Hijacking Eloise for Atheism (or... BRAINWASHING!!!!!)

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Hijacking Eloise for Atheism (or... BRAINWASHING!!!!!)

In another thread, Eloise responded to one of our mailbag posts:

Eloise wrote:

Sarah, you're wrong and being deceitful about your knowledge of brainwashing. It requires more control over someone than can be exerted or has been exerted by anyone here. Here's a list of a few things which are pretty much essential to the act of brainwashing ranked 1-n in order of importance:

1. A threat, usually of physical harm or endangerment to life.

2. Extreme Social Isolation

3. Control over the persons basic daily and most personal activities - you need to take control over when and how they respond to their most personal bodily urges, such as when they pee, how they eat, what they wear.

4. Systematic frequent assault on the persons most Basic sense of identity in order to replace it with a substitute sense of identity.

 

Omitting any of these essential parts is akin to not really brainwashing at all. For instance you can continuously assault a persons sense of identity, but if they can get away from you physically, mentally and emotionally then you can't brainwash them, you can only be an aggressive blip on their radar. To effectively brainwash you need all of these tools at your disposal.

You might notice also that your religion does have these tools, all of them. That's not to say religion necessarily brainwashes people, but it most certainly demonstrates that any religious group wanting to brainwash is well equipped to do so. The RRS web forum, OTOH, is ill-equipped and therefore really cannot brainwash anyone.

K?

I'd just like to expand on this a bit, and I think it's fair to do so, since Eloise herself said, "You might notice also that your religion does have these tools, all of them."

Anyway...

1. A threat:  Hell, anyone?  This one is so obvious that it hardly needs mentioning, but I've overestimated people before, so here it is.  The ultimate threat.  Side with us or BURN HORRIBLY FOR TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS OF YEARS WITH NO HOPE OF REDEMPTION OR RESPITE!!!!!!!!!!

Granted, hell is not the only threat in Christianity (or Islam, for that matter).  For anyone old enough to remember Michael Jackson's album, Thriller, you might remember that preachers all over the country warned (threatened!) children everywhere against watching the video.  If we did, we were told, we would become POSSESSED BY DEMONS!!!!!  Oooogy Booogy Scary!!!

The followers of Christianity are good emulators.  Abortion clinics anyone?  Threatened boycotts of companies?  Actual boycotts?  Christians are very good at threats.  They should be.  Their god is the ultimate threatener.

2. Extreme Social Isolation.  This one may be a little harder to grasp, but think on something for a minute if you're a theist.  How many hard core atheists are among your friends?  Even among the most moderate churches, the flock is encouraged to stay away from atheists and other non-believers for fear of tainting their precious faith. 

The more fundamental churches make it much more obvious.  The flock won't go to R rated movies.  They won't go to bars.  Their only social outlet is church.  They are encouraged not to even speak to non-Christians, except where they have to for business.  They are told to be "In the world, but not of the world."  (Seriously... do a google search for that phrase.  It will shock you how many times it comes up.  (I got 47,800 hits with that phrase in quotes.  There are many more variations running around.

Colloquially, when we think of extreme social isolation, the first thing that comes to mind is solitary confinement, but we need to realize that even in the most conservative psych texts, the definition is much more broad, and includes in-group isolation -- that is, not allowing (or severely discouraging) contact with anyone outside of the group.

3. Control over personal habits.  Can we think of anything here?  Something really personal that Christians are obsessed with?  Something they spend tons of their time trying to censor?  Something they want to regulate?  Something they want to make into a constitutional amendment, perhaps? 

Duh.  Sex is the most personal of personal habits, and also the one that makes us uniquely human.  (SEE: Female Sexuality and Origins and What Science Says About Human Sexuality)  Not at all coincidentally, Christianity is obsessed with controlling every aspect of human sexuality, and reducing it down to its bare minimum social functions. 

4. Systematic frequent assault on the persons most Basic sense of identity in order to replace it with a substitute sense of identity.

Repeat after me:

We are sinful creatures, not worthy of anything of our own making.  We are nothing without Jesus.  Life has no meaning if we don't have Jesus.  Without Jesus, morality is impossible.  Without Jesus, happiness is impossible.  Jesus is my everything.  God is my hope in all things, and without him, I can do nothing.

 

So... yeah... Christianity = Brainwashing.

Oh... and one more thing...

QED.

 

Thanks, Eloise, for the inspiration for this post.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Quote:1. A threat:  Hell,

Quote:
1. A threat:  Hell, anyone?  This one is so obvious that it hardly needs mentioning, but I've overestimated people before, so here it is.  The ultimate threat.  Side with us or BURN HORRIBLY FOR TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS OF YEARS WITH NO HOPE OF REDEMPTION OR RESPITE!!!!!!!!!!

Granted, hell is not the only threat in Christianity (or Islam, for that matter).  For anyone old enough to remember Michael Jackson's album, Thriller, you might remember that preachers all over the country warned (threatened!) children everywhere against watching the video.  If we did, we were told, we would become POSSESSED BY DEMONS!!!!!  Oooogy Booogy Scary!!!

The followers of Christianity are good emulators.  Abortion clinics anyone?  Threatened boycotts of companies?  Actual boycotts?  Christians are very good at threats.  They should be.  Their god is the ultimate threatener.

Pretty broad stroke you paint us with.

Speaking for myself.. and what I remember growing up in.  No hell (not part of our faith).  No talks about abortion.  No boycotting of companies (at least not the church telling me to do so).

Hm..

Quote:
2. Extreme Social Isolation.  This one may be a little harder to grasp, but think on something for a minute if you're a theist.  How many hard core atheists are among your friends?  Even among the most moderate churches, the flock is encouraged to stay away from atheists and other non-believers for fear of tainting their precious faith.

I need extreme hardcore atheists to not be considered as being in a state of "extreme social isolation."  Geez... I guess I better search them out.

Once again, speaking for myself and what I grew up in.  There was no encouragement to stay away from "atheists and other non-believers for fear of tainting [our] precious faith."

To be fair, there may have been a general "be careful who you choose to hang out with, because your friends have a powerful influence on who you are."

But that's generally applicable.. not necessarily anything to do with religion.. even so, who you choose to make friends with (I don't believe) has little to do with "extreme social isolation."

Quote:
The more fundamental churches make it much more obvious.  The flock won't go to R rated movies.

OoooOOOO... "extreme social isolation."

Quote:
  They won't go to bars.

OooooOOO.. "extreme social isolation.

Quote:
  Their only social outlet is church.

Ya.. because public schools, sports, movies in general, malls, the little ice-cream deli down the way, mission trips down to X place... those aren't social outlets.

Quote:
They are encouraged not to even speak to non-Christians, except where they have to for business.

Citation? Didn't apply to me and what I grew up in.

Quote:
They are told to be "In the world, but not of the world."  (Seriously... do a google search for that phrase.  It will shock you how many times it comes up.  (I got 47,800 hits with that phrase in quotes.  There are many more variations running around.

True.  It is a verse in the Bible.

Quote:
Colloquially, when we think of extreme social isolation, the first thing that comes to mind is solitary confinement, but we need to realize that even in the most conservative psych texts, the definition is much more broad, and includes in-group isolation -- that is, not allowing (or severely discouraging) contact with anyone outside of the group.

The whole "severely discouraging" thing just didn't apply to me and what I grew up in. 

One of my friends shared similar understandings of the Christian church with me.  And it just blew my mind that Christians out there cut themselves off, or divided themselves from, the rest of the world.  It had always seemed to me that a central tenet of the belief would be at odds with that.

Quote:
3. Control over personal habits.  Can we think of anything here?  Something really personal that Christians are obsessed with?  Something they spend tons of their time trying to censor?  Something they want to regulate?  Something they want to make into a constitutional amendment, perhaps?

