October 16, 2002 A Voice for Reason, Rationality, and Common Sense in an Ocean of Religious Bullshit
Brainwashing and FEAR: The Tools of the Church
Welcome to the first edition of the Religion is Bullshit Glorious Newsletter!
I used to spend a lot of time debating Fundies on a few online debate forums. Most of them are nice enough people but apparently impervious to reason, logic, rationality, common sense, Reality, etc., when it comes to their religious beliefs. You can show a Fundie the truth and facts over and over and over again and they still won't get it. I have had the experience of having a Fundie state something dogmatic, like the absurd idea that the Bible is inerrant, that was easily disprovable. I disproved their claim and any reasonable person would have learned and adjusted their views. Not Fundies! They just keep posting the same tired, easily disproved arguments over and over again in spite of the fact that they have been soundly refuted. They refuse to learn. Why?
Brainwashing and FEAR. The Christian Church uses several known brainwashing techniques to gain and then keep converts. Here is an example: Ever been to a church service where the same song is sung over and over and over again? I have, and it is a common practice. What the vast majority of church members do not know is that this is a brainwashing technique. The repetition of the song breaks down mental barriers and puts people in an extremely suggestible state. The music plays a part as well. Deep bass tones played rhythmically and repeatedly will cause people to enter an altered state of consciousness - they go in and out of trance while the song is playing. Watch a Charismatic praise & worship service or pay attention next time you are in a church service. You will notice some folks staring blankly into space. They are in a hypnotic trance. Some preachers also use a speaking technique called "voice roll", I think, which also has a hypnotic effect. While in a relaxed, altered! state, most people's defenses (and critical thinking skills) are down and what they are taught at that time they will not necessarily think through for themselves. So, while the defenses are down, the brainwashing and indoctrination takes place.
FEAR is another tactic that the Christian Church uses and, unfortunately, they use it well. Christians are taught that the Bible is the "word of God" and that they have the ONLY truth. Anything that disagrees with the Bible and/or the Church's interpretation of the Bible is a deception. For example, all other religions are a deception. Evolution is a deception. If it doesn't agree with the Bible, it is a demonic deception designed to keep us from believing the Bible and therefore being "saved". According to the Church, you MUST believe their way or you have displeased God and are going to Hell FOREVER. The Hell doctrine is nothing more than a heinously cruel fear tactic that has been used successfully for centuries. It should be obvious that the concepts of a Loving God and an eternal Hell are diametrically opposed ideas. With this kind of pressure and these kinds of fear tactics, is it any wonder that Fundies don't think for themselves?
The best thing to do regarding your Fundie relatives and friends is to realize that, while they are well-meaning in their beliefs, they have been brainwashed. Brainwashed people cannot see the truth that is right before their eyes and they will deny facts that do not agree with their beliefs. Brainwashing causes a disconnect in the mind of the Believer between Reality and religious fantasy. Reality is filtered out in favor of the religious dogma/fantasy.
Recovery from brainwashing and the fear tactics absolutely is possible! There are those like me who woke up on their own and came back to Reality and there are those who are helped back to Reality by those who care about them.
It is very important to understand that Fundamentalist Christianity is a Destructive Cult, NOT a harmless and benign belief system. Any institution that employs brainwashing techniques and fear tactics CANNOT be considered to be a harmless and/or respectable institution.
Judge Not Lest You Be Judged!
I was briefly a member of a Yahoo! forum started by a Fundie who claimed that he could prove that Christianity is true. Well, I jumped right in there and proceeded to posting evidence pointing strongly to the fact that Christianity is NOT true. The owner of the group, although a Fundie, was impressed and open to looking at what I had posted. However, this did upset the hell out of one of the most closed-minded Fundies that I have ever encountered. He claimed to be a Christian, yet he was obnoxious, judgmental and at times viciously ugly in his responses to me. I offer these examples of his typically Christian attitude:
You are just one more person that does not believe in the resurrection of Christ. I happen to believe everything is only made possible through the Grace of Christ and the resurrection. One needs to be born both of the living water and the blood. The parting of the red seas into the promised land. Even as earth reflects heaven,the bible is the revelation of the resurrection of Christ. I know Christ rose from the Grave. The very essence of Him is like ocean roses on the wind beneath the wings of my spirit. Do I believe that Christianity represents a false church? No,but I believe that many people who think they have been born again in a basin of water are just fooling themselves and paying tithes to line the coffers of Satan. Real Christians have been resurrected in the flesh. Joan of arc was not roasted like a pig on a poke on a whim. The disciples,were not thrown to lions and beheaded and persecuted to propagate a lie. How many of you limp wristed and lily livered know it alls would go to the stake and be burned for your stupid suppositions? any of you? which one,come on,speak up. which one of you wants to stand by your paper and ink logically dissections? any of you? no,I did not think so. None of you are willing to stand by anything you write. But I will live and if need be,I will die in Christ. What God has brought together none of your pigs will separate. Joan of arc did not succumb to those pigs in robe know it all wannabe saints and nor will I succumb to stupid logically foolishness perpetuated by blind ignorance. True wisdom comes from God and those in the know willing go to the cross just as Jesus willing goes to the cross for them. Most of you wouldn't understand that because you are still carnies. time is of the essence so either get with the program or have a dip in fire lake.
Wow, wasn't that special?
And then this:
Poor little baby. Someone take your soother? Did I not tell you to run along? The god you worship is that bloated face you see in the mirror. How typical of you to blame all the problems of the world on Christians.One does not need to be a Christian to model the kind of behavior you exemplify. It is obvious you know absolutely nothing about the gospel according to Christ. You base your lack of faith on what other people do. Oh Christians are this and Christians are that and you are no different than many of them so why be so judgmental? You say they are fanatical in their religion and you have made a religion out of being nothing but an angry and hate filled fanatic yourself. have you even noticed? Is it Christians that you hate,or is it God? Oh I'm sorry,you don't believe in God right? Of course not,God is good and merciful and loving and you are of the opposite,so of course you don't believe in God. As for love,yes I do love. I even love heathen animals like you but don't think that means I have to fawn all over you and act all meek and sweet for your benefit. Love sometimes means reproof and rebuke and that's all I'm doing is reproving and rebuking you but you think I'm condemning you.lol! I don't need to condemn you,you do a great job of that all by yourself. Just keep talking,the grave you dig only gets deeper.
Fortunately, I think most Christians are a bit kinder than this religious fanatic asshole. He represents the worst among religious folks. He couldn't refute a single thing that I had posted. All he could do was spit venom at me and at the truth and facts that were upsetting his Fundie Fantasy Land.
Although this is an extreme example of Christian fundamentalism, the point is that most Christians ignore Jesus's command against judging others and they ignore quite a lot of other commands from their alleged Lord if following them is uncomfortable or not practical. Christians are, without a doubt, the most judgmental people on the face of the Earth! The attitude of a lot of Christians speaks volumes against the alleged "truth" of their religion, at least in my opinion.
Quotes For and About Fundies
"There are always those who, when they trip over the truth, get up, dust themselves off, and continue on as if nothing has happened."
The American historian, James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936), once wrote (with perhaps more psychiatric insight than historical):
"Few of us take the pains to study the origins of our convictions; indeed, we have a natural repugnance to so doing. We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to them. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already have."
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)