I was brought up in Evangelical Protestantism which has always been strong on individualistic religious experience, and often that experience was highly emotional, and whenever the emotions are involved, manipulation of some sort is always around the corner.

We’ve all experienced the emotional blackmail imposed within families: “All I’ve done for you and this is the thanks I get??!!” or “How can you do this to me when you’re supposed to love me??!!” or “Go ahead and make that choice, but realize there are consequences-I will never speak to you again.”

Sentimentalism in religion often leads to emotional blackmail or at least emotional manipulation in religion. So the fundamentalist preachers used to lay on a combination of horror story–telling the congregation of the person who died unprepared or who was not ready for “the rapture”–and a heavy dose of guilt. These two were pretty effective in getting a soul to “turn to Christ.”

Praise the Lord

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