5/14/2012 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Jonny Scaramanga ~
I used to be a Christian fundamentalist. Through college, this was my dirty secret. I only told my closest friends. Coming from Britain, where it's a smaller phenomenon, most of them had no idea people like me existed.
Now I've come to own it. I used to be a fundamentalist, and I escaped. It's such a relief to declare it, and realise that I'm breathing fresh air for the first time in my life. Before, I had to make up excuses for why I'd never heard classic rock songs (because I was in church when they were on the radio), or never drunk alcohol. The relief of making it public is huge. Everyone is so supportive; they can't believe I made it out.
If you're keeping it a dirty secret, don't. It wasn't even your fault. You were misled, by your parents and your pastors.
I was part of the Word of Faith, the Prosperity gospel, blab-it-and-grab-it religion of preachers like Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Creflo Dollar, and Jesse Duplantis. They teach the doctrine of positive confession: You can have what you say, according to Mark 11:23.
Just as God spoke the world into existence, you can speak your desires into existence by faith.
I look at it now and I wonder how anyone fell for it. But they had Scripture verses. And that was enough. The Bible is the final authority, after all.
Once you accept that doctrine, it's viciously difficult to get out. As any ex-fundamentalist can tell you, bad thoughts are placed in your head by the devil. That's an incredibly powerful piece of mind control. If you accept that doubt comes from the devil, then it can't possibly be legitimate. And the only way out is to fill your mind with the Word of God, until the doubts are pushed out. And if you do doubt, you feel guilty for letting in the devil.
Not only that, but faith preachers said that negative things you say will come to pass, just as surely as positive things. So if you're having doubts, you can't speak them, because that would make them happen. You could have an entire church full of people thinking, "I don't think I'm ever going to get the hundredfold return," but no one will admit it! The act of admitting it would cut them off from God's blessings.
That's religion as a mechanism for control, and if you know someone in the Word of Faith, it won't be easy to make them see it. My Dad never did see it; he died believing it, having given away literally tens of thousands of pounds, believing he was sowing seed.
Luckily, I got a good education. Not at first – to begin with I was educated in Accelerated Christian Education, which is packed with misinformation, propaganda, and racism. Thankfully, after I had a breakdown at school, my mum removed me. It took four years of good education after that for me to begin to think critically.
My social skills were crippled. But eventually I learned to hang out. Every time I held a normal conversation, inside, I was jumping up and down, thinking "I'm doing it! I'm socialising!"
The doubts, the feeling I was going to hell – they all went away in the end. If you're in the process of deconverting, don't lose heart. It does get better.
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