Every now and then I get an advertisement telling me about some alluring content. Perhaps it’s a fellow attempting to get my interest about how he made $56,000 in a month, or it might be an advertisement on some mystical retreat. I suppose I’m a putz and my own failures at this advertising caused me to attract more of the same. The reason I bring this up, is that this type of manipulation has gone on for a very long time. Today, people are manipulated and controlled, often by spiritual zealots trained in the clever use of psychological manipulation.
In the marketing world there is a concept of the funnel. The funnel is the opening by which the sales pitch is made. It’s the first step down into the point of no return. Often it starts with a free gift. In the world of sales it could be a book or document… to get it, all you have to do is hand in your phone number or email: “I’ll send you my top 10 secrets on investing. Just hand send us your email and it’s yours.”
Once you step into the funnel, it gets easier to slip further in. Like a pitcher plant, the way out becomes more tricky. Slowly a transition will occur, the recipient gives more and receives less. At some point in the funnel there’s a drop, where the recipient has invested so much that attempting to leave the funnel is far too challenging. This is not only the stuff of sales tactics, it is the stuff of religion as well.
Christianity as a Funnel
This is how all religions of conversion work. Any religion that has a requirement to convert others will use a technique like this. They’ll ask for your information, they’ll set up a time to chat with you. On occasion they’ll even offer you something: a free meal, a listening ear. Their goal though is to change you into them. To strip you of your Individuality, and roll you into the hive mind of their cause.
It starts so easy… just “let us talk to you… let us buy you lunch…” If you don’t see what’s going on, you’ll slip down that funnel. If you know what’s going on, you can instead manipulate the manipulators – that’s the real fun. For now, I want to focus on how they do it….
I’ve been interacting with many illogical and emotional christians of late. One showed me a video of a Satanic Temple protestor being converted by a christian pastor. I watched the video with a different interest than those who thought to change my heart. They saw “the holy spirit break down the defenses of the young man.” I saw a clever pastor utilizing psychology to break someone down. His manipulation was so masterful, I almost envied it. No different than the marketing funnel of a sales pitch, he worked his psychology to break the young man down.
“You have so much anger, so much pain,” coos the pastor. Placing a hand on the shoulder of the other, he continues with, “when did you give up on god?” The fellow starts to weep. The pastor holds him.
Of course the Satanic Temple is not a group of “Satanists.” They are protestors dressed in pretend garb to shock their christian opponents. Without a strong ground of real philosophy, they fall to the whims of this type of manipulation.
The Past as a Tool
I noticed something familiar in that video. I’ve felt this same attack on me throughout my life. It doesn’t feel like an attack, and that makes it especially subversive. They may not even be intending it as an attack. They might be so used to their psychological manipulation that it is second nature to them. Either way, they use the past to control a person.
In fact one such fellow attempted to do it to me just yesterday. I was online and saw a stupid christian playing stupid games. I quoted their bible and it humiliated them. They couldn’t defend it, but instead thought to “reach me.” Little did they know they are trying to mince words with someone who knows more about the Bible than most theologians. As I quoted their bible, showing it’s vile, they stoped talking. Only one fellow remained.
“You said you were once a Christian,” he said, “did you ever ask god to take control of your life?”
“Of course,” I said, “I was a preacher kid. I was a believer…” I went into why I left the path. How the path fails everyone in the end, and how believers choose to ignore the glaring problems, bypassing reason for a false purity of a deviant god.
In my response I asked how he could possibly defend the those passages… instead of addressing my question he asked, “when was the last time you asked god to take control of your life?”
For a moment I was caught off by it. Something funny about that question. It clicked. It’s the same psychological attempt in that video I was shown, of the Satanic Temple youth being masterfully manipulated by a pastor.
Why bring up my past when I was once a Christian? It’s such a wonderful trick. I can’t fault him for it, it’s genius. It’s a method of manipulation. By putting me back into my past, I acclimate to who I once was.
Emotion as a Tool
Another common theme is that of emotion. By brining up something emotional in the recipient, a manipulator can gain psychological access and control. This happens a lot in politics. They tell the story of a person killed by an immigrant, and the crowd goes wild. Likewise the Christian will use your emotions against you.
I’m not talking about bull baiting. Christians don’t often bull bait. Instead a masterful manipulator will attempt to empathize with you. “I know your pain, I was once like you…” or they may say, “I once felt you like you did.” No, they did not, had they felt like me or you they wouldn’t become the slaves they are now.
Handling Manipulation Attempts
I once was friends with a spiritual teacher who taught, “never let someone take you to your past.” Now I know why. Anytime someone starts in with you about your past, “when was the last time you loved god…” just be firm and state that you don’t live in your past. You burned your past with the filth of the Bible long ago.
This is why defacing and desecrating an icon of your past is useful. It sometimes isn’t enough to simply say, “I’m no longer a Christian,” sometimes you have to burn your bible, or spit on a cross as a way of sealing off the old influence.
If you have the stomach for it, respond to their ploy similarly. Take them to their past before they were christians, bring up something positive that they have lost: “When was the last time you were free to think and be yourself?”
Pulling people into their past is a method of control, especially if that past is rooted in the beliefs of the manipulator. If you were once a christian, then the christian will want you to revisit that past. Don’t fall for it. If you like, do it to your enemies, but don’t fall for it.
Emotional attacks by manipulators will be subtle. They will attempt to resonate with you, attempt empathy. When they do this one must either pretend to agree in order to manipulate the manipulator, or one must affirm a resolve: “No you were never like me. You became a slave of a twisted god that offers an endless supply of forgiveness so that men may rape, and kill in his name.”
If you walk the path of subterfuge you can attempt to manipulate them back. Pretending to listen to their false empathy and offering it back to them. This is a tricky road, and isn’t for the weak.