Brainwashing in action

Going through a two-hour mental endurance test, I went to the Hillsong Church in London today, to see for myself the sort of techniques used by an evangelical cult.

All the usual traits are there – “hosts” with their disturbing smiles, a charismatic leader, loud music, etc. While I believe that any religion is a cult by definition, Hillsong is very intense. Many churchs peddle their lies in a low-key, ‘drip drip’ fashion so that people simply become used to the tradition and ceremony. In contrast, Hillsong brims with energy as hundreds of people appear to be having epileptic fits at once.

It’s very scary – but worth seeing if you prepare yourself for it beforehand. Unfortunately humans seem to have evolved to be incredibly suggestible, joyfully welcoming a lengthy attack on the individual. Rows upon rows of people, often with large amounts of common sense otherwise, jump up and down [I’m not kidding] like zombies, ‘surrending’ to God and gobbling down stories about the creation of the world in 6 days, and where to buy the latest Hillsong CD.

Financially, this works – Hillsong has a video wall while many old, more traditional churchs struggle to maintain their buldings with a dwindling amount of visitors. It’s a very slick operation, the mental equivalent of a dose of heroin without the hassle of a needle. And it proves that we should fight the theft of people’s ability to think as hard as we possibly can.

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55 Comments on :
Brainwashing in action

  1. Alex Newman says:

    I find this funny and sad at the same time. I’m Jewish, but not at all religious, and can’t see why people would do this. I understand going to church, being excited, etc, etc, but this turns them into fanatics who end up leaving their life savings to churches.

  2. Trin says:

    I happen to go to Hillsong London. I’m sure your conclusions are a little over the top!!!
    i have been a christian since i was 5 years old and have been to many evangelical churches for years all diffrent. i would know if Hillsong was a cult and i know for a fact it isnt. the problem in this country is that the church has become dead and religious. corruped and it gives God a bad name. would you rather have boring music and unfriendly people at a church? its just the style of the church. we are trying to appeal to people today. if you say all religions are cults then i would emajen you have a problem with God all together and Hillsong Church is just a target with more to criticise. At the end of the day it is God that draws people to himself not flashy screens and loud music or friendly hosts. we know that! i am one of the most rational, real people you could know. i wont be conned into joining anything trust me! but Hillsong is a Bilble based church full of people who love God and just want to see people come to know him. people today are tyerd of the old, religious church that doesnt show God as he realy is. [God is love]! so we try to make it relevant. if you belived something was true, you knew the truth. would you want to keep it to yourself? we know the truth. that JESUS CHRIST died for our sins so if we chose to except him we can be saved! that is Gods plan for us. to be reconected with God as sin has seperated us from him. we just want people to know this love also and so we have church that is relevant. there are other churched who preach the gosple who are very diffrent [quiet and more traditional] e.g. the metropolitan tabernacle! but i tell you the guys at hillsong have no time to brain wash people! just tell them the truth and of the hope that is Jesus!
    i have been around in church to long and would know if brain washing was going on. becoming a christian is a choice and it is God that draws people to himself, and it is people themselves that chose weather to acept Jesus or not i know that brain washing does exsist in some churches. but there will always be corruped people who use Gods name as a coverup for their own evil. not my church. people there love God To much. why shouldent we get excited about the truth and being set free. acusations of brainwashing at hillsong is just another way of people talking away the truth of the gosple so they dont have to face their own concience and face God. [who loves and acepts all with open arms]!they dont have to listen, because then they may become awear of their seperation form God and sin, their need for God! At hillsong we just want to see people find God, through Jesus and to see their lives trasformed, to see them live blessed lives! because we know the love of God for ourselves!

  3. Red Dalek says:

    First of all – thanks for commenting, it’s nice to hear from people you disagree with!

    You are right – I do have a *big* problem with the idea of God, and any form of organised religion. Hillsong is just more intense, more powerful at conversion and that scares me.

    ‘Cult’ has many definitions, including "A system or community of religious worship and ritual" and "obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing." (Source -http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=cult) Quite clearly, therefore, all religion is a cult because it requires a devotion to a ‘higher power’.

    As for brainwashing – if a religion sets out to convert and persuade people that their beliefs are correct, that is what brainwashing is. For example, you believe in a God, the resurrection of Jesus and an afterlife – all with zero evidence – but you passionately believe it to be true.

    But yes, the only reason I attacked Hillsong is the format and the success. Take it as a compliment, you’re obviously doing much better than most churches

    And sin? You don’t have a monopoly on morality you know. Making people feel guilty is a key part of the whole charade and I refuse to listen to an organisation that – at the same time – causes immense suffering on many issues including AIDs, abortion and gay rights.

