Saturday, 16 May 2009

Was Davy Brainwashed?



Brainwashed. That a common accusation for anyone involved in some of the debates on the Internet and the offline world. Most often from the sites I read (such as Ray Comfort) it originates from Atheists against religious belief, intelligent design and also creationism. I am sure the converse has been true on occasion.

What is brainwashing? After all if it has happened to me I may not remember so time to have a peek online for some answers. The more I read the more I see it is ineffective. Unless the brainwasher has the individuals imprisoned, sleep deprived and has 100% control of information they subject flips back quickly to their non-washed state.

So it is a baseless accusation of a technique which even if Christian’s used would not work. Let’s take a step back and look at the debating and reasoning technique of these individuals:

  1. Knowingly make false accusations of brainwashing. Some of this could be hyperbole or frustration in debate.
  2. Evidence of brainwashing other that a few fringe criminal cults is non-existent shows a persistence in unproven ideas and accusations. Again this could partially be those who are just there for a fight.
  3. Modern psychologists suggest criticisms of others often reflect our own faults. Very commonly in evolution debates they openly claim they want 100% control of information supplied on origins. Even a footnote of Creationism or ID in a textbook is unacceptable. Christians on the other hand write, debate and generally communicate regularly on the topic and study scientific publications. This discounts wilful self-brainwashing of Christians.
  4. Despite the strong observable and verifiable falling Church attendance and increasing diversity of views inside congregations (have you been following the Church of Scotland gay minister story for example?), the brainwashed argument is still given in an increasingly vocal manner by those claiming to be ‘rational’ and ‘evidence based’.

So stick to the facts please, you have no evidence of brainwashing and does not account for people holding their views. Yes,  in quick fire heated debates can be very very frustrating so a few vocabulary slips now and again are forgivable. We just disagree and that is okay and fine in discussion. I can tolerate that without ad hominem.

Please do not throw ‘brainwashing’ lightly when Christian's (or whomever) spend hours, day and lifetimes pouring over the arguments and agonising over the answers. Follow the evidence where it leads: Davy was not brainwashed.

Thanks to Gaetan Lee for the CC Image.


Benjamin Conway said...


Anonymous said...

I was just surfing the internet when I came across your blog. In my effort to understand myself and my own spirituality I find researching this topic very interesting. I was Born Again nearly 30 years ago. I am presently what most Christian would label "a back slider". In the past I studied the Bible attending Bible study several times a week for several/many years. My question to you is this.....

Do you really believe that someone who is brainwashed knows they are brainwashed?

The next question I have for you is have you investigated and studied, Lifton Eight Criteria of Mind Control?

I do not believe that all Christian's are brainwashed but that some of them are and operate from a place of belief (or a paradigm within themselves)....believing that their way (black and white thinking and utilization of scripture) is the truth.

I do not discount the person of Jesus Christ, I simply do believe that there are a lot of misguided brainwashed Christians. We should always be questioning OURSELVES.

After all, the people of Jonestown did not go to Ghiana for the cool aid. They went because they started with a belief and worshiped in truth the LORD JESUS CHRIST. It just led to something else. It was a slow process. Did they know?

I am personally not impressed with someone's study of scripture. Jehovah's witness study, Jews study. Mormons study....and all think they hold the answer. Interesting concepts to me. Why does everyone think they are right or have the absolute answer?

My friends and family members span all of the above groups. All these belief systems have cause separation in my family, including the Christians views. We are all basically separated from each other due to our spiritual passions. Every person believing they are separate because THEY have the truth. That "separation" becomes the thing that validates each one of us in our chosen it the Christian, JW, Mormon, or Jew....etc.

Presently and personally, I have chosen to not put God in a box believing that my little pea brain could possibly hold the magnitude of who God really is and how he operates.

Davy said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I will address these and other issues in a follow-up blog post.

Two quick points:
1) In Jonestown they did not find a single Bible. The group had left Christianity behind a long time before their tragic end.

2) I do not know anyone holds a point of view that the believe to be wrong so, of course, everyone think they are right (with a varying degree of confidence).

Hope to get that follow up written soon. I'd recommend reading 'The Case for Christ' by Lee Strobel - it is a legal minded atheist (initially) investigative journalist looking into Christianity (historically, medically etc).


Anonymous said...

I guess I should have clarified my comment regarding Jonestown. Prior to Jones Town there was a church and Jim Jones was the pastor. It was there that they followed Biblical teachings. Then is turned into something else. By the time they were leaving for Ghiana they were on to a whole different thought process and program.

I simply believe that anyone can be brainwashed in any group be it religious, political and/or corporate. To deny that is concerning to me.

I used to work at a Christian Bookstore when I was much younger and I do recall the book you mentioned.

I don't really want to get into suggesting books or anything like that, but I will suggest a website that I contributed to. It is

Davy said...

Thanks for commenting Anonymous.

I simply believe that anyone can be brainwashed in any group be it religious, political and/or corporate. To deny that is concerning to me.I will directly address this in the follow up. Will look at the website you suggested.