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Viruses of the Mind

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by idea, Aug 9, 2022.

  1. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    viral mimetics:


    I've become fascinated with what happens to the mind of those in cults as I was in a cult (the Mormon church), and understand how religious groups can re-wire your brain. I'm still in the process of un-wiring myself.... I suppose if you go through a divorce, or go through any traumatic event - trying to un-wire yourself and detach yourself from that trauma comes down to understanding the mind.

    • The Unification Church - Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity
    • Rajneeshpuram
    • Children of God
    • Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God
    • Aum Shinrikyo
    • Order of the Solar Temple
    • Branch Davidians
    • Heaven's Gate
    • Manson Family
    • The People's Temple
    • Mormon church - aka - The church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints
    • The Moonies
    • Scientologists
    Common beliefs in the above:
    • salvation was only possible through pledging obedience to one chosen organization, dependent on organization for salvation ordinances
    • Control clothing (wear funny underwear), diet (what is good to eat or not), Behavior control (fast, don't work on Sundays)
    • group-think, shun/ex-communicate those who do not follow group, reward those who are obedient in all things - who follow without question and most vocally support leader.
    • family control - not married to spouse, married to church, can only be with family through church, church comes before children/spouse/family - time spent to serve church above family. More important to spend time with church group than family.
    • Control information - only read from church's official publications, do not read anything critical of church, anyone who criticizes church is telling a lie.
    • Us vs. them: Member vs. non-member, isolate members, teach outside world is evil - everyone else is fallen, not chosen, deceived - only your group knows the truth or your group has "authority". Example, Mormon missionaries are sent to hostile neighborhoods to be rejected over and over and over again from message they are given. Missionaries are given experience - everyone hates them except church group.
    • Manipulate feelings - make everyone feel "unworthy", encourage confessions, instill guilt - your family is not perfect, you are not perfect, your health/money/family problems are caused because you are a sinner not following the leader.
    • Repetitious reinforcement - read book over and over and over again and don't read anything else. Listen to talk / pray / chant over and over and over again - hypnotic techniques: You are getting sleepy - see anyone asleep in church? A sleepy mind with hypnotic voice - defenses are down when you are tired.
    • Uncertain? sing a hymn, chant a prayer, read this scripture - techniques to kill any questions your mind has, immediately stop thinking and go back to program.
    • Leaving group is looked at as being worse than murder, worse than child abuse - condemned to outer-darkness and hell if you leave.
    • Dishonest - keep secrets, secret ceremonies, secrets about founders of church, secrets about members in church (pedophiles, adultery, etc.). Encouraged to be silent, look the other way - shun - punish with silence.
    • Require $, time, serve church (rather than actually serve community), keep members busy propagating church.
    • Church = family, call people brother/sister, call leader "father" - see group relationships more important than family, disown family members who do not follow church group.
    • Children - large focus on indoctrinating children.

    • strict Hierarchy - unquestioning obedience to "prophet"

    Points for discussion:
    • How do you interpret those who join and defend cults? What do you think happened to their mind?
    • What false beliefs in your own life have you had to re-program your mind to?
    • If someone in your family was in a cult - how would you get them out?
     
    #1 idea, Aug 9, 2022
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
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  2. paradox

    paradox (㇏(•̀ᵥᵥ•́)ノ)

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    They are manipulated without realizing that being manipulated.

    Faiths are designed so that questioning their integrity is considered loss of faith,
    this produces a complexity which doesn't allow you to think rationally.

    For example I asked one priest a complex question, he gave me an answer but I was not happy and wanted to know more, he told that this is enough to believer.
    That poked me for real because I didn't consider my self non-believer.

    It's very complicated, but to understand myself I've learned that people who change faith or lose it completely usually do so because they're not satisfied with expectations,
    some people expect too much of their faith and this in time produces suspicions which culminate over time until one is so unhappy that it sees no reason to continue.

    Knowing this I realized my expectations were too high too but before final change happened in me I wanted to hear what does dogma and scriptures have to say about high expectations.
    I don't want to share all the details of my issues but what happened is that instead of removing my high expectations I fueled them into continuous research which produces a lot of useful information which I truly enjoy.

    I can now see things which I didn't see before.
     
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  3. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    It is easy to judge others as being manipulated, more difficult to admit ourselves being manipulated.

    It is difficult not to have high expectations when someone claims to speak and act for an all-powerful God. There are usually quite big promises of safety, blessings, well-being and health to lure everyone into groups like this.

    #blessed → everyone says "I'm so blessed" as if god loves them more than others, as if they are more righteous.... it's just luck - if you happen to be a kid who was born into abusive family, or kid born into poverty etc. or not. #blessed?? insinuating they somehow earned their privilege? - you go into it with expectations thinking you are going to be blessed - haha

    Those who leave are usually academics who read more than others (and read material outside the "official church" sources.... or experience of abuse causes them to leave, after which lots of reading is done.



    To be separated from one's tribe, not to be able to communicate with them, for everyone you knew to judge you, and think badly of you once you have escaped the cave.... I suppose we are all in caves of one sort or another.
     
    #3 idea, Aug 9, 2022
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
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  4. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    How about this:

    Convince me your religious group is not a cult :)
     
  5. sun rise

    sun rise Śvāna Dharma
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    What's happened with me is not something I would call "reprogramming" as an intellectual exercise but as an awakening. That happened with my false belief that drugs were not only harmless but good to use.

    Great question. The only thing I can think of is using the Simpson's Joy of Sect deprogramming segment as a guide. The Joy of Sect | Simpsons Wiki | Fandom
     
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  6. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    I think a few religions are started with drugs.
    The mind can make its own drugs.




    Hahaha, thank you, I had not seen that episode.
     
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  7. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Leaderless Animal

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    I'm not in a group :)

    I suppose a cult could be built around various things/people. When is a cult not a cult?

    Given your experience, do you think you are more sensitive/alert to the possibility of others being members of a cult?
     
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  8. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    Given my experiences, I will never be 100% committed or trusting of any group - is this a bad thing? I mean nothing is perfect, I don't want anyone to 100% trust me as I make mistakes, think it is good to be independent and self-reliant.

    Not a cult - anyone/anything that encourages research, admits making mistakes- demonstrates changing to different views when new information is found. Encourages critique of group. Led "by the people", not "by prophet", checks and balances.
     
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  9. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Leaderless Animal

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    I would hope not. Even a good thing can be twisted to bad. When the Buddha offered an end to dukkha he probably didn't envision Japanese pilots flying into warships.
     
    #9 Secret Chief, Aug 9, 2022
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  10. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    It's strange for so many to recognize the advantages of things like the US constitution while not employing the same governing structure within their own religious groups.

    If I was a god who wanted everyone to think for themselves- no borrowed light - I would curse all religious organizations and leaders to lead followers astray - to undermine everyone's faith in any groups :)
     
  11. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Leaderless Animal

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    You'd be doing yourself out of a job. :p
     
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  12. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    At the moment I think one of the biggest cults are the Covid cult and climate change cult. In them the group-think is strong. It prevents them to hear voice of reason. And I think reason is the best antidote for cults. The problem is, how to get the reason available, when it is blocked and censored. In family environment it can be easier to help the person to start think again, because one can have direct contact. In larger society it can be more difficult, when all opposing voices can be canceled. Still, I think the best way is to help people to think for themselves again. Probably the biggest thing that can prevent it is fear. That is why it is good to alleviate fear and it would be good to get rid of irrational fear.

    Therefore my answer to the question "What do you think happened to their mind?" is, they got hypnotized by fear. Fear is what paralyzes persons mind and then the person is easier to control. And this is why I like what Yoda says here:

    "...Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering..." - Yoda

    Yes, he is a fictional character, but the that is still true. However, different cults may have different reasons of fear. If you want to counter the fear, you must know what is the source of fear and then show how to come over it.
     
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  13. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    Although I now try to stay moderate and take the middle ground in all things (politically and religiously independent, see points on all sides), I agree fear is used by many groups.
    Fear of the "end of the world"
    Fear of those not in one’s group.

    Yes, fear, demonizing everyone else.
    After debates in this website, I'm not sure logic works.

    We can learn from those who have escaped. It's difficult to show kindness to those of different beliefs, but caring - kindness - that is what works.

    There is a spectrum within all groups, watching videos like the above help us become more careful in our own beliefs, and better interact with others.

    Covert hypnosis - Wikipedia
    "Grooming", ie, "The hypnotist gains rapport[13][14] with the listener(s) and the hypnotist maintains psychological congruency[15] (the act of truly acting towards your goals without hesitation[clarification needed]), both linguistically and in one's nonverbal communication. As the subject listens while feeling a psychological connection with the hypnotist and the hypnotist displaying behaviors such as confidence and understanding,[13] the hypnotist then presents linguistic data in the form of metaphor:"

    Jesus used metaphors. Ethical vs unethical undue influence - most people "groom" others, believing themselves ethical. Messiah complex haha
     
    #13 idea, Aug 10, 2022
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2022
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