Everyone "fakes it" once and awhile

By Nicholas B

The first time I ever "faked it," I was in jail, and a pastor was walking around the chapel laying hands on the mens' foreheads, praying for our deliverance from drugs, alcohol, and a myriad of other evils we were guilty of or addicted to. When he came to me, I expected to feel something…anything, but when I didn't, I became embarrassed, flushed, anxious. Nothing was happening. "What should I do now," I thought. I fell back and laid on the floor assuming the "slain in the spirit" position, while the pastor went on and on and on praying, all along thinking that I had been touched by Spirit of Gawd.

Another time, we were all sitting around the chapel. The pastor asked the "congregation" if any one in the audience wanted an extra measure of faith. I was nervous. I knew he was going to try and see us receive the "gift of tongues." I was paranoid. "Please, NO, don't come over here," my mind screamed. "This shit is FAKE," but then I felt guilty, because I loved the Lord, and if the gifts were real, then I wanted to please him.

Another pastor told the congregation that although we might be saved, unless we received the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit," we would never walk in the power of the spirit, something that would keep us strong in the faith and out of prison after our release.

I never forgot those experiences, and they haunted me throughout my Christian walk, but I would read 1 Corinthians and remind myself that Love was the greatest gift of all, and would try and comfort myself with the knowledge that I had the gift of love. I tried to believe in the other gifts. They were biblical weren’t they? God wanted all of us to have them, didn't he? There must be something wrong with me, I thought. Obviously, I didn't have enough faith. It must be some sin that was hindering me. But deep down, I knew better. I knew that my faith was sincere. I knew that I wanted the things of God more than anything. I knew that to please Him was my first priority.

So, why wasn't the Spirit manifesting in me? Why was He playing favorites with the others around me? Again, I knew better. I knew in my gut that it was all a show. I knew in my gut that I was the only one being sincere. I didn't have the "fake it, till you make it" mentality required of "faith." Either the gifts of the spirit were real, or they weren't. Either God was going to prove him self, or the Bible was full of shit. I fasted, I prayed, I believed. I studied the Word and surrounded myself with concordances. Waiting ... nope still no babbling brook of inane commentary flowed from my mouth, no prophetic utterances, no virtue of healing power dripped from my finger tips. God was failing to prove himself to me. My faith was waning. Slowly, the chips began to fall.

The "gifts of the Spirit" was only one confusing doctrine in a line of many that would eventually seal my religious fate. After years of trying to justify one contradiction after another, I walked away for good, but I can't help but to think about this one particular belief of the Christian faith and wonder how many of you out there experienced a similar experience with the "charismatic" denominations. Anyone willing to admit that they "faked it" too?

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13 comments:

stronger now said...

I had a similar experience when I was about eleven. The pastor said god was calling me up to receive this gift. I didn't really know what to expect but it looked painful. So I got myself all worked up and he smacked me on the forehead and I fell backwards. No "HOLY ZAPP!" ,nada, zilch. It was such a letdown.

I call it blue balls for the holy zapp.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Stronger now said: "I call it blue balls for the holy zapp."

LOL!

I had two women try and put me through deliverance once. They came to my house and made me circle every sin on a long list of sins that I had ever been guilty of. They prayed over me and annoited me with oil (kinky bitches) and tried to exorcise the demons from me. When I didn't respond in any other way besides yawning (how long was this going to go on), they told me that the demons were leaving me through my yawning! WTF! Then, I had to burn the paper in my bathroom sink, which I ended up ruining. My dad was pissed since it was his house my husband and I were renting.

I've seen a man finally start babbling when the preacher laid hands on him for so long in front of everyone, that he didn't know what to do any longer. Out of embarrassment, the poor guy just gave the preacher what he wanted, so he'd leave him alone and let him sit down.

I've seen women run around the church like banshees, screaming and shaking their tambourines. I've seen my very friends writhing on the floor and "slain in the spirit" for hours beneath a sheet at the altar (they were sleeping). My friend, Sherri would go up every week for her fix.

