Did you see Old Yeller, that movie from Disney productions? Did you cry at the end? Of course you did. You’re human, and so you have predictable responses to emotional stimuli.
The director of the film knew this, and he knew how to manipulate your emotions throughout the movie to achieve that end.
So does your preacher.
When you’re in church, your preacher (or Imam or Rabbi, etc.) has you stand up, sit down, sing songs of worship, praise and sacrifice. He gives long speeches with emotionally laden words with emphasis on powerful messages. He plans the sermon and all of the activities so that you will be emotionally moved at the end of the sermon. It is at that point that he will proclaim that your normal human emotional response is actually the Holy Spirit moving within you.
You believe him, because you want to believe him. You want to believe that you are the specially chosen vessel for God’s light. You want to believe him because you will then be part of something eternal, and reinforce your membership in the flock.
Does that mean it’s actually true? Do you really believe that the creator of the universe has chosen to reside in you and everybody else in your church (but not really in those of other “false” religions)? That’s up to you to decide. But please, give some thought to the fact that you may be being manipulated to think that.
ChurchAndState.org.uk has an article on mind control techniques that many churches use. They give detailed descriptions of all of them (and many more) but here are a few highlights. (You can find the full article here.)
The church uses:
- Charismatic leaders
- Trance stimulation through powerful music and songs
- Repetitive drills (w/consequences for non-conformity)
- The Charismatic leader manipulates your emotions through emotion-laden stories and examples
- Finally, you’re given an ultimatum
The article outlines quite a few more techniques, but these are the main ones that apply during the church session.
So remember, just as the director of Old Yeller planned the story line, scenes and music so that you would come to an emotional peak at the end of his production. So does your preacher. Except at the end of the sermon, when you are moved to tears, or joy, or compassion, the preacher claims that, instead of what you are actually experiencing (i.e. simple human emotions) it is actually the “Spirit of Almighty God” moving in you.
Is it? Or were you just “set up” for that specific emotion response. Did he just manipulate you to make you think that?
Do a Google search on “spiritual manipulation” and specifically about how it applies in churches.