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The Problem of Indoctrination

By Wertbag ~

Indoctrination is to be taught what is true, with the belief formed due to the authority of the teacher rather than the truth of the claim. Everybody has this in their lives, as children we are made to believe our parents and elders know more than us, so believing what they tell us is the best way to keep us safe. If our parents teach us about Zeus, Odin, Krishna, or Allah, then our young minds will accept without question that these facts are true. It is only once we get older and understand the world, can we potentially spot errors in our thinking. However, by this point our worldview is well cemented, and effects such as confirmation bias and sunk cost come in to reinforce the ideas while competing ideas are discarded without consideration.

Regardless of which religion, if any, was correct, the majority of the world must be wrong.

This leads to the question, do you believe what you believe for good reasons, or because it was the belief structure you were raised in? Statistically you are likely to be of the religion which is dominant in your region. If you are born in India, you will likely be a Hindu, born in the middle east and you are likely raised a Muslim, while in the western world Christianity holds sway. Can you honestly say that had you been born elsewhere that you wouldn’t have been a true believer of whatever the cultural norm was? Around 90% of people are the religion they were taught at birth, so while not universal, it is by far the biggest indicator of what someone’s likely belief will be.

Some will say they believe due to feeling God’s presence, or from seeing what they perceive as miracles, and yet people from competing, non-compatible religions will say the exact same things. Once you have been taught to believe in a religion, then you will by default attribute any event in your life to that existing structure. The same event seen by three different people could well be seen by each as proof of each of their own Gods.

If tomorrow all teaching of Christianity ceased and the written records removed, then the religion would cease to exist. Unlike science which could be rediscovered due to matching the real world, there is nothing in religion that you can come to without being taught. God is not revealing Himself and very few believe that there are new holy books being written that should be incorporated into the bible. The only modern church attempting to do so is the Mormons. Believing that Joseph Smith received new books of the bible. While this is considered heresy by most Christians, millions have flocked to the Mormon church and the children of those families are in turn raised with that belief from birth. This does go to show how easy it is to convince huge numbers of people of a lie, and how indoctrinating their children continues the growth of that religion regardless of the majority of the world considering those teachings false.

People are absolutely convinced that Allah is the one true God, others are absolutely convinced that Jesus is God, still others that any one of the thousands of Gods that have been recorded throughout history are the real one. We would all agree that 99% of the Gods throughout recorded history were man-made, but the believer needs to say the one they were raised in just happened to be the right one. Out of all the thousands of possibilities you got so lucky, that you are right and everyone else is wrong.

Originally posted in the Reasons for Disbelief thread on Ex-Christian.Net