CHURCH SERVICES VIOLATE TRUTH IN ADVERTISING LAWS. If you were a god, would you want the c
CHURCH SERVICES VIOLATE TRUTH IN ADVERTISING LAWS.
If you were a god, would you want the creatures you made to be gathering in
churches praying at you and singing hymns to flatter you? Why would a god want
that? What's the point? You would think that an all powerful god would have
better things to do than to make little images of himself and then listen to
them sing hymns to brownnose him. If you were an all-wise and all-knowing god,
you would already know what everyone needed or wanted, so why should anyone
need to pray to you? People think they go to church so they can go to heaven
or the celestial kingdom, but why would a god care if you go to church? If
you were a god, would you spend your time making an earth, a heaven and a hell,
and then judge where to send people? What's the point? It's like a sadistic
child playing doll house. It just doesn't make sense.
There is an explanation of church services that does make sense though, and it
has nothing to do with gods or saving your soul. Behind the churches
insistance that attending church is necessary for your salvation is an ulterior
motive: It is to brainwash the members of the congregation into ever more
loyal support of the church.
These are the tricks used by Madison Avenue to sell you things with commercial
advertising. Products are given psychological loads with advertisments, subtle
associations with beauty, happiness, popularity, sophistication or power, that
the seller implys can be yours if you use the product. Church services are
like TV commercials. They include impressive music, singing, costumes, ritual
acts, processions, pretty flowers and impressive settings just like
commercials. They say "God is love", the same way that TV commercials imply
that a toothpaste or shampoo will give you sex appeal. The churches are
actually elaborate sets for staging their productions, with stained-glass
windows, statues, paintings, and awe inspiring architecture. They're supposed
to glorify god, but the real purpose is to impress and convince the gullible.
Surely if there were a god who could create a universe, he would have no
interest in man's churches.
Advertisements make use of repetition to drum their message into your head.
Churches to use repetition in their rituals with responsive reading of
prayers, standard sacraments, standard hymns, chanting and regular recitations
of their creed.
One of the most powerful psychological levers for persuading people is the
pressure of conformity. The natural human urge to be accepted as part of your
peer group, to not be too different or disagreeable is exploited by advertisers
and churches alike. It is sometimes called "mob psychology." In a church
service people are brought together in a crowd and participate as part of a
crowd. You are supposed to feel the pressure of the group to go along with
everyone else and believe what everyone is being taught, just like everyone
else is supposedly doing, and it usually does work that way. No one would dare
to raise their hand and ask a question, as one would do in a secular classroom.
An even more powerful psychological tool for persuasion is a special case of
self-justification called "cognitive dissonance." It is the psychology behind
the initiation ritual for getting into a fraternity or club. You are given a
difficult task to perform before you can be admitted. The psychological trick
is that your mind justifies the effort of your initiation by increasing your
perceived value of the objective. You worked hard for it. The initiation
tricks you into increasing your loyality to the club.
In church services people participate by rising, kneeling, singing and reading
responsively from prayer books. In special church services for rites of
passage, such as baptism, confirmation, and marriage, people take on even more
active rolls in the rituals. In their minds they justify the actions they
perform in simple conformity by rationalizing that they believe what they are
saying and doing. If they are asked to do volunteer work or to donate money,
they have to do even more justifying. The more time and money they are asked
to contribute, the more they have to increase their own estimate of the
worthiness of the cause.
A powerful application of self-justification psychology in persuasion is the
use of self-criticism. Christianity applies this technique in its practice of
confession. Christians must regularly go to church and confess their sins
against church doctrine and seek forgiveness. The communist Chinese used this
technique to indoctrinate the followers of chairman Mao. Three times a day,
members of the red guard were required to assemble in study groups to go over
the quotations of the chairman as written in his little red book, and to
participate in thought self-criticism sessions.
Another brainwashing technique is that of creating little fears and then
building them up. In TV commercials, this is usually something like bad
breath, dandruff, body odor, or spots on your dishes. In church it's original
sin, lust, irreverant thinking, or failing to strive for perfection. Your fear
of being a guilty sinner or of being judged unworthy in built up in sermons and
hymns so you feel an even greater need for the salvation the church is selling.
Sometimes church rituals use some of the more drastic modes of brainwashing
involving long-term isolation, incessant activity, and lack of nutrition to
numb the mind and make it less resistant to persuasion. People go on long
retreats, give up certain foods, or fast for a long time while "meditating."
Sometimes they spend years cooped up in bleak cells in monasteries or nunneries.
The common denominator in all of these techniques is that they all try to make
an end run around your judgement and persuade you using psychological tricks.
It is dishonest and deceitful, but the churches are able to rationalize it
because they are "saving souls", so the ends justify the means. By today's
standards they clearly violate truth in advertising laws.
I believe people should have more respect for their own minds than to allow
themselves to be manipulated like robots. I deplore the typical religious
church service because I understand what its function really is. It's just
plain brainwashing and it sickens me.
"RELIGION IS BUNK." - THOMAS EDISON.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank