Atheists, Narcissism, and Gaslighting

Outdoor gaslight, Pixabay, Avi Agarwal

This article will touch on several areas, some of the things I have thought about for quite a while. So I will present some speculations with what I think is evidential material, run it up the flagpole, and see if anyone salutes it.

The Dubious Nature of Psychology

Last I knew, there were over two hundred schools of psychology. Some in the “hard sciences” look askance on psychology and other social sciences, as they have few characteristics necessary in those sciences. Definitions of, and treatments for, mental illnesses are constantly changing and resemble guesswork. Social sciences are also rooted in Darwinism and atheistic naturalism.

I’ll allow that I have some cognitive dissonance happening. I don’t trust humanistic psychology, but getting some kind of treatment for mental illness can be beneficial. However, some problems fade over time. Even medication (although scientists do not know why one works and treatment is often a crapshoot) can be necessary. Talking with a biblical counselor is most likely the best answer.

There are many unhealthy thinking patterns classified as personality disorders, but the groupings and labels are unhelpful since many have traits that overlap. Some of these resemble psychotic symptoms. Also, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a kind of mental illness. Some people have been misdiagnosed as having some other disorder until the patient was reevaluated. These things help indicate that the field is not exactly scientific.

Armchair Psychologists

People tend to throw around words to label others, acting as if they were licensed psychotherapists making diagnoses. “You have cognitive dissonance”, “That’s an example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect”, “You’re just paranoid”, and others. They probably don’t even know what the words mean other than spending five minutes looking them up on teh interwebs.

They should keep up with the news, as the Dunning-Krueger Effect was discovered to be nonsense.

Individuals have personality flaws, and will exhibit “symptoms” found in the lists for psychologists. It’s when some have several indications that a diagnosis could be made correctly. By an expert.

Toxic People

This expression seems to be relatively new. Generally speaking, toxic people bring harm to others, especially their mental well-being. Toxic people feed their own egos by rejoicing in (and causing) distress and harm to others. It is a serious problem in interpersonal relationships, especially when realizing that a family member is toxic. In many cases, they cannot be avoided, so the victim needs to learn skills to minimize the damage.

I was recently told about a woman who eventually left her physically-abusive husband, but he was able to turn the woman’s own sister against her! Fortunately, that was straightened out later.

What is frequently discussed is self-esteem. I’ve heard and read Christians who condemn self-esteem, but I reckon they’re on the prod about sinful pride. There is a reasonable amount of healthy self-esteem in people, including Christians. We don’t want people becoming damaged and feeling worthless!

Narcissism

Among the snap judgements that armchair psychologists make is to call someone a narcissist. A person may appear that way if they spend a bit too much time focusing on their appearance, for instance, or make their personal gratification a priority. Traits here and there do not necessarily make someone a narcissist.

Narcissists can be oh so charming, but will not build you up. They tend to tear you down, and even try to leverage your accomplishments for their benefit. Unfortunately, they seek out certain kinds of people to be their victims. Narcissists are not likely to be planning. Rather, it is a skill that comes naturally.

Sometimes intelligent people can be seen as narcissistic, but that may not be the case. I cannot find a script, but I’ll do this from memory: In an episode of Barney Miller, the genius Arthur Dietrich was making a rather heady remark. Nick Yemana, who had no idea of what Arthur was saying, replied, “I don’t think that’s necessarily true!” Instead of belittling Yemana, Dietrich said, “But it’s possible.” Yemana agreed thoughtfully, “It’s possible.” Great scene! Arthur was very intelligent, but didn’t lord it over others.

Check online and you’ll find many sites and articles dealing with narcissists in your life. People diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are comparatively rare, but that can be skewed because they may think there’s nothing wrong with them, so why seek treatment?

Consider this: People with inflated pride are more difficult to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ because they see no reason to repent, and humbling themselves is unthinkable.

Whether someone has been diagnosed with NPD or not, if narcissistic traits are observed, the recipient of their manipulations should be on guard. There are various defensive methods to counteract it. Again, being aware of what’s going on is extremely helpful in and of itself. There are videos (a few are linked below) and articles available online. Unfortunately, spouses, children, and other family members may not admit that the other person has a problem.

These emotional abuses can also become physical. Yes, while it may seem like a harmless aberration, a narcissist can be physically as well as mentally dangerous.