  4. Trin says:

    The words Cult and Brainwashing whatever there dictionary defenition to me are negative words and when people hear them cirtain things spring to mind! so i dont apreciate My church being described in that way. The issue of sin is not a matter of making people feel guilt! but we belive that sin has seperated us from God all of us! i aknowlege that i am a sinner but i dont have to walk in guilt any more because through what Jesus did for us i am able to have forgivenes and my guilt taken away. i am called narrow minded at times beacuse yes i dont agree with Abortion or gay rights simply beacause its not what God wants for humanity and i chose to take Gods example and his teachings. God created man for womman and Womman for man! not womman for womman or man for man! Likewise God planned our exsistence before he created the universe so by aborting an unborn child feotus or whatever you want to call it. its destroying a life God planned since the begining. thease issues could be debate dfor hours! but the real issue is weather or not a person acsepts Jesus.I think that if you came to my church with the expectation of being brainwashed by a cult then you would have viewed it that way. write back!

  5. Red Dalek says:

    "i dont apreciate My church being described in that way"

    I’m sorry – but my aim is to describe the truth as I see it, not to make you happy.

    Sin is about guilt, you said it yourself, you want your "guilt taken away". Guilt is a perfectly normal, human emotion and we all feel it. It would be a much better idea for people to think about *why* they feel guilty rather than pray a bit to make them feel better.

    You know, your arguments about gay rights are exactly what were used 100 years ago to justify slavery, which is condoned in the Bible (don’t believe me – look it up!) "God created white people as superior" is what they believed, and now you believe the same but just being bigoted against some other minority group. There is absolutely no difference between your homophobia and racism.

    Trust me, I have debated abortion for hours Using science, we know that a single cell can’t possibly be described as a human, so the problem is where to draw the line, and until then to allow women maximum rights over their bodies.

    If "god planned our existence" than he also planned the existence of the 1 BILLION people who have no fresh, clean drinking water to drink today. I’m sorry, but if this god were to exist, he could only be described as a cruel tyrant. Don’t forget, he also ‘planned’ Hitler, Stalin and every single war, death and destruction that has ever existed. Nice guy, eh?

    "I think that if you came to my church with the expectation of being brainwashed by a cult then you would have viewed it that way."

    This is a fair point. But I can’t really see it any other way, can I? I’m a person with a memory and a personality and ideas just like you. When you meet an Atheist, it’s exactly the same for you.

    By the way, do you believe I’m going to hell as it as? (Assuming I never repent.)

  6. Alex Newman says:

    Oh good, an argument

    Lets talk about gay rights and abortion:
    You said god planned everything. Then, he did plan gays and lesbians. Perhaps he meant that some people be gay, and some people not be, some people accepting, and some people unchanging and prejudiced.

    Also, "its not what God wants for humanity"

    Have you talked to God recently (or ever)? Do you know for sure thats what God wants? And don’t say the bible said so, God didn’t write it.

    Abortion:
    I think you’re opinion is fine, think whatever you want, but everyone else should have their opinion too. If you don’t like abortion, you never have to have one, but every woman should have the option to have it if they want to.

  7. trin says:

    i dont think you should compare me disagreing with the coruption of love that is homosexuality with people who tried to justify the slave trade. i’m actualy mixed race black carribean and white english so i know about the slave trade. people will always mis interpret the bible and use it to justify themselves, you problebly think thats what i’m doing but Gods teaching on homosexuality is clear! why do you have no problem with it? do you think its natral? yes God created all things. including mankind with a free will. and it is mankind that chose to disobey God and corruped this world and mankind that is responsable for a lot of the heart ach if your refering to natral suffering such as famine or earthquakes etc.. we belive that when man first disobeyed God and sinned as he became inperfect so did the world. can i ask you when you first decided you were an atheist and why? scientificly the cells in the womb after conception may not be able to be decribed as a human. but it is what they will become and the spirit that God has breated into the cells that make abortion murder. Yes abortion is a choice one that i dont agree with.As i said abortion is not the issue the issue is a persons response to Jesus Christ. As you came to Hillsong i presume last sunday you may remember the song we sang called salvation is here. it goes ‘i know my God saved the day, and i know his word never fails and i know my God made a way for me salvation is here’. The way God made for us is Jesus, a way to be free from sin. guilt is yes a human feeling but its not a feeling that God wants us to have, its not how it should be. And allthough guilt can be a way inwhich we recognise our need for forgivenes, for God. once we give our lives to Jesus we need not have guilt anymore. write back. x trin

  8. trin says:

    The Bible teaches that if you dont truly repent and acsept Jesus as lord and into your heart then you will go to a lost eternity [hell]. i dont know your heart and where you are with God. Its not my place to judge who is and isnt going to hell.But I belive what the Bible teaches.

  9. Red Dalek says:

    "why do you have no problem with it? do you think its natural?"

    Why would I have a problem with something consenting adults do with each other, which causes no harm to anyone and can bring great happiness? Some people are straight, some people are gay – it’s not about morality and we should treat it no different to heterosexuality.

    As a matter of fact, homosexuality has been observed in many different animals, so I guess it is ‘natural’ – but even if it wasn’t, who cares? Hospitals aren’t ‘natural’ – do you object to them?

