things… coming between you and your wife… etc… and have verses to back it up? There will be verses her teacher till spew at you too… in his defense of slandering you… but, then you can point out how he is picking and chosing his verses and interpretations… and how can she believe that God would want her and you to be fighting like this? It’s not very Christian, after all, is it?

    Please also seek marriage counseling… tell her you’re going with or without her because YOU want to make thinsg work and you love her and don’t want a divorce. This will make her think. Look into finding a Christian based therpist that might make her accept going… just don’t go to a church or pastor or someone who will not be objective at all (like the guy you talked to) Do they have AGAPE services there? That is religious based… but, thet don’t PUSH religion… and they are considerate to all faiths. Maybe, if you could get her to go to marriage counseling … to an actual therapist… she would listen to them… especially if they were Christian based.

    I agree with the documenting everything advice too.

    And, if all else fails… FIGHT for your daugther if you actually split up. The mom doesn’t ALWAYS get custody… and in this case… it sounds like it would be bad if she did. I shudder to think how my life would have been without my father in the picture full time….

    I am sorry I don’t have much real good advice. I do feel for you. This hits close to home for me…

    ~smj

  • 44. Samanthamj  |  December 14, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Oh – and I forgot… If I were you… I’d do my homework on this “teacher”. Find out WHY he got kicked out. Is there anything he did really bad/wrong that is so obvious that even your wife would have to think twice?? Even if SHE won’t believe you, you’ll know better who/what you’re dealing with… and, maybe the courts WILL listen if need be down the road.

  • 45. bry0000000  |  December 14, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    I hope this isn’t too much of a digression from the current conversation. But for the sake of argument…

    In the case of the videos above, and assuming that God exists (I know, a hard assumption), isn’t it possible for a theist to say that this was God working through a non-believing atheist?

  • 46. Rebecca  |  December 14, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Bry0000000- Yup I can see a theist saying that. My personal response would be; God, knowing that this particular Atheist was trying to prove it a sham, wouldn’t want to encourage this idea because it gives more evidence against than for.

    Might be more likely, then, for a Theist to say that it is the Devil and his buddies who are giving the Atheist the power to do this in order to draw people away from the Lord.

    JustCan’t- I’m really sorry to hear about your situation. I like Samanthamj’s idea of fighting fire with fire. My mum would always say to me that because Dad was the head of the household the ultimate decisions were up to him, and he was allowed to contrain her behaviour (as it was Gods will.). But the whole thing just sucks, no wonder churches don’t want to be associated with this horse trainer man (though I’ve seen them accept the theology of other wack jobs.) Good luck, and I hope that the people on this forum can help you out, you’re not alone.

  • 47. JustCan't  |  December 15, 2007 at 1:20 am

    Thanks again everyone. I’m in the forum now, so please come and see me when you get a chance.

    Well, he’s already filled her in on the submission thing, but with a caveat: he provided a way out. He said that he didn’t want to have to show her, but in Corinthians there is a verse that says you shouldn’t leave the spouse unless he is one of three things I can’t recall now, but one ones I had to be willing to leave her the way she is and not interfere, etc, etc.) He said I was none of those things, and therefore, since he prayed and God had no problem with him doing so, he had to show her the verse. That SOB. He’s also taken a lot of the literal context out of “submit” as well. He tend to be literal only in the spots that help him, and more relaxed at interpreting scripture for the same reason. To me it is so obvious. I’ve pointed it out, but I’m told I can’t comment on God at all, or the old man for that matter. I’m not the expert. The old man is. He’s figured out the true way to worship. Read the bible, pray, and make your own interpretations. Scary.

    I’ve asked about counseling together, but she won’t now. She said she’d think about it, but unless the counselor’s advice is that I should repent and accept Jesus, well, they can’t even be trusted. And she said any criticism of the ideology or narrow interpretations of it will be deemed an attack by a fake Christian — not a true Christian. But that’s not really counseling is it? I’m going for my first one tomorrow night. Alone, but hopeful. I wish I could eat though.