Duh.  Sex is the most personal of personal habits, and also the one that makes us uniquely human.  (SEE: Female Sexuality and Origins and What Science Says About Human Sexuality)  Not at all coincidentally, Christianity is obsessed with controlling every aspect of human sexuality, and reducing it down to its bare minimum social functions.

This I can give you.  Tentatively.

Quote:
4. Systematic frequent assault on the persons most Basic sense of identity in order to replace it with a substitute sense of identity.

Repeat after me:

We are sinful creatures, not worthy of anything of our own making.  We are nothing without Jesus.  Life has no meaning if we don't have Jesus.  Without Jesus, morality is impossible.  Without Jesus, happiness is impossible.  Jesus is my everything.  God is my hope in all things, and without him, I can do nothing.

If anyone has read my posts.. I think they would have seen that I do not hold these beliefs.

Yet, I will give you this one, tentatively, just because I think the first two were pretty broadly applied to all Christians.. as opposed to "many" or "some" or "it is my understanding that."

Quote:
So... yeah... Christianity = Brainwashing.

So... yeah... Generalizations = Sometimes bad.






 


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According to the following

According to the following quote by Eloise, I only need to defeat one of your  arguments to disprove your entire thesis:

Eloise wrote:

Omitting any of these essential parts is akin to not really brainwashing at all. For instance you can continuously assault a persons sense of identity, but if they can get away from you physically, mentally and emotionally then you can't brainwash them, you can only be an aggressive blip on their radar. To effectively brainwash you need all of these tools at your disposal.

Of course, I plan to disprove all four of them anyway.

A few initial comments. I've noticed the same flaw recurring over and over. You are attacking a nonexistent (or minority) version of Christianity in many of your arguments. Many of the things you describe here are imaginary, while others are practiced by nobody outside the Phelpses. You haven't attacked Christianity as whole (including Catholics, Methodists, etc), as you imply. You've barely managed to attack the Westboro Baptist Church.

Hambydammit wrote:
1. A threat:  Hell, anyone?  This one is so obvious that it hardly needs mentioning, but I've overestimated people before, so here it is.  The ultimate threat.  Side with us or BURN HORRIBLY FOR TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS OF YEARS WITH NO HOPE OF REDEMPTION OR RESPITE!!!!!!!!!!

You have misrepresented Christianity. Some Christians don't believe in Hell. Others don't believe that anyone still goes there. Many do not see Hell as eternal conscious torment but as separation from God. Of the denominations that do see Hell as eternal torment, most do not use it as a threat. We are encouraged to convert others by testimony and argumentation, not by appeals to fear. There are few enough denominations that use Hell as a cudgel that your argument does not represent the religion.

Quote:
Granted, hell is not the only threat in Christianity (or Islam, for that matter).  For anyone old enough to remember Michael Jackson's album, Thriller, you might remember that preachers all over the country warned (threatened!) children everywhere against watching the video.  If we did, we were told, we would become POSSESSED BY DEMONS!!!!!  Oooogy Booogy Scary!!!

That is a very peculiar claim. Source?

Quote:
The followers of Christianity are good emulators.  Abortion clinics anyone?  Threatened boycotts of companies?  Actual boycotts?  Christians are very good at threats.  They should be.  Their god is the ultimate threatener.

God is more of a warner than a threatener. There is a difference. And I deny that many Christians, for example, blow up abortion clinics. You need stats.

Quote:
2. Extreme Social Isolation.  This one may be a little harder to grasp, but think on something for a minute if you're a theist.  How many hard core atheists are among your friends?  Even among the most moderate churches, the flock is encouraged to stay away from atheists and other non-believers for fear of tainting their precious faith. 

This is ridiculous. I have friends who are atheists and agnostics and other religions. Every Christian I know has non-Christian friends. Even the evangelical churches in my area don't tell people not to associate with nonbelievers. We're actually encouraged to befriend them. Where do you get this stuff?

Quote:
The more fundamental churches make it much more obvious.  The flock won't go to R rated movies. FALSE  They won't go to bars. FALSE Their only social outlet is church. FALSE  They are encouraged not to even speak to non-Christians, except where they have to for business. FALSE  They are told to be "In the world, but not of the world."

That verse obviously doesn't mean "associate with no one but Christians". You are stretching, Hamby. None of this represents Christianity. Not even fundamentalist evangelical Christianity. Seriously, there are maybe ten people in America that do all the stuff you've railed against in this post.

Quote:
Colloquially, when we think of extreme social isolation, the first thing that comes to mind is solitary confinement, but we need to realize that even in the most conservative psych texts, the definition is much more broad, and includes in-group isolation -- that is, not allowing (or severely discouraging) contact with anyone outside of the group.

Irrelevant. You need to show that the term is used this way in the definition of brainwashing.

Quote:
3. Control over personal habits.  Can we think of anything here?  Something really personal that Christians are obsessed with?  Something they spend tons of their time trying to censor?  Something they want to regulate?  Something they want to make into a constitutional amendment, perhaps? 

Duh.  Sex is the most personal of personal habits, and also the one that makes us uniquely human.  (SEE: Female Sexuality and Origins and What Science Says About Human Sexuality)  Not at all coincidentally, Christianity is obsessed with controlling every aspect of human sexuality, and reducing it down to its bare minimum social functions. 

First, Christians do not attempt to control who has sex with who, only who marries who. Second, most Christians don't even attempt to control who marries who, so this is not representative of the religion. Third, Eloise specifically said that you have to control all bodily functions.

Quote:
4. Systematic frequent assault on the persons most Basic sense of identity in order to replace it with a substitute sense of identity.

Repeat after me:

We are sinful creatures, not worthy of anything of our own making.  We are nothing without Jesus.  Life has no meaning if we don't have Jesus.  Without Jesus, morality is impossible.  Without Jesus, happiness is impossible.  Jesus is my everything.  God is my hope in all things, and without him, I can do nothing.

People only recite that in church after conversion, so they already believe it. "Assault" implies that the person thinks differently of himself at the time he's reciting it.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:If anyone

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
If anyone has read my posts.. I think they would have seen that I do not hold these beliefs.

I read your posts, Rhad, and I was wondering,..do you consider yourself to be a typical christian ? Do you believe there are more of your type than the people Hamby is describing here ?


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I agree somewhat with hamby.

I agree somewhat with hamby. Christianity would be considered brainwashing especially if it was all a great big lie. Its considered a "good" kind of brainwashing to us. We're renewing our mind...getting "washed" with the water of the word....all that stuff....so yeah, I could pretty much see where it looks like brainwashing. You're suppose to have control of your thoughts, which means let the doctrine control your thoughts.

And I agree that for the average american christian, most of this doesnt apply anyway because we dont strongly believe anything. But for the actual (what I would call) believers, its a reasonable characterization.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Third, Eloise specifically said that you have to control all bodily functions.

Quick note, No I didn't mean that and I'm sure I didn't say it specifically. The degree of control is most likely the more important factor than the number of individual urges controlled. The phrase "can't take a piss without a pass" basically fits the criteria as long as that's strictly literal and the braiwashee can't under any circumstances ever take control of their urge for themselves. If it is a frequent urge, like toileting, then the brainwasher has systematic control over a significant portion of the persons life. Sexual urges would probably fit this mould in puberty especially, as the urge to form intimate relations would be strong and frequent, the controlling presence would always need to be 'looking over the persons shoulder' and deciding for them how and when they are to respond to the urge and the 'trick' is for that person to be convinced that the control is not ever foreseeably escapable. Only when the person is convinced that the control is inescapable will they accept the salvation* proposition and with it the new identity.

*salvation is the technical term for it, I'm not singling out Christianity by saying that.

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Essentially I agree with

Essentially I agree with Hamby that the prctices and beliefs of christianity can be enforced and reinforced to the point where they actually engage in some level of brainwashing the adherents. However, I was careful not to say that churches are employing all the means at their disposal to brainwash their adherents since that would be a terrible generalisation and probably not true.