    "can i ask you when you first decided you were an atheist and why?"

    Like most things, a lot of it is how I was brought up. I was never brought up to be religious, I was brought up to ask questions. I’ve been to church with my grandparents when I was young, my school taught about all the different faiths, my friends include Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Agnostics.

    So I never ‘became’ an atheist, after all, everyone is born an atheist. I simply refused to ever convert because religion defies all logic and reason. No one has ever presented me with a shred of evidence for any of religion’s claims, and at the same time I have witnessed the destruction of people’s minds by signing up to a system where you cannot ask questions.

    See, again with abortion, you talk about a ‘spirit’ – to an atheist this is as meaningful as mentioning Casper the Friendly Ghost. Spirit, what spirit?

    "guilt is yes a human feeling but its not a feeling that God wants us to have, its not how it should be"

    But can’t you see?! People felt guilty, so they had to find a way to make themselves better, so they invented God to take that guilt away. If I do something wrong, I damn well *should* feel guilty about it and I will accept my responsibility. Don’t look for easy answers.

    This is something I hate. You must never "give your lives to Jesus" or anyone else. Your life is your own, you are not a slave, you are a person who is responsible for their own actions. A child will give their lives to their mother, and in return she will care for them and assume their responsibility. But don’t you ever want to grow up?

    Even if there *was* a god, I would not worship it. I might respect him or her if they earnt it, but not worship. My mind is my own, and being free is more important than being alive.

    As for hell – well I can assure you my heart (a muscle which beats blood around my body) will never have anything to do with god if the evidence remains as it is. You’d have thought that if I’m willing to ‘risk’ eternal damnation, I must be pretty sure of my arguments.

  10. Alex Newman says:

    The whole bible thing and god, you didnt answer me.
    How do you know what god thinks?
    also, who wrote the bible? it wasnt god

  11. trin says:

    Well, Alex I believe that the Bible is Gods word. So I take his plan for humanity from his word. Yes I have spoken to God recently I take to him constantly throughout his day! X
    Dominic, light bulbs aren’t natural either but I somehow don’t think God would have a problem with such things as hospitals and light bulbs as they are simply us using the intelligence he gave us to better our lives. Which is in complete contrast to Homosexuality which causes heartache to God, whose heart is broken every time he sees his creation do these things. Many things would appear to cause happiness but sin can often seem to in the short term. I believe that deep down people know what they are doing is wrong but the more they do it the more they lose their conscience, which is basically peoples awareness of God and what they should and shouldn’t be doing. The truth is that Jesus loves people and because he loves people he wants to see them truly happy, not an illusion of happiness. Man can’t be happy when he is apart from God. Not truly and sin separates us from God. God doesn’t have to be proven. He would rather see the decisions of our hearts to trust in him through faith.
    To Dominic
    Do you want to take Religious Studies for a-level? I do! It’s good we do Philosophy and the New Testament.
    Do you believe in evolution? Are you a Humanist and do you believe in the human spirit/soul and if so how would you explain it with out God also are you angry at God in any way, even if you claim not to believe in him? Write back xxx Trin

  12. Red Dalek says:

    "Homosexuality which causes heartache to God"

    Needless to say, this is a deeply offensive thing to say, and you are only able to get away with it because homophobia is still considered acceptable while racism and sexism are not.

    Given that between 1 in 10 and 20 people are homosexual, you are almost certainly insulting friends and family members (even if you don’t know it yet) and I again remind you that the Bible allows slavery (Exodus 21:7, Lev 25:44) yet hopefully you don’t think that is OK.

    And this is not a vague morality question either – people are murdered for being gay and your attitude only encourages that.

    "Do you want to take Religious Studies for a-level?"

    Umm – no! It’s hard enough memorising it all for GCSE let alone two more years!

    "Do you believe in evolution?"

    Absolutely. Not because I have any *faith* – but because evolution can be demonstrably proven through logic, evidence and reason. In fact, evolution rocks

    "Are you a Humanist"

    I’ve never used that term personally – it sounds too wishy-washy to me. I am an Atheist.

    "do you believe in the human spirit/soul "

    No. Humans are fantastically complex and wonderful creatures, our brains are capable of things the most powerful computers cannot, and we have no idea how much of the brain works even today. A soul is simply a lack of imagination about how it all works.

    "are you angry at God in any way"

    I’m not lying – I really don’t believe in a god! So no, I’m not angry, I’m very lucky to live an exciting, happy life while millions go without food or water.

    This is not to be confused with religion itself, which makes me either very angry or just very sad and depressed.

  13. Alex Newman says:

    You say God wouldn’t have a problem with something that is "simply us using the intelligence he gave us to better our lives", yet that is what gay people do. They have intelligence (which you can assume god gave them) and find a way to have happiness and love.
    Man can obviously be happy apart from god. Look at the atheists in the world (including me and Dominic.)

