Religious Brainwashing

In Life, Religion on May 15, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , ,

Yup…you had to know that at some point I would bring this topic up…

Since I was young I have always believed that no-one should be educated in religion until they are old enough to decide which path they want to chose. And yes this includes by their parents. And if you are going to educate them – whether in schools or at home then I believe that you should teach them EVERY single religion and let them choose.

Woah woah woah calm down. I can already feel a whole bunch of religious people getting ready to call me heretic and burn me at the stake. Hear me out.

If you are raised by Catholic parents the chances of you being a catholic and believing in a catholic god is incredibly high.

If you are raised by Islamic parents the chances of you being a muslim and believing in the muslim god is incredibly high.

And so on and so on and so on.

I live in a world that is brainwashed and believe in a creature, an entity, a something. They have faith in something because chances are they were told by their parents or teachers or the minister or the imam that this is what they have to believe in.

My mother and father are christians. They believe in a god. I don’t. I’m an athiest. I have been since I was 7 years old and the minister at my local Sunday School couldn’t answer my question: “Where does god come from?”. He told me he has always been there. I told him that was a cop out. He told my parents never to bring me back.

I then spent a lot of time reading about many religions and I came to a moment of blinding truth.

There is no god and I live in a world where the majority of people I know believe in something that I can never do…have faith.

Sometimes it feels like I like in a world where they have left the asylum doors open. If I ran around telling people that a giant octopus with the head of a giraffe built the world, gave us life, watched everything we do while craning his awesome neck and then when we died we snuggled up to his feet I would be locked up.

Yet we live in a world where make conscious decisions based on their entity belief.

We live in a world where people judge others based on their entity belief.

We live in a world where people actually make political decisions for the good of the masses based on their belief (with no proof) of a god.

And we live in a world where people kill others for their entity belief.

And the majority of these people are following the path of their parents or what they were taught. Chances are if they were brought up in another country with different parents who believe in a different religion then they too would follow a different religion. That’s brainwashing. Dress it up in any fashion you want but that’s exactly what that is.

Yet every religion teaches tolerance and love. It’s just a shame that some people don’t take the time to read and understand what that actually means.

Instead they use it as a tool for hate. To control. To destroy. As an excuse for power. And that’s a shame because most of the people I know who are religious are wonderful people – but it always makes me wonder who they would be if they were given the choice at a young age to discover religion on their own or learn later in life when they are mature enough to understand.

I know many amazing people who believe in god and in religion. Some of the best and closest people in my life believe and have faith.

I’ll never have it. I’ll never feel that. But I will talk to you about your religion and try to understand why you believe.

Ultimately it’s a person’s choice but I believe the choice is made harder when it is conditioned into you at a young age.

10 Responses to “Religious Brainwashing”

  1. I agree with you totally.

    I follow a Druidic path, though it is quite eclectic, and I came to that choice after years of exploration and personal choice. I was raised a Roman Catholic but I don’t hold onto those beliefs. I choose to believe freely and I believe that everyone should have the right to the same.

    It’s just a pity that we live in a world where this seems to be less possible with each passing day.

  2. But you believe in loch ness?? ;-).

    I’m agnostic with a strong leaning towards atheism.

    However, I think the most ludicrous aspect of any religion is, as you say, that most are indeed conditioned in to a belief – and had they been born somewhere else, to someone else with a different religious base, their own conditioning would reflect that. Same person – all of a sudden, different religious compass.

    PS I don’t say I’m agnostic because I believe in a God (I don’t – nor do I hold any value towards any religion, again, I don’t. They’re more trouble than they’re worth – generally). But, there is something about faith that can work wonders. For what it’s worth, my rekoning is that it’s all innate.

  3. Well, I guess it’s like anything, really. The reason we hold to rationalism, to scientific explanation, to democracy et al in the West is because we were born here. If we lived anywhere else, and were born outside the relatively minuscule time-frame of the last 3 centuries of history, we most likely wouldn’t ascribe to those ideas. Who’s to say what the world will be like in 300 years?

    The point I’m trying to make is simply that, regardless of truth claims, at some level there is always social conditioning going on. Religion to an extent is conditioned by familial, social, political and educational context (although there are people around the worlds who, like yourself, have rejected the philosophical standpoint of their immediate context, whether that be a religion, atheism, agnosticism or some other philosophical standpoint), but then so is a belief in secular humanism, or rationalism, or any other ideology or world views. The argument from conditioning or legacies of knowledge is itself not a proof of the right or wrong of an idea, simply that that idea tends to crop up more than others, and people may affiliate themselves with that idea simply because it is the dominant ideology.

