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I think someone I know has been bainwashed by his church

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posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 09:14 AM
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I've had a temporary job for the past few weeks (I finished yesterday) and obviously I've met some new people through this job - one of which has some extreme beliefs in Christianity and I'm sure was trying to convert me to the cause. To me, it seemed like he was brainwashed.

After about a week of knowing this guy, we sat down in the café, and he starting questioning me about whether I believed in God etc. I told him that I'm not exactly agnostic, rather I'd "like" to believe that God exists, although I don't think he does. He then asked me if I, or anyone in my family was religious. I told him that I had been loosely bought up as a Church of England Christian, although I don't go to church and neither do my parents or siblings, only my grandmother does. Obviously I've been a few times as a child though.

After this, he started to re-sight stories from the bible (or what I believed was from the bible), explaining that Jesus was bought to earth by God to take the punishment for all of the bad things us humans have done. In other words – Jesus died in our place, so we could carry on living our lives, as a sign of forgiveness from God.

He then started going on about how Satan rules hell, and how he doesn't want to go there because apparently even Adolf Hitler is down there crying about all of the bad things he had done.

Just before we left go to back to work, he told me to "think about" what he had said, and he didn't mention it again that day. During all of this, I was just going along with him adding a "yeah, of course" or "yes, yes" every now and then.

The next day he came in, and the first thing he said was "did you think about what we spoke about yesterday" – it was like he thought he could convert me to his cause just like that. I brushed him off politely by saying something like "yeah, but I still don't believe it that much".

During the week, his "did you think anymore about what we said" line cropped up a couple of times, and I still tried to avoid him going into re-sightings of bible stories again. But one time he just broke out and started telling me that because I've broken a lot of the ten commandments, I will go to the gates of heaven and not get let in. I explained that he too had probably broken some of the commandments, but he replied by saying that "God has forgiven me, that's why Jesus died for us. Now I am a son of God" (or something like that). I still tried not to dwell on the matter for too long, as he'd only go back to the first story he told me – about Jesus dyeing as a sign of forgiveness from God, so we moved on and stopped talking about it.

After I just finished my final day of work, we shook hands (as we'd probably never see each other again), and he gave me a small ten page booklet, and told me to "have a read of it, it might change your idea of God." Well on the train home I thought why not, so I skipped through a few of the pages in this booklet… and low and behold, it was his story of how Jesus died to grant us forgiveness.

As soon as I read the first few pages, I thought to myself that this guy has got to have been brainwashed or at least an extremely devout Christian who wants to convert people. The story he told me in the café that time, was literally EXACTLY the same as what was in the booklet – as if he knew it off by heart. But really, the text in this book was the only kind of reference he ever used when talking about God, and religion. I don't really know how to take this – it looks like someone had just given him this booklet, and he was suddenly converted to a believer, and then he too thought he must hand it on to try and convert someone else.

[edit on 1/9/2007 by nickh]




posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 09:14 AM
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So, do you think that religion like this is simply a matter of brainwashing all of their followers into believing the stories from the bible etc?

I find it quite disturbing to be honest. But anyway, I've taken a few snaps of the pages in the booklet he gave me (these are only the half of the pages, with a few statements and some pictures – the other half just go into a bit more detail about what they're outlining in these statements):

the booklet

[edit on 1/9/2007 by nickh]



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 09:20 AM
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Well, I would say count yourself lucky that it was a temporary position. lol I feel sorry for the folks who have to put up with him on a daily basis long-term.

I don't think he's brainwashed. I do think he's a bit overboard. I do think he's way out of line. And I do think his behavior is disruptive and probably will eventually need to be addressed by his management. I also personally believe he has interpreted the Great Commission wrong - which seems to happen a lot in evangelical churchs - and has taken it to mean he needs to convert people. I do not agree with that interpretation.



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 10:44 AM
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Originally posted by nickh
To me, it seemed like he was brainwashed.


I think you've made a fair statement here, saying it seemed like instead of making assumptions/presumptions.


Originally posted by nickh
The story he told me in the café that time, was literally EXACTLY the same as what was in the booklet – as if he knew it off by heart.


That could be the case. Not sure if that qualifies as brainwashing as much as finding a resource that a person likes so much that they do their best to follow it or template it.


Originally posted by nickh
I don't really know how to take this – it looks like someone had just given him this booklet, and he was suddenly converted to a believer, and then he too thought he must hand it on to try and convert someone else.