I never could "fake it", though, but I understand the pressure. I never had a desire to speak in tongues. I told "god" so myself. It was all too creepy for me. My friend, Brenda always thought there was something wrong with her just because she didn't get the gifts. She would cry and beg God many times for the gifts if they were real and if he wanted her to have them, but she was too honest to ever fake it for the sake of the kingdom.

The church services would go on for HOURS, and if I left early (I always did), I felt like a big zit. I didn't care, though. If I was hungry, I was out of there! THe long, drawn out church services due to all the drama are what turned me off from charismatic churches back then, but sitting in the Baptist pew was boring since there was no longer any entertainment. I missed the contortionists and tambourine players.

I'm so glad that I'm far removed from such madness now.

recovering christian said...

I'll admit it... I was 12, about 6 months before I started to lose my faith. So you could say, I was at the epitome of my brainwashing. I felt enormous pressure to be "blessed with the holy spirit" so the guest pastor (you know, when everyone's on their best spiritual behaviour for the week they are in) laid his hands on my head, or, should I say, pushed me, then I fell back, "slain" and, for good measure, I started to babble. I'm not sure if this was faking or if it was more a mass hysteria thing, but you have to understand I was only 12 and knew that this is what everyone else wanted. I wanted to be a "grown up" for the lord. I remember thinking that this must be what it feels like to have the "holy ghost" it must feel like you're faking it. I was so delusional...

From then on it was easy. When my other christian pre-teen friends were rasising their hands, and looking sophisticated, I would do the same. I babbled a few words "eee ka da la da shundai" was one of my favorites. funny that i remember that... If i was really blessed, i wouldn't have remembered the words... of course, it wasn't long after this whole thing (13) that I started to lose my faith. Then it was even easier to fake it, because I no longer felt eternal damnation, and it made the being forced to go to church 3 times a week (for 17 years...) a little better. for a little while.

then one time i was sent to a bible camp in pennsylvania. it was a tent meeting revival, give up your youth for the lord kind of thing. Everyone was getting "drunk in the spirit". The first night this happened I watched a couple of my "friends" get "drunk" and was determined for this to happen to me the next night. (well, the part I wanted never happened, where they went into the communal shower - where we were all supposed to wear bathing suits - naked - i had some homosexual tendencies at the time I was not willing to admit to yet). Anyway, the next night, sure enough, I got "drunk". But they just led me to my air mattress and set me down. What a bummer!!

HeIsSailing said...

Nicholas B asks:
" Anyone willing to admit that they "faked it" too?"

Oh yeah, I faked it for about a year back in my more Charismatic days. I even tried to convince myself that it was a gift from God while I was doing it - after about a year I frankly just got bored with it and quit. Glad to see it caused you to question your faith. I continued on for about another 30 years.

I wrote my own story about speaking in tongues here in case anyone is interested:

http://agnosticatheism.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/shandalahai/

seeker of truth said...

Oh, yeah, I'm a faker. The church I attended as a young adult taught that god gives different gifts to different people, so although I prayed for tongues or prophecy (or any gift that would make the whole supernatural thing feel real), I apparently only had the gifts of healing (because I was in the medical field) and mercy (because I was a doormat). They (including my aunt) tried to exorcise my demons many times: I would shallow my breathing until I almost passed out, "slain", except for time this one guest pastor knocked me in the forehead. A couple of times I was affected by the mass hysteria, jumping and shrieking with the "spirit". It felt like a mosh pit.

Anonymous said...

When I was 16, I was the "assistant manager" at a fried chicken place during the summer. The manager was a Pentecostal "Lay" preacher (I think they think they all are). I was raised Presbyterian, but had been introduced to the Baptist view by some "Campus Crusade for Christ" meetings. At the time I was exploring different views, and this manager wouldn't let me alone about Pentecostalism (today I might have been able to bring suit). Anyway, just out of curiosity, one night after closing, I let him try to "bring the spirit into me" and I fake babbled some nonsense. This was my wake up moment; I knew from then on it was all BS. Within a year I was a total atheist, and have been for 35 years.