  14. Nic Parkes says:

    Grrr, I can’t get over that these very very clever people still believe that God actually exists and that he has ‘intent’ for everything we do.

    Look at it like a loan: if you take a loan and don’t pay it back, things are at RISK. I don’t yet recall being taken up into a wonderful life, so heck – he took a risk, and because he has taken that risk and given me free will, I am able to choose to become anything; gay, bi or straight. Heck, that free will even allows me to choose (using, of course, the inteligence God gave us to better our lives) whether or not a pregnancy would be appropriate at that time.

    Religion is there to repress, Trin. Why can’t you see that?

  15. Chris says:

    This is slightly bizarre but relevant I think. Last year Channel 4 screened a documentary on the subject, Animal Passions, on which an American interviewee, Mark Matthews, married his pony, Pixel, in a special ceremony.. According to him they were "lovers" and apparently the Love was reciprocal, he even constructed a bed that they could both share together at night. He described how "awesome” there sex life was and that they’re deeply in love etc. Now extreme as this may sound if we are to accept gays what about Sexual deviants who enjoy relations with animals, zoophilia? The guy I saw was genuinely "in love" with the animal and he even claimed that he was born that way…

    So "What are gay people supposed to do?" we could also open that up to other sexual gratification issues like what are paedophiles and rapists supposed to do? ok I’m getting a little extreme but only to make a point about how far to take liberalism in the context of sexual gratification. The scary thing about sexual orientation is just how far it can reach into the unacceptable and begin to affect the lives of innocent people and heaven forbid children. Whether you agree with homosexuality or not it’s widely accepted as benign or harmless!!! that amazes me specifically when you look at statistically the average life span of a homosexual in general. Many have accepted the genetic predisposition thanks to the noise mainly from homosexuals themselves, however, is it so safe and is it so acceptable?

    Finally on that point and as politically incorrect as it may be, “the evidence is that around a third of all molestations of children are homosexual molestations, and the same applies to the proportion of paedophiles that are homosexual.” I believe in ALL cases this affects the future of the molestation victim resulting in a confused state that could possibly lead to homosexuality. Sad but true!

    Now I think the issue is more about promiscuity than anything else. I would say that Gay men need to be more responsible within our communities as generally speaking they’re more promiscuous ~ because they can… Homosexual men “suffer disproportionately from a range of morbid conditions compared to heterosexuals, particularly sexually transmitted diseases, like gonorrhoea, syphilis, hepatitis A and B, anorectal warts and AIDS, with 70 per cent of the cases of HIV in Britain due to homosexual intercourse. (The figure is around 85per cent in Australia.) And the average lifespan of a homosexual is much shorter than that of a heterosexual.

  16. Red Dalek says:

    I think these are grossly unfair stereotypes… there is a *very* clear distinction between consenting adults and anything involving children or non-consent.

    STDs are a big problem for everyone, and should be tackled through better, clearer education, including a dropping of all homophobic taboos. Safe sex should be practised by everyone. Pretending that homosexuality is something ‘wrong’ only makes this harder.

  17. Alex Newman says:

    I agree safe sex is important, but for EVERYONE, not just gays.

    Also, molestations don’t matter. You can even ban all homosexual intercourse, people will still be raped.
    Think about it: You’re a boy, and a man rapes you. Do you walk around devastated in general, or do you say "I was raped, I must be gay now, since I had no input into whether I would be raped and this has nothing to do about how I feel towards guys vs. girls"

    The whole promiscuous thing is a stereotype which is just like racism, only its seen as not as important since government supports it.

  18. Chris says:

    >I think these are grossly unfair stereotypes… there is a *very* clear distinction >between consenting adults and anything involving children or non-consent.

    With respect, I am not talking purely about stereotypes, I am also quoting facts about the dangers of "homosexual" promiscuity. In terms of HIV and AIDS the facts speak loud and clear that the homosexual life needs a greater level of responsibility that is clearly not being met. As cold and homophobic as I might sound I actually hate discrimination of any kind.. However I pose the question what is worse, sitting back encouraging sexual gratification that causes death on mass or actually speaking out and saying OK you’re GAY congratulations now please be responsible, look at the facts and be very afraid of the consequences, afteral it doesn affect everybody in the end.

    >I agree safe sex is important, but for EVERYONE, not just gays.

    Absolutely but this conversation is in the context of homosexuality.

    >Think about it: You’re a boy, and a man rapes you. Do you walk around devastated in general, or do you say "I was raped, I must be gay now

    It’s far more complicated that you will ever know my friend. It really does depend greatly on the incident and generally speaking its over the course of many years.. so, isolated incidents like rape are probably not going to make a person gay. However a young child over many years of molestation and abuse will have a very different outcome. I have a personal friend who had a completely bonkers mother who dressed him up as a girl from birth till he was a teenager because she hated men. The poor chap though I love him dearly is so camp its unbelievable and very promiscuous with other men. He wasn’t even molested just heavily abused by his mother. Influences are powerful, don’t underestimate the power of piers and their behaviour on a childs life.

