10 questions you can ask a church to see if it's spiritually abusive

10 questions you can ask a church to see if it's spiritually abusive

no spiritual abuse cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward


I think it is important for churches to establish rules concerning how it treats its members.

In any relationship, those involved need to constantly ensure that they are treating the other fairly, compassionately, and justly.

This includes churches. Please.

I've come to believe that all churches are prone to spiritual abuse.

In fact, I claim that the dehumanization of people is the gravitational pull of all institutions and organizations.

So we must be always on guard to ensure that they resist this tendency. It takes a lot of diligence, honesty, and hard work. 

I've assembled 10 questions you can ask the church to see if it is spiritually abusive or not:

  1. Does it use guilt, shame, or fear to motivate me?
  2. Does it elevate its wellbeing over mine?
  3. Does it employ peer-pressure to make me behave a certain way?
  4. Does it believe it possesses the truth and I don't?
  5. Does it speak to me before it listens to me?
  6. Does it try to distance me from my other relationships?
  7. Does it punish me with demotion, isolation, or silent-treatment if I question anything?
  8. Does it trivialize or dismiss my feelings?
  9. Does it get jealous if I seek spiritual aids elsewhere?
  10. Does it always blame me when something goes wrong?

You know you can take these same 10 questions and apply them to any relationship. Even your marriage, family, or friendship!

For example, "Does he use guilt, shame, and fear to motivate me?"
"Does he trivialize or dismiss my feelings?"

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then there’s a chance it is abusive.

If all 10 can be answered with yes, then run!

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