However, I think Hamby makes some good points as to how certain tenets of the christian faith just do verge on being outright brainwashing tactics, such as the ultimate threat of Hell and the attacks on a persons sense of self. I personally find those rather disturbing and sinister, but I concede that they don't represent the sum of all christian intent. And I think they should be addressed to the limited extent that they exist in that people should be aware of the fact that some things religious are in bed with dangerous practices.

Oh and one more thing, when I mentioned that religions have the ability to create extreme social isolation I was thinking more along the lines of Jesus Camp or something like that, though it is possible for extreme isolation to occur in the broad sense in places like the bible belt of the US where you can go far but still be within the bubble of your church.  That said, I'll qualify again, I'm not saying that churches are brainwashing constituents (except tongue in cheek occasionally) I'm only saying that there are means for it to happen.

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Quote:I read your posts,

Quote:
I read your posts, Rhad, and I was wondering,..do you consider yourself to be a typical christian ? Do you believe there are more of your type than the people Hamby is describing here ?

I don't consider myself anything but a Christian. Whether I am typical or atypical, I can't say since I don't know the "heart" or "mind" of many christians.. not even close to the majority. 

Even for something as simple as "a belief in hell," I don't know.  A church (not mine) may claim it as part of their doctrine, but that doesn't necessarily speak towards how the individual christian actually views the issue.

Just my opinion though.

*A more direct summary: "I don't really feel comfortable saying whether I am or am not a typical christian.  It requires to many judgments for which I do not believe I have enough support for."


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Quote:You're suppose to have

Quote:
You're suppose to have control of your thoughts, which means let the doctrine control your thoughts.

And I agree that for the average american christian, most of this doesnt apply anyway because we dont strongly believe anything. But for the actual (what I would call) believers, its a reasonable characterization.

I disagree.


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Oi Vey

Oh boy where to start. Hell is part of the christian culture, no that EVERY SINGLE denomination believes in hell (Jehovah witnesses don't believe in hell) HOWEVER the largest denominations in the US and in the world however DO believe in hell and it is part of their doctrine. Catholics believe hell, they make up over 24 percent of the US christian population 71 million. Now 52 percent are protestant, protestant for the most part believe in hell. Baptists believe in hell, they are the second largest at 47 million, Methodist/Wesleyan at 19 million, believe in hell, so do Lutheran which are at 9 million, Presbyterian at 5.5 million also believe in hell. These church all of them hell is part of their beliefs. Now not every single sect of Christianity believes in hell, bu the majority of the US Christan churches...believe in hell of some sorts.

Extreme social isolation can and has happened with various sects of the christian branch, include all those of the major christian churches in the US. people who become socially dependent on the church, especially those in which the preacher is charismatic and able to present non believers as evil or as people that will bring doom to the believer (there is scripture in the bible that this can be used with, Corinthians 6:14). This can occur and has occurred to people of all ages. People can become dependent socially to the church and the followers of the church, this occurs most in close tight knit communities in which everyone or the majority shares the same religious views. Which if the follower doesn't not believe as the church does or does not do as the followers do can be socially ostracized.

Personal habits, can also be controlled, especially again in a close knit society, from where/who they hang around with, where they shop, what they eat, etc, this is harder to do in a large city, however it has been attempted by various sects including Jehovah witnesses and Mormons (please don't come back with no this doesn't happen, read the papers, search blogs of people that have left these churches and read their stories)

If the first 3 can be done, the last one can definitely be done, jesus camp is a great example of this and again a close knit community the assault can come from more than just the preacher, but from the followers in various social setting which would further do more damage to a persons mental state.

Again I repeat this does not occur to every christian and in every chruch, however the setting is there, and it has occurred and probably still does occur. A majority of Christians are not what I call brainwashed Christians, but cultural Christians. But you cannot deny that it can occur and that religion is definitely set up for this to occur.


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Well, I have spent most of

Well, I have spent most of my young life as a Christian, so let me put on my ex-Christian hat and have a go at this one.

Hambydammit wrote:

1. A threat:  Hell, anyone?  This one is so obvious that it hardly needs mentioning, but I've overestimated people before, so here it is.  The ultimate threat.  Side with us or BURN HORRIBLY FOR TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS OF YEARS WITH NO HOPE OF REDEMPTION OR RESPITE!!!!!!!!!!

Never happened in any church that I ever went to and never happened in my all-Christian family. Some idiot kid in my elementary school said my Muslim friend was hell-bound when I was 8 years old and my parents assured me that god did not send good people to hell. I think in their minds you need to be a rapist or murderer to go to hell.

Hambydammit wrote:

2. Extreme Social Isolation.  This one may be a little harder to grasp, but think on something for a minute if you're a theist.  How many hard core atheists are among your friends?  Even among the most moderate churches, the flock is encouraged to stay away from atheists and other non-believers for fear of tainting their precious faith. 

What do you mean my hard core atheists? Is there a hard core way to not believe in any deities? I have been to a number of different moderate churches and none of them ever discouraged having atheist friends or friends of different religions. No one thought it was weird that I had non-religious friends or friends of other religions. My uncle is a religious Christian and he married a Jewish woman, so even devout people will associate themselves with non-believers.

Hambydammit wrote:

3. Control over personal habits.  Can we think of anything here?  Something really personal that Christians are obsessed with?  Something they spend tons of their time trying to censor?  Something they want to regulate?  Something they want to make into a constitutional amendment, perhaps? 

Duh.  Sex is the most personal of personal habits, and also the one that makes us uniquely human.  (SEE: Female Sexuality and Origins and What Science Says About Human Sexuality)  Not at all coincidentally, Christianity is obsessed with controlling every aspect of human sexuality, and reducing it down to its bare minimum social functions. 

Some of the churches I went to did encourage people to wait until marriage for sex. But I know for a fact that the Christian youths at those churches fucked like bunnies. Churches say this or that, but the followers don't seem to listen. But maybe that is just at the churches that I attended. Also, my religious parents have never told me not to have sex and instead informed me about the necessity of birth control and condoms.

Hambydammit wrote:

4. Systematic frequent assault on the persons most Basic sense of identity in order to replace it with a substitute sense of identity.

Repeat after me:

We are sinful creatures, not worthy of anything of our own making.  We are nothing without Jesus.  Life has no meaning if we don't have Jesus.  Without Jesus, morality is impossible.  Without Jesus, happiness is impossible.  Jesus is my everything.  God is my hope in all things, and without him, I can do nothing.

 

I have never heard anything like that in any church I went to. They were always positive about Jesus in the same way that infomercials are positive about their products: they think Jesus will make you happier and more fulfilled, but never tried to debase themselves in the act of loving Jesus. I'm not saying that some of these people aren't nutty about Jesus (they are nutty as all hell about him), but I have never heard one say that they are nothing or worthless without him.

Hambydammit wrote:

So... yeah... Christianity = Brainwashing.

Some churches certainly are, but none of the ones that I went to. Perhaps if you said fundamentalism=brainwashing then you would be right, but mainstream Christianity is to mild to brainwash people. If you said all these things about the real crazies ( go visit http://www.rr-bb.com/ to see what I mean by crazies) then I would agree with you. But as it is, most Christians are not quite like you portrayed them.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Eloise

Eloise wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Third, Eloise specifically said that you have to control all bodily functions.