    When we consider the way homosexuals have been treated by our society, it’s easy to see why the term homophobia that you mention has become popular. Homosexuality has been treated as a unique and seductive form of perversion, and homosexual persons have been excluded and persecuted by a culture that hypocritically glorifies other forms of sexual promiscuity. A society in which heterosexually promiscuous persons become role models has no right to treat homosexuals with such a profound lack of dignity.

    I still have my opinions and they are based on facts, Is there not ANY more the human race can do to better itself? or are we all to sit back and let everyone destroy all that we have…

  19. Alex Newman says:

    Of course influences from when you are growing up affect your sexual preference (and pretty much all parts of your life), but you can’t change that. If you don’t think of homosexuals as being bad, then this is just as bad a thing for hetero people as they can set a "bad example" by having sex with the opposite gender. It all depends how you look at it. I think parents should just be accepting of how their children are, and not try to influence them one way or another on purpose.

  20. Red Dalek says:

    Chris – it is not the fact of being homosexual that leads to HIV\AIDs, it is practising unsafe sex. You might as well quote the risks that heterosexuals face (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4335757.stm, for example)- after all, if nobody had any sex at all there’d be no risk from STIs. Of *course* homosexuals need to be ‘responsible’ just as everyone else needs to, but that doesn’t mean living a totally risk-free existence.

    I understand where you’re coming from but it’s the labelling of homosexuality as wrong, and pushing it underground, that is responsible for the problems – not homosexuality itself.

    The thing I really am at a loss to understand is your link with molestation. Surely all the people who were forced to hide their homosexuality have been abused as well?

  21. Henry says:

    Try the Roman Catholic Church – much better than any of these Fundy churches!

    -Henry

  22. Chris says:

    any reason why the last post wasn’t put up?

    I put it through twice!

  23. Red Dalek says:

    No idea Chris – unless it was automatically blocked by the blacklist (but it would have informed you of that)

    If you are still having trouble you can email it to me using http://dominicself.co.uk/contact.html and I will put it up.

  24. Kyle says:

    you dumb idiots… knowing God and aceepting jesus as your saviour is a religion it isnt about rules or regulations… its about a relationship between you and God. Yes christians arent perfect. Its not about feeling guilty either. Its about asking God to forgive us for our sins by accepting jesus as saviour. We are still individuals but we have God on our side. if any of you want information about any of this please dont hesitate to email me at: thekrevolution@gmail.com

  25. Red Dalek says:

    Asking someone to forgive you if you don’t feel guilty makes no sense!

    Oh, and if it really were about a ‘relationship’ between you and god – it meets all the criteria for being abusive. Your partner expects you to worship them and wants your complete devotion at all times! Your partner kills thousands (read the Old Testament) including innocent children and babies. Your partner will send you to burn in hell for eternity if you choose not to love them.

    The first step in combating abuse is to accept what is happening. Luckily, since god doesn’t exist, that’s the only step.

  26. Alex Newman says:

    I’m afraid I have to agree. This seems like a relationship between a cruel and bored kind and a lowly farmer.

  27. Alex Newman says:

    that should be king, not kind
    sorry

  28. jamie says:

    What everyone seems to forget here is that God gives us freewill to choose how we live.
    He doesn’t force Himself onto anyone, because then that becomes a dictatorship.
    As for God letting thousands of people die, and there being so much evil in the world and He allows it and that makes him abusive and unloving – if God isn’t allowed by people to have a part in their lives, and people disobey His word and live lives that go against his commands, He makes it very clear that the consequences of that is pain and suffering, which are a part of normal everyday life due to the fall of man. No one is exempt from suffering. however, God gives a covering of blessing and protection on those that follow him. The pain and Suffering is caused by Satan, who is allowed to cause it because of Man’s stupidity. Why is it that born-again Christians are more successful at work, are less stressed, live longer, have better relationships, healthier, more positive, have less-debt, less divorces…the list is endless. And as for people being brainwashed and should know better – you’d be surprised how many doctors, surgeons, consultants, scientists, nurses, sportsman, artists, musicians are Christians. Even Sir Isaac Newton, the father of modern science, was a born-again Christian…………

  29. Red Dalek says:

    Actually Jamie, it is exactly like a dictatorship. Love god – or go to hell. Love god – or eternal suffering. That’s not a choice, it’s blackmail under threat of torture.

    "Why is it that born-again Christians are more successful at work, are less stressed, live longer, have better relationships, healthier, more positive, have less-debt, less divorces…"

    Haha! That made me laugh out loud. It’s complete nonsense of course – for example, divorce rates are HIGHER in the Bible-bashing South of America than the more liberal North, for example. Oh, and I’m a very happy person

    Isaac Newton (modern science doesn’t have ‘fathers’ – it’s not about personality) also believed in alchemy. Just because you’ve been brainwashed by the lies of religion doesn’t mean you can’t be successful – 70% of the UK population believe in god in one form or another. People I respect enourmously are religious. Even Charles Darwin was an agnostic if I remember correctly.