I say ask him. Maybe that was true. For some people it is a matter of faith alone. I was much more proof-driven however. In retrospect, I wish I had that kind of faith to just receive a booklet about God and believe...but it's hard for me to explain why other than to say the route I had to go through was more painful.


Originally posted by nickh
So, do you think that religion like this is simply a matter of brainwashing all of their followers into believing the stories from the bible etc?


I think you're taking a good approach. You're wary of the information you're being given but are not brushing it off as nonsense. Test everything, hold on to the good.


Originally posted by nickh
I find it quite disturbing to be honest.


It's supposed to be disturbing. If not, I'd question whether or not you have a spiritual pulse. I think you're more awake and aware than most people you'd meet daily.


Originally posted by nickh
But anyway, I've taken a few snaps of the pages in the booklet he gave me (these are only the half of the pages, with a few statements and some pictures – the other half just go into a bit more detail about what they're outlining in these statements):


The booklet is a simplified overview of the gospel message. I think it's good because many people get bogged down in frivilous details. If you have questions about anything in particular, I'd say ask your friend (or me if you prefer). Ask other believers about your friends approach, see what they say.

I get the impression from your post that your friend is smothering you. Tell him you need your space or time to think if that's how you feel. I think it's a rare thing that you have a friend who cares so much that he's willing to go the distance with you to help however he can. Your friend should agree with this statement though: "I cannot convert you, that's what God does if you're willing to have Him do so."

Hope this helps, I'm very interested in hearing how this progresses so please update if you can. And, if I can be of any help, please feel free to U2U me anytime.


[edit on 1-9-2007 by saint4God]



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 11:02 AM
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reply to post by saint4God
 



Hey, thanks for your input saint4God. But I don't think I'm going to be seeing this guy again. I was just working with him for a few weeks, but now we've both finished working and we don't even live near each other - so it seems like there's a very slim chance I'm going to bump into him anytime soon.

However I'd like to add one more point about this guy. We were out getting some food one day from Sainsbury's, and before we went in we both said that we didn't have much money, so we just went to buy what we could. I bought a sandwich, and he bought a couple of pastries from the bakery. On the way out whilst walking back to work, there was this guy sitting on a bench (who looked homeless). My friend offered him one of his pastries, but the man politely declined, stating that he was not infact homeless but just waiting for someone.

Now, I don't think the guy I was with would have offered this stranger his food if I wasn't there. I think he was just "showing" how kind he is because of what he believes in, trying to "push" me to be like him, to convert me. He didn't really say much about it though... we just carried on walking back to work as if nothing had happened.

I found that quite weird too, him thinking that he could change me as simply as that..



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by nickh
Hey, thanks for your input saint4God. But I don't think I'm going to be seeing this guy again. I was just working with him for a few weeks, but now we've both finished working and we don't even live near each other - so it seems like there's a very slim chance I'm going to bump into him anytime soon.


Gotcha, well, maybe the advice will be helpful if you encounter the situation again.


Originally posted by nickh
However I'd like to add one more point about this guy. We were out getting some food one day from Sainsbury's, and before we went in we both said that we didn't have much money, so we just went to buy what we could. I bought a sandwich, and he bought a couple of pastries from the bakery. On the way out whilst walking back to work, there was this guy sitting on a bench (who looked homeless). My friend offered him one of his pastries, but the man politely declined, stating that he was not infact homeless but just waiting for someone.


I guess it depends on how he did it. If he assumed he was homeless that's a bit presumptuous...or could be considered "pre-judice" when taken to the extreme. For example if he went up to him and said, "oh you poor poor homeless person, let me show you how generous of a person I am by offering you a pastry..." that sounds more like self-patting than generosity. Either way, it'd be really hard to know what your friend was feeling or what was in his heart.

If he was walking by and said "hey there, want a pastry?" Then no assumptions are made.


Originally posted by nickh
Now, I don't think the guy I was with would have offered this stranger his food if I wasn't there. I think he was just "showing" how kind he is because of what he believes in, trying to "push" me to be like him, to convert me.


It is a possibility. Jesus himself mentions this problem here:

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." - Matthew 6:2

Should he behave differently because he was around you? The answer should be "no". If he was just being himself, then it looks the the right course of action.


Originally posted by nickh
He didn't really say much about it though... we just carried on walking back to work as if nothing had happened.


