I have a half-baked theory that people who engage in lying, manipulation, and conspiracy readily expect the rest of us to do the same. I have read that some Christian organizations provide believers a template for their "testimony" and advise them to begin with "I used to be an atheist . . . ." One good example is Kirk Cameron, who comes across as too shallow to understand atheism or religion, but claims he was an atheist during his career as a teen actor. Some Christians may suspect we atheists use the same dodge.
Entirely possible, Craig. They've got an angle, so EVERYONE has an angle ... or a dodge ... or a scam. What is astonishing is to get away from the angles and the BS and the gamesmanship and simply deal with the FACTS. It's liberating and refreshing as hell, yet there are a lot of people out there who simply can't see it.
Somewhat tangential to your point, Robert J. Lifton characterized the attributes of thought control or brainwashing in a way that seems to me to apply to religious cults as well as totalist political regimes. His whole scheme is too long to give here, but one point is well worth quoting:
The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis.
For example, Elton Trueblood, the Quaker theologian, said, "Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation." This sounds very good—Christianity is not asking you to believe anything without proof— until you apply it to a specific question such as the virgin birth or resurrection of Christ.
The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché.
I used to go to 12-step meetings for abuse survivors. There was a great deal of good in them - people sharing experiences with other people, no longer feeling alone in their perceptions, not feeling like a "weirdo", telling truths that were unacceptable elsewhere.
But I also felt oppressed by the tyranny of 12-step cliches like "doing a geographic". I wanted to relocate but "doing a geographic" suggested that any move would be the result of false consciousness, the wrong kind of change.
I was told that recovering alcoholics really needed those cliches - that it helped (some) people struggling with an addiction to go jingoistic for awhile, it helped them get through it to adopt a sort of religion, "fake it till you make it". I can believe this.
One of those sayings that I like is "don't get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired".
It's quite possible that addicts after reaching the end of the rope might benefit from "thought-terminating cliché's," but the totalist environment is aimed at a whole group with the intention, not of helping them overcome a deficit, but of recruiting them into a cult and seducing them into voluntarily surrendering their freedom of thought and action to the cause, which is always viewed as more important than the welfare of its members. That's the difference—placing the cause ahead of the individual.
The 12-step programs aim to create a benign version of totalism and the cult environment. They have rules that show insight about the hazards, like the rule of anonymity, avoiding permanent leaders, not requiring money from people.
Probably a lot of people who go for those "thought-terminating cliches" are emotionally distressed. Lots of alcoholics and drug addicts have pulled themselves out by becoming Christian - only that is more of a cognitive trap, than the relatively benign Higher Power, work-the-12-steps model.
The leader of a cult, the guru, is also trying to fulfill their emotional needs, for love and positive regard and avoiding the conflicts that are part of most people's everyday lives. They believe the "thought-terminating cliches" to some extent although they may engage in conscious deception at the same time.
Erudite point, dear sir, @ Dr. Clark. To Laura's last comment, it seems that quite a few folks in our culture have the "snippet" syndrome, and I feel it is due to our immediate satisfaction culture. Everything is at ones fingertips, so why not a life-long healing process like addiction recovery? Sad commentary on our culture. I was in India back in 2000 and again in 2007, and now in Kolkata, even the homeless have cell phones, just like here. I'm feeling ill.....
I wonder, if someone told her that they once had a heterosexual marriage, but now are in a homosexual relationship, would she respond by saying "You were never REALLY straight in the first place"?
funny but not really that many big money heads...
are given that big money from guess who? in sports.. refer to the vatican or corporation roid... ha (i mean sponsored early in life by)... nazi gold! yikes.
and on and on.
i think they realize but can't let that net go.. they really believe in hell on earth. yet that's only when there's no ground education. hence.. xyz. islands of isolation and fat asses with no skills
in the quest for peace :::::::::10100101101010101010101~
secret cover.. that god stuff.. ha. upper lower class.. yeah yeah.. u fkn' hacks..
in line. bowing. as if the USA never broke from the lordy kings overseas.. fkaz...
inside you have those homosexual feelings.. inside you may even be a preprogrammed by eemam or preest child rapist... decon. pastor.. all bad. all lies.. fascist..
like WWII never happened!?
When I was a Christian I was taught that when 2 or more are gathered together in Jesus' name, there he is in the midst of them. When I was a child this person was Casper, the friendly ghost.
Christians are on a mission in life. Those who get the most converts get special privileges and discounts, and might get a lifetime achievement award from God himself. Even if they lied to "save souls" God will overlook it. We are to eventually populate all the other planets with "spirit people" but in the meantime we can sing songs forever and have a big volleyball game in the sky. Maybe we can play against the Muslims. In the meantime, God needs more piano players.
If the earth is round and heaven is up, then I want to know which way is up? Boy, I'm really confused now!