Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mind Control, Psychology, and Religious Experience

Mind control aka coercive persuasion aka thought reform is absolutely different from normal religious experience. Mind control is either deceptive or coercive. Normal religious experience is not. Mind control is a psychological phenomenon. Normal religious experience is a theological phenomenon, though it includes some psychological matters. However, religious experience cannot be understood only in the realm of psychology.

What psychologists can observe are some outward things, however, they are unable to give them a proper interpretation without religion. For example, one famous psychologist made an experiment. She invited Christian, Muslims, Buddhists and followers of other religions. She asked them to pray while their brain waves were being measured by electroencephalograph. The result of this experiment was that she found out that they all had low brain waves at the time of prayer. Since this psychologist believed in God, though she did not follow any religion, she made a conclusion that the low brain waves at the time of prayer indicate that a person contacts God in prayer. She also concluded that the frequency of brain waves indicate the depth of a person's contact with God.

In principle, what she found was only the low brain waves at the time of prayer. Many atheist psychologists would argue with her conclusions.

However, if people are able to contact God in prayer, it is absolutely possible that this contact will cause some psychological and physiological phenomena. Strictly speaking, these phenomena do not prove God's existence or God's contacts with people. However, they, at least, might indicate that. So, an attempt to explain these phenomena only by psychology is wrong.

The case of religious cults is more complicated. For example, many abusive churches hold Christian doctrines the same as good and benign churches. This means that, in principle, their members should have the same Christian experience. However, abusive churches use mind control. It means that the members experience both mind control and Christian experience. Moreover, mind control influences their religious experience. Then, it is hard to distinguish their pure religious experience and their religious experience influenced by mind control.

Probably, the best way is to ask a question, "Does this experience match the Bible or mind control techniques?" For example, a pastor says, "If you leave my church, you will go to hell." The Bible does not say that leaving a particular church will cause to lose salvation. However, one of the methods of mind control is to indoctrinate phobias of leaving the group. This means that cult leaders teach the members of their cults that if they leave, they will perish, lose salvation, and so on. So, this pastor does not teach the Bible, but uses methods of mind control instead.

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