Hypnos from the Greek word “sleep” is an abbreviation of James Braid’s (1843) term “neuro-hypnotism”, meaning “sleep of the nervous system”.
Psychosis – a severe mental disorder in which thought, and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.
As a young boy my dad lived with his older brother and parents in the Netherlands, on the Oostelijke Handelskade, a neighbourhood in the harbour of Amsterdam. My dad Hans and his brother Jar and neighbourhood friends would seldom play in the street during those years of the II World War and the Nazi invasion in Holland. My dad reluctantly ever spoke of those days with us. It was clear he had painful memories of those early years of his life. He did disclose to me how he regularly witnessed the German soldiers usher groups of Jewish people into the harbour trains. It was a horrific discovery for the world to learn and always to be remembered that they were transported to concentration camps across Europe, many of them who would never return home again.
On few sporadic occasions my dad and I drove past the above-mentioned street and he would stop the car facing the nose of the vehicle in such an angle that we could both see into the length of the road. He pointed towards a spot further up the street along the so typical Amsterdam harbour terrace houses to the right and said; “that’s where we used to live. The German Luftwaffe would regularly fly over and bomb the harbour and destroy everything. My mum and I would hide in the bomb shelter or under the kitchen table.”
I know my dad as a kind and passionate man with a deep compassion for the less fortunate and a furious indignation against injustice. He would often play his jazzy tunes on his Hofner Jazz Guitar in the small house parties with those from the local tennis club at the end of the afternoon of playing tennis. A little beer and light music and he would be happy as Larry creating an uplifting atmosphere. Hans knew how to laugh and make sure that everyone could join in. His brother Jar would often accompany him playing the piano if there was one, (we used to have an old piano in our house) otherwise he always had the bongo’s or the samba shakers. Because of his hatred against injustices carried out against humanity during the II World War, even the slightest mention or reference to the time of Nazi Germany or rise of the Third Reich could cause him to become enraged. In his assessment it was clear to him that masses of German people, including people of neighbouring countries had been whipped up into some powerful evil trance led by malevolent Hitler and his henchmen. Looking back at it now, it seems that his anger was of course also fuelled by the unresolved pain and fear of all the things he witnessed during his early years growing up in the Oostelijke Handelskade.
Hans would express the same kind of anger when anyone mentioned God or religion. He seemed to equate Nazi Germany’s entranced behaviour during the II World War to a large group of people who unquestionably follow a religious leader or preacher. This is probably because the fascist views of the likes of Hitler, and Mussolini presented persuasive and convincing ideas that gave the promise of a potential utopia on earth for their followers. Hans was not the first and certainly not the last who presented the standard argument that religion is the cause for most of the conflicts and wars throughout the history of the world. My dad considered that religion also presented the promise of a “false utopia” on earth but that underneath it all, that message came with the threat of an eternal hell for all who do not believe. For him this was the greatest of injustices.
When I became a Christian in January of 1988, I did have some brief conversations with him about the topic of hell. At that time I was still convinced of the existence of hell, and held to that version of theology which presupposes the thesis of: “God never sends anyone to Hell. People make their own decision to reject Christ, and by doing so, they themselves choose hell over redemption, and God will not override their free will”. So, whilst I listened to my dad, I strongly disagreed with him then that religion could be equated to fascism.
My view and understanding now of the total redemption of all of humanity and the unimportance of hell because no human being will ever go there, is the result of years of working my way through the Holy Scriptures. Whilst I can now agree with Hans in some of his rationale, I also posses a wider scope of scriptural understanding which provide me with solid insight into some of these theological complexities. Where Hans had intuitively drawn his own conclusions based on his experiences, a sound scriptural foundation actually confirms how often our intuition gets things right after all.
I do not know who said it, but credit to who did:
“if your doctrine is harsher than your heart, your doctrine is wrong”.
At the end of each of my brief conversations with Hans about the War (I avoided the topic, God or Religion, because he would just get to angry) he would turn to me and say;
“Patrick, beware of Mass Psychosis!” [Hans Schram]
At the time I was only in my teen age years and sort of understood this to mean not to blindly follow the crowd. I get this, and I know on the very surface that is exactly what it means. When I got involved in a fast growing Pentecostal Church in Amsterdam my dad had become worried I had gotten involved in a cult, and he continued to warn me saying: “watch out for mass psychosis”.