Gaslighting

1944 Gaslight movie poster (public domain)

This word has an interesting history. It came from a 1938 stage play, Gas Light, then the Gaslight movie in 1940 (at the moment, available for free on YouTube). The 1944 movie featuring Charles Boyer, Igrid Bergman, and Joseph Cotton is the version most people know. The evil husband wanted his wife’s riches, and when he searched in the attic, he turned on the gas light up there and it dimmed elsewhere in the house. He was trying to drive her insane, and one of his tricks was to tell her that no, the light never dimmed. It’s a tense psychological drama and I recommend it (having only seen the 1944 version). Also, it’s distressing to see what he put her through, even to doubt her own sanity.

There are key traits and phrases that gaslighters have, but a couple here and there do not mean someone is a narcissist or gaslighting. You savvy that, pilgrim?

Unlike the story, to gaslight someone does not have an end goal in sight, but is a wicked method of manipulation. It is ongoing. Narcissists seek gratification, and gaslighting is one method. The gaslighter tells the victim what to think, they have no right to their feelings, plays the victim, and may even claim that they know you better than you know yourself.

Take note that the gaslighter will use other people against his or her targets. Victims are often belittled in front of their friends and family, and the accumulation can lead to the recipient having self-doubt, even to the point of questioning their perception of reality.

One note here is that gaslighting is a tactic of narcissists, but there are other toxic people that use it.

Atheism and Mental Illness

Yeah, I know, them’s fightin’ words. Well, deal with it because I’m going to lay out my controversial speculations.

There are several ways in which atheists display mental illnesses. I have used the word atheopath, coined by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, to describe the irrational behavior exhibited by professing atheists. (I say professing because they know God exists, Romans 1:18-23.) In addition, there is a strong correlation between atheism and autism.

Atheists exhibit many of the characteristics of narcissists and sociopaths. (See “It All Adds Up: Many Atheists are Nuts,” where I discuss an article on narcissistic sociopaths.) You will frequently see, especially on social(ist) media, that atheists pretend to be smarter than “theists.” They also dehumanize Christians and creationists, which makes it easier to negate our views; some cannot say anything good about, or in agreement with, a Christian!

At other times, atheopaths will act like we’re all amigos on a first-name basis. I’ve been called by my first name, the atheist pretends to be patient and friendly — and told what I think and believe! (Take a look at “Further Adventures in Atheo-Fascism” for a more detailed analysis on how they dodge things they don’t like.) Internet atheists can be the most vile and underhanded.

Gaslighting is obviously most effective in personal relationships, but some attempt to do this online. Atheists ridicule, mock, demonize, and recruit others to join in. This can be used to destroy the Christian’s confidence, and even cause him or her to doubt their memory and thinking — perhaps even to doubt their faith.

Used under US Fair Use statutes for educational purposes.
The difficult-to-read part in red in that image posted by another Admin, but the image is small here: “Because our uninformed opinions, regurgitations and prejudicial conjectures are universally admissible as evidence and our glib offhand denials are incontestable refutations of anything and everything we personally don’t like or understand.”
  • When pointing out on Fakebook that an atheopath used a logical fallacy, the response is a laughing emoji.
  • Catch them in a lie, same response.
  • Correct a misotheist about their own evolutionary mythology, same response.
  • Keep one on topic, same response.
  • Require one to keep to the standards they demand of us and back up their claims…you guessed it.

Do these things sound like characteristics of healthy minds? That’ll be the day! Atheists are exceptionally negative people, and what is deep inside comes out when being keyboard warriors in their safe spaces. Narcissists and sociopaths get furious — furious, I tell you! — when their manipulations fail. If you want to torment online misotheist troll, deny them the attention they crave.

Early on at this WordPress thing (it will never be the home of The Question Evolution Project), I was trolled by a site run by atheopaths. Personal attacks, ridicule, avoiding the content, the usual nonsense. When I blocked that site from commenting here, everything ceased. If they talk about the content here, I’m not aware of it.

I’ll allow it’s mighty difficult to refrain from getting wrapped up into equivalent retaliation, but Christians are not called to slap leather with every internet tinhorn, no matter how wicked and manipulative.

The Spiritual Aspect

When encountering knowledgeable Christians and creationists, Christophobes become even more obstreperous than usual. Why is that?

Non-Christians are the property of Satan. I believe atheists and occultists are closer to him than most people. We do know from Scripture that unbelievers hate Christ in us, and he told us they would hate us. But the one that is in us is greater than the one in the world (1 John 4:4). The spirit controlling them can see the Spirit that is in us.

