For 10 minutes, consider the possibility that much of what people have been taught about religion and other major institutions in our society is not completely accurate. Or that people have been purposefully taught 1/2 truths, by those in power, so they could be more easily manipulated.
Or that, some major religious teachings or cherished societal frameworks are misrepresentations supporting an indoctrination system set-up to control very specific social behaviors. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Our most cherished institutions set-up to control and hold power over us so we don’t think for ourselves.
From the sociological and psychological literature, read the following and consider the possibility. Over the last 20 years or so, much research has been done about behavioral indoctrination in religious cults; see if you recognize any part of your favorite spiritual belief system, company ideology, or baseball team spirit described in the following characteristics
The following partial list, not in any particular order, was taken from: Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups– Revised, by Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. For more information go to their website: www.icahome.com.
Five Characteristics of Cults
1) The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
2) Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
3) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leaders (s) members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar- or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
4) The group has a polarized us- versus- them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
5) The most loyal members (the ‘true believers;) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group. (Sounds like some sports fans I heard on talk radio.)
Growing-up in a certain faith, that for thousands of years proclaimed, you couldn’t get to heaven unless you believed and followed their traditions, always troubled me. Particularly, since I felt strongly that Deity might be a little bit more flexible about all of this; considering we were all God’s Children.This statement always sounded like a recruiting device, sort of like the Head Football Coach at a Division One School stating, ‘we are the best and unless you come along with us- your chances drop dramatically about getting into the NFL.’ Or a country claiming their way of life, is the best way of life, and any one who doesn’t go along with it is potentially their enemy.
For 10 minutes consider, that indoctrination is a normal and necessary part of growing-up in any society; however, what needs to happen, after the indoctrination is that as people mature this purposeful shaping needs to be pointed out to them- so they can begin to think on their own. Free of purposeful manipulation by those in power.
In our world today, consider the following statements: that all Arabs are terrorists and want to force everyone to believe in Allah. Or that all Jews are money pinching and want to control all finances. Or that Republicans and Democrats want what is best for everyone?
Now for just 10 minutes, consider who benefits the most from these statements: some of which may seem completely outragious?
And when you come to your own personal answers, you will further begin to understand the power manipulation and who benefits the most from all of this?