  • 48. JustCan't  |  December 15, 2007 at 1:51 am

    SMJ:
    Thank you for all of that.

    Do you have any advice on getting info on this horse trainer’s history? I’m not sure about how to do it. The town is an hour away, and so small that my presence would be instantly detected. I’m not sure that ministers would speak of it with me, a heathen to boot, on the phone or in person. And they might just call the old man and tell him about my inquiry. So I’m at a loss as to what to do about it. Anything at all would be appreciated. :-)

  • 49. karen  |  December 15, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    JustCan’t: So very sorry to hear about your situation. This man you’re dealing with sounds like a dangerous cult leader. You definitely should be able to find some information on him online. I suggest Googling his full name and several spelling variations on same. Follow the links and if he’s done this in the past, or caused a ruckus in some churches, you may find some good information on him that you can compile and perhaps present to your wife when she’s able to be more objective about him and his influence.

    Meanwhile, get into therapy for yourself whether your wife will join you immediately or not. You need a third party to listen to your story and advise you. A good therapist will give you techniques you can use to urge your wife into therapy also.

    If the first therapist you meet with is not helpful and sympathetic, keep looking until you find the right person. Someone with a background in dealing with personality cults and egotistical narcissists would be perfect, since it sounds like the horse trainer fits those labels nicely.

    Just the fact that your child is at risk with this man’s influence is ample reason to get help for yourself and your family. Good luck.

  • 50. JustCan't  |  December 15, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you Karen. I’ve tried googling, etc. but there is no info on him anywhere. He’s just a simple old man with wild beliefs. A lot of his credibility with her derives from the fact that he’s not some church leader or known cult guy. He’s just a stupid old man with extreme beliefs, and the self delusional thought that he is, in a way, a pipeline from god, and he reminds her often that God tells him what she’s doing is right (and what to do next, also). I’m going to the 1st counseling session tonight, by myself, and I hope it will help me.

  • 51. trendyhipster  |  December 15, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Just Can’t:
    Does this man insist using only the KJV of the Bible? Does he consider walking in the church to be an actual sin?

    Many of my father’s side of the family are under a very similar influence by a Pastor Claude A. Gagnon. I’m not sure if the man you speak of has any sort of relation with Gagnon, but we are in both in Canada. While Gagnon’s following is based in montreal, they do travel all over Canada providing sermons. Mention “Brother Gagnon” to your pastor and see if there’s a connection.

    Reading your story I can’t help but feel for you. Unfortunately, the only people on my dad’s side who don’t believe the way they do, are the ones who never believed as militantly as they did in the first place, and only “played along”. My dad told me stories about how 4 of them (out of 11 children) would gather and talk about what bothered them about their families lifestyle and tactics in secret, from what he’s told me it was such an oppressive experience.

    Your wife doesn’t seem like she’s playing along, so I hope that you can somehow resolve your issue, but I’ll tell you from experience with this kind of thing, you have a very long hard road ahead of you.

    They’re so entrenched in their beliefs, that they don’t realize how hurtful their being. One of my non-believing aunts had a baby two years ago, and instead of being congratulated, she was told (honestly, near word for word) “Another baby that’s going to Hell if you don’t raise him under God” Your Pastor sounds like the kind of person to make remarks similar.

    I wish I could help you in some way because I know the toll it takes on the rest of the family.

    All the best.

  • 52. JustCan't  |  December 15, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Trendy:
    No, he looks at all of the versions, or seems to look at at least three, see the way the verse changes, think about it, pray on it, and think about it some more. Then his decision is the word of God. He believes he doesn’t practice religion — that’s for churches and fake Christians, he believes in the Bible, and the real and true Christianity.

    Then he does the same thing for you and tells you what to do, on God’s wishes of course — it’s not him, he says. Don’t blame him.

