One big problem in many churches is mistaking hypnosis as the power of God. The setting of an institutional churches is often a perfect combo for mass hypnosis, and social engineering. The interesting thing is that many Christian leaders condemn the practice of hypnoism, calling it witchcraft, and yet many of them have become master hypnotists, or on the way to become ones themselves.
Somehow it makes sense. If average believers don’t understand what hypnosis is about, then the secret would remain well kept. If we all look deeper into what it is, then we will find out the similarity of both worlds. The cat will be out of the bag and they will lose their power.
I am not sure if most ministers who can effectively put their audience into trance know what they are doing, but it is only human nature for a minister to continue to do what seems to get results. If certain preaching styles and techniques would cause the audience to “convert”, “slain in the Spirit“, or cheer up the “performer” (i.e. the minister) with more “amen” and “halleilujah”, then it’s only natural for him or her to do more of it.
When a church doesn’t really follow the model of the first century churches, but replaces it with the practice and tradition of its own, it is inevitable that they adopt psychological techniques, social dynamic, and other gimmicks, instead of biblical practices.
True Conversion or Something Else?
For example, preaching in a certain tempo and tone would create better responses in the audience. Billy Graham was able to convert thousands of thousands of people into Christianity, but was it genuine conversion? He led people into the Once Saved Always Saved gospel, and not suprisingly, his voice was hypnotising. Now that I reflect on ministry of this Christian celebrity I used to admire, I doubt how much of his work was really based on the Holy Spirit.
Click this link to watch a video of how hypnotist and mentalist Derren Brown converted a bunch of atheists into believing the existence of God.
How Churches are Really Built?
What is social dynamic? If you are good at it, you can read any social situation real fast. I recently mastered certain level of skills in social dynamic, and I now can see the same human behaviors over and over again in many situations, and am able to understand why humans behave in certain way under certain situations. Not only that, I am able to connect with people much more predicably using the scientific principles and theories I learned. They work like a charm.
I think if I continue to study and practice social dynamic, I will become good salesman, teacher, stand up comedian, poker player, and of course, pastor. There is no limit to what you can achieve when you know how to use these knowledge.
I believe many successful churches builders and leaders have high levels of social intelligence, either from training in NLP, social dynamic, and other related fields, or from mirroring what their mentors had been doing. Consciously or unconsciously, they are using human wisdom to build their churches, and credit it to God.
The New Testament, however, tells us how churches should be built, see my article on the early church:
Hypnosis and Paranormal
John A Keel, a paranormal investigator whom I trust, discovered that ET alien contactees, and witnesses of other paranormal phenomena, often fell into hypnotic trance when they had their paranormal encounters. This didn’t mean the experiences were fake. During the trance, time could be compressed or expanded. What felt like a few seconds of encounter for the witness could actually be hours, or vice versa.
“There seems to be a rule that each cosmic force has its imitators. Victims of UFO contact are often suffering from false illumination. Either their minds have misinterpreted the experience, or a lower force has re-programed them using the same mechanism. In a sense, they have become “possessed.” They suffer from hallucinosis—repeated hallucinations. Their lives are manipulated disastrously.” [The Mothman Prophecies]
I believe the “lower force” in question is actually demon in the Bible.
Men and women of God would fall into trance too when they encounter God or his angels.
9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
This leads me to believe that many spiritual experience are hypnotic in nature, but some are from men (men made miracles), some are from demons, and some are from God.
Hypnosis is Common and Necessary
The hypnotic state is a common state in human. We enter the “alpha state” when watching TV, driving on highway, daydreaming, playing computer game, and we enter deep hypnotic trance at certain stages of our sleep cycle.
Trance is relaxing and it feels good. High achievers often knows how to enter a trance to help them perform well. Athletes enters the “zone” (trance) to achieve their best possible performance. During a trance, the senses are most alerts, the mind is sharp, and many hidden potentials come out more easily.
There are light trance and deep trances. Each day, we enter different trance more often than we think. For example, it is easy for most people to engage in daily routine and forget how they do it afterward. It’s like not remembering when we stop at red light on our way to work or home.
A good habit of prayer and meditation would train the mind to experience trances, which helps us open more to God’s word, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Not all form of hypnosis is bad. I don’t believe that demons would possess you simply because you are hypnotized, otherwise, all of us would have opened doors to demons when we watch TV, or drive on highway.
Rather, I believe that we must train ourselves to know what it is, and thus be able to distinguish and recognize what is from God, and what is simply common hypnotic phenomena. An intellectual person would instinctively know how to enter a trance to increase performance in school, sport, and spiritual practice (such as changing a bad habit). A Christian who is trained to recognize it for what it is can avoid mind control, social engineering, false ministers, and what not.