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:
- Knowingly make false accusations of brainwashing. Some of this could be hyperbole or frustration in debate.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.