by Dr. Leighton Flowers
According to psychological experts “gaslighting” is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own perception of reality.
SOME Calvinists argue that we are all born believing in the basic freedom of human will, the ability to make choices. But, then they argue that perception of reality is false and that God is actually controlling all our preferences and thus our choices (under their definition of “sovereignty”).
If one attempts to disagree they are often made to feel as if they are crazy, heretical, or just too ignorant to really understand. I believe this is a form of “spiritualized gaslighting.”
It comes in the form of statements like, “You just don’t understand Calvinism,” even after reading directly from a quote of John Calvin himself.
Or a statement like, “Yes it’s actually your choice,” after they just argued that God is the decisive cause (determiner) of every desire and choice that has ever been made.
If one objects to the apparent contradiction of such claims they are painted as an ignorant and/or rebellious person who just won’t “accept the plain reading of scripture” even though Biblical scholars have disagreed over these interpretations for generations.
If one says “that doesn’t make sense” or “that doesn’t seem right” then they are told something like “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, our ways are not his ways, we cannot hope to fully comprehend God. Who are you, oh man, to answer back to God?” to make you doubt your own God-given sense of reason or objective moral values. Requesting that Christians ought to adhere to a soteriology that refrains from making God rationally contradictory or a moral hypocrite is not the same as attempting to fully understand the divine.
Do not allow yourself to be gaslighted. We are born with the perception of free will (responsibility) because that’s how God created us.