This makes me lean toward him just being himself. He didn't brag, boast, or say, "See that? That is what a Christian is supposed to do".


Originally posted by nickh
I found that quite weird too, him thinking that he could change me as simply as that..


I can understand why it would seem weird...as I've been one who has been through a lot of weird stuff. One benefit to being on ATS is that I get to be with others who also have been through weird stuff.


I'll be candid just based on what you've mentioned here, I don't think he thought he could change you. I do believe he was hoping he could help you or was doing his best to try to help. Your friend wasn't changed by a person so it would be a bit naive to believe he (as a person) could change someone else. We're cable repair people, we can't provide cable service, only help in establishing the connection. The booklet you'd linked gives kind of an illustration on how that works.

[edit on 1-9-2007 by saint4God]



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 11:32 AM
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As Im new to ATS, I would really love to know if I can do a search for threads started by this originator. Can somebody either U2U me, or post here

[edit on 1-9-2007 by SmokeyJo]



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 12:00 PM
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I grew up in the "bible belt" of America and especially in the area of Jerry Falwell's church. Those bible-thumpers are everywhere in that area. That's why I left. I think it is a form of brainwashing because the leaders of the church are basically getting the congregation to convert more people for their own cause. It's all about power and money.

If you know anything about hypnotic suggestion, the "leader" will use certain voice techniques that place the listeners in an alpha state and that allows them to plant suggestions in the minds of the listeners. Even the background music and decor can be setup to enhance the alpha state.

When people are acting under those conditions, it's certainly creepy to hear them recite what they've been told in their efforts to convert others into their "cult". In my opinion, a real and honest religious group would not attempt to convert others.



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 12:11 PM
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reply to post by SmokeyJo
 


Just click on the person's name above their avatar. This will bring you to their profile page, then click the "[threads]" link at the top of the page.



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 12:16 PM
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Originally posted by annestacey
If you know anything about hypnotic suggestion, the "leader" will use certain voice techniques that place the listeners in an alpha state and that allows them to plant suggestions in the minds of the listeners. Even the background music and decor can be setup to enhance the alpha state.


That really sounds creepy, and certainly a way to "convert" people. I hope that doesn't happen too much around the world, but I guess it's probably frequent in more than a few places..



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 01:01 PM
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reply to post by nickh
 


I am a christian and have been one for about 21 years. One thing I know is that you canot convert a non-believer into a believer. tho many say that they can they just don't get it. A believer is drawn to God only one way. That way is under the convicting Spirit of God; that is to say God draws you to himself. All others are left to wander in the dark. This is not to say that God picks one to be saved and another to be condemned; He just knows whether you will answer him or not. This However does not mean that God does not attempt to reach the hardened non-believer he does. Every single living person can have access to God simply by asking for it. Our love for our sin however separates us and prevents us from taking that step and thus we plead ignorance or find conteptment within our own unbelief.

The Word of God has come into the world; this word became flesh. We call him Jesus He has made it plain that he is the on;y way to god and that all otheres are liars and thieves.


"And this is the Condemnation, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:19

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me drawhim: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:44


I was drawn to God By God: he saved me from a life of unspeakable sin and shame. He washed me and made me a son. For me to just go about willy nilly trying to convert someone to become a believer would only cheapen the heavy price Jesus paid for me. It has taken me about 21 years to understand that.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life, there simply is no other. Though I could shout this all day long from the roof tops it simply won't make a difference, because if God doesn't call your name, you won't respond.

Jesus summed it up best right here:
"My Sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." John 10 27-30

On the other side of the coin we find many who like to wrap the Name of Jesus around their sin ful lifestyles and call them selves believers. These are Hypocrites and liars and will all be exposed as such on the final day. so don't let your consideration to ever become a follower of Jesus hinge on what they do or say. Jesus already knows what they really are inside-condemned!



posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 01:00 AM
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To the OP, let me add, that not only you have experienced this. I have experienced this, not once, not twice, not thrice, not four times...I have encountered people like this too many times...I've lossed count.