Chucky Jesus

Bill said...

Hey Nick,

Great Topic !!!! It's very new and fresh to this site. No I never faked it. I tried so hard to feel that holy spirit but came up with a goose egg every time. I was always alone when I got down and asked for the holy spirit to come into my heart so I never had to fake it. To tell you the truth I would have felt like a fucking asshole getting up in front of a churchload of people and going though all that crazy emotional bullshit, that is why it was always a very personal thing for me, kind of like jerking off.

I always wonder what the percentage of fakers are at those Benny Hinn revivals who are all going apeshit as he runs around pushing all these idiots off their feet.

Although I never faked feeling the holy spirit, I did fake believing in God for the majority of my life and I think at times I did fool myself into it because I wanted to fit in with the rest of the God believers I knew.

xrayman

darcy said...

i faked it. we had some guest guy come around and he was bound and determined to make every single person go down on the floor. i was afraid it wouldn't work on me and that would be embarrassing. but unless you made a dash for the bathroom you had to do it. he went row by row. i was in the last row. a couple elders were behind me and the preacher was in front with his fingertips on my forehead. i was feeling absolutely nothing and told them not to feel bad, i'll just go sit back down. the elders whispered to me to just go ahead and fall down anyway, it didn't matter. so i did.

we were in that church 3 years. i was starting to totally accept that i just didn't have the gift of tongues. the on-stage people had to come up with excuses tho to explain how some people didn't appear to have it even tho they seemed like godlyish people and the bible clearly said that everyone did have this, according to them anyway. so they would be on stage and say that we all did have it but some of us were just a bit too inhibited to allow it to flow through us.

so i visited a church that was having this bigshot come thru and my friend said, if i was gonna get it from anyone i'd get it from him. so my last attempt. it was during the first iraq thing like 12 years ago maybe. i raised my hand to get it and was surrounded at the front by a bunch of people all touching me and praying for me. nothing was happening tho. one of them said, 'ok, have you ever imagined what it would be if you did it?' and i said, yeh, i think of that name of that place over there called azerbyjan. i'm sure i'm not spelling it right.... but it was something sounding like that. anyhow.... those people around me all at the same time go 'that's it!! that's it! go with it!!' so i do the 'azer, azer, azer, by, by, by, john, john, john,' and they are all so so so very happy that they were successful and now i too could babble idiotically. as soon as they all left my side i walked back to seat and tried really hard not to laugh.

darcy

Kati said...

Well, this isn't nearly as dramatic as these other stories, probably since I was raised United Methodist. But when I was 12 in the summer of 1999, the Billy Graham Crusade came to my city. I went with my youth group and spent most of the time feeling guilty that I wasn't as "on fire for the Lord" as most of the people around me seemed to be. People were raising their hands, making scenes, singing with all their heart, etc. I also felt guilty for being bored.

I desperately wanted to have some kind of "spiritual experience" and really feel the Lord, and at the end, when the altar call came, I would have felt even guiltier if I hadn't gone down for it. So, despite my embarassment for going (my youth group was pretty apathetic about spiritual experiences at the time, interestingly, and so I felt foolish, and I also felt like they were getting to see something more personal about me than I wanted,) I went. I got down to the ground level of the arena, and here is where it becomes difficult for me to analyze what exactly went on.

As best I can discern, I felt so guilty and upset about not feeling anything spiritual that I just burst into tears. They had people circulating around the floor to pray with you, and a younger woman (probably in her early 20s) prayed with me. I think she was surprised and uncomfortable that I kept crying the whole time. After I prayed the "getting saved" prayer (even though I'd "decided" to be saved when I was 7 and had always considered myself saved after that), I really hoped to feel different, but I didn't, and that made me cry all the more. I left feeling confused and disappointed.

That wasn't the exact kind of "faking it" that others described, but reading others' experiences made me realize how these sorts of experiences are typically borne from guilt, anxiety, a longing for a spiritual experience or a "sign from God," and often, some sort of pressure from others. Not the best ingredients, eh?

