My Response to the Article “My Evangelical Church Is Gaslighting Me, But I Refuse To Fall For It Anymore”

There is an article that I have seen shared several times about an Evangelical Christian discovering that she needed to change aspects of her Faith because of Donald Trump. You can read it here. I am going to run on the assumption that everything the author writes is her true life experience and that she is, in fact, where she says she is in her Faith journey. However, for others who feel they may be following her down that path from a person who has put their Faith in Christ to someone who has not, I would like to point out some things that I think are important to consider. I wish someone had been there for her during her struggles. 

She starts out by describing her horrific mental and emotional state at this time. This is understandable since she was raised in a Christian environment believing and trusting in Christ but now, describes her upbringing more in terms of brainwashing. She has a clear distaste and disbelief of God’s story and the Salvation we have through Christ. Transitioning from Believer to non-Believer is rough. Consider what Peter says in 2 Peter 2:21 “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” My heart goes out to her that she’s in such a horrible place. 

Naturally we want to know how she came to be in this place and she has some ideas. She starts by pointing out that she grew up white, middle class (I’m inferring this part), in a district that is mostly Republican, and surrounded by other Christians. She also points out that she had no real interaction with or understanding of the struggles faced by marginalized people such as people of color, LGBTQ, other religions, and other groups. She calls her bubble a “Christian bubble” but I would argue it was actually a socioeconomic bubble that had nothing to do with the Christian faith. 

What she describes as happening in 2014 is very important. She was suddenly hit from all sides with messaging that shook her world. She was bombarded with the message that her life had been easy because of the color of her skin. And, since she had lived inside a bubble, she really didn’t know folks who were different than her. So she had no personal life experience to question these accusations. The fact that the poor and homeless come in all races, genders, and even “privileged” backgrounds was unknown to her. The fact that the Asian minority in the U.S. actually has a much higher median income than a privileged “white” person was unknown to her. She believed that anything good that happened to her was primarily (or solely) because of her color, not her choices. Now, I’m not saying that the African American community in the U.S. doesn’t have a lower average income than the average Caucasian. I am simply arguing it is not primarily a skin color issue.

A second important event happened in 2014. Although she had been to many church camps and was raised in a Christian atmosphere, she seems to have had a fairly weak understanding of scripture. And scripture has been strongly used and twisted by those wanting to justify and normalize all kinds of sin. Her strongest struggle, and understandably so, was about homosexuality. She had been taught that homosexuality was a sin and therefore a homosexual can’t be a Christian because they are a sinner. I think that if she had really internalized her earlier statement “And because of this sacrifice, I owe him a lifetime of gratitude, worship and a commitment to follow his commandments (even though, because of my human flesh, I will always ultimately fail him)”, she would have understood that all committed Christians are sinners. I would argue that if you honestly can’t see the sin in your own heart every day, and fight against it, you should be very concerned about whether or not you really understand your sin or His sacrifice.

The piece that she seems to have been missing in her understanding of how to handle sin is what Paul says in Romans 6:1-2. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” When a person is predisposed for whatever reason to any kind of sin they are to acknowledge sin for sin, resist it, confess it, and repent of it. Or, as Christ said to the woman brought before him to be stoned for adultery in John 8:11 “Go now and leave your life of sin.” So can a Christian be gay, or a liar, or a thief, or a murderer? In Christ’s own clarification of murder in Matthew 5:21-22 he finishes with “…anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (He is comparing this with the punishment for murder) So the answer is a resounding yes, seeing as how I’ve never met a person who, by that definition, isn’t a murderer. However, if they have given their lives as slaves to Christ they will not portray these sins as good, nor will they endorse or condone them but repent and ask forgiveness.

But there are many Christians who like to create a hierarchy of sin. People like to pick and choose which sins are “big” sins and which ones are “little” sins. We even have a classification of lying called “white” lies. We say it’s not sinning because even though it’s a lie we deem it’s not harmful and therefore not really a sin. Christ would disagree. Sexual sins have long been high on the hierarchy of sins and not evenly enforced. Even in my earlier reference to John 8:11 only the woman was brought before Christ to be stoned even though the law required both the woman and the man to be stoned. Our culture has been eroding the idea of sexual sins for quite some time now and homosexuality is the most recent one. But it’s really no different than a man cheating on his wife or a man and woman having pre-marital sex. Those of us who believe Christ Is who He says He Is, should be resisting sin in our own lives and encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same. We should not endorse or condone any sin, but let Grace abound when there is true repentance. 

After describing the effect of watching Social Media for 2 years she goes on to describe gaslighting as a “psychological manipulation that leads one to question one’s own feelings and perceptions of reality.” But then she says that the Church began to “gaslight” her. That’s an interesting point of view. She now believes that the Republican platform is just rhetoric while the Democratic platform aligns with her personal Christian values.

So let’s talk about political platforms for a moment. I know Republicans who are all kinds of different religions and even atheists. I know Democrats who are all kinds of religions, and even Christians. I know Republicans who are for stricter gun control and I know Democrats who are for less gun control. The Democratic and Republican parties have Pro-Choice and Pro-Life folks mixed in. This idea that everyone in one or the other party supports everything that the official platform may support is ridiculous. For that matter, the idea that the two parties are really all that different is even more so. But both parties want to claim the higher moral ground because that tends to get votes. The problem is that both parties are full of sinners. So it becomes a beauty contest between two people who throw as much mud at the other as possible so they are the prettiest contestant covered in filth. I’d say the Democratic Party (with a great deal of help from the media) has done a heck of a job slinging mud over the past 2 years.

At this point she goes into a wide variety of Democratic talking points and I’m going to skip much of that because I want to focus on the spiritual aspect of the article since it appears to be designed to pull people away from Faith in Christ.

She asks the question “Is any of it true? Have I wasted my life on a religion that hurts more than it helps?” Somehow, she has gone from pointing out (rightly) that Christians can be Democrats too, to wonder if Christianity is a false and harmful religion (presumably because she used to think Christians were only Republicans). This idea, that both parties like to push, but Republicans have pushed better, that they are the party of Christ and morals is simply wrong. Neither party is devoted to Christ. They weren’t meant to be. There is documented corruption in both parties, because they are full of corruptible people. This binding together of politics and religion is a bad idea. Now, I’m not saying that those of us who are strongly committed followers of our Lord Jesus Christ shouldn’t be in politics. What I’m saying is that it would be a bad idea to pretend that either party is the party of Christ. I think this claim hurts both the political party and the body of Christ.

Next she summarizes her walking away from Christ and the Church and comes to a conclusion on Christianity:

“I stopped attending church regularly almost two years ago, but I am more invested in my spiritual life than ever before. Although I’ve lost the majority of my local Christian community, save for a few precious friends, I still cling to the true teachings and example of Jesus to inform my politics and moral code. I now understand that Scripture pays more attention to serving the needs of the oppressed than to regulating their lifestyle. Sin is not as much about my behavior as it is about my inability to love people well.” (Emphasis mine)

This is, of course, completely opposite of what scripture teaches repeatedly from Genesis to Revelation. Sin is all about not just what we do, but what we say and what we think. And by loving people what she is really implying is allowing and even endorsing all kinds of sin. This is the exact opposite of what God has told us from the beginning and through Christ who revealed our need for Him to take our punishment for our sin so that God can show both the vastness of his Righteousness as well as his Mercy.

My heart breaks for this woman. Just within the last few weeks I actually heard a preacher speak a prayer that I had to spiritually absolve myself of because I believed it to be blasphemy. It intertwined politics and scripture in a way that was a false teaching. So I know that there are places where scripture is being misused for political gain. We see examples of that even in Scripture. Satan himself tempted Jesus by quoting scripture. But if you, as a fellow Believer in Christ find yourself being torn up by politics and the media; if you find that you are questioning your Faith, or what it means to serve our Lord in the unimaginably unique way in which He designed you to serve; please, reach out to a trusted firm Believer who will speak openly and honestly about these issues and topics (in person please, not over the Internet). If you want to come and talk to me, I would be happy to do so. It concerns me that I have seen so many of my fellow Believers pass this article around and miss that the crux of it is designed to break your Faith in Christ and to twist scripture to say something it doesn’t. Don’t exchange one set of false teachings for another.

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About Michael Wigle

I am a servant of Christ who is married and has two children and one grandchild. For employment, I am the IT Manager and the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. I also have a wide variety of interests from economics to politics to caving.
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