Quick note, No I didn't mean that and I'm sure I didn't say it specifically. The degree of control is most likely the more important factor than the number of individual urges controlled. The phrase "can't take a piss without a pass" basically fits the criteria as long as that's strictly literal and the braiwashee can't under any circumstances ever take control of their urge for themselves. If it is a frequent urge, like toileting, then the brainwasher has systematic control over a significant portion of the persons life. Sexual urges would probably fit this mould in puberty especially, as the urge to form intimate relations would be strong and frequent, the controlling presence would always need to be 'looking over the persons shoulder' and deciding for them how and when they are to respond to the urge and the 'trick' is for that person to be convinced that the control is not ever foreseeably escapable. Only when the person is convinced that the control is inescapable will they accept the salvation* proposition and with it the new identity.

*salvation is the technical term for it, I'm not singling out Christianity by saying that.

I'll respond with a clarification of my own. What you said was:

3. Control over the persons basic daily and most personal activities - you need to take control over when and how they respond to their most personal bodily urges, such as when they pee, how they eat, what they wear.

That sounded to me like they had to control everything. I apologise for misinterpreting you.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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I love how three or

Interesting how three or four Christians have completely torn this OP apart and Hamby hasn't even shown his face. 

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Aren't we all, in some way ,

Aren't we all, in some way , fighting against brainwash? Some say surrender to a master (religious), some say no surrender as there is no master (not religious) .....

 What is NOT being brainwashed ???  Master yes ? , Master no ? A simple decision, isn't it ???  What idol ???  .... I can't find one, so I am atheist, as I am god as you.

  I hate brainwash, so I hate dogma, so I hate religion, so I hate god of abe, so I hate allah .... I hate all separate gods .... except Me and You and Energy and Matter .... as all is ONE ..... what is not the force ?  ....

My search for truth is science .... my words are philosophy, my enemy is religion.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Interesting how three or four Christians have completely torn this OP apart and Hamby hasn't even shown his face. 

So you're saying that just because you christians cannot get your own story straight amongst the hundreds of denominations any arguments against it, if they don't follow your particular variation to the letter instantly fail?  That's the only way in which people have been arguing, they've been arguing their own particular demonination despite the fact the things they're saying go against what other demoninations teach. 

You guys get your shit together before you start criticising us.

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It sure is interesting

how the Christians that have responded either don't know or don't follow the position that the book they acknowldege as the word of their God lays out,

If you're acknowledging that this part of your religion is a human construct - take the next step and say that God is also.

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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote: What

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

 What is NOT being brainwashed ???

I'm glad you mentioned that, I AM, cause I wanted an excuse to point out the reason I ranked those 4 parts in order of importance. Strangely enough the tactics of unfreezing the persons original self are considered less important to succesful brainwashing than the imprisonment of the person. It is said that brainwashing requires a captive audience most of all.  This may just be erring on the side of caution, I mean if you considered the last two factors to be the key indicators of brainwashing then it would start to apply to just about any close relationship or heated dialogue between two people. We are always trying to change each others attitudes but most of us wouldn't go so far as to place someone under prolonged physical/mental duress in order to do that. 

So it's the first two of those four which are the strict and inflexible gauges as to whether there is brainwashing going on somewhere; even while saying that all four are needed to actually achieve brainwashing, as you go down the list filling all the criteria becomes less important in determining the effect. Once a person is completely trapped by fear and isolation then they are considered susceptible to the other two as brainwashing.

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Jormungander wrote:What do

Jormungander wrote:

What do you mean my hard core atheists? Is there a hard core way to not believe in any deities?

Yep. It involves full penetration and no petroleum jelly on the lens.

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All in all, I think most

All in all, I think most religions, hell, most long-term social constructs, amount to indoctrination, not brainwashing. That said, I think it bears looking at these concepts in relation to modern American Christianity and realizing that we in this country are not the center of theism. This might apply as well to other industrialized western nations, but I don't have direct experience w/religion there, so I'm just commenting about here.

I. Threat of Hell.

Many American Christians barely believe in Hell, and will usually raise their children to believe, as has been said here, 'God doesn't send good people to Hell', even if they're not Christians. This, of course, contradicts Paul's insistence that faith, not works, is the key to salvation, and Christ's 'No one comes to the Father but through me', but it's terribly egalitarian and tolerant of other faiths, and is an overall nice idea for working and playing well with others.

Mostly, this seems to be an outgrowth of the denaturing of religion in much of the US, where people give lip service to the idea of God, but really couldn't tell you what their denomination's stance on most esoterica of faith really is. However, a faith founded on the idea of preaching to and converting the masses is generally based on 'believe as I do, or suffer'.

Catholicism as it currently stands teaches that:

A)Hell exists.

B)If you die with an unabsolved Mortal Sin on your conscience, you go there.

C)Once there, there is no way out.

D)Absolution is possible only through Jesus Christ's promise to Peter, and thus requires a priest whose ordination proceeds from one of the Apostolic Thrones.

That last one's the important part of this discussion, because it means that the Catholic Church holds that yes, God will send virtuous jews, hindus, muslims, sikhs, buddhists, taoists, pagan reconstructionists, etc etc etc, all to hell. He'll even send Mormons there, as their tradition of priesthood does not continue in unbroken line from the Twelve. Quakers, too, as well as many Evangelical denominations in the southern US. Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity (Eastern, Coptic, Oriental, etc), Lutheranism, Anglicanism, these are 'safe' in the eyes of the Catholic Church, though obviously all but one is to some degree schismatic and heretical, if only in their denial of the primacy of the See of Peter.

It's important to remember that venial sins are not an automatic ticket to Hell, though, and so if you have committed no mortal sin since your last confession, you're ok to go and get hit by a bus in the middle of nowhere and die on the side of the road. Yay!

II. Social Isolation

This actually tends to be a semi-voluntary thing these days. It's not so much 'social isolation' as 'thought isolation'. In much of the US, discussing religion socially is considered unwise at best, and terribly insensitive and rude. Thus, the only time the subject is broached is at functions of one's religious community, which serves to reinforce its own teachings pretty well. Most kids aren't exposed to the idea of competing religions as such until their own religious beliefs have taken firm hold. They're more likely to know religious differences when they're larger than denominational, like 'he's Jewish' or 'he's Muslim' compared to 'he's a Lutheran', and these differences can often end up played off as pseudo-ethnic in nature.

III. Control Over Personal Habits

This one's easy to do when you're raising children in the faith: It's how we raise children to begin with: raise your hand if you need to go to the bathroom. Don't talk back. Obey authority. The process of molding young minds into accepting their role in society is one that religious indoctrination piggy-backs onto easily.

IV. Assault on Personal Identity

Again, this is another 'easy to do with a kid'. After all, you don't need to break down their sense of identity, you only need to weave the element you desire into the identity they're struggling to develop. It's far slower, but it can produce deeper, stronger results.

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Quote:how the Christians

Quote:
how the Christians that have responded either don't know or don't follow the position that the book they acknowldege as the word of their God lays out,

If you're acknowledging that this part of your religion is a human construct - take the next step and say that God is also.

It's interesting to me whenever a person who is not a Christian tells me what "the position" of a Christian should be or must be as stated by the bible.

It happens a lot on this forum..

Or "the bible is so open to interpretation, how else do you explain all the denominations, wait, but on this one particular point, there is only the right position and the wrong position."

But I guess it would bother me if a Christian told me any of these things either.  So, either or.


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Quote:So you're saying that

Quote:
So you're saying that just because you christians cannot get your own story straight amongst the hundreds of denominations any arguments against it, if they don't follow your particular variation to the letter instantly fail?  That's the only way in which people have been arguing, they've been arguing their own particular demonination despite the fact the things they're saying go against what other demoninations teach. 

You guys get your shit together before you start criticising us.

I believe that was part of the point of the three--to show the variation among the denominations.  Hamby made a statement regarding all Christians, not certain ones.  So, to "argue" against his points, one needed only to speak from personal experience and observation.

 

 


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:Quote:how

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
how the Christians that have responded either don't know or don't follow the position that the book they acknowldege as the word of their God lays out,

If you're acknowledging that this part of your religion is a human construct - take the next step and say that God is also.

