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muaddib 12-19-2002 02:49 PM

This post is to discuss the possibility that organized religion is nothing but "mind control" tactics. This is NOT A RELIGIOUS FLAME WAR. Any deliberate attacks on a specific religion will NOT be tolerated. Facts about specific religions may be stated, as well as opinions, but there will be no outright attacking of anyone or their religion.

I personally believe that organized religion is a form of mind control. There are a lot of reasons but the most important to me is the fact that most organized religions believe that they are the ONLY right religion. How can that be? How can a tribal native living in the jungles of South America go to hell because he does not embrace Jesus. He has never even heard of Jesus. Organized religion is also mind control because one of the main goals of a religion (in my eyes) is to enforce a certain code of morals, ethics, and behaviors on a group of people. There are consequences for not following the path that the religion sets for you (you go to "hell", etc.) and this is not right. If God made us free to choose, he didn't make us free to choose with restrictions on what choices we can and can't make. That is not freedom.

Once again, NO attacks, NO flames. Opposite opinions are welcome, let's turn this into a good debate. Let's respect each other's opinions and express our own with dignity. I hope this doesn't create something bad...have fun : :shock:

Crudd 12-19-2002 03:09 PM

Heres a nice link to take a look at. Lots of interesting info about christanity.

muaddib 12-19-2002 03:26 PM

Blocked "Abused Drugs" :P

sai 12-19-2002 03:42 PM

muaddib, you are totally right. I never accepted religion to conquer parts of my life although I accept that other people may believe in "god" and go to church and so on. To me, religion is just the most stupid thing ever invented by human beings and it is much more dangerous than any nuclear weapon.

linus 12-19-2002 05:16 PM

Most of you are probably familiar with Marx's quote, "Religion is the opiate of the masses."

This begs the question, why do the masses need to be subdued?

A good book on this topic is "The Lucifer Principle." It outlines in greatly researched detail that masses of humans and their collective actions highly resemble individual organisms and their actions. Bloom uses the term, 'superorganism' to symbolize this concept.

One of the criteria for the existence of a superorganism is shared memes. This is the 'collective subconscious' of the superorganism that allows it to act without thinking. Regardless of what the conspiracy theorists believe, the stupid white men that make grand sweeping decisions that affect millions are but the brains of the superorganism. Bloom shows that we seem to be part of a giant pulsating superorganism that has its own agendas, of which we are only a part.

It seems clear to me that Marx may have been correct in his assumptions about religion subduing the masses in his day, but in our present day how much does it subdue? The belief structure/system that a superorganism holds forces it to move when stimulated in the proper ways. An interesting author called this a 'neucoid-coorelation matrix'.

So, if religion itself is merely a neucoid-coorelation matrix that is composed of memes that, when prodded in the correct ways, forces a superorganism to act, what then?

That, we must all decide for ourselves. Take for example the recent advertising campaign in america that uses the words, 'what would jesus drive' as its slogan. This campaign is prodding the neucoid-coorelation matrix of memes within the super-organism of fundementalist christians who look to jesus (their saviour) for the example of how to conduct their lives in ways that further their cause. Namely, reducing the consumption of foreign oil in america.

So, to conclude, it is true that religion is a 'mind control' system that is used to manipulate masses of people. But, it is not beyond the resources of a few individuals to reverse the belief system and use it to their own advantage. Just something to keep, 'in mind'.


muaddib 12-19-2002 08:17 PM

Great post linus!

Sai: I do believe in a "god" maybe not a God or a god but a "god" ... a collective subconscious as linus put it. It may be personified as a god or not, but I believe that to some degree it exists.

I like linus' interpretation of the wwjd advertising campaign. I never thought of it that way (especially the fact that it is designed to reduce foreign oil in america...strange...) but yes religion can very well be used as a mind control in that sort of fashion.

Religion fills a gap in the lives of most people in some way...and they need it. For some reason it makes the vast majority of our population feel like they are a part of something someone is watching over them.

It has also been used as a form of total control (ie the crusades, witch trials, settlers in america, etc.) thousands of times throughout history. It is (was?) a scary force to deal with on that level.

Religion has also influenced our laws, ideals as people, and ways of life so we must also look at it in a positive light. Although maybe not directly (if you don't fall for religion) it has influenced you to be the very person you are through your surroundings. We must look at it in a good way because our society, technology, and many things we have were discovered or invented partly or fully because of religion.

What are some of the good/bad points of religion?

kw 12-19-2002 11:00 PM

My two cents...

To think about anything, you need to see it in its purest form to analyze it best. In the case of religion this would be a matter of time.. We would need to go back to the middle ages, or even further than that perhaps.

Back then, empires had trouble controlling their people.. There was no organized justice system, or law as we know today. Thus, religion was easily accepted by the nobles of most countries, partly by their own willingness to believe in a life after death. This added a third group to society.. There were the nobles, who controlled the lands and fought wars. There was also religious group, who were indirectly controlling the third group, which was the general population.. The general population did the rest, the regular work.. Provide food, build things, trade, etc.
Now, the reason why religion was such a 'hit', was the simple fact that societies functioned MUCH better when they had a religion..

Imagine two different situations:
- A man who's wife has died (which happened quite easily in those days) and he will never see again, which leaves him rather depressed, has to do some work for an oppressive leader that tells him that if he doesn't do so, he will get whipped.

- The same man who's wife has died, which he is told has gone to a very beautiful place called 'heaven', where everyone is always happy, who knows that if he follows the rules the religious leaders say (work hard, dont commit crimes, etc.) he will go to this very happy wonderful place, and see his lost loved ones again.

The difference is in how these two men would act.. The first man would not be motivated, and would be entirely undependable.. While the second man would work as hard as he could, be a model citizen, and generally function very well in society.