    Unlike religion, I am able to seperate people’s ideas from themselves. It’s not a question of good or evil, at least not in the real world. And don’t assume I’m ‘surprised’ by how successful religion is – it’s a meme. Of course it is successful. Otherwise it wouldn’t exist.

  30. Totally agree with you Red.
    Did some research my self and the owners are completely selfish. I think they own Gloria Jeans as well. They are not serving god, they are taking money from ignorant people who believe giving all their money to this church will make their lives better.
    Out of curiosity what is your religious status?

  31. Red Dalek says:

    I’m an atheist James – so I think we dislike Hillsong for rather different reasons

    I never knew that they owned a cofee shop though! And apparently they don’t do badly from the government either (http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Bibilical-profits/2005/02/17/1108609349680.html?oneclick=true)!

  32. Actually I am also an atheist. Recently scripture teachers have been telling me that if I dont believe in god I will not go to heaven. They don’t have any proof of gods existens, instead they persuade us into thinking that we will be tormented for eternety for not believing in god.
    I don’t want to believe god any more than proof he is real!

  33. Man No1 will read this. So if you are reading this, you are either bagman or you are clever enough to realise that comments are still being made on this topic

  34. kyle says:

    ok, you all know what the message of christ is, you all know about him dying for our sins, and so on, im pretty sure your all sick of christians smashing all that up in your face, but in the end its your decision red and james and whoever else. If you choose to become christian then good on you, if you choose not to, well i, or anyone else will force you, its a personal desicion, if you choose not to believe in a God, your just gonna have to see whaT HAPPENS IN THE END. im not commenting anymore. i’ve said whats had to be said.

  35. Tragic Victim says:

    I used to attend Hillsong City Church in Sydney. I got very involved as my two elder sisters were pretty extreme into the whole thing. After a few years, a few people really dissapointed me, I began seeing clearly what was happening. I believe in God, the Holy Spirit and the super natural power within the church. But, people are simply brain washed. Now, my one sister has recently become involved with a very strong, evagalist-type guy. In the last few months I feel like ive lost one of my best friends. I alwasy accepted that the church was her life, because she could, "keep it real" and didnt get too full on. But now, i cant communicate successfully with her. I feel constantly judged, and like she feels sorry for me, that im living how the devil wants us to live. It’s like every thing we talk about, every conversation is somehow swayed towards God and the Holy spirit, and then we end up arguing. No matter how I speak to her, it appears all logic and reason dissapears. She has all the answers. God lives through her and so on and so forth.

    So finally, i just wanna say. There ae many churches around the world, good ones, and ones that can easily fullfill someones spiritual life.

    Hillsong church is a business. The more members, the more profit from books and CD’s. I know people, high up in Hillsong, trust me i know. How can they be preaching the prosperous life for lost souls, who probably wont amount to anything (financially that is) when they themeselves drive luxury cars, take overseas holidays, own holiday homes and pretty much live like royalty.

    This place brainwashes people. Ive lost my sister and busy loosing another one.

  36. Simon says:

    Why if god made me did he make me gay, are you saying he made a mistake??? Of course not, being gay is not a choice and this church, I have been to this church many times and in one way enjoy it – HOWEVER if it is (the church) to reach out to all people then it should embracr everyone whether black, white, young, old, gay or straight.

  37. Claire says:

    I also did attend Hillsong in Sydney, the Hills congregation.

    I have to agree with what the authour of the original article write and will continue to write on this subject.

    I attended Hillsong rather regularly for around a year. I never really liked it, everyime I went there, I saw people "suckered" in from all directions.

    I will admit this freely on here, the only reason I went was because I was ordered by the courts to attend Hillsong Church for a period of 12 months (apparently because they are doing wonders for keeping youths off the street; and that was where I was heading)

    I had to attend Youth Group (Wildlife) every Friday evening, and atleast go to church once everyone Sunday (I went Sunday evenings so I could sleep in to well after lunch time). I also had to have one on one mentoring.

    I never liked it from the word "go". It’s not because I was forced to go, or I would have the idea of going to Cobhem. But I just didn’t like it because if you didn’t agree with everything that the church said or did, then you were immediately made an outcast.

    Gloria Jeans is owned a couple that is best friends with Brian and Bobbie Houstan. *Alot* of Gloria Jeans profit goes to Hillsong church because during a service they average advertising Gloria Jeans Coffee around 4-5 times. Not like full blown advertising with a banner, but by mentioning it during the service.

    I do not believe in a God. Everytime I ask a Christian how do they know that God exists, they *always* say that "they just know*. They never go further in depth, thats all they can say.

    Also, whenever something good happens, its "His will." But when something bad happens, its "He works in mysterious ways."
    I find it absolutely hilarious.

