I haven't created a topic for a while, but I have wanted to tackle this argument for such a long time. I do not really understand why many people on this forum are so hostile to religion; perhaps their emotions prevent them from being objective?

Does Religion brainwash people? I used to say 'Of course not!' but the difinition of brain washing is this: "forcible indoctrination into a new set of attitudes and beliefs" and I would say that religion does brainwash its believers, to a degree. We first have to ask the question 'is brain washing such a bad thing?' 

Education brainwashes us to accept and believe things also, let me give you an example:

Teacher: In the Pacific we have a country called Japan, Tokyo, the capital city has over 20 million people.

Student: How do you know Japan exists?

Teacher: I have read about it and seen pictures

Student: So you have not seen Japan before?

Teacher: No.

Student: And you do not know anyone who has seen or been to Japan?

Teacher: No.

Student: Then why should we believe you?

(Now the student has dared to question the teacher's authority and the teacher will be quick to tell him that he is wrong and the teacher is always right).

Why does a student believe x? Because his teacher tells him so; not because he has any tangible evidence.

(You may argue that we have evidence for Japan's existence, but I am talking about a child who does not always understand the difference between empirical and metaphysical evidence).


So religion brainwashes kids, just like education does.

This sought of brainwashing can be challenged. For example, most of you come from a religious background, and if you were successfully brainwashed you would not of left your religion. 


However, what does brainwash people is society; it brainwashes you to eat with a fork, instead of chopsticks. To think to be beautiful you have to whiter, instead of darker (which is ugly). It brainwashes you with saying 'thank you' after someone gives you a gift. 

Dare I say, if my parents brainwashed me, it was definitely my manners and the way I spoke. Most children do not challenge the idea of a God, so parents do not invest a lot of time in telling them that God is real; God is real and that is an accepted fact. But manners are a tricky thing and may take a few wooden spoons to get the idea that saying 'please' is good idea.

I was never in trouble for my beliefs in God; I accepted what my parents thought!


I would like to show a list of my beliefs which I believed from 5-10 years of age:

1. 6 day creation was a fact

2. Homosexuals are going to 'hell' (Being a SDA we do not believe in a typical type of hell)

3. Non-Sabbath keepers are going to hell

4. SDA's had the full truth

5. The Catholic church is evil

6. I was going to be a prohpet (Yes, that is what I actually wanted to be, of course I kept that to myself, mostly)

7. That a devil existed (Now I am not too sure)

8. That it was a sin to do anything on the Sabbath, and one had to wear a suit

9. That it was a sin to eat pork

10. The Bible should be read literally

11. The Adventist's interpretation of Revelation and Daniel is correct

12. It is a sin to drink


All 12 beliefs I had, I no longer have anymore, most of these were central pillars in my belief system, and yet today I do not believe in them.


So yes religion does brainwash people, but just like education, and does not successfully brainwash people and certain ideas and beliefs can be readily challenged.

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Hell is not the icing on the cake, it is the flour in the cake :)

'Religion skips the evidence part of the educational system and installs itself in a position of power. As you cannot possible learn all the evidence behind everything as fields of study become ever more specialised, you have to stand on the shoulders of giants (those that have established hypothesises as theroies and recorded facts) to surpass them. We do test the theroies of those that have come before and revise where needed. That is a real education system. Religion gives you information that cannot be supported by rational inquiry or by using the scientific method. it is a parasite/virus in this sense because it hjacks the machinery of the education system to reproduce itself and survive. It is a line of memes that should have died out a long time ago.'


Do you understand the difference between science and philosophy?

Why do so many people confuse these two things? 



Have you read about evolutionary psychology?



I am mostly not a reductionist.


'A student isn't required to take any of the information on good faith or as a matter of strict authority.'


When kid learns an incredible fact, most of the time it will start off with 'My teacher said...'

Teachers have a lot of influence over students, and students hardly ever challenge their teachers. How is right at the end of the day? The teacher is of course!