    Religion kills, because people can do morally reprehensible things because of a belief that some god will reward them for such things. On the flip side, people can do similar things because they believe there is no god, no sense of any right or wrong beyond a social construct, and thus no scale for moral conduct beyond a kind of individualised utilitarianism, or a sense of what one can get away with.

  4. I agree it is a shame that people often use belief as a weapon rather than focusing on the potential of tolerance and love, but I am not shocked by the process. Unfortunately I believe that humans have always used the definition of who they are (or are not) to discriminate themselves (and often their kin) from others. Whether that is because they have blue eyes (Ref: Jane Elliott – ) or because they hold a position of power (Ref: Stanford prison exp – ), or because they follow in a belief set that appears to give them the answers they are looking for (ref: David Koresh – ), the key to the process is that they have to fit in and play along.
    Thus the real issue is socialisation which defines the rules of the game for all of us. Whether that be through religion, location, or whatever else influences our upbringing, we get taught how to fit in….. or… get very isolated. In my youth the feeling of being different and stuck came was from being surrounded by people from one particular set of “rules” that I didn’t agree with. Thing is, it wasn’t based religious difference. As I mentioned, I believe people will find and use anything to separate and segregate others to define themselves. Like the person who discovered fire likely found that the meat cooked by it was less poisonous, how long did it take them to realise that their fire hardened spear tips were stronger than others…
    I guess what I am pointing to is that it gets a bit more complex as different societies bump up against each other and the rules of the game are forced to merge. Thus I really think our only way forward is to break the arguments down into parts and to let the pieces fall where they may. Giving kids the tools to understand what an argument is (Ref: Critical Thinking and Practical Reasoning ) and how it should interact with their belief structure (Ref: Ethics ) seems to be the only hope to move past the “Religious brainwashing” and the history of hatred built of hatred on hatred with no understanding of whose goat was stolen by whom first……
    For me….. as a son of two atheists from a protestant background, who was educated by Marist Brothers, and married into a Buddhist Shinto family, with a wife who believes in the powers of crystals, I am pretty open to different beliefs. Further, having also lived in range of cultural situations from the country village, where everyone knows everyone and will likely never leave, to the California Country Club, where I got to learn what servants and gardeners were, I have a wide range of experience with different people from different backgrounds.
    In the end, by being open to multiple belief systems and culture backgrounds, and possessing tools to think outside the socialisation box (thanks mainly to the openness of my family and my choices along my path of study) I have been able to engage people from anywhere on topics most would shy away from.
    So rather than focus on the total misuse of the good that can come from society, I hope that by giving them the tools to generate better understanding might (one day) find a way of breaking down all the bullshit that has been built up, and perhaps create a better society for all of us in the long run…

    Just a thought…

  5. Religion is a hard one.

    We have evolved religion with our social construct over the last 2000 years and i think we will always have a similar institutional system if religion didn’t exist.

  6. Growing up in Scotland, although my parents did not attend church or proselytise, it was impossible not to be brainwashed at school. I was never that impressed, although I loved Hymn 535 Onward Christian Soldiers, without really taking on board the message.

    My kids are 10 and 12 and they have never been exposed to religion in a direct way. As you know it is kept out of the curriculum here in Australia. I am not sure that my son has even been to a church service. My daughter has been a couple of times with her friends after sleep overs. She was intrigued and interested, but they have never asked to go, like they ask for better mobile phones or ipods.

    Great post.

  7. Really well written. Thanks. I only wish I *did* believe in something. Clearly my parents didn’t think through my name when they were giving it to me 🙂

    As for early religion, if anything, they should teach,(read educate) older children about all beliefs at school, so that they get a varied understanding of what is out there.

  8. Oooh. Touchy topic. I don’t have all the answers, I don’t have a few answers.. but I do *believe*. Don’t quiz me – but I just like to think there is something BIGGER out there that is looking out for me. That certain things happen for a reason, and that there is a larger plan. It doesn’t always make sense, but sometimes the puzzle pieces fall into place at a future date; when in hindsight you think: OH. This led to that… and so forth. I’m analytical by nature and would love to think there are absolutes for everything, but at the same time, there are certain things in nature, or in humans that cannot be explained. I don’t classify myself as brainwashed.

  9. […] originally posted on (May 16, 2011 at 12:37 am ) I agree it is a shame that people often use belief as a weapon rather […]

  10. its true everyone should have there choice in life but one main question.
    if god never created the earth, the mountains , the sea, the sun, the moon etc., then WHO did? because just like a computer doesnt just magically appear nor a house nor car, you know that right. but have you not looked at how the sky is raised and th earth is flattened.and at how the mountains are pegs of the world, surely somewhere in your mind you know that there is a Creator behind all this. i do believe in a creator no parent nor a freind planted that in my mind but just deep thinking when i was looking at the sunset one day in a balcony. im a muslim women by the way. write back asap please want to hear from you.

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