When I stated that atheist ideology was brain washing an atheist asked "when was I taken in a back room and worked over with a rubber hose while having bright lights shined in my face?" This is a crude understanding of a crude concept "brain washing." There's really no such thing, one of my sociology professors way back in undergrad school identified it as a socialization process. We can see that socialization process working all the time on any message board where atheists congregate. It consist mocking and ridicule against anyone who disagrees with their view. Hasn't it occurred to anyone to ask why atheists do all this mocking and ridicule? I chalked up to their fragile self esteem and their need to feel big by making other small. I think that's part of it it but it's only half the story.The other half is that mocking an ridicule serve the function of destabilizing the personality and making the target vulnerable to socialization. I've pointed this out before as well. The Encyclopedia of sociology has some instructive things to say on this score.
Encyclopedia of Sociology Volume 1,
Macmillan Publishing Company, New York
By Richard J. Ofshe, Ph.D.
We see these same aspects at work among atheists on message boards. Intense interpersonal attack to destabilize sense of self, that's the mocking and ridiculing. That's the use that's made of it, it's brain washing. Organized peer group, of cousre the atheists band together and form a united front, they never break ranks. Interpersonal pressure to promote conformity.
Coercive persuasion and thought reform are alternate names for programs of social influence capable of producing substantial behavior and attitude change through the use of coercive tactics, persuasion, and/or interpersonal and group-based influence manipulations (Schein 1961; Lifton 1961). Such programs have also been labeled "brainwashing" (Hunter 1951), a term more often used in the media than in scientific literature. However identified, these programs are distinguishable from other elaborate attempts to influence behavior and attitudes, to socialize, and to accomplish social control. Their distinguishing features are their totalistic qualities (Lifton 1961), the types of influence procedures they employ, and the organization of these procedures into three distinctive subphases of the overall process (Schein 1961; Ofshe and Singer 1986). The key factors that distinguish coercive persuasion from other training and socialization schemes are:
- The reliance on intense interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self to promote compliance
- The use of an organized peer group
- Applying interpersonal pressure to promote conformity
- The manipulation of the totality of the person's social environment to stabilize behavior once modified
Thought-reform programs have been employed in attempts to control and indoctrinate individuals, societal groups (e.g., intellectuals), and even entire populations. Systems intended to accomplish these goals can vary considerably in their construction. Even the first systems studied under the label "thought reform" ranged from those in which confinement and physical assault were employed (Schein 1956; Lifton 1954; Lifton 1961 pp. 19-85) to applications that were carried out under nonconfined conditions, in which nonphysical coercion substituted for assault (Lifton 1961, pp. 242-273; Schein 1961, pp. 290-298). The individuals to whom these influence programs were applied were in some cases unwilling subjects (prisoner populations) and in other cases volunteers who sought to participate in what they believed might be a career-beneficial, educational experience (Lifton 1981, p. 248).
Statements supportive of the proffered ideology that indicate adaptive attitude change during the period of the target's involvement in the reform environment and immediately following separation should not be taken as mere playacting in reaction to necessity. Targets tend to become genuinely involved in the interaction. The reform experience focuses on genuine vulnerabilities as the method for undermining self-concept: manipulating genuine feelings of guilt about past conduct; inducing the target to make public denunciations of his or her prior life as being unworthy; and carrying this forward through interaction with peers for whom the target develops strong bonds. Involvement developed in these ways prevents the target from maintaining both psychological distance or emotional independence from the experience. (Ibid)I've seen this on boards many times. Someone who seems like a normal Christian will be mocked and ridicule. Suddenly they start consider the atheist might have a good point, next thing you know they way they are an atheist. This is always followed by a denunciation of of their former belief system and big confessions about how narrow minded they were and how wrong and bad they were to be Christians.
They create a sense of dependency upon the group, threaten the stragglers with ridicule if they say unacceptable things, and destabilize others weak targets to so they can take them over. First the destroy self esteem then promise new self esteem based upon self acceptance. When one announces that he's come over, o man do they make a big deal. Out comes the welcome wagon they all start patting him on the back. I remember a girl on CARM a few years ago. She seems fairly strong as a Christian and at least convinced. She began voices a few doubts. They began calling her names telling her how stupid she is. always saying little snide things to indicate "your are not good enough." She kept growing in doubts. Finally she announced he was an atheist and they began saying "I knew you were intelligent all along." The same little pigs who told her how stupid she was began making over her Einstein-like mind.
When you see atheists just sort of idling just saying one banal stupid thing after another all oriented around mocking Chrsitians and mocking beliefs, that's the brain washing in progress. Its' a socialization process that offers the lonely outcast a social support net work as long as they illustrate that they can spout the ideology. When they are repeating the slogans of atheism they are showing that they belong in the group. When others join them they are recognizing their membership.