    However, even though I don’t believe in a God, I do however believe that there is something else out there…… Perhaps Aliens?!?!

    I just like the idea that we aren’t alone in this massive universe.

  38. Katy says:

    Dear Trin
    I read your post with interest, as I am a masters student in Theology.
    You may be interested to know that the ancient hebrew name of God (Ain-Soph-Aur) means Without Limit.
    So if God is a Gay-Lover, he cannot be a Gay-Hater. If he is against abortion, he cannot be for it.
    This limits God somewhat wouldn’t you agree?

    I know you can’t write very well but I hope you understand what I am saying.

    God Bless

  39. Vincent John says:

    I belong to no church and Know God exists. In 1988 I lost 2 loved ones, the grief was unbearable, went to many churches to relive pain without success, was slowly dieing not eating became anorexic. I one day cried out in tears and heart ”Jesus save me” an invisible spirit immediately entered my heart mind and soul and instantly sucked all my pain and grief away. It felt like one million arms wrapped around me a love I have never felt on this earth. As Jesus said ”blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted ” The Holy Ghost comforter exists. Once the pain was taken away by this event I began to eat again and found a job and a new wife were still married after 17 years praise yeshua Jesus Messiah and Our Holy Father and the Holy Spirit.

  40. Lionfish says:

    Hillsong is a ‘family owned’ publishing and event marketing scam.
    I resigned my own membership with a Church closely aligned to Hillsong after fair questions would not be answered by the Senior Pastor.
    These family owned “Churches”

    1) Claim “the books are open” – yet detailed financials are not provided upon request.

    2) Manipulatively promote the teaching on ‘tithing’ which does not stand up to accepted principles of biblical interpretation.

    3) Secretively facilitate a ‘networked speaking circuit’ where these Senior Pastors pay each other large sums of money to speak at each others Churches and Conferences into tax-free “ministry” entities that they control.

    4) Are autocratically controlled by the Senior Pastor and his appointed Board ― allowing these Churches to become ‘inherited family owned businesses’.

    5) Cover up contradictions such as Brian Houston’s ‘on the record’ (‘Lords Profits’ SMH 2003) statement that “he makes money as a property developer” and later “(He) has never been a property developer” (Letter to Editor, BRW 2005).

    I urge all ‘Spiritual consumers’ to be astute and heed the words of St Jerome (345-420 a.d. ) “Avoid, as you would the plague, a clergyman who is also a man of business.”

  41. Wayne Maxwell says:

    My kids were told at school recently that homosexuality is normal. When they arrived home they asked me if that was so.

    The simple answer to that I said, is this. If you think it’s normal for a guy to shove his penis up his mates dirty bumhole its normal.

    My kids were repulsed by this and hopefuly repulsed enough to never want to try it.

    Why don’t we stop all this politically correct crap and face facts. Bums are for pooping!

    Now you can all rant and rave, you can froth at the mouth, spit chips or breath fire if you wish but guess what?

    I’m as entitled to my opinion as you are and I have the same right to express it as you do.
    Have a nice day.

  42. Luce says:

    I think that everyone coming from a homophobic point of view should keep their thoughts to themselves. Chances are, even if you don’t realise it, that you aren’t only hurting the feelings of others but of people who are close to you. – I’m not saying that they are gay or bi, but maybe they are questioning.

    Or.. If you do want to express yourself and have your voice heard (like we all should do) atleast don’t be so vulgar about it.

  43. John says:

    Despite the fact that "God is Love", the way ‘the church’ and ‘christians’ treat homosexuals is hardly representative of this love.

    I was a christian for 20 years, all my best friends were also christians (typical).

    I became annoyed at the church and left, within weeks all my relationships with my church friends just fell apart?
    These were people I grew up with..

  44. Remontoire says:

    It seems to be fashionable for religious folk to treat science, and most particularly evolution, as an article of faith. Granted, science is a big topic, and some of its claims must be taken on faith because individual people are limited by intelligence and available time. However, I can employ the self-consistent principles and mathematics that I’ve learned through science to build a device which allows me to talk to someone thousands of miles away. Using one of the founding principles of science – logic – I can write a computer program to simulate and/or visualise complex physical systems. These systems, if correctly constructed, can be used to model real events. This is not *faith*. It’s an useful intellectual tool. Using the same principles, I can either prove the mathematics underlying evolution, or I can use an evolutionary algorithm as a technique to solve problems. Evolution is a self-organising principle, and if you want to debate it, try to understand it, first.

    This is not fantasy. I challenge any religious person to come up with a repeatable, witnessable means of achieving real results (other than using cult techniques which involve suborning vulnerable people and converting them to your way of life) .

    If any of you can do this, then I’ll regard faith as a real manifestation of some unstudied power, and learn about it.

    If not, please stop comparing science and your unsupported faith du jour.

  45. Red Dalek says:

    Remontoire – I have rarely felt more pleasure in being able to click ‘allow’ on a pending comment. Well said!