In the beginning of 1991 my dad and I were sat in his car parked on the drive of my parents house and we got to talking about what the Good News meant for me. This time it was different. He was not angry and just listened. Whilst I spoke God’s presence was tangible. Hans reluctantly acknowledged, with tears in his eyes, that He could feel the Lord’s touch. All the years of objections and arguments against the existence of a loving God melted away in an instance. I put my hand on his shoulder and prayed with him. Sadly, several months later he died in a fatal car accident, but the memory of what he had been saying to me for years still echo to this day, “beware of mass psychosis”. I know Hans is in heaven playing music with the Lord and having an amazing time. One day I will see him again.
I also need to now clearly state that from 1996 until the beginning of 2004 we lived in Austria. The last five years of those eight, we lived 20 minutes from what was known as Hitler’s favourite city, Linz. Yet, during those years in Austria and visiting Germany on many occasions, we have met some of the most wonderful loving people. The Austrian people were exceptionally good to us and we still have many good friends there. That experience woke me up from the bitter image I got from my dad whose view of Germans or Austrians of course was, understandably, badly tainted. I realised that what atrocious crimes against humanity were committed by ancestors or previous generations should not be held against today’s generations. If we did, we would all potentially stand trial of some evil committed by our forefathers.
Hans could not have known that a year after his accident, I had to make the tough call to leave the Church I was with as it had developed some alarming sectarian characteristics.
Sectarian characteristics are dynamics of behaviour by those within the group where a type of co-dependant relationship instead of an inter-dependant relationship develops between leaders and followers. This does not mean that the Church-group is a cult necessarily. These behavioural characteristics of co-dependant relationships are the dynamics at work in the relationship between the controller and the ones being controlled. They literally feed of each other and the illusion is the belief that they need each other. For example: the Pastor needs a sense of control over his people and will use scripture to try and keep people loyal to him and the Church. This need for control is rooted in insecurity. The Pastor may believe that if he does not put the pressure on the people, they will leave his Church and by doing so this would give him a sense of loss of power and control. What is really happening is that either the Minister’s sense of identity is build on his Ministry or his financial income is threatened or both.
The threat of the loss of financial income does not need much explaining so I will not discuss that here. The threat to the sense of self worth is a much more subtle issue.
More people in the Church will give the Pastor a sense of assurance in his identity and his sense of self worth. Looking at this even more in depth we can see that needing the people in his Church to provide him with a crux for his sense of self-worth means that he is not serving the people at that point, but taking what he needs to reaffirm his sense of self-worth.
Now I understand that things are never really that simple. You could have a wonderful Pastor who for the most time is compassionate and patient with the people. He loyally serves them with the Word of God in season. If however, our identity and self-worth is not fully rooted in Christ there will still be a sub conscious part of the mind that will present the question of: “what’s in it for me?” It could be that only at certain sporadic times when that level of insecurity is triggered within the preacher that he refers to using the scriptures (which is really a misuse) to try and put pressure on his people.
Here are a few popular verses commonly used by preachers to pressure people into staying loyal or giving of their money, or push people to conform to an appearance of loyalty.
Hebrews 10:25 King James Version (KJV)
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
This verse is commonly used to remind the Church members how important it is to attend the regular services. It is usually quoted when and if serious incidents of natural disasters, political tensions, economic instability, threats of a pandemic, national or international threat of unrest seem to be occurring. As with any of such awful catastrophes going on in our world it never fails to trigger the beliefs in a futuristic Eschatology assuming that these situations are signs of the last days and end times. These horrific events in the world lend themselves wonderfully to employ a scripture like this to help ring-fence the members of the Church and secure their loyalty.
I am not saying that this verse should not be used to encourage believers. What I am saying is that careful exegesis and a healthy application of hermeneutics will prevent this verse from being used to manipulate Christians.
First of all the book of Hebrews was written approximately 65 – 66 A.D just as the Neronic persecution of Christians across the Roman empire was coming to an end and things were carrying over into the beginning of the three and a half years of holocaust during the siege of Jerusalem.
This was also the time of a mass apostasy and the falling away of Jewish Christians who wanted to turn back to their old way of living under the Old Sinai-tic Covenant with the Law of Moses.
