Progression of Deception

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).


8 thoughts on “Progression of Deception

  1. To summerfields, Thanks for your comment. I agree that we can become stronger from any bad experience unless, of course, we allow bitterness to corrupt our soul. Healing from any kind of abuse is a process. It is a loss, a grief, an anger. Something nobody should have to go through alone.
    yours truly,

  2. Bringing your concerns to a pastor, like the one you mentioned, is a big mistake. Their ego is so big and they think they are so wonderful that they think there must be something wrong with you if you don’t want to attend their church. It’s always your fault, they put the blame back on you. It’s just a form of manipulation.

  3. I learned so much from Toxic Faith: Understanding and Overcoming Religious Addiction. It took me 19 years to take my friend’s advice and finally read it, and am I glad I did. Thank you Steve Arterburn and Jack Felton.

    • It’s hard to know why it takes so many years to realize that you were deceived all those years. I believe it is part of our journey and it’s something we had to through. Or perhaps a member of our family had to go through it and we just went along with them. I realize that I’m a lot stronger for going through it, albeit it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

      I think you’re right fullypersuaded1 about the insecure person that they hide behind a fascade. It’s always the person who critizes other people a lot that is the most imperfect. Jesus did say get the beam out of your own eye before you take the speck out of your brothers.

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