Fundamentalist Christianity is like a drug culture. Its drug of choice is known by the street names of the gospel (good news), salvation, and eternal life. Religious addicts consume the good news drug by various means, including compulsive prayers of self-degradation (confession), ritual drowning (baptism), penile mutilation (circumcision), or the eating of bread and wine commemorating human sacrifice (communion). Regardless of the method of consumption, this drug is highly addictive. Addicts suffer from violent hallucinations of fiery torture during withdrawal, which often takes years. The gospel drug’s long-term effects have been demonstrated through centuries of evidence: violent tendencies, loss of brain function in the form of critical thinking, sexual dysfunction, powerlessness, and inability to make decisions apart from the drug. Slavish dependency is encouraged by drug dealers, known as priests. These opportunists are known to peddle the drug on street corners or in malls, often targeting young children, recovering addicts, the homeless, and other vulnerable populations.
When dependency becomes chronic, gospel addicts are known to behave like shells or hollow vessels, taking on another personality entirely and losing their ability to function in the world outside of their drug societies. Extreme paranoia often emerges as a symptom. Loving family members and all who do not support the addiction are seen as enemies or agents of Satan. Denial is also a common symptom. Addicts are often unable to see their descent into fear, isolation, and self-abuse until many years of lost life later. Shockingly, addicts tend to attribute their sufferings to not having enough drugs and usually attempt to cope by seeking more, plunging deeper into the addiction. This class of drug is unique in its self-propagating mechanism of action. Addicts feel compelled not only to take the drug at every opportunity but also to increase the Evangelical epidemic by offering the drug to complete strangers. Such an alarming tendency requires great caution when handling the drug, especially among those who are prone to look for miracle solutions to their life problems and responsibilities. Despite its promises of spiritual ecstasy and increased moral acuity, the gospel drug delivers only a fleeting emotional rush, with longer-lasting symptoms of numbness, decreased self-awareness, and intolerance of other people.
Fortunately, there are many reasons to be optimistic in the face of this drug crisis. Education and exposure to other worldviews are effective. Gospel addiction naturally declines in societies where access to higher education is promoted, and where interaction with other cultures is encouraged. Prevention is critical. Families that promote a strong view of the self as loving, good, and trustworthy instead of diseased and unworthy rarely see their children drawn to give themselves to the addiction. To create change on a societal level, helping professionals must rethink dated dependency-based social service models. By providing solutions to vulnerable populations that encourage self-empowerment instead of another form of dependency in the form of religious self-help groups and evangelistic charities, we can treat the underlying source of addiction, which is disconnection and powerlessness. This is good news, free of drugs.
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Do you feel psychologically traumatized by religion, or isolated and disempowered by trauma and limiting beliefs in your life? I’m Andrew Jasko, Master of Divinity (M.Div.), M.A., Counseling Psychology in progress, and I work to help you transform your trauma into the place of your power and connect to a healthy, authentic spirituality that works for you (whether that’s as a spiritual, atheist, religious, transitioning, or agnostic identifying person). I was born into a minister’s family and became a preacher and missionary to India, after studying theology at Wheaton College and Princeton Seminary. As a Christian, my relationship with God was my passion, but unhealthy religious teachings caused me an anxiety disorder, sexual repression, and spiritual disillusionment. I felt alone, traumatized, and abandoned by the divine. After an agonizing crisis of faith, I rejected religion and spirituality. Then, I had an unexpected spiritual awakening through mystical and spiritual practices like meditation, psychedelics, and connecting my heart’s desires and intuition through my Divine Mindfulness practice. My passion is to help you in your spiritual or life transition to heal and connect with your authentic spiritual wholeness.
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