Not all narcissists stare into the mirror all day, some stare into the Bible looking for proof texts to straighten out all their relatives. Fundamentalist Christianity, because it teaches Christians to be unique and holier than the world, appeals to the right talking, elitist mindset of the narcissist.
Christianity doesn’t create the narcissist, but the narcissist finds religion and uses it to manipulate others. When the Christian mission to repair the world is infused with a narcissist’s sense of grandiosity it creates a religion of abuse and hate.
“Grandiosity refers to an unrealistic sense of superiority—a sustained view of oneself as better than others that causes the narcissist to view others with disdain or as inferior—as well as to a sense of uniqueness: the belief that few others have anything in common with oneself and that one can only be understood…”-Wikipedia
The people Jesus had the most trouble with while He was on earth are the religious narcissists. The Pharisee were so full of pride they didn’t realize their need of God. The Religious narcissist’s grandiosity is manifested by entitlement, self-righteousness and lack of empathy in how they treat others.
Abusers in Religious Narcia believe they know more than everyone else including their pastor. They can’t handle authority figures of any sort because no one is the boss of them and they have a Bible verse to prove it. Many narcissists live as though they are above the law, but they are judgmental of others.
The religious narcissist often imagines God gives them special knowledge which authorizes them to correct other people. Like a false prophet, they claim to be the watchman on the wall, calling out the sins of everyone else, but you will never hear them tell you of their own spiritual failings.
Such devout looking Christians can hand you a long list of proof texts, but to become vulnerable and share their spiritual struggles or listen to others from the heart is nearly impossible for a narc to do because it would require trading their pride for humility.
Grandiosity is a form of self-exaltation. There are many ways religious narcs elevate self above others:
- Criticism and judgment
- Shaming and inducing guilt
- Dire warnings and fear messages
- Manipulation and control
There is in marked contrast to the steps of Jesus in Philippians 2. For deeper understanding review the Steps of Jesus vs. the Steps of Satan. Notice what Jesus does with His power:
“Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority
over everything and that he had come from God
and would return to God.
So he got up from the table,
took off his robe,
wrapped a towel around his waist,
and poured water into a basin.
Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet,
drying them with the towel he had around him.”
Religious narcissists use their power to elevate self, while true followers of Jesus use their power to serve others. Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love for each other.” The bottom line about religious narcissists is they care more about being right than loving others.
God loves the religious narcissist, but even Jesus lets people go. Someday, when God has done all He can to wake them up, it will be their own choices that separate them from God. We can’t read hearts like Jesus, sometimes all we can do is pray for the religious narcs and let them go.