Years ago, I heard from the platform at a kingdom hall of Jehovah's Witnesses a man bragging. While going door-to-door he was asked, "How can you let yourself get so brainwashed so as to believe this stuff that you are saying?"
His reply? "My brain needed a good wash!" His comment emoted a chuckle from the audience. Apparently, the congregation believed brainwashing was a good thing.
How do religious patriarchies become radical so as to promote practices such as female sexual mutilation (like some Muslims), or Polygamy (like some Mormons), or shunning of family members (like some Jehovah's Witnesses)?
When one is taught some theology from birth, one believes what one's parents taught to be the truth, no matter how outrageous the statement may sound. After all, why would one's parents lie? Don't parents have their child's best interests at heart? Well, if the parents have been conditioned to believe the statement is "truth," how can a baby or young child know that it is being fed propaganda or religious dogma? Clearly, a young one could not differentiate between truth and falsehood, since they inherently trust their parents.
Why does each religion think it is the only "true" religion? That belief implies that all other religions are false. I know from being an ex-member that the Jehovah's Witnesses believe theirs is the only true faith. They believe they are the only ones who have "special" knowledge. They are God's "favored" people. They and only them. Everyone else is going to be killed by God at Armageddon.
Muslims believe theirs is the only true religion. That belief means that all other religions are false. They have "special" knowledge. They are Allah's "favored" people. They and only them. Everyone else is going to burn in hell as an infidel.
Mormons believe theirs is the only true religion. That belief means that all other religions are false. They have special knowledge. They are God's favored people. They and only them. Everyone else is going to burn in hell.
Need I go on about the Catholics, Scientologists, and Fundamentalist Christians?
Judgmental? Divisive? Where does it end? Perhaps another Holy War, another Jihad, another Inquisition, another Crusades or another World War...?
One may wish to examine how much "conditioning" goes on in a religion before rushing into becoming a member. Personally, as a Westerner, I see over and over again how dangerously divisive so-called "moderate" religion can be.
On a happy note, most bibles admit that a time will come when people would not adhere to religion. Rather, each person would be a law to themselves. By that, I mean their conscience would be their guide; not some priest, pastor, elder, imam, bishop, etc. No more religion running the show, asking for money, lobbying for more power, and demanding more freedom to frighten and enslave their adherents. Sounds healthy to me. I embrace this idealist concept.
...these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused.~~Romans 2:14-15 (New World Translation)
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