Atheists are angry, and their fundamentally-flawed worldview is bleak and hopeless. The universe began by chance, life originated by chance from minerals (your mother was a rock and your father was rain), evolution happened through time, chance, random processes, mutations, natural selection — and when you die, you’re worm food. No Judgement, no rewards, no punishment. Yes, very bleak.

Why waste their time tormenting Christians and creationists? I doesn’t make sense to spend so much time seeking their identities and railing against the God they pretend doesn’t exist. But their father Satan requires it. Atheopaths are full of pride as well as wickedness, and it is extremely difficult to get narcissists to realize that they are sinners in need of humility and repentance. We need to pray, share the gospel, be firm but avoid being contentious. Their conversion is not up to us and our golden words (1 Cor. 2:1-2), that is the work of the Holy Spirit. We are to be faithful. And we know what — and who — is real.

Video Links of Interest

These come from secular perspectives, and most have something to sell. A couple are from people who claim to be actual licensed therapists, some are from people who have lived through their experiences. I embedded one below. They provide interesting and probably useful information, but I cannot endorse everything they say.

The Crucifixion and Counting to Three

Jesus was crucified between two thieves, buried, and bodily arose after three days. Credit: RGBStock / Bartek Ambrozik

Most Christians around the world celebrate the bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead on a day that is commonly called Easter. (And no, it is not a “pagan holiday”, nor is it wrong for us to celebrate. Read the material at the links here so you can savvy that, Sam.) Obviously, before he could rise again, he had to die. That day is usually called Good Friday, and many of us observe that day as well.

It seems strange that the day Jesus suffered the most horrible death known is called “good.” It was good for us, as this B.C. comic succinctly puts it. Got Questions explains:

Why is Good Friday referred to as “good”? What the Jewish authorities and Romans did to Jesus was definitely not good (see Matthew chapters 26-27). However, the results of Christ’s death are very good! Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” First Peter 3:18 tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”

https://www.gotquestions.org/Good-Friday.html

Although mockers try to say that if the Crucifixion was on Friday and the Resurrection was on Sunday, that’s not three days. Cults also do this for some reason. I remember seeing a television show from one that made this claim. There are honest people who also have puzzled about how three days can be reconciled with Friday afternoon through Sunday morning.

It takes a little bit of homework. Hebrews had a different way of reckoning time. We use the Roman system where a day is split into two halves, but you may have noticed in your Bible that certain things happened at a certain hour, such as when Peter and John went up to the temple at the ninth hour (Acts 3:1), which was about three in the afternoon. Some Bibles render that as “three in the afternoon.”

I say about because they didn’t exactly have digital watches, or even grandfather clocks using weights and pendulums. So, an hour wasn’t. Not really, because hours were based on the amount of sunlight in the day. There were twelve hours in a Jewish day, but as for night, it seems that nobody cared very much; there were watches in the night.

With these things in mind, it should come as no surprise to learn that the Jews counted days differently as well. Modern tend to impose their own cultures, experiences, and opinions on texts of ancient cultures. Someone today, 15 April, could say, “I’ll see you in three days”, and the other person says, “Okay, this is Friday at noon. So I’ll see you…let’s see…Saturday, Sunday, Monday. We’ll meet here at noon on Monday. Bring burgers.”

By letting the ancient culture “say” what it means and not forcing our own views on it, we see there is neither problem nor contradiction. To read an explanation, saddle up and ride over to “Three Days and Nights.” Also, you may be interested in a free digital download pack of “The 10 Minute Bible Journey Easter Accounts.” Go through the purchase process at the Answers in Genesis online bookstore, but it really is free.

A Matter of Perspective on Thanksgiving Day

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

For my wife and me, this is a day of mixed emotions.

We see images of happy gatherings for Thanksgiving, the Macy’s merchandising parade is on TV as I write this, food and abundance…

Today is the anniversary of the birth of two people who are no longer with us. We think of others who have also passed on. The celebration is just the two of us.

Thinking back on how Basement Cat was so thrilled and just had to have her turkey, she would reach up and tap my wife’s arm, “Hurry up!” Afterward, she would take a contented nap. We really miss her.

Christian liberties are being destroyed in Western nations, governments are becoming increasingly Marxist and totalitarian. I’m the worst of the worst, what with being white, male, heterosexual, Christian, married, and a biblical creationist. That last point is probably the worst for atheists and leftists, since we promote the foundations of the gospel message. Wouldn’t be surprising to be given a one-way ticket to the Land Down Six Feet Under in the near future.

