What gaslighting & coercion reveal about Christianity
Two words embody Christianity’s culture, coercion and gaslighting, that describe best the hazard of belief. Not only do Christians gaslight nonChristians, but they gaslight one another. What makes this social dynamic so damaging is the naturalness of occurrence within the Christian worldview, forming a seeming solidarity that is actually unity coerced by fear of sounding insane or losing community. Christianity’s true nature readily appears in this fear-based, quid-pro-quo socialization that trades community, family, and acceptance for loyalty, gullibility, and financial support.
The Need for Gaslighting & Coercion
As we discussed, Christianity is an implausible idea believable only if indoctrinated from birth or fooled into believing the religion’s farfetched possibility. To maintain the flock of believers, a gaslighting culture arises, even amongst the most liberal of Christians, because of a constant influx of media and interaction with outsiders can inspire freethought. The most basic form of gaslighting appears readily in Christian culture in passive-aggressive statements, like,
“That’s not very Christian.”
“You need to go to Church.”
“Do unto others.”
“Maybe you need to have yourself a little God time. Wink!”
Gaslighting is so common it becomes a daily part of life for Christians, enforcing the Christian worldview by inflicting guilt and making the person feel wrong or crazy. Gaslighting is made even more potent by fear-driven admonishments for “unchristian” thoughts and discussions:
“You shouldn’t talk that way.” (Because something bad might happen.)
“That’s immature.” (You’ll see this often in forums and social media: as though Christianity is the mature way to think, and you sound ridiculous!)
“School shootings started when they took bibles out of schools.”
“Teen pregnancy increased when they started teaching kids contraceptive-focused sex education.”
(These outrageous claims convince adherents that terrible things happen when they don’t think or agree with Christianity.)
Coercion then reinforces gaslighting by threatening believers with terrible outcomes, most notably loss of community. The threat of losing friends often drives people to remain in the Christian worldview – even when hurt.
Without gaslighting and coercion, Christianity could not exist.
Consider for a moment this need to gaslight believers. Let’s say you have a job, and every time you erred or asked a question, your boss, said things like, “Is that what you were hired to do? Is that really being a good employee?” Or, worse yet, suppose a coworker sexually harasses you, and the boss answered your complaint, “Are you sure you’re not blowing things out of proportion? You know forgiveness makes you a better person. You know it takes two to tango.” Coupled with gaslighting, the threat of losing your job looms over you, reinforcing the boss’ gaslighting. Christians, especially pastors and priests but other clergies also, gaslight victims similarly, and so much so that the broader Christian worldview adopts and enforces this thinking.
Trolls reading these claims feel their blood pressure rising, but facts are facts, and here are the facts:
The Catholic church became the cause of the largest sexual abuse scandal in history because the church and community protected priests. When victimized Christians complained about these problems, they endured gaslighting that made them question their sanity. For this reason, systemic abuse goes on for long periods because communities of Christians, including law enforcement and others empowered to investigate these crimes, are often gaslighting culprits because they are part of that community of Christians and indoctrinated to protect their church.
That is why the Southern Baptist Convention is now enduring the same fallout from abuse, with decades of sexual abuse coming to light. Similarly, the Family, a child molesting cult, operated worldwide for decades despite scrutiny from media and law enforcement. This modus operandi has occurred many times with Christian cults.
When Christians, in their blinding polarized view of right and wrong, argue, “Well, if the abuse was true, why didn’t they report it sooner?”
You know this argument is horseshit!
Christians will argue these are rare instances in an otherwise loving worldview, but in reality, fear-based coercion and gaslighting are the foundation of their worldview. You are much more likely to believe you are losing your mind, despite knowing you are the victim, when your friends and family begin ostracizing you. The fear of losing community weights self-incrimination, forcing acceptance of what you are told, despite the truth. People will blame themselves for decades, sometimes a lifetime, too scared of losing everyone they hold dear. If you’re lucky, you can suck down the misery and go about life unhappily, but many endure loneliness as they struggle to find their sanity.
Gaslighting reveals Christianity perfectly since the Christians who never experience misery usually have something to gain from the religion or community, giving them every reason not to give a shit. More than not caring, they blame the victim for not having faith or hurting the church. Gaslighting reveals the pastors and authorities within communities as charlatans, inflicting or allowing the abuse of people as complicit or deliberate predators because they are the authority charged with investigating or protecting.
To know everything about Christianity, you need only question how a supposedly wonderful, loving faith produces a coercive culture fraught with gaslighting.