When God Becomes a Drug

by Jang 0 Replies latest jw friends

  • Jang

    This book is good for people who were also raised in aby type of dysfunctional
    spiritual abuse.

    Part 1

    When God Becomes A Drug - pp 60-62


    Let's take a look at the symptoms of religious addiction to see how
    they fit the patterns and behaviors we have discussed so far.

    Inability to think, doubt, or question information or authority.
    This is the primary symptom of any dysfunctional belief system, for
    if you cannot question or examine what you are taught, if you cannot
    doubt or challenge authority, you are in danger of being victimized
    and abused. You miss the messages and miracles God places in your
    life because you literally do not know how to recognize them. 1n
    refusing to think or question, you hand over responsibility For your
    beliefs, finances, relationships, employment, and destiny to a
    clergyman or other so-called master. You are usually told that not
    thinking, doubting, or questioning is a sign of faith -- so you
    become a religious slave.

    Often if you use your critical faculties, you are told that this is
    the devil at work in your life. Faith is said to mean unquestioning
    obedience. This is how religious abusers control; it is how
    ministers and leaders are able to financially or sexually abuse
    their followers. It leads to brainwashing and mind control, for when
    you have no choices or freedom to decide for yourself, you are not
    in control of your own mind. 1f you are not permitted to think for
    yourself, to question, you stop your spiritual growth because you do
    not know how to see the ways God is working with you and through
    you. When you use your critical faculties to analyze, interpret,
    explore, and question, you discover new shades of meaning and
    greater richness in God's truth. Questioning and exploring is a
    means of having a dialogue with God. To refuse to doubt, think
    about, or question what you are told is to miss an opportunity to
    talk with God.

    Black-and-white, simplistic thinking.

    This is one of the predominant symptoms of religious addiction. You
    see life in terms of right or wrong, good or bad, saved or sinner.
    You never see the gray areas. Your need for order, perfection, or
    control is so strong that anything that is not clearly black or
    white confuses or perhaps frightens you. Those who turn to religion
    as a means to avoid error are no doubt attracted to the
    black-and-white aspects of a rigid dogmatism. The chief danger of
    this type of thinking is that real life is seldom black or white.
    Life constantly presents us with situations or choices that are
    ambiguous or problems that require complex solutions. If you are
    unable to cope with these gray areas, with complexities, your life
    is likely to feel forever out of control. People who think only in
    terms of black or white have difficulty making decisions. You
    frantically try to fit a difficult issue into a neat, tidy solution,
    and it just doesn't work. You frequently feel you have no choices,
    or that God has not heard you because the answers aren't simple. You
    are forever at the mercy of those who will give you the simple,
    black-or-white answer.

    Spiritually, thinking in terms of such absolutes paralyzes you, for
    people who think this way are always waiting for the right answer --
    the clear signal, the burning bush. You sit and wait for the
    solution that fits your simplistic dogma, even though the answer is
    often right in front of you. Black-and-white thinking prevents you
    from being able to find effective solutions to problems and to see
    when you are being abused.

    You limit and stunt your life by rejecting anyone or anything that
    does not fit into your narrow frame of reference. You become abusive
    of others who do not share your views because difference, variety,
    and change all fall into the ambiguous gray areas, with which you
    cannot cope. Such shades of gray become the uncontrollable elements
    in life that Nakken says all addicts are trying to master. You
    increase your pain, he says, by becoming more rigid, harsh, and
    dogmatic the more you are confronted with situations that fall
    outside your simplistic views.

    Shame-based belief that you aren't good enough or you aren't "doing
    it right." Like the inability to question and the black-and-white
    thinking, this is a fundamental symptom from which many of the other
    symptoms of religious addiction spring. As Matthew Fox observed,
    people who are taught from birth that they are worthless never have
    the resources to cope with the challenges of life. Religious
    addiction, as well as other addictions, is an attempt to escape this
    pervasive sense of shame and inadequacy.

    Shame-based thinking reinforces the belief that you don't make
    mistakes, but that you are the mistake. Thus it robs you of the
    ability to constructively and healthily examine your behavior or
    choices, to learn how you might do it differently. Your
    black-and-white thinking causes you to label all vour beliefs and
    behaviors as good or bad -- mostly bad. So you constantly feel that
    you are a failure, who has not measured up. This symptom is the seed
    of codependency, leading to people-pleasing and approval-seeking as
    a means to assure yourself you've done -- whatever the task is
    right. Ultimately, it creates a terror of what will happen to you if
    you don't do things right, which makes you vulnerable to many of the
    other symptoms of religious addiction.

    This type of thinking also cheats you of the opportunity to discover
    and nurture you own inner strength. You never recognize or credit
    the positive choices you make in your life, never see how you create
    changes -- how you do, in fact, do many things right. I hear people
    say so often in Twelve Step meetings that "I didn't get sober; God
    did it for me." This kind of thinking fosters a total denial of
    self. I heard of a therapist who told a client, "My Higher Power
    does it; I'm just a channel," thus discounting years of training,
    hard work and study, and invalidating the discipline and talent it
    took to become a therapist. This is how you miss yourself and how
    you perpetuate the belief that you aren't good enough. Believing
    yourself a failure and inadequate, you can never see when and how
    you have used your own gifts healthily and creatively. Shame-based
    thinking robs you of power, self-respect, and dignity.


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