The address in Hebrews 10:25 of “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” is a translation that does not give us a deep insight into what is being said here. Those words “as the manner” is also the translated as “as is custom, practise, and prescribed by law”. The word “some” could indicate this was only referring to rear few individuals. However, why would you write such an exhortation if this involved only a handful of people forsaking the Church Assembly. No, the whole context and reason for the book of Hebrews was to encourage the Hebrew Christians who were holding on to the New Covenant and had no intention to turn back to the Sinai-tic Covenant, in spite of the many who had turned back. The word “some” can also be translated as “everyman”. We commonly use such a word as a universal quantifier by saying something like “everyone is watching Game of Thrones”. That does not imply that all 7 billion people on the planet are watching that series, but it does imply that a large group of people are.
During a three and a half years of the Neronic persecution on Christians, the falling away of Jewish Christians who turned back to the Law, and beginning invasion of General Vespasian from the North into Judea the book of Hebrew presents chapter 10:25 to encourage the remaining elect Christians to hold on to the promise of Christ’s Parousia (His coming). They were given this exhortation to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” as an encouragement, not because the readers and those in receipt of this letter to the Hebrews were also going back to the Law, but because they were the ones who were loyal and remained committed to the New Covenant. In their resolve to trust Christ the book of Hebrews came as a refreshing encouragement during those times of hardship. They were the “elect ones” who were full of hope looking towards their Lord’s return and expecting His promise to them to be fulfilled soon.
Hebrews 10:36 King James Version (KJV)
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition (destruction); but of them that believe to the saving of the soul (life).
The other chapter and verses show what happened to those who did fall away. Those whom the author of Hebrews was addressing were not of those who were about to fall away but were of the group whom Christ Himself already spoke of as the elect who would be there until his return to collect them to take them back to heaven with Him.
John 14:3 King James Version (KJV)
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Hebrews 10:25 was never an admonition to people who were playing with the idea of not being loyal to Christ or the coming together as believers.
There is no need to use this verse on Christians today to keep them from leaving the fold. People are naturally committed to what they are passionate about and to what they love. If what the preacher teaches inspires and enriches the people in the Church, if what they experience in your services brings them a sense of fulfilment of their spiritual needs you will never have to tell them to be committed or loyal to the Church. If things are tough in the world, where will the believers go to be encouraged and build up? The Church that will fortify their faith and facilitate empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
Here is another verse often quoted to try and silence the people in the Church and keep them from saying anything negative about the Pastor.
Psalm 105:15 King James Version (KJV)
15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
It is amazing how we have twisted the meaning of scripture in Evangelical Christianity. To use a verse like this to make it say it is a reference to God’s chosen anointed preachers and it is a warning that we must not say anything negative of our spiritual leader is a complete misuse of its original intent. For the sake of only briefly entertaining the presupposition that we must not say anything negative or critical about a spiritual leader, let us say it is speaking of God’s “chosen” anointed ones in ministry, well that would include every believer who is responding to His call. Not just the Pastor or those in the fivefold ministry. We can equally, just as much state that a preacher should not be speaking negative about any of his Church members or he is touching God’s anointed.
No, the historic setting of this Psalm is a reference to Abraham and then the Abrahamic covenant. It is a song of praise and provides a brief outline of the history of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, leading to Joseph, followed by the captivity in Egypt, Moses the deliverer, and then the people of Israel coming into the promised land. It is generally an accepted concept by Rabbinic Judaism and Christian Theologians that it is scriptural accurate that the people of Israel are symbolically referred to as Yahweh’s firstborn, or God’s Son, way before the birth and appearance of Christ. Israel as the firstborn is a typology of the Messiah Yehoshua, or Jesus as we say in our English language. In this Psalm we find the Psalmist giving an account of how God warned the Kings of the neighbouring nations not to attack His anointed, and to do His Prophets no harm. Those pagan nations wanted to attack and kill the people of Israel, and God warned them not to touch His firstborn, the typology of Christ. This verse is speaking of His people, the typology of the anointed One, Christ the Messiah. If we apply that to the New Covenant reality, then we can say that because we are now in Christ, we are the true Israel and firstborn. Because we are in Christ, we are the anointed. Neither the the Pastor or Preacher and all those who believe and heeded the call to ministry should be speaking negative or evil of one another.