    He doesn’t think it is a sin to walk into a church. I think if all of them thought exactly as he did and treated him as a holy man, he’s be there today. Its just that his beliefs are so extreme and literal and he is so outspoken, that no one can put up with him.

    No, he’s not connected to your minister, thank goodness.

    But, my wife is playing along though, and believes all of this 100%. She will go out to their farm tomorrow and won’t be back for a couple of days. I can only imagine what the SOB will fill her head with next, or how he will try to escalate this or isolate me.

    Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them.

  • 53. trendyhipster  |  December 16, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Ok, I just thought I’d throw it out there because your descriptions did seem similar to my experience.

    And by playing along, I meant that my dad and his siblings “pretended” they believed as the rest of the household. That’s what I about your wife, she’s not pretending.

    I wish you the best.

  • 54. Kbeach  |  February 21, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Kenneth Copeland put on a excellent performance at his latest ministers conference held on January 22,2008 visible at http://www.wittenburgdoor.com/copelandclips , which has now gotten the attention of people all across the USA, and abroad. The message he was unmistakably sending, came across loud and clear on every subject he was addressing. From voicing his personal feelings about the senate investigation, to a multitude of other issues facing KCM. Surprisingly, Kenneth does admit to some element of truth in the letter KCM received from the Senate, but did not go into any detailed explanations. Also in his defense, he makes the accusation that the truth is being twisted a bit. A old saying comes to mind , what comes around goes around. Years of promoting the promises of prosperity, physical healing, and last but not least the twisting of biblical scripture for personal gain has returned to KCM full circle.
    “ I had a home“, “I had a life“, “I had faith“, “I had a family“, “I lost a loved one“, these are merely a handful of endless testimonies coming to light nationwide. Ranging from all walks of life, their heartbreaking testimonies can be found throughout the web, yet inconceivably, victims are being labeled as fools, ignorant, and basically downright blind for not seeing the truth behind the Prosperity Gospels falsehoods. Being only human, our quest for health and wealth, regrettably does lead some in the wrong direction. Promises and guaranties, made by the Prosperity Gospel ministers, give people that have not obtained these blessings on their own, a second chance at achieving their goals in life. An important discovery I made while reviewing testimonies, revealed the fact numerous victims had very little knowledge of the Prosperity Gospels dark side. These unfortunate victims, appear to be equipped with only a small portion of the web of deceit these ministers weave . For example, picture yourself being raised in a small country town, with a population of only a few hundred, the closest city, only a population of only a few thousand. Computers, internet, cable, satellite TV, and other high tech gadgets are not needed or desired. This was my life, before KCM.
    Prosperity Gospel ministers enter the homes of many victims though a thirty minute Sunday morning worship service on a local broadcast station. Myself, growing up in Jigger La., truly located in the middle of nowhere, I can testify to the fact that we only received on a clear day about three or four channels at most. Therefore warnings of the numerous dangers, and intentional deceit, associated with Prosperity Gospel ministries, being made by critics, ministers, and victims went unheard by many. The irony of this are the many warning labels we all encounter every day. From cleaning supplies to over the counter medications, labels posted on various products warn us of the dangers associated with that particular product. Regrettably Prosperity Gospel does not offer this, but should! Family’s have lost their homes, lifesavings, and some even their lives to the Prosperity Gospel.
    Unfortunately my mother was not one of the lucky ones, her confidence, and faith in this false Gospel, ultimately cost her, her life. After more than a decade of programming her mind to believe and think the Prosperity Gospel way of life, she lost her battle with cancer. By refusing medical attention, she sealed her fate, but the programming she had acquired from Kenneth and Gloria Copeland proved strong all the way to her last breath. A diary she left behind revealed the horrific tale of her life from 1992-2002, the top of each page titled with Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland, or BVOV. Some mistakes in life we can not undo, and good intentions don’t always go as planed, these victims are simply following misleading promises of health and wealth. Their use of miraculous healing confessions, and newly found wealth testimonies, are their sales pitch, my mother among others, are proof that their sale pitch does work. The possibility of certain Mega churches misusing contributors finances for their own personal luxuries is ultimately what brought this scam to the publics attention, not the loss of life, the financially bankrupt, nor the numerous homeless victims that have been left in the wake of this devastating hoax.
    Knowledge, is the only discovery I found to be effective in this seemingly endless battle. Sadly for some our efforts will go unheard. As for my family, once again I am addressing another envelope to Kenneth Copeland Ministries, asking once again for a summery of my mothers (Bonnie Parker) contributions to KCM, and since they have bankrupt our family also due to the numerous expenses we encountered before and after mom’s death, and once more, ask them to purchase a headstone for mom. I believe they at least owe her that much.
    The family of Bonnie Parker
    E-MAIL sis359@gmail.com
    Photo, before and after KCM,

