Tuesday, 29 October 2013

HOW TO TRAP NAIVE CHRISTIANS

C.S. Lewis once wrote a fictional book of letters from one demon to another called The Screwtape Letters. The senior demon gave the junior devil instructions on how to deceive non-believers and shipwreck the faith of those who became Christians. If Jack, as he liked to be called, had the time and inclination, he might have also written a parody on how to trap Christians.

Every type of device for catching creatures needs some sort of bate to lure the unsuspecting animal to it.  Food that the creature likes is placed inside the gadget so that moving the treat will hold whatever disturbed it. Fish hooks are a sort of trap as well because the barbs dig into the creature's mouth. Likewise, live traps prevent the animal from escaping. Whichever method is used, the end result is the same.

Cults operate on much the same principle as animal traps. Instead of delicious food, they offer acceptance for the lonely and "advanced knowledge" for seekers of truth. At first, the new members don't realize the peril they're in. The organization gives them what they crave without letting on that the leaders have evil intension's for them.

Then the time comes to lay down the rules and regulations which new recruits are expected to obey without question. By this time, the follower is more than willing to comply. After all, the "exalted leader" or "anointed teacher" knows much more about the spiritual disciplines than the novices.

The trapped believers eventually run into problems with one or another of the cult's dogmas. Such people are taken aside and lectured by elders in the group. If the underlings comply, the elders keep an eye on what those people do until they feel sure that all rebelliousness is gone from their minds.

The trouble really starts when the disillusioned followers persist in questioning doctrines or the actions of the leader and his elders. Such people are taken into meeting rooms and the elders use psychological force to gain the compliance of the unruly members. If the unwanted behaviour persists, the rebels are punished in some way.

The last weapon cults have is disfellowship. The members have become so dependent upon the closed circle of the cult that the outside world looks terrifying. Only the strong-minded or extremely disaffected individuals break away and start a new life in the real world.

I went through most of these stages at a house church I once attended. As a warning to others, I wrote my newly-published memoir called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.