Nvrgoingbk said...

Kati, your experience is actually more typical of the Christian experience. I have felt guilty SO many times while sitting in a pew and looking around me at all of the charismatics with hands raised toward Heaven, faces turned toward the ceilings and tears streaming down their faces. I was always very uncomfortable showing that kind of emotion in front of other people. The times that I would cry were usually very private and I would sit alone and hide my face with my long hair.

I watch my own kids and see how different each of them are. My son is very emotionless most of the time. My daughter, Belle, on the other hand is a leaky faucet. Olivia has always loved the Lord and I would hear her praying in the bathroom at five years old. If "God" loved us, surely he would understand that each of us worship differently and he wouldn't doubt our sincerity just because one of us were unable to bring ourselves to writhe on the floor or cry out loud in front of a bunch of people we don't know.

The church puts so much pressure on people to conform. It's just another social club that ostracizes anyone who thinks differently, looks differently, etc. I attended a charismatic church that boasted of being tolerant to all races and types of people, but you never saw the homeless sitting in the front. The wealthy people, the main financial contributors, the family, friends and staff of the pastors are the ones that sat in the "reserved" section. The women wore such beautiful clothes. Their nails were done, their hair was professionally done. The men looked so "spiritual" in their handsome suits.

The service was televised so these were the people you saw on camera. Now, WAAAAAAAAAAY to the back of this huge sanctuary up against the wall, far behind the camera's watchful lens were the homeless, the degenerates, the poor.

All of this "raise holy hands for the Lord" is for show. All the talk about spiritual gifts is just another way for Christians to discriminate against others. Churches are reluctant to tell you that God will judge you for you SUnday attire, but they sure do put the pressure on to dress appropriately (whatever that means). They are reluctant to tell you that you aren't saved without the "gifts", but they sure do put the pressure on to speak in tongues and show manifestation of the gifts.

It's all about the latest trend, be it a "laughing spirit", "the year of jubilee", "the prosperity gospel", the "experiencing God" seminars, the "Purpose driven Life" seminars...The church I mentioned earlier is known to dance on money with lamp shades on their heads! HOw is that honoring "god"? If there is a God, She was probably laughing her ass off at these goons.

freedy said...

Hell yeah I faked it!Like every other minisiter I lied and hyped everything I did.This is the cornerstone of the full-gaspol movement.
Pat Robertson,Benny the Hinn,and all the charis-maniac leaders make up crap daily to "WOW" and con gullible folk into handing over hard earned money.

Why this is legal I'll never know.Anyone else would be locked up for years,...like Jim Baker.

Thackerie said...

Does a parody count as “faking it”?

Speaking in tongues, etc. was not something encountered in the United Methodist church that I attended very sporadically as a child, but I did hear my father and others laughing over the crazed antics of what they called “holy rollers.” However, I didn’t get to see it in action until my freshman year of college (1976-77).

By then, I didn’t even count myself as a “christian in name only,” having already gotten through a half semester of a course on the History of the Bible (a great way to deconvert!). Nevertheless, some weirdos on campus tried to recruit me into a cult called The Way International, and I attended one of their rallies, just for laffs and giggles.

That evening back on campus, I told my would-be saviors that speaking in tongues was BS and that anyone, even an atheist-in-training like me, could do it – just open your mouth and utter a bunch of syllables and the cadence that comes naturally will make it sound like a real, but foreign, language – and then I proceeded to demonstrate.

Didn’t win any de-converts. They were shocked. In fact, they insisted that I “had to be” speaking a demonic language (especially one cult member who was “suffering” because the gift of tongues did not come easily to him).

Anyway, long story short, when they offered to exorcise my demon(s), that’s when I got the hell out of that dorm room and never spoke to these people again. I had already seen that the (male) cult leader’s idea of exorcism involved feeling up female freshmen in obviously inappropriate ways, and no amount of laffs and giggles could overcome my disgust with that.

Colleen said...

I wish I could stop faking it...I just don't know what to say to people when they just come up to me and ask what religion I am. Does it get easier as you get older?

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