Yeah, pilgrim, lots to be sad about. Angry. Bitter.

We have a home, shelter, food, tremendous wealth compared to others in the world (or even in these formerly United States), and more.

There is a God, he has made himself known in his Word. I thank him that I have been promoting the truth through online ministry efforts, even if people only care about “memes” and pithy sayings. Ministries and apologists… we do our “watchman on the wall” parts, so if others remain unprepared, that’s on their own heads.

All I am, all I have, is through God. Jesus Christ has blessed me — and Christians — to live godly lives. God the Son died on the cross for my sins, was buried, bodily raised on the third day. Believers are raised with him, and seated with him in glory with God the Father. We have victory in Jesus, and are indwelt with God the Holy Spirit. He is coming back. There will be a great reunion with our Savior and believers who have gone home before us.

God is greater that the world. With the right perspective, I can be thankful and not bitter. But I need to pray that I don’t let other things take my eyes off Jesus. Praise, glory and honor to God!

Image credit: Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez

The Religion of Atheism has a Chaplain at Harvard

The only reasons I can think of for denying that atheism is a religion are ignorance and dishonesty. It has been defined as a religion by courts, definition, and the actions of professing atheists. They demanded their own chaplains for the military, and Harvard hired Satan himself — oh, wait, that is a different story. Harvard hired an atheist as chaplain.

One of several schools that was founded on Christian principles but jumped the fence into apostasy, Harvard hired this “chaplain” pretends to be “good without God” and claims to be able to provide spiritual guidance to everyone. That’ll be the day! It has been clearly demonstrated that professing atheists are contumelious toward Christians, especially biblical creationists. They define “good” in a postmodern, relativistic way that fits the culture of the moment; whoever betrayed Jews to the Nazis was doing a good thing by Nazi standards.

God calls people like this fools, and anyone going to an atheist “chaplain” is asking for spiritual disaster. Indeed, there are marked similarities between atheism and the LaVey brand of Satanism. Atheism is irrational, lacking the necessary preconditions of human experience. It also has no consistent moral foundation, as is painfully obvious.

Don’t be disunderstanding me here. Yes, there are atheists who have high moral standards, and may even have better conduct than some “Christians”. But as with science, logic, consciousness, love, goodness, and other things, they cannot give a coherent justification for morality. They believe everything came from nothing, yet mock the biblical Christian worldview, which is the only consistent and rational expression for human experience.

Goodness is not relative. Atheists, like other unbelievers, need to humble themselves and repent, making Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives.

Bedeviled by the Details

The mind likes to have complete information, and sometimes we fill in the blanks. When doing cloud gazing or looking into a distorted mirror, pareidolia can kick in so we “see” something that is not there (an extreme example is the lady on Mars). I have a problem with tinnitus as well as apophenia (musical ear), where people tend to “hear” distant music and similar things. Psychologically, we fill in the blanks with nonexistent details when data is missing, and then we create a story.

There are also times when people think they know something, but are really turning the details into hash. They may be drawing from incomplete memories, things they heard or read somewhere, assumptions, and so on. The secular science industry has a habit of sticking to the naturalism narrative, and they have often been baffled when observed facts conflict with the Bearded Buddha’s machinations. This makes for

Adam and Eve by Michelangelo, 1512

People think they know about the Bible, but often get details wrong. Since we have classical art going, it’s interesting that Michelangelo knew enough about the subject to include the serpent before the Curse and gave it something resembling limbs. (It looks like Adam’s scolding it, which is not in the account.) Masaccio seemed ignorant of the details, having Adam and Eve leave the garden naked — Genesis tells us otherwise. Gustave Dore was pretty accurate, though.

It seems reasonable that the more important a subject, the more people should make an effort to be correct on the details. Sure, people speculate all the time. However, when faulty memories, a preferred narrative or bias, and other things are in our minds, it’s best to refrain from being insistent.

There are several views regarding the nature of the serpent in Eden. I thought I was entertaining a unique view that since Eve didn’t seem surprised that the serpent talked, that maybe Eden was like Narnia with talking animals, but that idea is as old as the apocryphal Book of Jubilees. But I was very tentative on that. Check the facts before being dogmatic on alleged scientific facts, about the nature of the serpent, and other things.

Now I would like to encourage you to read an article about things we think we know, and how we may use speculation as truth. This one focuses on the serpent. If you’ve a mind to, spare a few minutes and read “The Devil Is in the Details . . . or Is He?

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