Is There An
Is there anything one can say to a good friend that has succumbed to the lies of the born again sect and is now trying to convert others? Is there any "anti-brainwash" technique? We are beside ourselves with grief in the loss of our friend.
From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 11:43 PM
I usually let people believe what they feel they must. However, Ted Patrick, the (in)famous "cult deprogrammer" once told me that asking questions to which the answers lie outside the cultic world view is a very effective method for prompting the rational side back to work. I remember is him telling me that Hara Krsna devotees, vegetarians by divine decree, also see the Christian Bible as authoritative. Unfortunately for the credibility of that sect, I Timothy 4:1-4 says:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Thus, according to Patrick, this would produce a contradiction in the mind of a Hare Krsna devotee. (I wouldn't know: this is just what Patrick told me, as a form of example of what he was saying about questions to which the answers lie outside the cultic world view.) As a result, says Patrick, the rational side of the human mind naturally seeks to reconcile this apparent contradiction. While in the cultic state, says Patrick, believers are trained to rationalize the more common objections, or taught to believe that anyone who disagrees with the cult or is not a member of the cult is evil or of the devil, etc. What Patrick would do was to keep pummeling the victim with questions of this nature, until, as Patrick and others describe it, the victim would "snap" back to their former selves.
Edmund D. Cohen, author of The Mind of the Bible Believer, thinks there's more to it than that. The core doctrine of the Christian church, suggests Cohen, coupled with the strategies used over the centuries to gain the power the church now enjoys, is extremely anti-human. My view is that over the centuries, certain key ideas in the Bible have shown themselves to be very effective in "making disciples" of the unwary, as well as many who are forced to endure repeated Christian proselytization efforts, such as the captive audience in a Rescue Mission who must endure fundamentalist Christian sermons in order even to eat.
Patrick infiltrated Moses David's "Children of God" cult and was able to scale a fence to effect an escape. He said that had he stayed there six more hours, he would have stayed indefinitely. That's how powerful some of these techniques are, says Patrick.
While agreeing with the part about nonmembers being seen as evil, Cohen details seven phases or "devices" that a Christian convert goes through during the process of conversion. These devices, says Cohen, are:
1. The Benign Attractive Persona of the Bible
2. Discrediting the World
3. Logocide (the killing of the meanings of certain words, particularly the words love, life, death, truth, and wisdom)
4. A relentless assault on one's personal integrity
5. Dissociation Induction (inducing a fear of what is germane to one's human nature, particularly the natural human emotions -- except guilt, of course)
6. Bridge Burning (closing off any paths which might influence the believer not in keeping with the dogma)
7. Holy Terror (fear of what, in the afterlife, awaits any believer who fails to subjugate her or his human intelligence and will to the wishes of the perceived god -- that is, the religious leaders)
These seven devices are overviewed in an anonymous critique of Cohen's book, posted on our website.
Conspicuously absent from Cohen's book is a clear and accessible description of how to bring somebody out of this state of mind. Cohen, instead, warns of such things as state-church entanglement as a preventive measure (George W. Bush, anyone?). It was Cohen who helped Frank Zappa write his scathing denunciations of Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker, "Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk" and "When The Lie Gets So Big."
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
people with no reason to believe
Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.