Do you understand the difference between science and philosophy?

Why do so many people confuse these two things? 


Science is the invesigation, study and understanding of the physical world. Philosohpy is the study of of how people should interact with the physical world. The two are linked by the same reality. Bad scientific data and hypothesises will lead to a bad interpreation of realitly which will lead to bad philosophy.

Or do you think that a study of reality and how one should react in said reality are complete polar difference?

'Brainwashing is when a person implements an idea into victims mind without victim noticing, so that the victim thinks he came up with the idea all by his/herself.'


Sounds more like Inception to me :P


'Parents are brainwashing if they fill their kids minds with unbelievable fairytales dressed up as actual fact.'


Parents brain wash their kids to use a fork, instead of chopsticks as well. Perhaps brainwashing is not always a bad thing?

Religion is nothing but fairy tales.


A fork or chopsticks are REAL. Teaching kids about REAL things is not brainwashing, it's educating them.


Can you not see the difference here?

Religion is nothing but fairy tales.


Cathedrals. Don't forget cathedrals. They are very pretty and rather impressive in terms of engineering, too.


On the other hand, pogroms are very bad. I can recognize both the good and the bad which have come from religion, or more aptly, religious people.

Down with cathedrals, they disgust me.

In times of change is necessary to not only change the thought but also the representations of the thought.

I learned of brainwashing long before Inception, but to me Inception is about brainwashing. And we all know inception isn't original work of art, even Nolan said this. So, I still stand behind my words that people misinterpret what brainwashing is and false-blame other people, which is not nice. Brainwashing is something more of an urban legend than a fact.

Also there is a big possibility that all of you here are using 'brainwashing' in colloquial sense which is not familiar to me because I don't live in USA.

There's also a distinction between simple mind-control and brainwashing. Brain washing is a form of  mind control which relies on fear and pain to achieve its goals.
Education and brainwashing are not the same. You cannot brainwash someone into "believing" that Japan exists because Japan DOES exist. That is a fact, not an opinion or belief, and passing on the knowledge of the existence of Japan has no bearing whatsoever on the attitude or beliefs of the student toward Japan.


Also, you don't have to take your teacher on faith. Real facts and knowledge can be tested and verified from a variety of sources and real facts hold up to to that testing whether you believe them or not, unlike religious mythology masquerading as truth which requires faith and provides no verifiable evidence . That's why brainwashing techniques are often used in religious indoctrination, particularly on children while they're still Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus eligible.



"I do not really understand why many people on this forum are so hostile to religion; perhaps their emotions prevent them from being objective?"


Interesting that you wrote this, Adam.


This is precisely the reason for my occasional frustration toward the religious mindset. 

I think that when information is offered as truth, and the information is dictated in a way that has consequence for not believing, and reward for believing, it is natural for the person being given the information to get emotionally attached to the information, especially when they're young. They have been coerced via their emotions, making what they think they experience in regards to god, subjectively true, and when contrary evidence presents itself, there seems to be a reflex fear/anger emotion that keeps them from researching with a critical mind.  

When it comes to comparing education and brainwashing, the difference i have experienced is in the emotional attachment or lack of emotional attachment to the information. Take the fork example.  I learned later in life that there are other tools that I can use to eat with. I had no fear of using chopsticks when I learned about them, nor did I feel that I was being spiritually rewarded by them. No emotional attachment whatsoever, because when I was originally taught to use a fork, I wasn't taught to emotionally identify with the fork.


People are taught about the god hypothesis in a way that enables emotional identification, and it's locked in with fear of consequence and hope of reward. 



This is what I call god-think.  I even know a person who has refuted the bible but still hangs on to his anti-evolution beliefs.

This is true of the people Slate's William Saletan dubbed liberal creationists. Although they superficially accept evolution, they dogmatically refuse to accept evolutionary realities as these apply to human population groups. As it happens, it is from this angle that evolution is most pertinent to public policy, yet this is the very aspect we are not supposed to rationally discuss!


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