Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fundamentalist Brainwashing

Over the past several days and in fact in the past few years especially, I have watched through the observer's eyes just how little people really listen to one another. There is a fever of people feeling that what they feel is right justifies how they view everything else in life and how they act. It is like my father used to repeat over and over, "my way or the highway".

Growing up in a fundamentalist home, I saw that if you didn't believe as the family patriarchs expected you to believe that you were a less than human. You were pronounced wrong by the judge, jury and executioner. It mattered little what facts or evidence you had because when the patriarchal judge made the ruling, it was final. There was no appeal process and even if there would have been, the ruling would have been for the the patriarchal judge.

Of course, everyone in said kingdom (i.e. the family) was expected to follow the ruling exactly whether they agreed with it or not. There was no questioning the ruling or evidence used to base the decision on for the judgment. In fact, you did not even silently purport to disagree with what had transpired. It was like the patriarch could read your thoughts. If no thoughts were read, than somehow the patriarchal judge could would find out. If they found out, you were damned if you do and damned if you did not.

There were two major consequences of any action where judgment was rendered. This went both for the "guilty" party and for any other party that tried to show compassion or understanding towards the "guilty" party. The consequential actions included but were not limited to 1)the silent treatment and 2)counseling by the church pastor (minister). If the silent treatment did not bring the expected result or bring the "guilty" party into line, than the minister was brought in to show the "guilty" party the error of their ways. Of course, these consequential actions were in addition to any punishment that may have been issued and declared.

While this may sound extreme or unusual to many reading it, it was a normal experience in my family. The patriarchal judgment was supreme and everyone was expected to follow the judgment without question for as the church taught, the "father" was the head of the family. Any deviation from that meant that you were not following God and becoming Christ like, which meant you were headed to hell. Everyone in the family had heard enough Sunday morning sermons to know that they did not want to go to hell. It was a very effective system for the patriarchal judge in the family but complete brainwashing for the members of the kingdom.

Today, I continue to see this same scenario play out in the world around me. Whether it is in politics, churches, societies or political parties, the references are familiar. I have seen it play out in my family over and over again and it still continues to this day. The only thing is, I no longer wish to play this game. This game has become old to me and is no longer one I want to participate in to be part of the kingdom. This does infuriate the kingdom though but in my mind, I no longer am concerned.

There must be many others in our society who have been raised from infants to play the same game. Yes, I'm sure the games had many variations from the one I was taught to play but all of them have one constant effect and that effect is brainwashing. If thoughts, judgments, experiences or critical thinking processes are manipulated and dictated by a few, brainwashing becomes the norm. The brainwashing does not end when the individuals flee the kingdom for by that time, these things have become intricate parts of the individual's nature, biology and everyday thought patterns.

We often identify brainwashing in other people, other societies, nations and countries, but usually for those who have brainwashed, they are unable to identify it in themselves. It is understandable because if critical thinking, judgment and experiences are controlled by a limited number of individuals (i.e. father, minister, siblings or other adults), than how can we expect our people of this world to be aware of a different path in life. It stands to reason like the church says, "what you sow, so will you reap".

The brainwashing of people takes place every day because the ego desires power, control, money and absolute discipleship by anyone it deems to be under its power. This starts many times in the family and is reinforced by the church. In our current day and age, the government, political parties and news media all play major roles in perpetuating the era of brainwashing. Each of these willing participants do not even recognize that they are involved or this is taking place because they have been so conditioned in their life, that brainwashing seems normal.

If you really step back in our world and observe, you will see this taking place throughout our world. It isn't just other countries that brainwash their citizens. It is all countries. If it is difficult to see, try turning the TV news off for a month or two and see how that changes you. You may want to critically look at all the beliefs you were raised with and question each one of them. Can you unequivocally prove every fact that rules your life? You may consider turning off the news websites that you follow and that feed your ego to give yourself a moment of evaluation. There are many ways to begin doing this and the ones I have listed are only a few examples.

We are becoming a world where screaming and yelling is done because we have been brainwashed into thinking our way is the right way, and we must save everyone else from the error of our way. It has been programmed into humans for many years. These right and wrong practices are bringing us dangerously close to a time where not only violence may occur but that we will be building a world of less than human offspring.

As humans, we are meant to evolve and grow and become more aware of ourselves and the world around us. Our brain is designed for that and yet, we are failing humanity in this day and age. For humanity and the world to be all that it can be, we must first start with ourselves. We must take steps to discover who we are exactly, what makes us tick and what the purpose is for our life. Anything less than this brings us to meaningless exchanges of brainwashing and each individual who chooses to not be fully aware and conscious inflicts harm upon civilization.

We are designed for much more than we currently are embracing in life and my ferverent hope is that each human in this world will begin to understand the role they are playing. Only then, will we have the ability to evolve as a world and as humans.

For Further Reading:
1) Anger In Our World
2) Our Screaming And Yelling Affect Others
3) Hope And Possibility Through Trauma

Blog Post & Images (c) 1/13/11 Don Shetterly - use by permission only


  1. This post of yours strikes me as unusually insightful. I'm a little pressed for time at the moment, but later, I think I'm going to return to it and read more closely. Thanks for writing this!

    And it seems to me that people who grow up in extremely judgemental environments, if they can escape them and don't just cave in, are likely to end up with great critical thinking skills and really special insights. While I am completely against raising kids in an atmosphere of extreme legalism, I have seen how it gives people that much more integrity, fair-mindedness, and sensitivity to manipulation as adults. Wiser people. For people who can overcome fundamentalism and judgementalism, they're likely to have special kinds of wisdom. Sorry I can't explain it better! I've just recently started to notice this in myself (I grew up Baptist) and in some of my friends.

    1. I appreciate you sharing what you did. I fully understand what you are saying.

  2. Very deep and insightful. Well written.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your comments with me. Sometimes it isn't easy putting these words out here for all to see.






Blog Post And Images (c) 1/01/07 by Don Shetterly
  • Permission required in writing before any part of this blog is reprinted, reworded, transmitted or used in any format.
  • Feel free to share the blog post LINK and a brief summary.

  • “Amazon, the Amazon logo, MYHABIT, and the MYHABIT logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.”