Of course, science has disproven a lot about religion (the big bang is one example, the earth being round is another ;)). So in modern times, religion has made compromise after compromise, and is constantly just as abstract as necessary so people will still find it credible. I dont believe in a god of any sort, even the most abstract ones people try to create to justify still believing in a 'god'. The aforementioned collective subconscious is a good example of this. Don't get me wrong, I believe the theories behind us all acting as a seeming 'superorganism' is correct.
Though, I see no reason to believe there is any pattern to it. It is just simple biological function. We (humans) evolved as organisms and all have different minds, which all have to function together in one society.. This forces us to all work together (we are a solidary species) and act as one 'superorganism' we could also call 'global society'. This does not mean it has a plan however, just because we can't prove it *doesn't*.
(which is how most attempts to save religion as a concept are started now, by "BUT HOW CAN YOU PROVE IT DOESNT" which really isnt much of an argument when you think about it)
My post is getting quite long,
I suppose I had better cut it off here..
I'll end by saying this, perhaps I've formulated some things poorly, I'm just typing as I go along. Excuse me if I've offended someone, but I believe I have not bashed any religious area in particular (believing in no religion at all makes me treat every one of them equally I guess ;))

Just my thoughts, please THINK about what I'm saying.. Don't think I'm wrong just because you've always thought different, try to see thngs from my point of view and reason with me..

-Kwazy Webbit

PS, A nice quote to think about too, if you are indeed a religious person:

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
-- Stephen Roberts

SantMat 12-20-2002 11:50 AM

quick post....
I got a sec here....more later

Concerning 'wwjd', 'What would Jesus Do'

Well, to sum up the absurdity of that whole 'thing':

wwjd?, well first and foremost I know that he sure wouldn't go around wearing braclets and necklaces with 'wwjd' on them ;p And trying to pump himself up to others.

hehe, always liked that

evilTeach 12-20-2002 01:06 PM

Broadening the topic...
I'd like to pose a slightly modified view RE the "mind control" issue.

Religion of an artifact of a society. It is an attempt to "civilize" the masses. In that respect, religion is a tool (and just one of many) used by a society to subdue it's members. Other tools would include television and radio (and possibly even computers and the internet?) It is civilization itself that is all about "Mind Control". Religion is just one of the ways to achieve the means.

Freud wrote a short text, "Civilization and It's Discontents." In it he proposes that civilization exists to suppress mankind's primal nature, but that this attempt is destined to fail. If you suppress these emotions by one means they'll find another way to re-emerge.

I believe that religion has been a very powerful tool used by civilization. Was religion originally intended to be used this way? Probably not. I picture one "caveman" sitting near a fire sharing his philosophy on life, with other "cavemen" nodding their heads in agreement, calling the first a "wise man". In all likelyhood, that first man didn't want to control anyone. He was just sharing his ideas. It's the others, without their own creative answers to life's mysteries, who put the first man up on a pedestal, creating a religion around his ideas (if not around the man himself).

Poor Jesus! Poor Buddha! The icons of religions around the world have become unwitting (and maybe even unwilling) pawns of a society that is using them to control others. But WHY???

Last question: What does a group (like the folks at the Vatican) gain through their use of religion in this way? Money? Power? Is that all it's really about?

I see that I've mostly posed questions and rambled on here! Sorry if my comments have been a waste! Also, please excuse my complete use of the masculine examples throughout! For all anyone knows, it was a woman that started this whole ball rolling :wink:

linus 12-21-2002 10:02 PM

It does seem to be true that religion is used to control the public. Following that thought, one must ask why that occurs. This, is extremely complex. Let's take your mourning serf example, in modern day times.

An individual works for a major corporation in the United States and is Catholic. What benefits does this individual, let's call him Muhammed, percieve himself to gain from adhering to the Catholic dogma?

(These are merely possibilities)

1. Eternal life in union with an infinite and all loving God and all of his dead relatives (who were also Catholic).
2. Not burning in a lake of fire for eternity.
3. The opportunity to be part of a community (while on this Earth) that has indirect benefits of its own.

What is the sum of these benefits, let's say the 'meta-benefit' that Muhammed may or not be aware of? It is the opportunity to be comfortable in the belief that 'things are going to be okay'. This opportunity to be comfortable is the driving force behind humanities achievements, in my opinion.

So if this is the driving force behind most human actions, what is the necessary consequence? That those with power will attempt to use their power in order to make themselves comfortable. Those in power justify their lack of moral obligation to look after the comfort of others by using Ayn Rand type philosophies of "reasonable self-interest." Regardless of that, it is clear that some people will sacrifice other's comfort in order to be more comfortable themselves.

So, logically then, in order to make myself more comfortable, I need people to work for me, and make me money. How do I convince them to do that? By making them comfortable, so they don't have to question their surroundings, they can 'just do their job'.

So religion then, is the result of the human drive to make ourselves and our families comfortable on this planet.

One can further draw back the scope of the critical eye to find the purpose of these repetitive actions that lead to a comfortable existenz. What ends does this drive of comfort achieve? The ability for reproduction is the most obvious. The continuation of our species. This is what Richard Dawkins refered to as 'the selfish gene'. It can be argued either way, whether or not the ultimate purpose of our existenz is to further our species, and that we are only doing our DNA's bidding, but for the sake of argument, let's say it is true. So if it is true that we are merely husks that have developed over time for our DNA to be comfortable and therefore continue, what is religion?

It is one of the necessary illusions that most humans give themselves unkowingly because their DNA demands it. I sometimes imagine the DNA within us whispering in our ears says, "Yeah, you'll live a life eternal in heaven.....sure....." And then the DNA snickers... But, that's just my twisted imagination :shock: [/i]

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