Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On emotionalism/hypnosis

What is emotionalism?

1.excessively emotional character: the emotionalism of sentimental fiction.
2.strong or excessive appeal to the emotions: the emotionalism of patriotic propaganda.
3.a tendency to display or respond with undue emotion, especially morbid emotion.
4.unwarranted expression or display of emotion.
 When I was in the ministry my reasons for believing in God were entirely based on my subjective experiences. I did not come to my beliefs based on research or trying to reasonably weigh the possibility of what I was told against an exhaustive search for evidence. I had been told since I was a child that God was real, and so to me it was simply taken as a basic belief. I lived under the presupposition that the bible was the word of God and that everything written between its pages were divinely inspired. 
 Although for most of my youth I was not a practicing Christian I was already primed to accept those beliefs for years without question. Initially my conversion and religious experience was not based on knowledge of the scriptures but instead on emotions. When I prayed or even thought about God I got goose bumps. To me that was sufficient evidence for me that the god I believed in was real. I have always been a loner but when I got up on that pulpit to preach all of my shyness would fade away and I would feel as if I had become another person. Instead of a shy loner I was a crusader for Christ who felt it was my duty to convert as many souls as possible before the return of the Lord. 
I too believed in those days that the Lord would return in my lifetime and that I was literally living in the end of days. I had dreams and visions when I fasted of Christ descending towards earth on a cloud with the angels and the saints that had died before his coming. I spoke in tongues and initially would lose myself in a feeling of rapture when the Spirit came over me. I was a miracle monger in those days and I saw miracles in everything and everywhere.
I remember one particular evening I was getting ready to go to church and was anxious to get there because I was feeling depressed and was looking forward to have the elders of the church pray for me. I needed a spiritual boost and was desperately counting the hours till it was time for service. When I got to the church I was a little early and so I kneeled in a corner and began to pray to myself. As soon as I started I was overcome with sadness and began to cry profusely, begging the Lord to remove this cloud of sadness and oppression I had been feeling all evening. 
That evening the service went on as usual and I was waiting for the altar call so that I could go up there for prayer and spiritual support. But to my surprise the service had gone on pretty late and the pastor decided not to preach a sermon that night and so he closed the service with a general prayer and invited everyone downstairs to a little feast they had set up. I remember being so angry that I just walked out.
Because of my extreme emotionalism I was an emotional wreck in those days. I cried rivers to God for this or that cause. I begged for strength, forgiveness, mercy, spiritual gifts, etc. Back in those days I debated people on the streets about the existence of God and spent a lot of my time in ministerial affairs. I visited the sick in hospitals, in their homes, ministered to people in church, and often had preaching engagements. I preached in other churches, on the radio, and on the streets with my ministry partner. 
I have found that because of my experiences in the church that the more emotional you are the easier you are to influence with the most fundamental and extreme forms of Christian belief. Pentecostalism is based primarily on emotions, and when you do join a seminary and are taught about the scriptures usually you get the church sanctioned sanitized version. 
Emotions are not based on reason especially when tied to religious beliefs. The most charismatic members of a church in my opinion based on my own experience are the most emotional. These are the people who are slain in the Spirit, speak in tongues, prophesy, dance in the Spirit etc. There are even some that say that they have been intoxicated in the Spirit! They jump and walk around the altar as if they were drunk not knowing that they have simply let their emotions get the better of them. 
In charismatic churches you are often told to let go. Let God's spirit fill your cup to overflowing and let him have his way with you. Be a vessel through which God could manifest himself and his power through you. The hyper emotional adherents take these instructions to heart and begin to  act out what they think they feel. 
There are certain circumstances in the church that make it optimal for these conditions to occur. First as in hypnosis there must be some mood music. Usually in Pentecostal circles this music is loud and upbeat. Believers sing the song as they yell their praises to the Lord at the top of their lungs. Next there must be a charismatic preacher someone who knows what to say and tell them what they want to hear. Speaking a little tongues in the process as you preach helps prime the pump and let the believers know for a certainty that the spirit of the Lord is in their midst. 

This is a group of people under hypnosis in church aka being slain in the Spirit

 "Your are God's children, he is going to bless us all tonight with an outpouring of his holy Spirit and if you have been sick you will be healed. Tell him what you want and sing his praises hallelujah!  
This is what is known in hypnosis as the induction process. You are leading the congregation into a trance state to the point where they eventually drop all inhibitions and let themselves be carried away entirely by their emotions. Once there all bets are off, people will pass out, others will dance around the church, others will speak in tongues etc. Usually this goes on for quite sometime and I have personally witnessed people reach this state and maintain it until they are physically drained and exhausted from so much activity. 
Finally, comes the cool down period where the music slows down and the preacher lowers his voice and begins to speak in a slower and softer tone. He rounds up the sheep and begins to softly minster to them or leading them in prayer as he ends his service. Everyone leaves feeling that they have been touched by God and that they have been in some way personally blessed. 
I used these methods myself but it was not until I left the church and started researching psychiatry, psychology, and hypnosis that I recognized the same methodology. Despite what the theists say this is not a spiritual experience, a blessing, or a visitation from God's spirit it is hypnosis plain and simple. This form of hypnosis plays on your emotions and counts on your losing control. 
This is a group of people under hypnosis during a show by Jeremy Feldhamer a comedy hypnotist

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