It's interesting to me whenever a person who is not a Christian tells me what "the position" of a Christian should be or must be as stated by the bible.

It happens a lot on this forum..

Or "the bible is so open to interpretation, how else do you explain all the denominations, wait, but on this one particular point, there is only the right position and the wrong position."

But I guess it would bother me if a Christian told me any of these things either.  So, either or.

Oh I forgot - i can't have been a Christian before or have read the Bible or anything...pardon me.

So, what part of Mark 9:42-48 says the Christian hell isn't such a bad place? The everlasting maggots and fire makes hell sound pretty sucky.

But it must not mean what it says if you disagree with it. Enlighten me, O Sage. What am I missing or what did your Jesus leave out that makes it square with your beliefs? PM me if you wish (if you think your answer would derail the thread).

I suppose you could be talking about the difference between hades and gehenna. But then why would a Jewish rabbi be talking about the Greek realm of the dead?

You could also be bringing up rabbinical tradition that the Jewish realm of the dead isn't such a bad place. In that case, why did your Jesus(or Isaiah for that matter - Is. 66:24 is what the writers planted in Jesus' mouth) make the threat he did?

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Quote:Oh I forgot - i can't

Quote:
Oh I forgot - i can't have been a Christian before or have read the Bible or anything...pardon me.

Like I said.. it would've bothered me the same if you were a christian or not.

Quote:
So, what part of Mark 9:42-48 says the Christian hell isn't such a bad place? The everlasting maggots and fire makes hell sound pretty sucky.

" 42And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

   43And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

   44Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

   45And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

   46Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

   47And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

   48Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

Where does it speak of everlasting torment? 

Maggots can be associated with death and fire with merely its connotation of purifying or clensing.

Basically, these verses can merely be speaking of, figuratively, "hell, where their dead bodies will be eaten by worms eternally and the fire that clenses will burn forever, reminding those still alive of those dead."

Quote:
But it must not mean what it says if you disagree with it. Enlighten me, O Sage. What am I missing or what did your Jesus leave out that makes it square with your beliefs? PM me if you wish (if you think your answer would derail the thread).

No, I can answer here.

Quote:
I suppose you could be talking about the difference between hades and gehenna. But then why would a Jewish rabbi be talking about the Greek realm of the dead?

http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/7

Perhaps because, by the time 30AD came around, Palestine had been under the control of the Greeks, heavily influenced by their culture, and adopted their language (Koine Greek).

Quote:
You could also be bringing up rabbinical tradition that the Jewish realm of the dead isn't such a bad place. In that case, why did your Jesus(or Isaiah for that matter - Is. 66:24 is what the writers planted in Jesus' mouth) make the threat he did?

" 24And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."

Once again, this would seem to lend support to my interpretation.  It speaks of carcasses:

car·cass     Audio Help   (kär'kəs)  Pronunciation Key
n. 

   1. The dead body of an animal, especially one slaughtered for food.
   2. The body of a human.
   3. Remains from which the substance or character is gone: the carcass of a once glorious empire.
   4. A framework or basic structure: the carcass of a burned-out building.

True.  Perhaps it's being used in the colloquial sense like "get your carcass over here," but perhaps not.  But, in any case, whether dead body or just body, why would hell include the bodies of men? I thought it was a place where "the soul" is tormented? 

I read these verses, and all I see is more figurative speech, speaking of something that will act as a permanent reminder for everyone else that survives.

 

 

 


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Thanks, Rhad.It does open up

Thanks, Rhad.

It does open up some more questions though.

1. If some parts of the Bible are meant to be taken figuratively, how does one determine what parts to take seriously?

2. If youaccept that the area was influenced by the Greeks, why is it so hard to accept that the gospel writers borrowed liberally from Greek literary styles amd writings?

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Quote:1. If some parts of

Quote:
1. If some parts of the Bible are meant to be taken figuratively, how does one determine what parts to take seriously?

Own personal prompting.  Which is why it bothers me whenever a person says "this is the way it was meant to be interpreted, there is no other way, any other way is wrong."

Quote:
2. If you accept that the area was influenced by the Greeks, why is it so hard to accept that the gospel writers borrowed liberally from Greek literary styles amd writings?

I see it as a possibility.  Though, I feel no need to accept this possibility as actually how things are.  Or, even if I did, whether they directly affect what I consider the most important parts of the book, e.g., nature of God.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:Quote:1.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
1. If some parts of the Bible are meant to be taken figuratively, how does one determine what parts to take seriously?

Own personal prompting.  Which is why it bothers me whenever a person says "this is the way it was meant to be interpreted, there is no other way, any other way is wrong."

Quote:
2. If you accept that the area was influenced by the Greeks, why is it so hard to accept that the gospel writers borrowed liberally from Greek literary styles amd writings?

I see it as a possibility.  Though, I feel no need to accept this possibility as actually how things are.  Or, even if I did, whether they directly affect what I consider the most important parts of the book, e.g., nature of God.

Ah, so interpretation is relative to the interpreter? Rather interesting outlook for a religion that accuses atheists of having no moral absolutes.

The nature of God? Which one? Of the divergent natures of the OT, the Gospels and Paul's letters, which of God's natures do you hold to?

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RhadTheGizmo wrote:Quote:how

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
how the Christians that have responded either don't know or don't follow the position that the book they acknowldege as the word of their God lays out,

If you're acknowledging that this part of your religion is a human construct - take the next step and say that God is also.

It's interesting to me whenever a person who is not a Christian tells me what "the position" of a Christian should be or must be as stated by the bible.

It happens a lot on this forum..

Or "the bible is so open to interpretation, how else do you explain all the denominations, wait, but on this one particular point, there is only the right position and the wrong position."

But I guess it would bother me if a Christian told me any of these things either.  So, either or.

I keep forgetting that only the ego of an enlightened one can understand or read the pages of something that has been largely force fed to the human population for a great many centuries.

The fact that you are a christian does not give you any special or magical insight into the bible, anymore than one must be a muslim to understand what the koran claims between its pages.   

What I find irritating is the feeling that since you cannot change the words of the bible (that's a job for the priests, etc.), you can simply minimize some sections and maximize others to absolve yoursef of the intolerance that the bible cearly displays.

Oh, our church doesn't talk about hell.  That's convenient, but the source of your faith and your inspiration comes from just one book and that book threatens persons with it's eternal torture on hundreds of pages. 

Until 1611, only priests and kings could read the actual pages of the bible and they would "interpret" it for the "common" folk.  This says just as much about the historical & symbiotic relationship between church and government, as it does about the methods of control/manipulation which "most" religious scripture demands of its potential adherents. 

That same control continues today, but in forms which disguise the coercion and emphasize the social agreement.  Your re-interpretation/minimization is just one of those disguises.  

But, all of the re-interpretation and minimization in the world doesn't change the fact that the source of your faith fits every single one of the criteria that Eloise and Hamby have laid out. 

I would find it disturbing if that does not bother you on some level.

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Quote:Ah, so interpretation

Quote:
Ah, so interpretation is relative to the interpreter? Rather interesting outlook for a religion that accuses atheists of having no moral absolutes.

"A religion"? As in.. all of Christianity? Or my religion?

I don't accuse you of having no moral absolutes.

Quote:
The nature of God? Which one? Of the divergent natures of the OT, the Gospels and Paul's letters, which of God's natures do you hold to?

I see them all as part of the same nature.  Interpretation.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:Quote:Ah,

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
Ah, so interpretation is relative to the interpreter? Rather interesting outlook for a religion that accuses atheists of having no moral absolutes.

"A religion"? As in.. all of Christianity? Or my religion?

I don't accuse you of having no moral absolutes.

Quote:
The nature of God? Which one? Of the divergent natures of the OT, the Gospels and Paul's letters, which of God's natures do you hold to?

