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?
Student: And you do not know anyone who has seen or been to Japan?
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.
A play on words but maybe religion "brainsoils" people and then they need to have their brains washed to get the religious contamination out.
Education can only become brainwashing when misinformation is used to manipulate the values. So if a person willingly teaches a child false information that alters their values and/or beliefs than it is in fact brainwashing.
A teacher teaching a child that the earth is round is teaching them a fact, a provable truth. If a parent teaches a child how to use a fork so that they can eat their food easier they are educating their child in the use of tools. Later on these children can learn to use other tools on their own, from simple observation or logical thinking. Example: If a fork can picked up food than a shovel can pick up dirt/snow. I knew how to use a shovel without ever being shown as a child because I grasped the concept from something as simple a being taught how to use a fork. Now if a teacher teaches a child that America was founded on christianity than that would be educational brainwashing. America was not founded on theist beliefs. The very first amendment is based on the separation of church and state. I could site all forms of quotes from Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Thomas Paine, and so on but do I really have too? Reading the constitution is a 4th grade requirement and education gave me that.
In short I never met a brain surgeon that learned his profession from the bible or from god. He learned it through education and hard work.
Despite all of the fancy name calling and slanderous remarks I have yet to have one person demonstrate that brainwashing does not occur to atheist as well as religious.Of course it does. To claim otherwise would be preposterous. Some totalitarian regimes have promoted atheism as a matter of official policy. There is evidence that atheists tend to be more intelligent than religious fundamentalists, but this difference would be probabilistic, not absolute. For one thing, as I believe you have alluded, not every atheist becomes an atheist as a result of critical thinking. For example, some become atheists because their parents are atheists.
The result of brainwashing is the involuntary acquisition of concepts and ideas by forcible means that require - amongst others - that identity be weakened and critical thinking defeated. Maybe some of us have been through such a process and recovered or are recovering from it, but for most people it has not been the case. Conditioning, indoctrination, social and cultural pressures, sure, but BRAINWASHING?
So if many have been through the process once and are recovered or are recovering from it? What has changed since then? Are you now exempt because of an increase in IQ or because you FEEL as though you are exempt? Once again emotions win out over logic. As stated by Sophia many regimes have forcibly indoctrinated their populations to be atheists. Now am I saying that you personally are brainwashed? No I do not believe this is the case but if you truly have an open mind you must accept the possibility that it can occur especially since you state it has occurred to some present here. Believing something is not true is different from it being factually untrue. IT is a FACT that people have been brainwashed into being atheist at times throughout history.
A Fact: At times throughout history is not equal to all the time during millenia.
I do not recall saying that at all times throughout history people are forced into atheism. Thanks for clarifying my argument.
The societies mentioned were not "maybe" atheist. Atheism was forced by the state. This is similar to religion being forced down a young child's throat. Am I aware of people who have become atheist due to peer pressure?
People become atheists by themselves, by facing their own mortality their own thruths, mostly alone and many in closets?"
You had better say SOME people become atheist by themselves. History. If you had the opportunity to convert a Muslim to atheism on this site you would probably celebrate by having a cold beer and rejoicing because the lost sheep has returned home. At times throughout history.. yeah sure.. Thanks for the concession. My friend until you learn to look at things with an open-mind and consider facts all you have undergone is another religious experience.
justadude is no longer a member of Think Atheist.
This Just shouts troll to me..