    http://picasaweb.google.com/sis359/BonnieParkerDiaryPhoto

    Documentary Suffer The Children, exposes televangelists lavish lifestyles ,

    http://www.wittenburgdoor.com/suffer-children

    Book recently published by Sara Posner, also looks into these subjects,

    Request for contributions viewable at http://sis359.blogspot.com

  • 55. Lannette  |  August 1, 2008 at 4:32 am

    The slain in the “spirit” stuff isn’t even IN the Bible.
    [Link]
    It’s hypnotism, common garden hypnosis. It’s roots lie in Christian gnosticism (which is heresy) and can be found in eastern religions..stuff like Kundalini, awaking your “chakra” stuff.

    Does it mean that ALL pastors who do the slain bit are false? No, depending on their doctrine/teachings, there are true preachers who just stumble upon and think it’s from God. (it’s out of ignorance) No more of the signs and wonders movement…this stuff is just deception. =(

  • 56. Anonymous  |  October 22, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Have you read Acts?

  • 57. The Apostate  |  October 22, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Have you read Acts?

    Yes.

  • 58. DA  |  January 4, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    For anyone who’s reading this, before you decide whether or not a Christian church is plain crazy, oppressive, or whatever word that reflects fraudulence, read some bible on your own without anyone bothering you about what everything means. Many churches force their own meanings into scripture where they don’t belong- this is the case with a majority of religions.

    Truth is, the New Testament preaches that “the wages of sin is death”, and also describes hell as the “second death”, so I don’t find someone that follows the bible saying that if someone ends up living in sin, they go to hell being extreme at all. Maybe you just find the message of Jesus and his apostles extreme… the whole point of Christianity is to take hold of your own life and make a declaration that with God’s help, you are able of living a better life free of sin.

    What I find oppressive is the attitude people generally have towards what man is able and not able to do. The most famous saying that comes to mind is, “no one is perfect,” or “it’s impossible to be perfect”. This attitude is depressing and an insult the free will we possess. If you are interested in living blamelessly, be my guest- Christianity is for you. If you’re not interested, it isn’t- stop wasting your time with pastors that would rather take away your money than your sin.

  • 59. The Apostate  |  January 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    DA,

    Truth is, the New Testament preaches that “the wages of sin is death”, and also describes hell as the “second death”, so I don’t find someone that follows the bible saying that if someone ends up living in sin, they go to hell being extreme at all.

    I certainly would not oppose this. If it is true that the “wages of sin is death” and that, as an unbeliever, I would go to a place of eternal torment and punishment for my lack of perfection I would certainly turn extreme. The problem is that it would be like some paranoid individual randomly approaching me on the streets of Toronto, Ontario and telling me that the Americans are going to invade within several days. I can a) believe this individual and do a number of things that might otherwise seem extreme or b) not believe this individual and try to find that person some help or c) investigate the matter and see if there is any evidence that what this person says is true or not. But let us say we picked (a) and made our very own makeshift militia. We prepared, continued recruiting, bought arms, etc. etc. etc. But the Americans never attacked. Certainly such an army would not be afraid of our little militia. So maybe it wasn’t true. So maybe some might leave our militia but many will continue to stand watch… for two thousand years.

