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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p.s. What I meant to say is that religion is not brainwashing but god old learning. If someone explains to me how the sun works using logical and credible evidence I will learn this knowledge even though I can't prove this myself, that doesn't mean this teacher brainwashed me into believing how to sun works. (I have problem with editing my own post so I have to comment my own posts :()
Still I don't see how brainwashed parents brainwash children, isn't this disillusionment? It just isn't brainwashing, I don't want some religious nuts to make fun of atheist because we blame them for supposed brainwashing. It's false knowledge or disillusionment not brainwashing.

It's less in line with brainwashing... More so in line with classical conditioning in a way.. but then again we could even compare it with a very light version of Stockholm Syndrome..

I was thinking about just that recently. On CBC radio in Canada (5 parts available online), where the show IDEAS has spent the week studying the French/USA philosopher René Girard who puts a similar spin on the birth and propagation of religion. He is one of the initiators of the scapegoat theory. He states (in opposition to a great deal of recently "good obsessed" atheist converts) that pain and happiness are inextricably entwined in the creation of religion, the pain and the happiness both are results of scapegoating and peoples uniting having staved off common hardship. (just as it's oft theorised that the one thing that would unite all of humanity would be an alien invasion, common scapegoat). Victimology/SS/scapegoating, they are all entwined IMO. I do consider Girard to be spot on when describing how violence and happiness can not be dissociated as so many recent atheist converts state: "I left religion because no god could be so contradictory" when in fact there is no contradiction, without pain and violence, there is no way to define happiness. This is the fallacy secular humanism is based on.
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!


"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!"


This is debatable, but even if we took it as true, there are numerous mitigating factors to any one teacher's influence.  From grades 1-13, I had at least fourteen different English teachers, twelve different match teachers, seven different science teachers, six different history teachers, five different geography teachers, five different music teachers.. and so on.


All of those teachers were required to have at least a high school education and a bachelor's degree in education at the appropriate level.  For high school, teachers also all had university degrees in their respective disciplines.  Beyond that, there are curriculums and guidelines, as well as supporting textbooks and resources.  There is a level of accountability built into the system.  Independent study was a mandatory part of the process as well, at least for my education.  Math was the only exception there. 


The system simply is not set up as 'teacher says, therefore true'.

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.


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