Yet, the obvious thing is that this verse is not even a reference with regards to not being allowed to say anything negative or raise any criticism. The pagan nations wanted to kill and destroy the Hebrews in the promised land. They did not want to speak evil of them or say negative things about them. They probably did, but that is not even the issue here. The verse in Psalm 105:15 is a warning to those neighbouring nations not to physically attack or kill or destroy God’s people. Surely anyone who is generally not happy with what their Pastor is doing, or preaching would not seek to physically hurt or harm them. That is all that verse is saying. It was a Psalm for the people of Israel encouraging and reminding them of how God protected them from the neighbouring heathen nations. We can use it that way as an encouragement us to, but it is not a warning or prohibition to us not to raise any criticism against a Pastor or spiritual leader. Those preachers who use this verse that way are manipulating their people, because it is used as a covert threat inferring that God would do something to you if you question or criticise the preacher.
1 Peter 2:1 King James Version (KJV)
1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,..
This above verse goes along with that notion that you must not say anything negative about your Pastor or preacher. It is important to note that the word “Malice” means: the intention to hurt harm or vex. Let me ask you a question. When you question the teachings or actions and decisions of your Pastor or preacher, do you do it with the intention to hurt, harm of vex? If so, then you have a problem. However, I believe that most genuine Christians want the best for their local Church and any concerns they may raise are held with genuine desire to be part of the solution and not the problem. Therefore, within a healthy local Church, group or community each member must be considered equally valuable holding the potential that their views and insight may benefit the good of the whole. In a “top-down” hierarchical leadership style of a local Church where the Pastor and the inner circle of elders who make the crucial decisions this is often not the case. Anyone who would express objections to what would soon become the dominating narrative established by the leadership will be considered as “un-spiritual” or “rebellious”. Paradoxically it should be the person appointed by the Lord, who gives direction and outlines the vision and mission statement for that Church or Ministry. The Holy Spirit will bear witness affirming the appointed leaders with everyone involved in that Church. The vision and purpose of that Church will work out in such a way that every member of that group can find a sense of personal purpose and fulfilment within the general vision for that Church or Ministry. This means that there is a healthy balance between leadership being led by the Holy Spirit to make certain decisions and opportunities for everyone to express their views or ask questions. This is a safe environment where no one is being frowned upon if they challenge the decision of the leadership. Ultimately all things must be proven scripturally and tried by the witness of the Holy Spirit. That is why questioning decisions by the leadership should be welcomed within reason. Leadership can get it wrong you know.
1 Timothy 5:19 King James Version (KJV)
19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
There should be an inherently natural respect for those in leadership positions within a Church or Ministry. That does not mean that questions cannot be raised when the behaviour, or decisions of the Minister is questionable. Scripture provides the sound directives and protocol for raising these issues. It is everyone’s responsibility within the Church or Ministry organisation to follow this protocol and not remain silent when clear offences are being committed by the Minister.
Any Preacher, Teacher, Pastor, or those in the five-fold Ministry or leadership position knows that it is an honorable position and a good thing.
1 Timothy 3:1 King James Version (KJV)
1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
But it also comes with tremendous responsibility.
James 3:1 King James Version (KJV)
3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
The greater condemnation is not necessarily a condemnation from God, even though for the first century Christians risk of coming under the wrath of the Lamb at His Parousia, could have been true if a Christian leader would abuse his people. Post 70 A.D. there is no wrath or condemnation from God, not even for the abusive leader. However, the condemnation comes from the people he or she leads. The people must prove all things. The doctrine, the behaviour and lifestyle will be under constant scrutiny by the people. Bear in mind that the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit will also not endorse manipulative pressure from the people on the minister. Fact is that everyone does not and is not called to the same function all at one time. Different functions with different purposes each carry their own weight in responsibility. The leadership of a local Church or Ministry organisation carry a huge responsibility, which some members of the organisation may not truly have insight to. Whilst it is true that the leadership may see “the big picture”, it does not provide them with a right to bulldozer over the views and opinions of the people they serve. Where healthy inter-dependent relationships are encouraged through the work and power of the Holy Spirit within the Church group there is safety and protection from sectarian characteristics. Whilst our secular world is slowly coming out of the outdated and dysfunctional “top down” leadership style, many Churches around the world still need to be shaken out of their fanciful illusion of a leadership style of which Jesus said that: “it shall not be so among you”
Matthew 20 King James Version (KJV)
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
The five-fold ministry was raised and placed by God to serve the believers. That is what the word “Ministry” means. The Catholic Church has historically turned this upside down when the people were expected to make confession to their priest. This is an un-Biblical practice and comes straight out of ancient paganism. Confessing your “sins” to a priest can nourish an unhealthy control system within the group dynamic because the people confess their sins to the priest, but he does not confess his sins to the people. It becomes a one-way top down controlling environment. That’s because the Priest gains superiority over the person confessing their sins to them. Only a few decades ago, Charismatics did not do much better. In his book “The Shepherding Movement: Controversy and Charismatic Ecclesiology”, S. David Moore recounts a critical moment within the Charismatic Restoration world of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The Shepherding Movement offered critical insights into how Charismatics at the time were thinking through discipleship, pastoral care, leadership, and spiritual authority for the Christian. The Shepherding Movement focused on the teaching ministries of Charles Simpson, Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham and Ern Baxter.