    What people find extreme is what people do with their faith despite the lack of evidence for it.

    the whole point of Christianity is to take hold of your own life and make a declaration that with God’s help, you are able of living a better life free of sin.

    Actually, no it is not. You live in a postmodern dreamworld so divorced from 1800 years of Christianity that you don’t even know what Christinaity’s founder(s) taught. Jesus taught a radicalization of the law as an interpretation of God’s love and Paul interpreted Jesus’ death as paying our bondage to sin, whereas we furthermore are still to be considered slaves to Christ, in which we ironically find freedom. There is no such declaration of “taking hold of your own life” nor is any indication that you will live a “better life free of sin.” This is utter hogwash ad hoc theology that Americanism has overturned two millennia of, at least in words, a spirituality of humbleness. But it is this same sort of empty rhetoric and opposition to Christian theology that is so appealing to the American mind and why new religious movements such Pentecostalism and Mormonism will continue to grow and the traditional faiths will slide into either the camp of spiritual sensationalists or rational deism, agnosticism, or atheism.

  • 60. DA  |  January 12, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I will correct you on two matters.

    1. Mormons and pentecostals do not believe in the stopping of sin. They believe that after they are “born again”, even when they sin, Jesus having died for them continually cleanses and forgives them. Ask any mormon or pentecostal if he’s a sinner, chances are, he or she will say “we’re all sinners”.

    2. The apostles do preach to live without sin, and regardless if you care what is writen in the bible, I would just like to correct where you are mistaken with a direct quote from the book The First Epistle General of John” also known as First John. Chapter 3, verse 3 to 11

    And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
    [4] Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
    [5] And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
    [6] Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
    [7] Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
    [8] He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
    [9] Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
    [10] In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
    [11] For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

    So verse 6 and 9 display the point very literally. Again, this is not on my behalf to preach, but just to inform.

  • 61. DA  |  January 12, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Not that this is necessary to make my point any further, but Romans chapter 6 refers to living for God as a “freedom” from sin.

    [1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
    [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
    [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
    [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

    [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
    [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.
    [8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
    [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
    [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
    [11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
    [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

    [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
    [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

    [16] Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
    [17] But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

    [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
    [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
    [20] For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
    [21] What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

    [22] But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
    [23] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    So the apostles do refer to living for God (as they preach it) as being a freedom. But interestingly enough, they also refer to “serving sin” as a freedom in its own right. As the Apostate has written, in the same way, living a certain way could also be seen as being prisoner of that way, just as a man can be prisoner of his own moral code, but I don’t see that as something shameful. The whole personal question is what you want to serve and what you want to be free from, and that choice is up to the individual.

  • 62. Anonymous  |  January 5, 2013 at 12:57 am

    it’s kind of ironic to see that the video says it does not exist. See, I was skeptical and I thought so.

  • 63. Alban  |  January 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    It seems to me there is relative freedom that suggests ‘free’ from something. ‘Freedom’ in the larger context such as the one that Jesus spoke of and literally showed to The Apostles is inherent within all people and in all living matter, timeless + infinite. It is free period, not free from anything else.

    Kind of like sitting in your bedroom with the sun shining in your window. If the drapes are drawn, you cannot be sure it’s the sun, but if you draw back the drapes there is no doubt. At that point would you be ‘free’ from darkness or just enjoying the light of the sun?

    Freedom referred to and shown by Jesus and some other significant messengers (one at a time, interestingly, throughout history) is not at all relative. It was and is available for the righteous and the not so. The light of that freedom places a much clearer perspective on relative functions such as behavior. It shines from within brightly upon dignity, and immeasurable joy. It does not judge good and bad. We do- that was our choice.