I see them all as part of the same nature.  Interpretation.

Wel, I'm not really sure of your religion so I can only base the statement on the "christians" I've met on the forums and in real life. How different is your version?

I'm not sure how you can see such wildly divergent things as part of the same nature. For me, it's like seeing black as white.

 

 

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Quote:I keep forgetting that

Quote:
I keep forgetting that only the ego of an enlightened one can understand or read the pages of something that has been largely force fed to the human population for a great many centuries.

Er, what? Like I said in the original post, I don't like anyone telling me "what the correct view is."  One can convince me that it is...but that's not what was going on.

I don't do it to other people ("tell them what the correct view is&quotEye-wink.. so, why can't I be a little bothered by other people doing it to me?

Quote:
The fact that you are a christian does not give you any special or magical insight into the bible, anymore than one must be a muslim to understand what the koran claims between its pages.

To read, to have insight, true, it does not.  Which is why I said I would have been equally bothered if it was a Christian. 

Authoritative claims is what was bothering me.. not merely a sharing of insight onto the book.

Quote:
What I find irritating is the feeling that since you cannot change the words of the bible (that's a job for the priests, etc.), you can simply minimize some sections and maximize others to absolve yoursef of the intolerance that the bible cearly displays.

I have no doubt that you find it irritating.

Quote:
Oh, our church doesn't talk about hell.  That's convenient, but the source of your faith and your inspiration comes from just one book and that book threatens persons with it's eternal torture on hundreds of pages.

We talk about hell, just interpret the book differently than other religions do.

And no.. it does not talk about "eternal torture" on "hundreds of pages."

Quote:
Until 1611, only priests and kings could read the actual pages of the bible.  This says just as much about the historical & symbiotic relationship between church and government, as it does about the methods of control/manipulation which any religious scripture demands of its potential adherents.

So does that mean the last 400 hundreds years speak to the opposite conclusion?

Quote:
That same control continues today, but in forms which disguise the coercion and emphasize the social agreement.  Your re-interpretation/minimization is just one of those disguises. 

I disagree.

Quote:
But, all of the re-interpretation and minimization in the world doesn't change the fact that the source of your faith fits every single one of the criteria that Eloise and Hamby have laid out.

"The source"? As in "the bible"? or "the Christian Faith"?


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Quote:Wel, I'm not really

Quote:
Wel, I'm not really sure of your religion so I can only base the statement on the "christians" I've met on the forums and in real life. How different is your version?

I don't know.  Relatively mainstream Christian Denomination, Seventh Day Adventist.

My issue with this type of OP is, however, the notion that you can categorize all "christians" (the millions of individuals) as perfectly reflective of either "christians" (the ones we see on videos) or "Christian" (some understanding of a denomination) when the variation in belief among "christians" (the individuals) are about as diverse (IMO) as the amount of variations in "Christian" (the types of denomination).

Quote:
I'm not sure how you can see such wildly divergent things as part of the same nature. For me, it's like seeing black as white.

I do not.  Perhaps we can get into it as some point.


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
Wel, I'm not really sure of your religion so I can only base the statement on the "christians" I've met on the forums and in real life. How different is your version?

I don't know.  Relatively mainstream Christian Denomination, Seventh Day Adventist.

My issue with this type of OP is, however, the notion that you can categorize all "christians" (the millions of individuals) as perfectly reflective of either "christians" (the ones we see on videos) or "Christian" (some understanding of a denomination) when the variation in belief among "christians" (the individuals) are about as diverse (IMO) as the amount of variations in "Christian" (the types of denomination).

Quote:
I'm not sure how you can see such wildly divergent things as part of the same nature. For me, it's like seeing black as white.

I do not.  Perhaps we can get into it as some point.

1. So if there is no eternal hell for you, is it sort of an eternal death thing or is the punishment temporary a la purgatory?

2. If there isn't a hell is there a heaven? Do you believe in an afterlife at all?

3. I'd really enjoy a discussion on the nature of God at some point. Thanks.

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AmericanIdle wrote:Until

AmericanIdle wrote:

Until 1611, only priests and kings could read the actual pages of the bible and they would "interpret" it for the "common" folk.  This says just as much about the historical & symbiotic relationship between church and government, as it does about the methods of control/manipulation which "most" religious scripture demands of its potential adherents.

Vernacular editions of the Bible have existed since well before 1611. What you should be lamenting there is the generally low level of literacy among populations, not that only the literate could read the Bible to draw their own conclusions.

 

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Um, presup, I haven't

Um, presup, I haven't bothered to comment yet because there hasn't really been much content worthy of a reply.  Everyone has been doing a fine job of pointing out the obvious -- that none of the Christians yet have even addressed my OP in a significant way.  (A significant rebuttal would be an effective argument that any of the things I mentioned are not actually potential brainwashing tools.)

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:Um,

Hambydammit wrote:

Um, presup, I haven't bothered to comment yet because there hasn't really been much content worthy of a reply.  Everyone has been doing a fine job of pointing out the obvious -- that none of the Christians yet have even addressed my OP in a significant way.  (A significant rebuttal would be an effective argument that any of the things I mentioned are not actually potential brainwashing tools.)

Oh they are potential brainwashing tools, but I have never seen a church use them. There must be churches somewhere that do all of the things you say. Its just that back when I was a Christian none of the churches that I went to did any of the things that you claimed. So Christians here would not need to demonstrate that those things are not potential brainwashing tools; they would just need to say that their churches don't do those things, so you aren't saying anything about their church.

It seems to me that these could be great brainwashing tools, but I don't know of anyone that uses them.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
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Quote:Oh they are potential

Quote:
Oh they are potential brainwashing tools, but I have never seen a church use them.

Um... Do you live in the U.S.?  If so, where?  I've never seen a church that didn't use them.

Quote:
So Christians here would not need to demonstrate that those things are not potential brainwashing tools; they would just need to say that their churches don't do those things,

This, as I mentioned, is not an answer to my post.  They can say their churches don't do it all they want.  Maybe they do, maybe they don't.  I didn't say every church or every christian brainwashes.  I said the Christian religion contains all the necessary tools for brainwashing.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:Oh

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Oh they are potential brainwashing tools, but I have never seen a church use them.

Um... Do you live in the U.S.?  If so, where?  I've never seen a church that didn't use them.

Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, NAS Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia.

It's hard to go about isolating people socially when members of the congregation get shipped out to places like the Persian Gulf or the Med for 6 months at a shot. Even harder when those same members of the congregation work alongside people who might well not belong to the same church, and more, are expected to trust those people with their very lives.

Quote:
Quote:
So Christians here would not need to demonstrate that those things are not potential brainwashing tools; they would just need to say that their churches don't do those things,

This, as I mentioned, is not an answer to my post.  They can say their churches don't do it all they want.  Maybe they do, maybe they don't.  I didn't say every church or every christian brainwashes.  I said the Christian religion contains all the necessary tools for brainwashing.

Not to be picky, but 'I've never seen a church that didn't use them' pretty strongly implies 'every church brainwashes'.

And dude, every closely-knit community or social group possesses all of those tools. Band camp. Boy Scouts. Martial Arts groups. The Society for Creative Anachronism. Generic High School, Anytown U.S.A. They all possess those tools to some degree.

They're not just the tools of brainwashing, they're the tools of peer pressure and behavior modification, which every group practices in some form or another.

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Call it what you will, but

Call it what you will, but religion claims knowledge, truth, preaching supernatural superstition and false promises, borrowing and polluting basic simple wisdom, and preys on the yet unanswerable why. When considering young minds, I say religion is obviously indeed brainwash. Of course "god done it", but religion is always dogmatic bull shit claiming truth. Religion is the most gawedless invention ever ....    

            Sow your seed ? Honor the Idol ? Fuck Religion. Go science/philosophy.