The structure of The Shepherding Movement was, in effect, a pyramid scheme for discipleship.
A Christian submitted themselves to a shepherd, who took on responsibility for their whole-life discipleship. Additionally, a disciple would tithe (10% of their total financial income before tax) to their shepherd directly. A shepherd would generally have no more than 5–10 men (or family units) under his care. This shepherd was under the care of his own shepherd — so on as so forth, with the top 5 leaders of The Shepherding Movement at the top, who “mutually submitted to each other”. It was clearly a pyramid scheme focused on discipleship. The history of that movement recounts numerous occasions of what could be considered spiritual, psychological, sometimes financial and even physical to sexual abuse cases within the movement leaving many victimized. Ideas such as making sure that you were under the “covering” of an anointed spiritual leader and submission to God’s anointed leader were taken to an extreme. The “Word of Faith” movement attempted to bring some healthy balance coming out of that situation by their fresh emphasis on the teachings of “submission to authority”, though it did nothing to that effect and to date unhealthy leadership styles are perpetuated in Churches around the world. In extreme case these Church groups tend to develop their own culture and environment which seems very much out of touch with the rest of the world. A newcomer or visitor will quickly be able to feel out of sorts and notice some of the odd vibes coming from the group. If the visitor yields to the influence, they can become absorbed and welcomed into the fold. If the visitor maintains their individual focus, they could begin to feel the rejection by the group.
Here is a real story. Several years ago, I was visiting my father in law in Accra, Ghana who was extremely ill. No, I do not know if you have ever been in Accra, but there is a Church of some kind on every street corner. It is common to turn the sound system up as high as possible, because somehow many people tend to believe that the louder the speakers the more anointed the preacher is. There was a Pentecostal Church right across from where my parents in law lived. This Church would have meetings every night until late past mid night. They had their loudspeakers so loud it was horrible for all of us in the house, especially for my father in law. After several days of it I had enough. I walked over to that Church, past the ushers at the front door, walked straight up the isle and stood right next to the Preacher who was shouting through his microphone. All eyes of about 150 people were on me.
I filled my lungs with air, and began to preach, projecting my voice, as I learned to do in over more than twenty years of preaching. It did not take long before the preacher who was trying his best to ignore me stopped preaching, and I took over completely. The people were shouting hallelujah and praise the Lord and I proved to them that God’s presence would be very strong even without the use of a sound system, and that there was no need for the volume to be on maximum in a small hall like they were in. It sometimes takes a radical intervention to burst the bubble of a whole group of people who were hypnotised into believing a falsehood. What I did was very unusual and could have gone badly wrong, in a very bad way. So, do not try what I did. I build up the confidence and resolve after I had prayed about it for a while before I got to the point of going there. Introducing something completely foreign to an already established culture of ideas can bring change but is normally met with a lot of resistance at first. Such is the case in all kinds of religious environments.
Religion is a performance-based means to earn acceptance with God and the relevant religious group. This means that where there is religion there will be sectarian characteristics at play.
Religion and legalism are not necessarily the same thing, but they do always go together hand in hand. One cannot function without the other. Legalism is the mentality and believe that God functions like a judge, and judgment is made based on ideas of what is perceived to be right and wrong. The mentality of legalism comes from our western legal system. Legalism requires payment for the wrong committed. This is where we see doctrines like Jesus taking the wrath of God the Father upon Himself to make payment for our sin, the need to confess sin as a requirement, before God can forgive our sins find their fruition. Religion demands us to maintain a legalistic approach to all things to do with God, and to earn, pay for, God’s acceptance. Here is a thought. You do not owe God anything, and He requires nothing of you. He just loves you,……..as you are. He does not require you to change, confess anything, do anything, stop doing anything. Paradoxically, when you can believe this to be true, you know you can’t live without Him, you will want to give Him your everything, and you will naturally supernaturally change from the inside out.
