Bruce Gerencser’s blog features a guest post today that likens religious teachings to a form of gaslighting — a type of abuse that discredits the victim until they no longer trust themselves to reach sound judgments.

It is a form of manipulation where the person who is being gaslighted will begin to doubt his or her own memories or reasoning. It’s seen as an abusive tool as the subjects will become doubtful and distrustful of, ultimately, themselves. Gaslighting is about being dismissive of someone’s arguments and about invalidating people’s feelings. “Are you sure it happened that way?” might be an example. It’s a way of discrediting someone before they’ve even begun to speak. You could say it’s what Job’s friends do to him as they invalidate his words and talk over his arguments.

When you take this further, it might be that God is gaslighting us. “Do not lean on your own understanding.” The Bible constantly warns us that as sinful people, we should not to trust ourselves, nor our sinful hearts.

I admit I’ve never thought of it quite this way, though I’ve sure spent a lot of time trying to show people how inherently degrading Christianity actually is and being sarcastic about this very point. It’d be well worth your time to go read the entire thing.

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