Charasmaniacs, Tongues, and HypnotherapyApril 10, 2009
I had not known what the difference was between hypnotherapy, hypnosis, and meditation. I realize now that hypnotherapy is somewhat shorthand for being in an altered state of consciousness. Apart from the dangers that alcohol and drugs may have on one’s conscious state, we can experience alternative states of consciousness which are normal and healthy. This can be in the form of daydreaming, laughing hysterically, adrenalin rushes, listening to a motivational speaker, etc.
Hypnotherapy is often mistaken for hypnosis – commonly referred as hypnotism. In other words where you have no conscious “veto” power over your mind and actions where someone or something is in total control of you. However, hypnotherapy is different. You have full control of your mind and actions but your sub-conscious self is being catered to more then your conscious faculties. You’re in more of an emotional or experiential state then in a mentally focused state.
This proper knowledge of hypnotherapy helped me all the more understand what I now believe to be some truths about the Christian Charismatic movement, which I came out of about 5 years ago.
In my Charismatic days, I had many “spiritual” experiences in the corporate church setting. Many of them involved feeling enormous butterflies in my stomach, being “slain in the spirit”, “holy laughter”, and speaking in “tongues”. Many of the feelings I experienced seemed even somewhat similar to the relaxation feeling while doing regular hypnotherapy for relaxation.
This made me all the more realize how Pentecostal and Charismatic churches may easily achieve a “spiritual” atmosphere. It’s simply hypnotherapy. They are really just helping create an altered state of consciousness. You are able to easily get yourself hyped up, feel strange things, and do strange things, simply because your expectations and feelings are supercharged by an atmosphere that is one giant hypnotherapy session.
The music is soft and inviting. It is also very repetitive. You have an extremely enthusiastic speaker who is priming the pump of the congregation’s emotions. Then to put the cherry on top, you’re enamored with this prevenient view of God whereby His hands are tied and He is waiting, expecting, and anticipating you to make your move so that He’ll “bless” you. These pastors make you believe that you’ve come to the right place and are in the right setting for you to make a “move” so that God will make His “move”. You get yourself overly hyped up with this mentality and “bang”, before you know it you’re doing silly things in the name of Christianity.
Even glossolalia is a form of hypnotherapy, in other words, speaking in tongues. Not the Biblical tongues in Acts where they actually spoke the real languages of foreigners, but the modern evangelical interpretation of “tongues”, or, gibberish. I remember being told, “any time you are tempted, just speak in tongues”. Now I know this is also a subtle form of hypnotherapy. If you alter your state of consciousness by the distraction of gibberish, then you can take your mind off of your temptation. A church which boasts of embracing the “power” of God may rather just be experiencing hypnotherapy as a borrowed tuxedo.