    The biggest sin was and is that choice. The result of that choice created all the sub categories of relative sin that help only in controlling and assessing our activity without the benefit of the full actual light.

    Social bandaids, the do’s and the don’ts, shame and judgement in all its relativity are like the drapes. Which of the 2, the drapes or the sun has the longer lifeline? Endure one or enjoy the other?.Both are present throughout human life. There is alot more substance and clarity to the one than the other.

    So if you had a wish that could really come true and it had to do with freedom which would be the most practical, an obstacle with a backdrop of hopeful freedom or freedom itself?

  • 64. Alban  |  March 21, 2014 at 3:28 am

    I have seen and heard …(frequently in an office down the hall from my own) charismatic worship. In my opinion the author is correct.

    For those who regularly follow this entire site, I have cited a “litmus test” for anyone wanting to discern the possible connection with God. Anything added onto you as you are, is disqualified, if you are a purist, or someone looking for freedom itself (not freedom FROM anything). Or wanting connection to what is without beginning or end/unconditional love/peace.

    In charismatic/Pentecostal services the combination of suggestion, prayer and imitation can create spontaneous expression. Senses fooled? Yes. How?

    Thinking and interpreting can overwhelm the senses and triggers imagination.

    Within each of us is a ‘place’ where thinking, interpretation and imagination cannot go. Our awareness can go there thru our senses but only singlly. ‘Naked’ for lack of a more efficient word.

    If Pentecostals derive benefit in this form of worship who am I to judge or argue? It’s just not what they think it is.

  • 65. cag  |  March 21, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    I find it amusing that a believer in god would even broach the idea of “senses fooled”. The whole god thing is a fooling of the senses (and other things designed to hide reality).

  • 66. Alban  |  March 22, 2014 at 2:04 am

    External senses are fooled regularly. External stimuli like imagination when taken in by analysis of feeling of or for that phenomena are senses fooled. They can initiate further delusion which usually finds a way to regurgitate that analysis outwardly.

    This is differentiated from clear thinking. In our created world of reality we accept certain truths and ‘absolutes’. The only clear thinking we know is entirely based on that agreement.

    Pentecostals seem like an anomaly because their expression is outside of that agreement. It is not any more or less confusion than other religion. And like most religion it does bring a relative comfort or peace to followers.

    We each have an awareness that can focus thru the 5 senses within. Imagination and any other external stimuli do not fit. This awareness only enters that place ‘naked’.

    I think “God” is a limiting term in that place. But if you want to go there and take in what is there, you cannot be accompanied by anything, let alone expectation.(so no fooling) Are you ready for that, cag? You can be if you do the research and then a little homework

    Just you and “it”. At that point “it” won’t seem foreign. You realize there is no separation between you and “it”. It is still ‘discernible’ (after the fact) that you are not “it”, but not separated from “it”.

    WHEN are we told by religion that something like that happens? Body not ‘there’, ego not ‘there’ and imagination absent And yet we still breathe, we are alive…not dead!!!

  • 67. Alban  |  March 22, 2014 at 3:22 am

    A postscript: Clear (untainted by ignorance) thinking. Is it 100% accurate? As best as I can or you will be able to at THIS point. I chuckle sometimes thinking how much time I have invested in this to know, understand and express and how quickly all the new people catch on, their after the fact wisdom is so simple and astonishing!

    Me and a lot of old timers must have been really, really thick. So bottom line what you will assess for you (any of you) should come a lot more quickly than it did for me and many others. But I can’t regret the impeccable TLC given to getting thru our befuddlement, one or two rivaling you, cag…good people cemented…hardliners, me included to degree, but with a different wall. Everyone, each individual, is so unique.

    No cement can last in this. It all melts sooner or later. And you laugh with tears in a way you could have never imagined.

    But don’t worry. Religion and atheism aren’t disappearing tomorrow. Debate will be ongoing This specific pursuit I have described however, is uniquely individual. Neither grouping will endorse your effort.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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