Though outsiders can often recognize a toxic faith system, it is difficult for a person entrenched within that community to identify the subtle progression of deception that affects their relationship with church. A person might say, as I did, “How can a place where I have wonderful experiences be anything but good?” That same person may one day realize that the things they enjoyed about church now feels like a tremendous, overpowering obligation with no way out. They may see themself as a disappointment to God, a rebellious doubter, a failure. Or they may recognize a problem, bring their concern to the pastor, and be labeled a troublemaker. Based upon personal experience, the book I am writing gently exposes the subtle progression of deception.
“Religious addiction doesn’t occur overnight. It is a long progression that subtly captures every aspect of the addict’s life. It rarely begins in adulthood” (Toxic Faith: Understanding and Overcoming Religious Addiction by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton, P 126).