  46. Andrew stafford says:

    I visited Hillsong today in surrey as a guest of some freinds. Brainwashing not quite, euphria almost, stage managed 100%.

    I didn’t hear thm openly preach homophobia like the anglicans or the Catholics. I did see many beleivers being part of their thing. It struck me as scary – the equivalent of a straight guy walking into a gay sauna naked.
    They must spend thousands on production and I found it all a bit too much.

    I was particulary amused at how prescribed the whole thing was. Running to a strict countdown clock and numerous set pieces. I’d need to know more before they could be put on the same platform as Scientology. But scary just the same

  47. Riff says:

    the comment earlier that Christians can only speak against homosexuality because homophobia is still allow does not realize that the changing views of society and law DO NOT change the mind of God.

    Do you think for one minute that God will change his mind on homosexuality just because modern debauched society decides its wrong ?

    Not in a million eternities.

    As for the "i would only believe in a God if He proved He was real" …

    OK
    the Bible declares that if you call out to God He will answer, call out to Jesus to be your Lord and He will come into your life with GREAT PROOF.
    I should know, I prayed that if Jesus was real to come into my life as Lord. 3 days later I had a profound visitation and KNEW He was REAL.
    (if you think i was trippin so be it but the truth does not change just because YOU don’t believe)

    So for everyone who seems to have some UNPROVEN statement that there is no God

    DO YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO CALL ON JESUS ?
    TO PROVE IF HE IS REAL OR NOT ?

    WELL ?

  48. Riff says:

    text correction for previous statement

    "just because modern debauched society decides its wrong to oppose homosexuality"

  49. Red Dalek says:

    Riff,

    I think you misunderstand how we’re defining ‘proof’ in this context.

    Something is proved when the weight of empirical evidence suggests that it is true. (This is never ‘final’ – all ‘proof’ is preliminary.) A profound visitation is not empirical evidence because it is not testable using observation or experiment.

    Sorry if this is disappointing. However, you may like to consider the number of people who have had a profound visitation and ‘KNEW’ that Allah, or Vishnu, or any number of rival gods were real. Presumably you think they’re wrong, and it might be a comfort to know that others aren’t likely to be convinced by their argument just because they have mastered the art of CAPITAL LETTERS.

    (Your views on homosexuality are, of course, too pathetic to even warrant further discussion.)

  50. jaki says:

    Dear Dalek for this discussion. I nearly went to church for the first time in decades in search of a good sing-song, a hug, a message to think about and the chance to thank any higher power for the good things and pray for those in the poop. I have changed my mind. I am too scared of being brainwashed and too vulnerable as I was when an abuser seized his chance to get me under his influence years ago. Homosexuality is obviously natural or it wouldn’t exist and anyway whatever you believe the gay people I’ve met have been lovely. As dalek said ..humans wrote the bible…… . We are all animals. Just try to be nice. jaki

  51. Joe says:

    I’m loving the debate here. I have been in a relationship with a Hillsong pastor for some time. We’re gay *shock*, and coming out to the ‘church’ was a big deal. They are open to it, but it’s frowned upon in some corners.

    I agree with the brainwashing statement. I studied psychology at university and can see some of the techniques coming through. I’m a marketer now and guess what, the techniques are coming through. I can’t go anymore, i leave with headaches as my mind fights the kicking my thoughts get during the service:

    ‘Are you lonely?
    It’s ok to be lonely.
    There is lots of lonely people around – you might know someone.
    Community can help
    Join the church. Stop being lonely…..
    Are you lonely?
    You are aren’t you…?
    I used to be lonely
    Then i joined a ‘connect group’
    now i’m as popular as a prom queen
    are you lonely?
    community needs help – join the church
    Advert: hey- tithing is good for the church…
    are you lonely?

    go figure…

    My partner is brainwashed. he cannot see beyond the so called church.

    The handing out of direct debit mandates and credit card forms for donations says it all. They don’t want a £1 for the charity pot, they want 10% of your gross salary.

    Jesus! (i’m not allowed to do that, but hey – free will.)

  52. allan says:

    way over the top – Cult? Peddling lies? I for one was an atheist until I was 20 and had an experience of Jesus Christ. (I’m now 37 btw). Hillsongs isn’t the sort of church I would go to, but I wonder why you are so against the teachings of Jesus Christ? Chances are, I won’t revisit blog, but do feel free to email me at allanclare@gmail.com
    Regards,
    Allan.

  53. allan says:

    oh – and I don’t believe Joe’s comments for a nanosecond.

  54. Jason Perry says:

    This, sir, was a breath or fresh air this morning. With all the "Hillsongs" around today, it’s comforting to know that rational thinking is not completely dead.

    My question: What can we do about it?

    Because these people are on a mission to destroy free thinking. Shouldn’t we be on just as dedicated of a mission? I’d hate to have apathy be the reason for losing the battle of the mind.

    Cheers ~ Jason

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