Universalism and Narcissism

If you feel like you have an honest heart (Luke 8:15), do you think you are being manipulated? Maybe someone blew you off and laughed it off (Jude 1:18)? Have you ever told someone they really hurt you, but they respond with an angry “SOR - RY!”? Has an obviously dishonest sinner used the Bible to pressure you to forgive (e.g. 1 Peter 2:12 – see Biblical Forgiveness), before they even admit their own fault (Matthew 4:17)? If you didn't buy it, did they toss out a lame and sarcastic excuse (see The Number One Fundamental)? Accuse you of judging? Expect you to apologize?1

If this sounds familiar, you have fallen into the bizarre universe of Universalism. Narcissists are known for Gaslighting their victims, making them think they don't see clearly, so the victims are actually in the wrong. Universalism provides the moral cover to justify whatever their wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) hearts desire. A narcissist demands unconditional forgiveness, but no religion, philosophy or rule demands anything of them.

Oh dear God, it’s true. We have institutionalized narcissism… The ever-present narcissism enshrined in our congregations spawns entitlement and complaint rather than engagement and curiosity because, well, you’re not giving me what I want! 

– Rev. Peter Boullata. Unitarian Universalist Association (emphasis in original).

Universalists and narcissists certainly aren’t known for confession as a Christian understands it (1 John 1:8-9). But they are known for using a Christian definition of forgiveness when it benefits them (see Biblical Forgiveness). Their behavior (1 John 3:7-8) mirrors that ultimate narcissist and angel of light, Lucifer: "Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom on account of your splendor" (Ezekiel 28:17a). He judges himself worthy of more respect than the God of the Bible (Isaiah 14:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:4), because God is unwilling to forgive everyone. God does not love Lucifer the way he wants to be loved. Hopefully you do not give up on Christianity and the honest process of confession and forgiveness, setting up boundaries with every sinner so you don’t get hurt again. And hopefully you don’t assume Jesus wants you to play along with the cynical game and start pretending you’re sinless too (1 John 1:8-10).  

Universalism was identified as a heresy long ago. Universalists frequently practice other heresies like Works Righteousness (see Another Gospel), Fatalism (see The Many Ways to Go Wrong, And the Easy Way to Go Right), Gnosticism (see The Devil's Redemption) and of course Idolatry (Exodus 20:3-6, Isaiah 44:8-20).  

The key to salvation is to believe the Word (Jesus: John 1:1, 1:14, 3:16). When Universalists say 'I can't believe in a God that sends people to hell’ they reject their only chance for salvation from it (John 3:16-21). That is their choice. But think about it. How could a loving God expect humans to be "good" (Micah 6:8), make us suffer history’s greatest narcissists (slavers, dictators, psychopaths, brutal mass criminals and sadists that opposed God all their lives - see Nietzsche, Narcissist, Nazi), never bring them to justice (see The Sunflower), then expect us to dance in heaven with them? Does a loving God promise His disciples “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Romans 12:19b) then ignore justice? No (Revelation 6:9-11, Street Smart Forgiveness). That god would be just like Lucifer: self-serving, cynical, deceitful, and unloving (see Psalms 9:15-18). 

Lucifer appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), but he is the father of lies (John 8:44), so can we trust anyone that says lying is not a sin -- because there are no sins? Despite Matthew 24:35, Universalists often say that God will somehow change what the Bible says about hell. But at the very end of Revelation, there are no liars in heaven (Revelation 22:15). So we should be as “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16b). The way most Universalists live their lives shows not only their disinterest in the Bible, but their dismissal of it (1 John 3:7-10). They confidently claim to know the Bible, but their arguments are simply Gaslight for those that respect it. Don’t be confused when a Universalist pretends to show great restraint with you but makes fun of your belief in the Bible, then leads you down a Primrose Path of "discovery" toward the wide road to hell (Matthew 7:13).   

Let’s be clear then. Universalists are doing the same works as Lucifer. They are taking sides with him, and against the God of the Bible. The Bible says Lucifer and everyone that acts like him is our enemy (John 8:42-47, 1 Peter 5:8). And the Bible says there is a heaven and a hell that are eternal, and Lucifer and everyone that sides with him will go to hell (Revelation 22).

To be an ally and supporter in today’s world, Universalists insist that Christians must compromise what is clearly shown in scripture (e.g. Romans 1:18-32). If we are unwilling, Universalists are prone to violate boundaries. Like a narcissist that won't stop hitting on you (making sexual advances), the relationship with that person is soon broken, so that there can be no compromise (2 Corinthians 6:14-15, James 4:4). Narcissists want control. Christians are expected to change our beliefs to say that sin doesn’t exist. Christians are not allowed to believe what we choose to believe. Jesus saw this coming long ago:

Do you think that I came to provide peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. Luke 12:51-52

Universalism is a do-it-yourself, utterly flexible religion (see Street Smart Forgiveness). It's all gas pedal and no brakes (cf. Exodus 20:1-17, Isaiah 5:20, Micah 6:8, Matthew 5:18-19, Galatians 5:16-26). Universalism's Highway to Hell is jammed with leadfoots, all thinking they can do no wrong (Matthew 7:13-27). So, Universalism inevitably leads to narcissism, and the goal of narcissists is to convince others to give them whatever they want (see Selfish vs. Social). That is the opposite of Jesus’s goal, which is humility, and love, to the point of self-sacrifice (John 15:13-14). 


1. Compare Matthew 7:1 to Matthew 7:15-20. See Romans 7:5, Ephesians 5:5-11, and most of the rest of the Bible, which defines immorality, sin and repentance. See also Biblical Forgiveness.