I used to spend a lot of time debating fundamentalist Christians on a few online debate forums. Most of them are nice enough people but apparently impervious to reason, logic, rationality, common sense, etc., when it comes to their religious beliefs. You can show a Christian the truth and facts over and over and over again and they still won’t get it. I have had the experience of having a Christian state something dogmatic, such as the absurd idea that the Bible is inerrant and infallible, which was easily disprovable. I disproved their claim and any reasonable person would have learned and adjusted their views. Not Christians! They just keep posting the same tired, easily disproved arguments over and over again in spite of the fact that they have been soundly refuted. They refuse to learn. Why?
The reasons are simple but very important to be aware of and understand — BRAINWASHING and FEAR. The Christian church uses several known brainwashing techniques to gain and then keep converts. Here is an example: Ever been to a church service where the same song is sung over and over and over again? I have, and it is a common practice. What the vast majority of church members do not know is that this is a brainwashing technique. The repetition of the song breaks down mental barriers and puts people in an extremely suggestible state. The music plays a part as well. Deep bass tones played rhythmically and repeatedly will cause people to enter an altered state of consciousness – they go in and out of trance while the song is playing. Watch a Charismatic praise & worship service or pay attention next time you are in a church service. You will notice some folks staring blankly into space. They are in a hypnotic trance. Some preachers also use a speaking technique known as “voice roll”, which also has a hypnotic effect. While in a relaxed, altered state, most people’s defenses (and critical thinking skills) are down and what they are taught at that time they will not necessarily think through for themselves. So, while the defenses are down, the brainwashing and indoctrination takes place.
FEAR is another tactic that the Christian church uses and, unfortunately, they use it well. Christians are taught that the Bible is the “word of God” and that they have the only truth. Anything that disagrees with the Bible and/or their denomination’s interpretation of the Bible is a deception. For example, all other religions are a deception. The scientific theory of biological evolution is a deception. If it doesn’t agree with the Bible, it is a demonic deception designed to keep us from believing the Bible and therefore being “saved”. According to the Church, you must believe their way or you have displeased God and are going to Hell forever to be tormented for eternity with no hope of reprieve. The Hell doctrine is nothing more than a heinously cruel fear tactic that has been used successfully for centuries. It should be obvious that the concepts of a Loving God and an eternal Hell are diametrically opposed ideas. With this kind of pressure and these kinds of fear tactics, is it any wonder that Christians don’t think for themselves?
The best thing to do regarding your Christian relatives and friends is to realize that, while they are well-meaning in their beliefs, they have been brainwashed. Brainwashed people cannot see the truth that is right before their eyes and they will deny facts that do not agree with their beliefs. Brainwashing causes a disconnect in the mind of the Christian believer between demonstrable reality and religious fantasy. Reality is filtered out in favor of the religious dogma/fantasy.
Recovery from brainwashing and the fear tactics absolutely is possible! There are those like me who woke up on their own and came back to the real world and there are those who are helped back to the real world by those who care about them.
It is very important to understand that fundamentalist Christianity is a harmful and destructive cult and that it is not by any means a harmless or benign belief system. Any institution that employs brainwashing techniques and fear tactics to win and keep a following cannot be considered to be a harmless organization or one which deserves respect.