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Brainwashing and Indoctrination ...continued


Certain brainwashing techniques have been used by religious or quasi-religious groups to gain or keep their converts. These groups are usually cultic and hold heretical views as far as orthodox Christianity is concerned. Young people are targeted, many of whom are genuinely seeking spiritual guidance and salvation. The characteristics of a cult are
1. It is led by a strong-minded charismatic type of leader who claims some kind of special authority or revelation.

2. The commune is conducted in a strict regime demanding total obedience and often asking for the money and possessions of the adherents to be handed over.

3.The organisation isolates itself from society and other religious fellowships. Usually this includes one's own family.

In his book Battle for the Mind (1957) William Sargent includes methods employed by some Christian evangelists when seeking converts to the Faith. John Wesley, (1703-1791) founder of Methodism, is singled out to show how his way of preaching resembled the brainwashing technique. An extract from Wesley's Journal dated 1739-740 gives a report of the excited state of his congregation, often leading to temporary emotional collapse which was induced by his particular form of preaching. The phenomenon appeared after persuading his hearers to make an immediate choice between certain damnation and his own soul-saving religious views. The fear of burning in hell described by his graphic preaching could be compared with the suggestion that might be used on a returned soldier during treatment, e.g that he was in danger of being burned alive in his tank and must find a way out.

Index to the Topic
Brainwashing and Indoctrination
Legitimate Persuasion
Sinister Persuasion
Religious Persuasion
Billy Graham's methods also assessed
The Philosophy of Fear 

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