See Also: Narcissists and Cult Leaders
In my last article, I described psychic warfare as a reality, not science fiction. I described psychic warfare as something that most of us engage in unconsciously, but there are people in the world who engage in it very deliberately, even though they may use other words to describe what they are doing.
In the Evangelical realm, they refer to it as spiritual warfare. In their minds, they are literally on the side of “God,” fighting every day the powers of Satan here on earth. And they mean this. If you are not with them, you are very much against them, and you are in league with Satan.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
I know that this is hard for those who have never known Evangelicals to understand, and when I wrote about the toxic Christmas card that my Evangelical cousin sent me again this year, I’m well aware that some of my friends saw only a harmless, well-meaning Merry Christmas. It is not. It is one of the many ways in which Evangelicals engage in psychic battle with those who will not behave properly. Yes, it looks harmless on the surface, but it is one of many stones that are piled upon you until a great mountain lies over you, crushing you to death. Let me explain.
Evangelicals operate like any narcissist or cult leader. When they sense that you are their prey — you showed up at church, you seem lost and “searching,” you said something to a coworker that they could work with, anything at all — then they shower you with love and attention. They listen to your problems, they talk about what a loving community they have, and won’t you come? Won’t you join? They talk about Magic Jesus, who is tailor-made to cure all of your problems, if only you will have enough faith. They talk about all of the things that Jesus has done for them. They talk about how much Jesus loves you.
It’s important to understand that psychic warfare is not just about your mind and your thoughts. That can only take you so far. No one has ever joined a cult because of a logical thought process. Your emotions are what matter, and if you have any experience with a narcissistic or borderline personality, then you understand how easily it can be to manipulate anyone emotionally — especially if they’re in a bad place, feeling unloved or alone, or searching outside of themselves for answers. So when Evangelicals work on you, they stress the love. They shower you in their love, in Jesus’s love, in the love that their lifestyle can give you! Caveat: you must have faith.
Once you are snagged on the line, so to speak, the tactics gradually shift. You are theirs, and you are like a child that they must now teach. They encourage you to drop certain old preferences and habits. Certain people, too, may now be considered toxic to your faith, and they encourage you to distance yourself from them. They guide you to make changes that, to the outside world, may not seem unusual or toxic, because they are so lovingly done, you know, and before you know it, you are isolated from everything you used to be. Resistance or failure to assimilate will result in massive gaslighting and guilt trips, but subtly done, always with that tone that says, “I’m only doing this because I love you and care about your eternal soul.”
Psychic warfare works a little differently if you were raised in the cult. If, like me, you managed to escape, then there are two possible reactions. One is, you are dead to them. The end. The other is to try to rope you back in (reference “cording” in my previous article). If you were raised in this unending nightmare of gaslighting, guilt, and mind games, it will take you some time to work out how to deal with this. In my case, I cut off my family. Some of them have never accepted this. So they lay their guilt logs on the fire, hoping it will one day reignite and send me running back into the arms of the cult. A Christmas card is never just a Christmas card.
As with all cults, there are consequences for leaving. Some will never forgive you. In a 2011 New Yorker interview, Paul Haggis said this about leaving Scientology:
“It’s not really the sense of a loss of community. Those people who walked away from me were never really my friends.” He understood how they felt about him, and why. “In Scientology, in the Ethics Conditions, as you go down from Normal through Doubt, then you get to Enemy, and, finally, near the bottom, there is Treason. What I did was a treasonous act.”
There’s a reason that Donald Trump throws that word around so much. He, too, is a cult leader. Evangelicals have also more or less declared him their leader, as well. They’re comfortable with him because they have always been an authoritarian cult, and that is what makes them comfortable in general. I know that some of my family members consider what I’ve done to be treason, as well. I also know that my life wouldn’t be worth much if I ever showed my face there. “They hang traitors, don’t they?”
Evangelicals may consider what they’re doing to be spiritual warfare on the side of “good,” but I have another phrase for what they do: black magic. It is psychic warfare at its most malignant. It is designed to make you hate who you are (crush your spirit), conform to their worldview, and, with their constant admonishments about your faith, deprive you of the hope that you will ever really be good enough for their jealous god. It is a horrible thing.