Help Undoing a Horrible Church Service
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06-09-2015, 11:02 AM
Help Undoing a Horrible Church Service
(05-09-2015 03:59 PM)seahorse1069 Wrote:  My aunt died recently and I attended her memorial service. It was in a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. Most of the service focused on how it was such a good thing that she was "right with God" and that all those who are right with God will see her again in heaven. The pastor went on to describe a few meetings with dying people and he basically helped secure their salvation. He also drove home the unfortunate "truth" that those who reject Christ will not be in heaven. You know, the separation from God speech.

I haven't considered myself a Christian for a long time. I'm even skeptical about God's existence. So, intellectually I have rejected hell and this doctrine of being saved, so why am I starting to feel doubts after listening to the rambling of one preacher? Is it because my whole family was there and most of them were buying this? Is it because it brought up the brainwashing I experience from this church as a child "(which I'm realizing was probably more severe that I originally thought?) Is it because I think my mom believes I'll go to hell if I'm not a Christian? What makes this message so effective? I feel like I have to go back and list all of the reasons I rejected religion in the first place.

Welcome. I certainly understand having doubts about being back in the fold. If I am honest I have them a few times per month still. And, as like you, it's usually when I'm in church with my wife.

IMO this stems from a few things which we can confirm from your post:

1) when you are in a group setting there are powerful mind techniques that can be used: fear of being an outsider, group think, etc. These are just several of the mind games that can be played. The brain is a tricky organ that we do not completely understand yet although we have made significant headway in the past 100 years.

2) The appeal to emotion. Emotion is an extremely powerful tactic. One would be hard pressed to find ANYONE who followed the path of Christianity based on reason. Why? Because overall it stands against all logic if thought through carefully. The fact is people "believe" based on the string pulling of emotion. There are studies that show when emotions are high, our decisions become irrational, and we forsake the grounds of reason for what seem like greener pastures at the moment. After we accept the Christian premises as truth we are then taught to rationalize the answers back from our assumed premise of truth. We create circular reasoning by presupposing the existence of truth in the Christian doctrine and try to fit answers into the questions we have, often doing so at extreme measures and at the expense of reason.

Take courage and know that we are here to help answer your questions. I wish you the best and encourage you to continue in your endeavors of epistemology. The more you learn the less likely certain ideas will seem to assume the truth.

**Crickets** -- God
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06-09-2015, 11:15 AM
RE: Help Undoing a Horrible Church Service
I've posted this before--it also helps to remember that the church uses the same brainwashing techniques found in a cult:

Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups - Revised

Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

‪* The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

‪*Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

*Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

* The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

* The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

* The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

‪* The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

* The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

* The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

* Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

* The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

* The group is preoccupied with making money.

* Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

‪* Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

‪* The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
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06-09-2015, 08:17 PM
RE: Help Undoing a Horrible Church Service
Sorry for your loss. And death to the preacher!

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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06-09-2015, 08:47 PM
RE: Help Undoing a Horrible Church Service
Hug

Sorry for the loss.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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03-10-2015, 08:44 PM
RE: Help Undoing a Horrible Church Service
"she's right with God". They don't know that. These are just empty statements made by people with church authority. My Evang. neighbors spend their time attending funerals and she's always making the same declaration. She never attends a baby shower. Mind you no one wants her there with her God this and God that.
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03-10-2015, 08:48 PM
RE: Help Undoing a Horrible Church Service
(05-09-2015 03:59 PM)seahorse1069 Wrote:  My aunt died recently and I attended her memorial service. It was in a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. Most of the service focused on how it was such a good thing that she was "right with God" and that all those who are right with God will see her again in heaven. The pastor went on to describe a few meetings with dying people and he basically helped secure their salvation. He also drove home the unfortunate "truth" that those who reject Christ will not be in heaven. You know, the separation from God speech.

I haven't considered myself a Christian for a long time. I'm even skeptical about God's existence. So, intellectually I have rejected hell and this doctrine of being saved, so why am I starting to feel doubts after listening to the rambling of one preacher? Is it because my whole family was there and most of them were buying this? Is it because it brought up the brainwashing I experience from this church as a child "(which I'm realizing was probably more severe that I originally thought?) Is it because I think my mom believes I'll go to hell if I'm not a Christian? What makes this message so effective? I feel like I have to go back and list all of the reasons I rejected religion in the first place.

Sorry for your loss.

As for the people at the church, it sounds like they are taking advantage of you while you are down.

Fear not, there is no hell.

Hug

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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