And from what I have experienced, I would say it is a kind of brain washing....no, no, I take that back. It's what happens when people let other people think for them...and that's all it is, nothing else.



posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 07:01 AM
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Originally posted by Graystar
reply to post by nickh
 


I am a christian and have been one for about 21 years. One thing I know is that you canot convert a non-believer into a believer. tho many say that they can they just don't get it. A believer is drawn to God only one way. That way is under the convicting Spirit of God; that is to say God draws you to himself. All others are left to wander in the dark. This is not to say that God picks one to be saved and another to be condemned; He just knows whether you will answer him or not. This However does not mean that God does not attempt to reach the hardened non-believer he does. Every single living person can have access to God simply by asking for it. Our love for our sin however separates us and prevents us from taking that step and thus we plead ignorance or find conteptment within our own unbelief.

The Word of God has come into the world; this word became flesh. We call him Jesus He has made it plain that he is the on;y way to god and that all otheres are liars and thieves.


"And this is the Condemnation, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:19

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me drawhim: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:44


I was drawn to God By God: he saved me from a life of unspeakable sin and shame. He washed me and made me a son. For me to just go about willy nilly trying to convert someone to become a believer would only cheapen the heavy price Jesus paid for me. It has taken me about 21 years to understand that.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life, there simply is no other. Though I could shout this all day long from the roof tops it simply won't make a difference, because if God doesn't call your name, you won't respond.

Jesus summed it up best right here:
"My Sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." John 10 27-30

On the other side of the coin we find many who like to wrap the Name of Jesus around their sin ful lifestyles and call them selves believers. These are Hypocrites and liars and will all be exposed as such on the final day. so don't let your consideration to ever become a follower of Jesus hinge on what they do or say. Jesus already knows what they really are inside-condemned!




Wow. The Preachers are out in force on ATS at the moment.

The height of arrogance is the creation of god in our own image - a god who is so fallible that he "condemns" people and has the human failings of causing pain to others if we do not do as he says.

I have a much higher opinion than you of any god who may or may not exist. And i can promise you - if it is your definition of God which is true and real - i would rather burn in the scorching hot pits of hell in a pool of my own faeces and vomit than for a single moment live in the kingdom of a murderous, hateful and venegeful god such as yours.

My favourite part of the bible is the part about dinosaurs where Jesus says to John "holy crap thats a big freaking lizard!".......oh wait




posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by annestacey
If you know anything about hypnotic suggestion, the "leader" will use certain voice techniques that place the listeners in an alpha state and that allows them to plant suggestions in the minds of the listeners. Even the background music and decor can be setup to enhance the alpha state.

When people are acting under those conditions, it's certainly creepy to hear them recite what they've been told in their efforts to convert others into their "cult".


"Watch the swinging watch, listen to the sound of my voice, you are getting sleepy"
! Now that you mention it, I have seen some people sleeping in the pews from time to time, they much be under master-slave zombie control!
I bet as soon as they leave the room, they do the pastor's bidding of praying, reading the Bible, practicing loving one another and forgiving others of their mistakes.

[edit on 2-9-2007 by saint4God]



posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by Graystar
I am a christian and have been one for about 21 years. One thing I know is that you canot convert a non-believer into a believer.


Nice work on this whole post, I only quoted part to ensure I didn't over-quote.



posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 11:28 AM
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Originally posted by saint4God
I bet as soon as they leave the room, they do the pastor's bidding of praying, reading the Bible, practicing loving one another and forgiving others of their mistakes.


I bet you a cookie they don't..

Actually I would bet the whole factory most of them don't.. I give it a 96% don't and maybe 3% might try and 1% that actually do.

Sorry man religion loses again.



posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 03:09 PM
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^ True words homie...true words!



posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 03:43 PM
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Don't worry people. Boring Christians will not be around for long. They have been thrown out of American and Europe thoroughly. You will have your Barak HUSEIN Obama (his father is a muslim he was educated in a muslim school) to lead you to your new religion - islam.

Big banks and corporations are planting islam in Europe ind US - fast. So, don't worry about those stupid Christians any more...they are almost gone.



posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 05:22 PM
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Originally posted by ThichHeaded
Actually I would bet the whole factory most of them don't.. I give it a 96% don't and maybe 3% might try and 1% that actually do.


Ah, so you agree there was no brainwashing. Thank you.



posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 05:37 PM
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Originally posted by swimmer
Boring Christians will not be around for long.


So true, us exciting Christians are encouraging a much more active role in living what we believe. /dance


Originally posted by swimmer
So, don't worry about those stupid Christians any more...they are almost gone.


Also true, Christians are becoming smarter being challenged in their beliefs and being encouraged to study and participate more. Make way for the intelligent believers.

[edit on 2-9-2007 by saint4God]




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