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Quote:Not to be picky, but

Quote:
Not to be picky, but 'I've never seen a church that didn't use them' pretty strongly implies 'every church brainwashes'.

No, it says what it means.  I can't recall ever seeing a church that didn't use brainwashing techniques.  I've been to a LOT of churches.  Probably more than any other member of this site by several hundred.

That doesn't prove that every church brainwashes.  It makes it highly likely that in my part of the country, virtually all of the churches do.  I'm not in the habit of implying things.  I say what I mean to say.  That's why I asked where the poster was from.

Quote:
And dude, every closely-knit community or social group possesses all of those tools.

Really?

I've been in a dart league for ten years, and am very close with dozens of the other players.  Never been brainwashed.  We just like darts.  I've gotten very close with groups of coworkers who were in the same close-knit job, and not seen brainwashing.  You might want to rethink your statement a bit.  Perhaps you mean, "every closely-knit community that pushes a political or religious agenda uses tools of brainwashing."

Quote:
Band camp. Boy Scouts. Martial Arts groups. The Society for Creative Anachronism. Generic High School, Anytown U.S.A. They all possess those tools to some degree.

Um... when was the last time you were told you'd burn forever if you didn't go to band camp?  I think you're confusing some things here.  Instilling group cohesion is different than brainwashing.  Sure, you can use manipulative techniques to mold someone's beliefs, as in band camp, but in the common usage (the usage that I intend for this thread) it implies convincing someone of something harmful or contrary to what their own beliefs would be without the brainwashing.  When you go to band camp, you like music and want to learn to play the clarinet (although FSM knows why... they're horrid instruments) and the real world results of band camp are more skilled musicians.  Learning to play an instrument is a life skill. 

If you don't believe that religion is harmful to people, then fine, but it's really important to notice that statistically speaking, very, very few adults raised as atheists in freethinking environments turn to religion.  The religious are comprised almost entirely of people who have been religious from childhood.  That is really strong evidence that religion is something people would not normally have unless it was indoctrinated or brainwashed (or whatever word you like) into them when they were young.  That also fits the criteria for brainwashing.

Look, if you don't like the word, don't use it.  The fact is, the Christian religion is reinforced through all the techniques of brainwashing -- defined as a negative control of a person's beliefs to be contrary to reason through the steps in the OP.  If you don't think the churches near you do it, fine.  The churches all around me do.

 

 

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Benny Hinn: Let the Bodies

Benny Hinn: Let the Bodies Hit the Floor 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lvU-DislkI

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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:Not

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Not to be picky, but 'I've never seen a church that didn't use them' pretty strongly implies 'every church brainwashes'.

No, it says what it means.  I can't recall ever seeing a church that didn't use brainwashing techniques.  I've been to a LOT of churches.  Probably more than any other member of this site by several hundred.

That doesn't prove that every church brainwashes.  It makes it highly likely that in my part of the country, virtually all of the churches do.  I'm not in the habit of implying things.  I say what I mean to say.  That's why I asked where the poster was from.

Fair enough, but not everyone's going to know that. Clarification received.

Quote:

Quote:
And dude, every closely-knit community or social group possesses all of those tools.

Really?

I've been in a dart league for ten years, and am very close with dozens of the other players.  Never been brainwashed.  We just like darts.  I've gotten very close with groups of coworkers who were in the same close-knit job, and not seen brainwashing.  You might want to rethink your statement a bit.  Perhaps you mean, "every closely-knit community that pushes a political or religious agenda uses tools of brainwashing."

Except I didn't say they use all of those tools, I said they possess them.

Threat: Threat of being excluded.

Isolation: Forming cliques is a form of social isolation. It's not necessarily exclusive, but it can be.

Control: You adhere to our rules or you get kicked out. Back to Threat.

Systematic 'assault': More along the indoctrination model, but voluntary groups don't need to 'assault' your personality, you're already in the mindset they want. They just give positive reinforcement to the preferences, tendencies, and behaviors they prefer.

Quote:

Quote:
Band camp. Boy Scouts. Martial Arts groups. The Society for Creative Anachronism. Generic High School, Anytown U.S.A. They all possess those tools to some degree.

Um... when was the last time you were told you'd burn forever if you didn't go to band camp?  I think you're confusing some things here.  Instilling group cohesion is different than brainwashing.  Sure, you can use manipulative techniques to mold someone's beliefs, as in band camp, but in the common usage (the usage that I intend for this thread) it implies convincing someone of something harmful or contrary to what their own beliefs would be without the brainwashing.  When you go to band camp, you like music and want to learn to play the clarinet (although FSM knows why... they're horrid instruments) and the real world results of band camp are more skilled musicians.  Learning to play an instrument is a life skill.

Except that the expression of the tools, the particular implementation of how those tools are used and conveyed are not the tools themselves. You don't need to be threatened with hell to be brainwashed. You could be threatened with having your balls electrocuted, for example.

The tools remain the same, which is all I said: Every social group possesses the same tools.

You say you're not in the habit of implying things. I accept that, and commend it. But if that's the case, then don't read things into what other say. I said they possess the same tools. I didn't say they use them in the same way, or to the same extreme.

Quote:

If you don't believe that religion is harmful to people, then fine, but it's really important to notice that statistically speaking, very, very few adults raised as atheists in freethinking environments turn to religion.  The religious are comprised almost entirely of people who have been religious from childhood.  That is really strong evidence that religion is something people would not normally have unless it was indoctrinated or brainwashed (or whatever word you like) into them when they were young.  That also fits the criteria for brainwashing.

And I'm not arguing that. People raised to look to an exterior source for their answers and guidance can learn to rely on themselves. People raised to rely on themselves very rarely decide they need to take someone else at their word. The difference between indoctrination and brainwashing is intensity and methodology. Brainwashing usually involves techniques similar to what the military uses in basic training: traumatic experiences (in the case of the military, mildly traumatic) used to make the subject receptive and malleable, followed by expectations of behavior and token reward for conformity and meeting behavior goals. Indoctrination is much, much slower, and operates more on repetition and saturation than on trauma. Similar tools applied in different ways to achieve similar results under different circumstances.

Quote:

Look, if you don't like the word, don't use it.  The fact is, the Christian religion is reinforced through all the techniques of brainwashing -- defined as a negative control of a person's beliefs to be contrary to reason through the steps in the OP.  If you don't think the churches near you do it, fine.  The churches all around me do.

Well, then where are you, so I can stay the hell away from churches in that area? (Not that I often set foot in a church anyway... that whole 'spontaneous combustion' thing and having little old ladies hurling holy water at me... it gets tiresome.)

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 Quote:1. So if there is no

 

Quote:
1. So if there is no eternal hell for you, is it sort of an eternal death thing or is the punishment temporary a la purgatory?

Eternal death.

 

Quote:
2. If there isn't a hell is there a heaven? Do you believe in an afterlife at all?

I don't believe in an "afterlife."  The word suggests something different than what we experience right now.. for instance.. a "spiritual realm," or something like that.  "Heaven," may or may not exist apart from earth.. but it still would involve people, living, in much the same form as they are now.. except without a lot of the hiccups and hangups we have now.. like, war, crime, etc.

Quote:
3. I'd really enjoy a discussion on the nature of God at some point. Thanks.

Anytime.  Just let me know when, and I'll share my present opinion on the matter.. although.. I may not speak the clearest... but I'll give it a try.

 

 


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

 

Quote:
1. So if there is no eternal hell for you, is it sort of an eternal death thing or is the punishment temporary a la purgatory?

Eternal death.

Um. Then what's the point of hell, if one just ends? Or is that not what you mean?


 

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 1st:Quote:Granted, hell is

 1st:

Quote:
Granted, hell is not the only threat in Christianity

Quote:
Christians are very good at threats.  They should be.  Their god is the ultimate threatener.

