Religion, skepticism, and carving out a spiritual life post-Mormonism
TED Talk Tuesday: Diane Benscoter on How Cults Think
Thanks so much for the warning. I can't watch it then. I'm easily disturbed.Yours is the same reason I feel so bad for my Mormon family members. They can't get out because they are brainwashed. I hate the way the church has made their minds think. Especially when I talk to my brother. It breaks my heart all the unecessary suffering he takes on.
"Viral memetic infection" (about 3:30 or so)That is a great phrase. It isn't just religion that can manipulate this part of our wiring, but it must certainly be addressed if we are to dissolve both circular logic and the us/them paradigm.There's an interesting memetic lexicon at www.lucifer.com/virus/memlox.html
I experienced the same modes of thinking when I was caught up in the whole born again Christian Evangelical WWJD Northwest movement of the mid 90s. I not only was an already practicing Christian who got re-indoctrinated into an even more "viral strain" of my faith, but I also became a proselytizer on a mission to save souls for Christ!Luckily is was this born again variety of memetic infection, rather than an apocalyptic mode of thinking, such as Seventh Day Adventist of Jehovah's Witnesses. Even so, we were all under the God delusion, and the idea that the second coming was imminent, that the rapture would occur (something which is Biblically unsupported and completely unsound) and that we'd all be whisked away into heave in just a matter of a few short years. My mom still thinks she'll see Jesus return before she dies.As like many Christians today, she believes it when her Pastor or Preacher talks about signs of the coming times, and all the corruption and prophesies which are happening, and all the Biblical support for the prophesies which give credence to those views. Anyway, much of this sort of thinking is strained, and unreliable at best. Such Millenialism isn't always harmful, but certainly it can't be at all healthy. Certainly it has the potential to rapidly become harmful, and that's when it becomes a cult-phenomenon. Cults are just baby religions after all. Like a baby virus, it takes time for them to evolve and adapt, and become resistant to the antibiotics of reason. It takes hundreds, even thousands, of years before they can become a fully actualized religion.
Interestingly, not long ago Google greeted me with some astonishing prophetic articles that may be of interest,namely, "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "Famous Rapture Watchers," "X-Raying Margaret," "Walvoord Melts Ice," "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy" and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" - a variety of prophetic outlooks for discerning believers. Whatever happens, we should be prepared, as I see it. Lord bless.
What I don't understand is why cults are "bad" and more mainstream religions like Christianity are "good." Aren't they basically the same thing? Don't both discourage independent, critical thinking and encourage their constituents to just "have faith" and they will reap an eternal reward of some kind?