Within the co-dependent control relationship between spiritual leaders and followers, the leader could never control anyone unless the people actively allow themselves to be controlled. That is why it is a co-dependent relationship. Having already addressed the role of the spiritual leader we need to understand that in this dynamic the people want to be controlled. They need or crave the approval of the leadership and the group for their sense of acceptance and self-worth. They will keep coming back and comply with expectations to conform because their need for acceptance and approval has become a drug. Their greatest fear is rejection from the group, and so their efforts to be like everyone else and not challenge the status quo is maintained. This of course reveals how deep their own personal insecurity reaches.
A group or community is made up of all kinds of people, each with their own personality style. Personality is deeply complex and intricate. With 7.6 billion people on Earth each with their own way of thinking, behaving, communicating, their own likes, dislikes, strengths, and blind spots. Yet we are united by empathy and understanding, and we naturally feel for each other. Modern technology has made it easier than ever for people to take quick, basic personality assessments to learn more about themselves. While these are not all perfectly accurate, they do give us a chance to begin the process of becoming more aware of ourselves and others. One specific personality model is known as the DISC personality behavioral profiling system, which serves to provide profound personality insights. In 1999 I took the training course for this system. The DISC personality assessment shows us that there are four main quadrants or variants of personality, Dominant, Influencing, Steady and Compliant. The breakdown of the general population of the world is that 3% of people are classified as D’s, 11% are I’s, S’s are 69%, and 17% are C’s. Everyone really has all four of these styles, but one is usually the naturally preferred behavioral style depending on the circumstances. Each personality style of behaving could be perceived as a strength. With that personality style also comes what is perceived as their greatest fear. The reason why I bring this up is because over the years I have observed that people within local Churches, groups and communities, in fact whole societies are indeed largely made up of people with the S personality style. As indicated 69% of the world’s population are potentially S’s. The S personality style is relationship oriented. They prefer security within the family household, and relationships in general. They want job security, a pension, insurance, and a secure place to live. Surely that is what everybody wants, but these needs are extra important to the S personality style. Guess what, the greatest fear of the S personality style is the fear of conflict. People naturally sub consciously will do what they can to avoid what they fear the most. It will require an extra ordinary amount of confidence in their own sense of identity for an S personality style to revolt against the status quo and question the perceived authorities.
The true Gospel in Christ will solidify a person’s sense of identity and self worth as their self image is renewed by the renewing of the mind with the Word of God. As they begin to see themselves in Christ and understand their identity is rooted in Him they become strong persons, who will not compromise their integrity to maintain acceptance and approval with the Church leadership or the people of the Church. They will not be arrogant either. They will be secure enough to walk in wisdom and love toward all. People who know where they stand with God, will not be easily fascinated by the need for acceptance and self worth. Their sense of self-worth comes from the revelation and their experience of God’s unchangeable unwavering everlasting love and value for them. A healthy sense of self worth is after all one of the deepest emotional needs of a person that needs and must be fulfilled. If they believe they must earn acceptance by performance to get their self worth fix they are easy prey for the consensus of the masses and will follow the masses. Tell me how many Ministries and Churches actually help establish their people in a Biblical based sense of self worth? A Biblical based sense of self worth comes from knowing you are loved and accepted by God apart from your performance.
Your self worth (value of you) was demonstrated to you when Christ gave His life for you.
You will not find many Churches who will outright teach that you must live holy or God will not love you. But you will find many Churches all over the world who teach that God loves you so very much but if you keep doing wrong God might not bless you, anoint you, allow problems in your life, and fellowship with God is broken. Again, this is conditional love, and it does not exist. Conditional love is rejection. Rejection breaks down the sense of self worth. With 69% chance that the group, Church, community, society are relationship oriented people who could fear conflict and are potentially not established in the love and value that God the Father has for them, how vulnerable do you think they might be to suggestions that could offer them a false sense of security?
“Beware of Mass psychosis”
This emotionally loaded phrase still echoes in the background of my mind. It is like my dad, Hans managed to put so much energy and emotion into those words, they transcend time and space.
In hindsight and a combination of years of study, and my own life experience, I am now much more aware of what mass psychosis is. I know how it works, what the symptoms are. I know its true source and what it could lead to.
