by Kim Sandy
Just who is being brainwashed?
When I was a teenager I began to tell my grandmother about Jesus Christ. I didn’t hammer her with my belief, but as we would talk it would come up naturally in conversation. Her response was to tell me that I take after my great-great-grandmother who was also ‘religious’ and then, when I pointed out that faith in God was not something that could be passed down through our genes, like eye-colour or height etc, she told me she thought Christians (including me) were actually brain-washed.
For years it hurt me that she thought I was brain-washed. She wasn’t an educated lady, but she was streaks ahead of Richard Dawkins in her assumptions that I (and others like me) were simply deluded.
So am I brainwashed? Bearing in mind that those being brainwashed often don’t know it, I want to look at the evidence – who is being brainwashed and who is qualified to make judgements?
Brainwashing normally occurs in one of two ways. Firstly it occurs through subliminal messages – where something is repeated so frequently that you begin to believe it.
Okay – so its true – I have heard from about the age of 3 or 4 that there is a God and that this God created our world. However, as an adult the bible tells me not to believe everything I hear. I am not to take everything at face value, but am to ask questions of it and seek out the truth (I’m not sure this is typical brainwashing strategy).
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The apostle Paul said ‘Test everything. Hold on to what is good’ ( 1 Thessalonians 5 : 21). The bible tells me I am not to put my brain in my backpack and go skipping through life blindly ignoring every question that is raised against God, or accepting every statement made in the name of God. Jesus tells me I am to ‘Love the Lord [my] God with all [my] heart and with all [my] soul and with all [my] MIND.’This is the first and GREATEST commandment! (Matthew 22 : 37 – 38). I am not even to accept everything that a preacher, apologist or teacher says without being careful to check that this is indeed what is right: Jesus said: ‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.’ Matthew 7 : 15. I am not even supposed to rely on my own judgements and see myself as the fount of all knowledge – setting myself up as judge over what I personally like and don’t like, over what I personally agree with or don’t agree with. The bible tells me not to ‘rely on my own understanding.’ (Proverbs 3 : 5).
So, repeating something to me over and over again is not going to be so effective if I am constantly checking it out. However, it strikes me that my grandmother, an atheist constantly believed all subliminal messages put to her that there was no God without ever stopping to question whether this was true or not, without ever checking anything for herself. When I asked her what she believed about the Universe and where it came from she told me that it had always been here. The bible told me that this could not possibly be true. The bible told me that in the beginning God spoke the world into being…
Today science backs this up. Science used to believe that the world was eternal – it had always been here and always would be. Scientists now know that the universe almost certainly had a beginning and that it will almost certainly come to an end, what they don’t know is WHY the universe began, and they are still guessing at how…
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