Exit and Support Network

Symptoms of Religious Addiction

  • Religious convictions are stated as black and white

  • Isolation from people who do not share the same beliefs

  • Think of the world and flesh as inherently evil

  • Obsessive about praying, going to church, reading the Bible, attending crusades, watching television evangelists, sending money to missions1

  • Excessive fasting

  • Hearing messages from God

  • Judging others; often angry and violent toward "heathens" (pagans)

  • Brainwashing2 - attempt to persuade family and significant friends to their way of thinking

  • Compulsively talking about God, religion or quoting from Scripture

  • Conflict of ideology with hospitals and schools

  • Discourage thinking for oneself, doubting or questioning

  • Sexuality seen as dirty or bad

  • Cannot accept criticism

  • Suffer tension, stress, often develop physical illnesses, such as eating disorders, depression and anxiety

  • Often stare, go into trances

  • Erratic personality changes

~Taken from: When God Becomes A Drug: Breaking the Chains of Religious Addiction and Abuse, by Leo Booth

NOTE: Not all members of cultic groups are religious addicts. Also, by using the word "addiction," we do not believe that someone cannot recover.

Footnotes by ESN:

1 For those in WCG or authoritarian offshoots, the words "attending crusades, watching television evangelists, and sending money to missions," can be replaced with: "attending all of the feast days, listening to the leader of their group on TV (if he has a program), and sending large amounts of money to the group's headquarters."

2 A more accurate term than "brainwashing" to explain this process would be mind manipulation or thought reform.


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