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Toxic Faith

Toxic Faith
Unhealthy Faith
Spiritual Abuse
Religious Legalism

Toxic Faith: Religious Legalism

Toxic Faith
by Stephen Arterburn, Jack Felton
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"Toxic Faith distinguishes between a healthy faith and a misguided religiosity that traps believers in an addictive practice of religion. It shows how unbalanced ministries, misguided churches, and unscrupulous leaders can lead their followers away from God and into a desolate experience of religion that drives many to despair. Toxic Faith shows readers how to find hope for a return to genuine, healthy faith that can add meaning to life."

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Self Quiz

A group starts with two people. And two individuals can find themselves embroiled in many of the same fundamental destructive group dynamics that large organizations fall prey to.

Are you "UNDER THE INFLUENCE"
of a destructive group or belief system?
Find out with this
SELF QUIZ:

  • Does your group discourage doubts, criticism or ideas that differ from their belief system?
    Yes____No____
  • Do you tend to rationalize whatever the group does even when it goes against your sense of right and wrong?
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you often feel exhausted from lengthy group activities, meetings and projects?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group have its own unique words, cliches, slogans, chants, prayers and doctrinal phrases that reinforce the group viewpoint?
    Yes___ No___
  • Are doubts viewed as a lack of faith, dedication, commitment or disloyalty?
    Yes___ No___
  • Have "your thoughts" become "the enemy?"
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you often find yourself doing more and more things in the group or because of group peer pressure that you would not have done on your own?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group publicly humiliate or criticize members?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group have a system of punishments and rewards for behavior?
    Yes___ No___
  • Group paranoia: Does your group obsessively think other groups or people with different beliefs are out to get them?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does the prospect of leaving your group seem scary, difficult?
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you feel the need to leave in secret?
    Yes___ No___
  • Have you been told something bad might happen if you leave?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group/belief system think they have/are the only or highest truth, or have the solution for the world’s problems?
    Yes___ No___
  • Are your leader’s ideas or belief system considered beyond reproach or sacred?
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you follow a particular individual or belief system that requires unquestioning obedience and loyalty?
    Yes___ No___
  • ) Do members of your group feel specially chosen, superior, exclusive, elite?
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you feel the need to save or convert others to your belief system or ideology?
    Yes___ No___
  • Is your group secretive to outsiders about its inner workings, teachings, activities or beliefs?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group equate purity and goodness to being in your group, and impurity or evil to those outside your group?
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you place your group’s mission or agenda above your own goals and ideals? Do group interests come before your own interest
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you find yourself thinking in a we-they, us-versus-them mind set?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group/system have a clear outside enemy?
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you see less and less of your family and friends who do not belong to your group or who do not subscribe to your group’s belief system?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group use frequent public testimonials, confessions, or sharings that reinforce the group’s mission or agenda?
    Yes___ No___
  • Is communication within, into and out of your group controlled or censored in any manner?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group criticize, shun, abandon or demean individuals who leave the group?
    Yes___ No___
  • Do members seek approval or get permission from group leader(s) for personal life choices?
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you feel pressured to attend meetings, events, lectures, seminars? And do you feel guilty if you don’t attend?
    Yes___ No___
  • Do you feel pressured to give a portion of your income to the group, or spend money on courses, books or special projects?
    Yes___ No___
  • Are the group’s financial needs more important than your own economic well-being?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group discriminate against anyone regarding race, gender, belief, or sexual orientation?
    Yes___ No___
  • Does your group have a totalitarian structure: a strict, top-down centralized control?
    Yes___ No___
Do you wonder if you have been in a destructive group?
Do you...
  • ...have difficulty forming new friendships and intimate relationships?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...have low self-esteem, poor self-image or loss of identity?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...have difficulty making simple decisions and choices?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...often feel depressed, anxious and nervous?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...feel isolated, lonely, guilty, cynical?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...feel like you are just now growing up, becoming a mature adult?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...have short-term memory difficulties?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...feel you have nothing to believe in?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...often feel anger and rage towards the group?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...have nightmares or unpleasant dreams?
    Yes___ No___
  • ...find it difficult or impossible to stop mental or other group ritualistic practices?
    Yes___ No___
This quiz has no scientifically predetermined number of "yes" answers to indicate a distructive group. However, answering "yes" to any of the above questions means you may need to examine your group and its influence in your life in those areas.

All the documents on this site are copyright 1998 by John D. Goldhammer and Prometheus Books. You may freely save, distribute or re-post this information with full credit given to this site's URL - http://caic.org.au/biblebase/abuse/selfquiz.htm 

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