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Is S/he a Religious Narcissist? Take This Test to Find Out!

Reviewed by Karis A. Williams, MSMHC, LPC,   February 6, 2024

Religious narcissists are everywhere.  They are the priests, church leaders, Sunday School teachers, and even regular members.  But it doesn’t stop in the church.  Religious narcissists are also in all of the secular workplaces, the military, social groups, neighborhoods, families.  Like I said, literally everywhere.

So if religious narcissists are so prevalent, what is the chance you know at least a couple?  Do you know someone who tries to make you live up to a standard that they don’t hold themselves to?  Or someone who quotes Scripture for literally everything under the sun, even when it doesn’t really apply?  How about someone who manipulates themselves into positions of power and then uses it to victimize and control those around them?Is s/he a religious narcissist?  You can take this test to find out.  

But first, let’s talk a little bit about spiritual narcissism.  It is believed to be the worst of all narcissism because it uses the church and sacred spaces to control and manipulate people.  Even God Himself is manipulated, made to be like the right hand man of the narcissist.  The narcissist will use God to try to convince everyone else that if they don’t do everything as instructed, they will be going against the very will of God.

Interestingly, there was an article in The Christian Post about the Church of England’s plan in 2018 to begin testing clergy for narcissism to weed out the bad seeds.  I don’t know if they actually followed through with this plan, but if the church universal did this, what an amazing difference it would make! It could potentially make the one place in the world that is supposed to be safe (but is often among the least safe places) actually more safe than ever before.

Table of Contents

What Exactly is Spiritual Narcissism?

A textbook definition of religious narcissism (or spiritual narcissism) is the use of spiritual traditions, scriptures, or thoughts to manipulate and control other people in ways that build up the abuser and demean the abused.

A lot of how much you experience depends on two things:  where the religious narcissist falls on the spectrum of narcissism and how you react to the narcissistic attacks.  If s/he is lower on the spectrum and you respond in healthy ways, the narcissistic damage will be minimal.  And of course, if the narcissist ranks high on the spectrum and you relate to narcissistic attacks in unhealthy ways, the damage will be through the roof.  For more information on the signs of religious narcissism, check out the following articles:

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

The Link Between Spiritual Abuse and Narcissism

What Does the Bible Say About Narcissism?

How to Navigate Religious Narcissistic Parents

Understanding the Tactics of a Religious Narcissistic Father

Dealing With the Trauma of a Religious Narcissistic Mother

How Religious Narcissists Think

Signs of Trauma Bonding You Need to Look out For

What is Your Experience Like With a Religious Narcissist?

Finally, before we begin the test, let’s take a look at what people who have religious narcissists in their life experience.  You may have experienced a couple of these, or you may have experienced nearly all of them.  Just know, that regardless of if you have had to deal with just a few or all of them, if you had to deal with a pattern of abuse over a period of time, it was still abuse.  Do not excuse it or write it off as “not that bad.”  I did that for 30+ years.  Now I know better.

Here is a list of the most prominent identifiers of religious narcissistic abuse:

  • Is this person incredibly nice and kind in front of other people but a different person behind closed doors or when alone with you?
  • Does this person correct everything you say, even if it’s the tiniest detail for the sake of being “more right” than you?
  • Is this person extremely judmental, but in the terms of being our best for God or holding others up to fabricated standards of God?
  • Will this person rarely admit when they are wrong?  Do they explain away their wrongdoing, deflecting it onto others or claiming they were trying to do something purely good but it just went unexpectedly wrong?
  • Do they need constant praise and admiration for the work they do?
  • Does this person set you or others up to fail, then swoop in and save the day?

There are many other things that happen, enough to write a book about for sure! But this will give you a pretty good idea of whether you are dealing with a religious narcissist.

The Religious Narcissist Test

And now that you have a pretty good idea, let’s take this religious narcissist test!  But don’t stress about it.  It is only 24 questions designed to help you recognize narcissistic behavior anywhere you see it.  It also isn’t meant to be a diagnosis or professional psychological help.  You will have to go to a licensed clinician for that!  But this will help to educate you on what signs to look for so you can learn what steps to take next to get yourself in a good place.

Instructions:  There will be 24 questions that you need to answer yes or no on.  Upon completing the test, you will see the answers and there will be an explanation as to whether you could possibly be dealing with a spiritual narcissist.

And with that, let’s begin!



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Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

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