Spiritual abuse


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Hi all,
I recently came across this issue by a friend whose uncle is (unfortunately) a christian preacher, subjects him to all kinds of remarks, comments infact I find it very domineering and blackmailing.
I can't go into it too much for confidentiality reasons but I am sure most of you have heard it before, you're evil you deserve everything you get, you're going to hell etc.
Now-I was just wondering one of two things

A) Where do you personally draw the line? Some people think its quite normal to act this way and continue to do so on the basis of their faith, but can we continue accepting it?


B)Any additional information on how to help sufferers of this kind of abuse would be most helpful and pleas share your personal experiences.

cheers all!
Namasté Ami,

Those are very good questions. I've come to the understanding that there are many paths to God, and for some, the path you're describing is what best suits them. Just as there are many paths, there are people that will "draw the line" far sooner than the other person. So my answer to your first question is, it all depends on the individual. If you see that your friend is unhappy in that situation, and requires a change, then perhaps you could suggest other paths. A good starting point would be to bring your friend to this forum!

Hope this helps!
Hi Ami and welcome to CR !

A precher blackmailing ? From the short description you gave us, I had the impression of meeting a Middle Age's preacher.

For the first question the answer is NO. I do not believe this is a normal behaviour. I certainly refuse obedience to such a person.

For the second one, time is the best friend for the cure as long as you friend takes its distances from the abuser.

I agree with Ryuuko's idea. A visit to this forum may open to your friend a different perspective of religion in the world. There is no chance to meet trolls here. Sometimes, some of them succeed to enter, but Brian kicks them out ASAP. ;)
The following is something that I came across online and it seems to be related. It can be especially damaging to kids when their parents enforce it as the family way of life.

Symptoms of
Religious Addiction

Religious convictions are stated as black and white
Isolation from people who do not share the same beliefs
Think of the world and flesh as inherently evil
Obsessive about praying, going to church, reading the Bible, attending crusades, watching television evangelists, sending money to missions
Excessive fasting
Hearing messages from God
Judging others; often angry and violent toward "heathens"
Brainwashing* - attempt to persuade family and significant friends to their way of thinking
Compulsively talking about God, religion or quoting from Scripture
Conflict of ideology with hospitals and schools
Discourage thinking for oneself, doubting or questioning
Sexuality seen as dirty or bad
Cannot accept criticism
Suffer tension, stress, often develop physical illnesses, such as eating disorders, depression and anxiety
Often stare, go into trances
Erratic personality changes

Taken from: When God Becomes A Drug: Breaking the Chains of Religious Addiction and Abuse, by Leo Booth

*A better word than "brainwashing" to explain this process would be mind manipulation or thought reform
Dear Ami

Well now that we have scientific proof, that thought, perceptions and words damage cells and help to create disease, this is a good starting point.

For your girlfriend it is about boundaries. So first she has to decide, what her boundaries are, then she can begin to implement them. I usually find giving the offender a wide berth also gets the message across.

Every soul needs an inner sanctum of peace to reach its fullest potential but first we have to decide what is essential for the soul.

When we do not understand it is time to give it more love, for fear melts in the arms of love.

Love beyond measure

www.telic21.org said:
Obsessive about praying, going to church, reading the Bible, attending crusades, watching television evangelists, sending money to missions

Attending crusades?! I guess that would be a symptom from 12th century religious addiction;)

Ami, it hurts a lot to hear you call being a Christian unfortunate. It's not so much that you said it, but that you had grounds to say it. Please don't put all of us in the same basket as the over-zealous, because these people are proud, but there is no pride in Christ.

Truth is light, and people are drawn naturally to it. This preacher should not need to impose or enforce his beliefs on others, because if he believed in and practiced the truth others would simply see it, and ask him to show them what it is in his life that makes him so happy.

Where should the line be drawn? Behind you, and once you've drawn it, walk away. There is no point to arguing with a zealot because they see only the speck in your eye, without ever looking at themselves to judge how near to the truth they are.

If Christ is truth, then surely people will be drawn towards him. If Buddha is truth, then surely people will be drawn towards him, and away from Christ. If the truth is that there is no God then, well, you get the point.

As someone who hopes one day to be called as a messenger of the truth (Which I believe is Christ), hearing stories like yours only make me more determined NOT to become like that.

Take care.
Hi Ami,

I'm sorry your friend is going through this. As far as I am concerned it's unacceptable. Thankfully I belong to a Faith which has no clergy, no spiritual superior, with an enormous emphasis placed on individual spiritual development and a strict prohibition therefore to judge anyone else:
"O Son of Man!

Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness." - Baha'u'llah

"O Son of Being!

Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. This is My command unto thee, do thou observe it." - Baha'u'llah

The above are just two quotes from a vast number of Writings on such an important and fundamental subject in the Baha'i Faith.

But the beautiful Faith of Christianity says the same thing. Remember the wonderful example of Christ when He said "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone"?

I agree with Marsh - it's sad that you consider being a Christian or even a Christian preacher unfortunate. The moving and beautiful words and example of Christ are in total contradiction to what this terrible individual is doing and it is no way representative of the followers of Christ.

Indeed, what is unfortunate is not that this man is a Christian or a preacher but rather that he has issues with his personality. My guess is that he'd be abusive whatever he believed.

In response to (B) I would suggest your friend lovingly and humbly shows the beginning of John 8 to this individual.

Dear Sam

Sadly the kind of language used by this preacher is common amongst Christian Fundamentalists and there is 30 million in the US, I only discovered this in the last two weeks. I went into a prophecy end times forum without realising that it was full of these people.

The golden rule seemed to have by-passed them. I was horrifed to find such hatred amongst religious people.

This article was also interesting....

"No Longer a Christian"
by Karen Horst Cobb

I was told in Sunday school the word "Christian" means to be Christ-like, but the message I hear daily on the airwaves from the "christian " media are words of war, violence, and aggression. Throughout this article I will spell Christian with a small c rather than a capital, since the term (as I usually hear it thrown about) does not refer to the teachings of the one I know as the Christ. I hear church goers call in to radio programs and explain that it was a mistake not to kill every living thing in Fallujah. They quote chapter and verse from the old testament about smiting the enemies of Israel. The fear of fighting the terrorists on our soil rather than across the globe causes the voices to be raised as they justify the latest prison scandal or other accounts of the horrors of war . The words they speak are words of destruction, aggression, dominance, revenge, fear and arrogance. The host and the callers echo the belief in the righteousness of our nation's killing. There are reminders to pray for our "Christian" president who is doing the work of the Lord: Right to Life, Second Amendment, sanctity of marriage, welfare reform, war, kill, evil liberals. . . so much to fight, so much to destroy. (read the full article at;


I feel that his is important so I will start another thread on this.

Love beyond measure

Dear Abogado

Thank you, I have responded on the appropriate thread.

Love beyond measure