Though a complete definition is still debated to date, fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterised by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy.
The Mass Psychology of Fascism (German: Die Massenpsychologie des Faschismus) is a 1933 book by the Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, in which the author explores how fascists come into power. Reich showed in spectacular fashion how Nazism systematically manipulated the collective unconscious. A repressive family, a cold and harsh religion, a sadistic educational system, the terrorism of the party, fear of economic manipulation, fear of racial contamination, led to permitting violence against minorities and operated in and through the individuals and collective unconscious psychology of emotions. Nazi political ideology and practice exacerbated and exploited these tendencies. For Reich, fighting Fascism meant first of all studying it scientifically, which was to say, using the methods of psychoanalysis. He believed that reason alone would be able to check the forces of irrationality and loosen the grip of mysticism. Instead Reich proposed “work democracy”, a self-managing form of social organisation that would preserve the individual’s freedom, independence, autonomy and encourage his/her responsibility and society.
Irrespective of whether one agrees with the works of Wilhelm Reich, the reason I make the reference is because of his point that fighting fascism could only be done by studying its phenomena scientifically. However, I am not suggesting people need to study fascism. What I am saying is that we do need a scientific, evidence led approach to such issues that have captivated the masses emotionally. One only needs to watch the news or follow media to see how quickly whole societies, if not whole nations are swept up into an emotional frenzy at times ignoring even basic facts.
Fact? Where is the evidence?
If an Expert, Scientist, Doctor, Political leader, Celebrity can make a claim and present it as fact is it?
The dictionary described the word “fact” as: A thing that is known or proved to be true.
Information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article.
The truth about events as opposed to interpretation.
Have you ever been in a Virtual Reality Cinema? When you have the 3D goggles on, and all the visual effects and sounds stimulate the emotional sense as though you really are on a roller coaster ride over a cliff. You may feel like you are about to fall into a deep ravine. Yet you know that even though you are having corresponding physiological reactions it is not real. The feelings are real, but they are not based on fact. No matter what you are feeling and experiencing at that point internally, it is not the reality of things. This is significantly different from Psychosis where a person who suffers an episode of psychosis, does not seem to realise that their internal experience does not match external reality. They believe that what they are experiencing in their senses is really happening.
[disclaimer: I am not a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health consultant]
On November 18, 1978, Rev Jim Jones, Pastor, and founder of Peoples Temple led almost a large group of his followers in a mass murder-suicide at their agricultural commune in a remote part of the South American nation of Guyana. Many of Jones’ followers willingly ingested a poison-laced punch while others were forced to do so at gunpoint. The final death toll at Jonestown that day was 909; a third of those who perished were children.
Jim Jones started out as a Pastor like many other of his contemporary charismatic Preachers, in Indianapolis in the 1950s. He preached on topics like “healing”. He preached against racism and attracted many African Americans and which was controversial for that period and led an integrated congregation. In 1965, he moved the group to Northern California, settling in Ukiah and after 1971 in San Francisco.
There are so many examples of religious groups who have gone to an extreme and caused themselves or others harm, based on irrational beliefs presented as spiritually true or fact. These claimed facts, as supposed by religious groups, would be assumed as either scriptural or spiritual evidence. Yet, where hermeneutical principles are clearly breached, interpretation becomes flexible and scripture in the Bible could be made to say anything based on that particular religious bias.
Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, similar to natural and spontaneous states like daydreaming, near sleep or Alpha state, or like being engrossed in reading a book or watching a movie.
Hypnosis is a by-passing of the critical factor. We have our conscious mind which is the critical filter.
Our sub-conscious mind just absorbs the information it is fed. So much of our daily life is run by the programs that run and work from our sub conscious minds. The hypnotist really wants to bypass the critical conscious mind and present suggestions to the sub-conscious mind of their subject.
Apart from the greed for financial gain and power, it has always been the goal of insecure leaders, whether they be spiritual leaders, political or government leaders to maintain control of the masses.
If the people are not grounded in the love and value that God has for them, which gives them an unwavering understanding of their true identity in Christ, then they are open to the fascinating suggestions of supposed authority figures.
In the next article on this series, I want to go deep into the subject of hypnosis and explain how even the most determined people are still influenced unknowingly.
Lloyd Hotel, Oostenlijke Handelskade, Amsterdam 1940
You can also watch Video talk on this subject, Bewitched Part 1, 2, and 3