Updated: Jun 11
In this article I have attempted to share some deep realisations I made while listening to the 'Waugh Rooms' discussions on Lighthouse's Youtube channel in reference to my upbringing and Christianity. This article is also aimed at finding my voice for truth and justice and to act as a beacon for others wanting to do the same.
Jon Flobrant from Unsplash
Reading Letizia's article on her experience and insights from the online trolling of LIG was very moving. Interestingly at around the same time, I had decided to write an article about the Waugh Rooms and was also wondering how it might be possible to engage with the wider mentee community at LIG. The response to Letizia's article made it quite clear that many other people within the LIG community were equally as impressed as I was and it was amazing to see this community come forward at such a time.
I have already shared my personal experience, realisations and growth as a result of this trolling as well as my deeper engagement with Christianity and what led me to it from Islam. What I didn't mention before was my real name. Describing my personal experience for the first time publicly made me hesitant to mention to do so at the time. However, now I know what I stand for which is why I would like to mention it here. It's Maria Imran.
PERSONAL REALISATIONS RELATED TO THE WAUGH ROOMS
When the first Daily Mail article was released, I remember being a bit worried only to find out later that this was exactly what LIG had been waiting for in terms of the trolls incriminating themselves even further. And soon the 'Waugh Rooms' were released as a response to this article, to put right what had been manipulated.
While listening to these discussions, I was trying to understand and feel more where Paulie and the other members were coming from. Somewhere in these discussions, especially in the ones between Paulie and Chris (the parental child protection series), a deeper pain in me began to come up, related to my upbringing and the lack of having a positive male role model in my life.
In the way Paulie was describing the trolls, I couldn't help but see some parallels in the way my narcissistic father had behaved his entire life. Most significant of these was the realisation that my father was 'branding' his family, and especially me, to become what he thought was right, no matter how other people in his family felt about it, no matter how I felt about how I should live. Although I had already made similar realisations before, the word 'branding' fitted like a glove in terms of describing what I went through. The resulting sense of loss and emptiness within me was further proof of that psychological and emotional branding.
As Paulie was describing the process of becoming healthy, which involved going through legitimate suffering (perhaps of crying and having nightmares), I could feel myself welling up as I felt the pain of an upbringing that was toxic and warped.
Concomitantly, though, I could feel the process I was going through was a replacement towards looking up to healthier, regenerative and positive male role models. And in order for me to do that on a deeper level, the pain that was in the way needed to be felt and worked through, a part of me that might still be clinging to a toxic past.
I also felt very grateful for where I was in myself now, the community I had within Lighthouse and the value I could add based on my experience.
REALISATIONS CONNECTING LIG'S TROLLING TO ETERNAL REPERCUSSIONS
My past few months have been dedicated to critically analysing the precepts of Christianity based on what I had learned from my experience with Islam, spirituality and narcissism.
With this backdrop in mind, I can't help but put a parallel to this entire situation of LIG's trolling to eternal accountability in Christianity of the entire human race. The way Lighthouse has given leeway and repeated opportunities for the trolls to change their ways but they have done the exact opposite, reminds me of how God has given us free will and this life to turn away from sin, repent and trust in Jesus. God knows not only the secret acts we do but our deepest, darkest thoughts and desires:
All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.
Psalm 38:9 (NIV)
He has repeatedly made it clear through his prophets, scripture, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and our conscience, that is in each and every one of us, what He deems as good and evil:
They (non-Jewish people) show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.
Romans 2:14-15 (NIV)
But most of us scoff at God's word. Particularly those of us in the developed world have twisted reality to suit our egos and made this world our final dwelling place. We have filled it with all sorts of carnal pleasures, whilst most of the world's population starves and lacks clean water to drink. Talking about animal cruelty and the environment is more common than the suffering that afflicts human beings around the world; something that can be addressed if we chose to think, live and act in a selfless manner.
Surrounded by the possibility of such carnal 'freedom' (which is in fact bondage), the last thing we want to consider is eternal judgement. So we push back at the voice of our own conscience. And the fact that we don’t immediately get the repercussions of our actions, we get bolder and bolder in our ways, twisting reality more and more to suit us. But there will be repercussions, many face them in their lifetime, as Jordan Peterson says from his clinical practice experience that he has not seen anyone get away with anything. But then, for me as a Christian, there are eternal repercussions for all our actions and thoughts.
Anthony Delanoix from Unsplash
The reason the developed world today so adamantly denies the existence of intelligent design and a Creator is not to do with 'apparent' lack of evidence; it is to do with the need of our ego to remain unaccountable. Because admitting the existence of a Creator also means there is an intelligent being greater than us, who would ultimately look for accountability; that we are not the boss of ourselves as we so like to think.
Coming back to the trolls, the apparent lack of repercussions to their way of life, of incessant harassment not just of Lighthouse but of many people they previously came across has made them bold. And as Paulie has stated, they have become blind to the increasing stupidity of their own actions. But there will be repercussions, in this life and the one to come.
We are each presented with a unique opportunity in our lives to develop our character, find Truth and come to love God. And as this life ends, the rift between the good and the evil becomes insurmountable; then the people of God will get their comeuppance and those dedicated to selfishness and evil will get theirs (Luke 16: 19-31).
Considering that many partners of Lighthouse are Christians, it is understandable why they are insisting on opening their hearts to the trolls and giving ample time and opportunity for them to reconsider. Because they realise the eternal meaning and consequences of living in such a narcissistic manner.
So to me, it's very interesting to see these parallels between what is stated in the bible and what is developing with LIG's trolling and how each side becomes more and more dedicated to their aims and motivations.
I'd like to end with a few more personal words: First off I would like to commend Lighthouse on the Waugh Rooms and their response to this trolling. And secondly, I would like to ask other members of the Lighthouse community to step forward and make their voices known because this is a time better than no other to do so.
As the writer Richard Evans said, ‘It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars’.