I was taking a break from work earlier today (yeah, I'm behind on a project so I'm working over the weekend), and I started looking around the interwebs for a documentary to watch while I code (it's an ADD thing - you wouldn't understand... ;) ). I came across a small posting on a site that had the following synopsis of a religious documentary:

The documentary lifts the veil on the seemingly benign ___________________ religion to expose a profit-driven, isolationist culture characterized by fear, totalitarian corporate leadership, intellectual & spiritual intimidation, suspension of critical thinking, failed prophecies, doctrinal inconsistency and improper handling of physical and sexual abuse allegations within the church.

Now, here's the social/psychological test....

When you finished reading it, what was the first religion that you thought went into that blank?

I think this is actually a somewhat fascinating question, on a few different levels. I believe that the initial religion that comes to mind - without thinking - would probably be the religion the reader left when she became an atheist. Then, after a bit more thinking (we're talking probably less than a second or two in real time), I believe the reader would pick one of the three "biggies".

Now, I don't mean the regular "biggie" religions. In this instance I am talking about the three (more or less - but mainly more) mainstream religions that are repeatedly in the (inter)national news for one or more of these scandals and atrocities. They are commonly described with many - if not all - of the same traits listed in that quote.

As for me, my personal list of these three "bad bad monkey" religions is:

  • Catholics
  • Mormons
  • Scientologists

Of course there are a multitude of other religions that fall within the same category as these three; however all other religions are in the minor leagues compared to these three all-stars. The complete immersion and and perverted pride of these three is horrifying. They relish their greed, perversion, megalomania, ruthlessness, and so on. They have not one morsel of remorse for the reign of pain and misery that they have foisted upon their adherents - and these are the selfsame people that these asshole religions are supposed to comfort and protect!

OK, let's move on (I'm putting my soapbox away, for now).

If you chose one of the three above, guess what? You're wrong.

What about...

  • Southern Baptists?
    • Nope
  • Church of God?
    • No, sorry.
  • Some other Pentecostal religion?
    • Negative

We could go on like this for awhile longer, I believe, before you finally guess the correct religion to fill in that blank.

Because I don't want to make it TOO easy for you to cheat, I'm not putting the correct religion here; instead I'm giving you a link to the site from where I got this quote. Oh, and to keep you from cheating by hovering over the link to see what the article name is, I obfuscated it with tinyurl.com.  :)

Link to a post about a religious documentary...

'

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Can't slip anything past her --

Because it says, "Jehovah's Witnesses." ¿Hoy? Pajarito siempre --

Seemingly benign?  that threw me completely.  Are there seemingly benign religions?

Oh yes. MY religion seems totally benign. All the evil done in the name of MY religion is done by misguided selfish sinners who don't understand the TRUE meaning of my religion.

Now, all those other religions out there? They're not benign at all. They are founded by the devil and steeped in evil, and anything bad that a member of those religions does is proof of that fact.

And I know this is all true because I just know. If you prayed enough you'd know it too. :)

I first thought of Catholic, then Scientology.
I come from a Christian home.

Zoroastrianism was my first guess, then I thought Jainist, or maybe shinto

Well look at you thinking outside the box. I don't think I even remembered that those were religions.

Uhhh, Belle, the whole gist of this was to give a description of a particular religion, but obscure what the religion actually is - and then have you, dear reader (the generic "you" not the specific "Belle" you), think about what religion you believe it to be.

Furthermore, I wanted you to pay attention to the whole thought pattern you went through when coming up with your guess. For instance, I would have immediately thought it was Catholicism, but then after further thought I would have guessed Scientology.

And I would have been wrong. Both times. In fact, I'm not sure I would have ever actually guessed Jehovah's Witness until I exhausted all of my thoughtful guesses, and had dissolved into mindlessly guessing every religion I know until I hit on it.

As I stated in the post, I provided the link to the actual article for you to discover the right answer, after you had gone through the thought process.

Since I found this interesting, and since I love thought experiments like this, I thought I would share it with my comrades here in T|A Land and see what y'all (you included, Belle) thought of it as well. I also hoped that it would begin an interesting conversation.

And I am happy that it has.

It is a pity that which religion it was, was revealed so early - no reason now for anyone to speculate. Maybe you should have held it back until a little later in the discussions.

Demasiado poquito, demasiado tarde

Oh, you didn't blow anything! It's just a fun topic to discuss, and I wanted to explain it in case what I was talking about wasn't clear (it happens - and all to often for me ;) ).

Cheers!

Amish is actually a good guess. I hate to admit it because I personally love the plain people, but Amish can be very damaging, as I recently learned. I happened to come across this book about a woman who escaped from Amish-ism, and she makes it sound as damaging as any cult.

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