Quote:
Even among the most moderate churches, the flock is encouraged to stay away from atheists and other non-believers for fear of tainting their precious faith. 

Quote:
The more fundamental churches make it much more obvious.

Quote:
Christianity is obsessed with controlling every aspect of human sexuality, and reducing it down to its bare minimum social functions. 

 

Later:

Quote:
I didn't say every church or every christian brainwashes.

Quote:
No, it says what it means.  I can't recall ever seeing a church that didn't use brainwashing techniques.  I've been to a LOT of churches.  Probably more than any other member of this site by several hundred.

That doesn't prove that every church brainwashes.  It makes it highly likely that in my part of the country, virtually all of the churches do.  I'm not in the habit of implying things.  I say what I mean to say.

Perhaps what you meant to say in the original post was "virtually all the churches around where I live are this way."

But you didn't.  As a result, the implication was that all Christian Churches or Christians fell within your characterization.

"Christians are very good at threats therefore christians are very good at threats." 

You may have meant to imply that "therefore virtually all christians around where I live are very good at threats"--but, if that was the case, it was not clear to me.

Quote:
The fact is, the Christian religion is reinforced through all the techniques of brainwashing -- defined as a negative control of a person's beliefs to be contrary to reason through the steps in the OP.  If you don't think the churches near you do it, fine.  The churches all around me do.

Something like this is a little better.

If you had qualified your original post with something like this.. I would have just said "my experience has been the opposite."

As for what you have said was actually the central point of your OP, as implied by this statement:

Quote:
(A significant rebuttal would be an effective argument that any of the things I mentioned are not actually potential brainwashing tools.)

Then, I would merely repeat what Jormung said:

Quote:
Oh they are potential brainwashing tools

Althought, when I consider the practice of "brainwashing" it usually includes practices a bit more extreme than "encouraging people to stay away from people outside of the group" or "don't go watch rated R movies."

Nevertheless, I admit, that the "threat of hell" could be a powerful motivator that turns "encouragement" or "teaching" into "coercion."

 

 

 

 


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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:Oh

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Oh they are potential brainwashing tools, but I have never seen a church use them.

Um... Do you live in the U.S.?  If so, where?  I've never seen a church that didn't use them.

I live in Southern California. I have heard many, many stupid things said inside of churches. I have heard sermons that were bent on trying to get people to support hard-core right wing political movements. I have seen and heard all kinds of negative things in the churches of Hisperia, Victorville, Livermore and Chino. So I am not here to defend churches, but this doesn't change the fact that the specific things you mentioned in your opening post do not match up with my experiences with churches. They never threated hellfire, they never tried to isolate us or discourage contact with non-beleivers, some do have backwards views on sex (but then I personally know how easy the girls in those churches are, so clearly the message is not getting through) and none of them assaulted my identity or tried to say we were worthless or could do nothing without Jesus. At every point on your list (except for maybe the sex thing) I just have not seen a church do what you say they do.

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
So Christians here would not need to demonstrate that those things are not potential brainwashing tools; they would just need to say that their churches don't do those things,

This, as I mentioned, is not an answer to my post.  They can say their churches don't do it all they want.  Maybe they do, maybe they don't.  I didn't say every church or every christian brainwashes.  I said the Christian religion contains all the necessary tools for brainwashing.

I think we all agree that Christianity has at its disposal tools that could be used to brainwash people. I just have never seen it happen in my 15 years of attending churches in Southern California. Having seen "Jesus Camp" the movie, I agree that everything on your list could be used (and in a few rare instances is used) to brainwash people. I just haven't ever seen it for myself despite going to churches of different denominations in different parts of California for most of my life.

I think the average Christian would read your list and then say to himself: "Nope, my church never does those things, Christianity is just not like that." And that person would be right; he would never have experienced those things in a church. Of course some fundies really do those things, but mainstream Christians recognize those fundies as being crazy and would not like the brainwashing that they do anyways. I watched "Jesus Camp" with my Christian parents and brother and they hated it as much as I did.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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The brainwashed are subtle

The brainwashed brainwashers are subtle too .... see the blind following the blind ?


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Hambydammit wrote:Um,

Hambydammit wrote:

Um, presup, I haven't bothered to comment yet because there hasn't really been much content worthy of a reply.  Everyone has been doing a fine job of pointing out the obvious -- that none of the Christians yet have even addressed my OP in a significant way.  (A significant rebuttal would be an effective argument that any of the things I mentioned are not actually potential brainwashing tools.)

 

I do not have to show that the things you list aren't "potential brainwashing tools" because (a) the phrase is hopelessly vague and could apply to almost anything and (b) your argument was that Christianity actually brainwashes people, not that it just has the potential to brainwash people. Your conclusion was, and I quote, "Christianity = Brainwashing."

You must argue like this if your conclusion is to be sound:

1. A, B, and C constitute brainwashing.

2. Christianity implies A, B, and C.

3. Therefore, Christianity implies brainwashing.

Ergo, I can attack either 1, showing that the things you list aren't brainwashing, OR I can attack 2, showing that Christianity doesn't imply the things you list. Either is sufficient to kill your argument. I have chosen to attack 2, and I have successfully shown that Christianity does not imply any of the things you list.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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WRONG P. Basically most

WRONG P. Basically most everything we think is brainwash. Cultural  traditions, what we think will make us happy, materialistic greed, patriotism, idol worship, etc.

Realizing this is a big part of all, and especially eastern philosophy.

The simple fact that we label ourselves religiously or metaphysically is the proof. (I think that's the correct word) The point is, to be human is to be brainwashed. Religiously speaking, you are very seriously messed up if you subscribe to dogma, superstition, supernatural idol worship, that separates you from all natural nature.

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To say that "to be human is

To say that "to be human is to be brainwashed" is to dilute the word into meaninglessness.

What is "natural nature," and how do you know this?


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Briefly, it's oxymoronic, as

Briefly, it's oxymoronic, as most all god babel is, like "freewill" discussions ..... Meaningless.  Do you own your brain? 

"Natural nature" is all I can know, even as I can fantasize something as  supernatural , but only by the nature of what I am.  Hey, it's faith !  I am natural, as all is natural.

The list of metaphysical concepts would shrink to zero if we knew everything, and religion as it is now, would vanish.

"We are a way for the Cosmos [god] to know itself." -- prophet Carl Sagan

"To know the good is to do good." Socrates (over 400 yrs before Jesus)

"I am in the father and the father in me." Buddha ( 500 yrs before Jesus)

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I find it interesting that

I find it interesting that so many claim to have never heard of hell being taught or to have seen a brainwashing technique in their church.

Evangelicals claim that there are 80 million of them in the U.S.  If this is true, that would be nearly a 1/3rd of us.  Well, they're most certainly familiar w/ hell and techniques of brainwashing. 

Nearly all of the mainstream christian TV networks in the U.S. I've ever seen are clearly familiar w/ such techniques.  Christian broadcasters claim a worldwide audience of 225 million according to an hbo special I'm currently watching.

Both current Presidential candidates have (or had) ministers backing them that preach the doctrine of hell.

Bush and son often used Billy Graham as their spiritual mentor.  Billy Graham rarely talks about hell, because..."it's not popular and people don't like it".

In other words, it is a poor marketing technique in this current day and age.  It's ok to believe that hell is real and that the bible is the literal word of god, but it could cost us potential converts in the end.

I see christian messages on billboards all along the freeways, including a dozen on church sandwich boards  that state, "The wages of sin is death".  Welcome to our church.

But no one's ever heard of teachings of hell in their church or seen brainwashing techniques.

Hamby lives in the Southeast.  I live in the Northwest.  Just like Hamby, I cannot recall ever having seen a church not use brainwashing techniques or bring up the subject of hell and I've been to literally hundreds all over the west coast.

Again...interesting ! 

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell