I think I've been brain-washed. help!

Well, I’ve been going to church ever since I was a squirt. I don’t have anything against the majority of Christians and I think much of the bible is very commendable. Although, as I’ve looked at a larger spectrum I have decided to turn away from my religion, that’s another story and is not what really pertains in this post.

Now, my real problem is now that I’ve accepted what I believe is the truth, I still have these Christian philosophies stuck in my head. For example: my friend had an out-of-body experience book and was gonna show it to me, but I said “nah, I’m busy” although I wasn’t. I was thinking about how a Christian isn’t supposed to see a fortuneteller, or deal with black magic, and the likes. There’s numerous things like that, which have been beaten into my head for about 11 years (I’m 16 now) and I just can’t seem to realize that it doesn’t pertain to me any more. I guess I’m just confused and need some deprogramming. I guess I just never realized that I didn’t really believe a lot that the bible said was wrong but I didn’t do it, just because that’s what it said. Seems kinda stupid doesn’t it. How do I deprogram myself? I know there has to be a way because they did it for many people that were in cults (not claiming Christianity is cult, I just have brain-washed symptoms.)

Also, how do you tell your parents you don’t believe in god without them skinning you? Currently I tell them I’m going to church but really go to Best Buy and play video games for 2 hours. Don’t tell anyone :wink:

I think that one important thing to remember is that since you are AWARE that you may have had some brain-washing performed on you, that means that THEY haven’t really succeeded. If THEY had succeeded, you would believe that your opinions and ideologies were truly yours, even though they aren’t.

If you are questioning the real source of your beliefs and opinions, then you are strong-willed enough to have fought off the mind-control. With courage and persistance, and a healthy skepticism, I think you CAN deprogram yourself.

Good luck!

This looks more like comfortable patterns of thinking rather than true brain washing.

None the less, it takes time to re-evaluate things when you undergo a fundemental transition in belief.

We are all creatures of habit, and that is pretty powerful. The only suggestions I could make are:

  1. Do some reading and arm yourself with the ability to think critically. Not just of religion, but of all sources of information. A great place to start is “Demon haunted World” by Carl Sagan.
  2. Take the time to mentally review what you “know”. Start weeding out the crap.
  3. Learn to recognize behaviour that is habit driven, especially when it makes no sense to you.
  4. Try to eliminate those habits, it will take time. Notice that I didn’t say, replace with other thought habits.
  1. Obtain at least two bottles of brown liquor and some oxyclean (19.95! Order now and they’ll double your shipment!)

  2. Get some cash. The offering dish at church is a great place to start, but the kind of cash you really need can be readily obtained with a stocking mask and gun at your favorite liquor store. (It’s possible to kill two birds with one stone here.)

  3. Find a hooker. Not just any hooker, I’m talking a crack whore that’ll do ANYTHING for a couple hundred bucks or a fix. A fix is better, you might need to bail yourself out of jail later.

  4. Start on the first bottle of liquor, ingesting liberally while searching for the local coke, smack, and crystal meth dealer in your town. The hooker may be able to help with this.

  5. Buy as much coke OR crystal meth as you can afford, and make sure to get some herion for later.

  6. Start with the coke, when you’re halfway through snort a little meth and begin thinking about God. When the walls begin to run, a little smack will bring you back down to earth.

  7. If you’re any kind of real man, you’ll be starting on the second bottle of liquor by now.

  8. Get the hooker high and try everything and anything you’ve ever wanted to try with a woman, man, or animal. (If you’re persuasions go that way, you might want to add the man and animal to step # 3.)

  9. More coke and crystal meth. Discuss your doubts about religion with the hooker/man/animal as you finish the liquor and prepare to come down with the smack. Chances are you won’t remember the conversation, but I’m sure it’ll be tremendously interesting.

  10. Prep a syringe with heroin and shoot up the hooker first, then any other participants, saving yourself for last. Take about twice the recommended dosage and inject it into a body part, preferably in a vein.

  11. When you feel like your mind is melting, snort some oxy-clean and SCRUB your brain by massaging your scalp.

  12. When (if?) you wake up, beleive me, you won’t think about anything other than the next fix.

Religion is a difficult thing. I used to believe in the bible with out question as is expected of a good Lutheran. Then it occured to me that what I believed in was what I was expected to believe in, not somthing I had Faith in. With religion, it’s the faith that’s important, not the belief.

The book that started my questioning was one many here have read. Robert Heinleins “Stranger in a Strange Land”. Stranger for me was a world view changing book. It caused me to question ALL of my views. When you step back and look at things objectivly all social taboos are foolish and unscientific. Morality is a lucid concept. What is considered wierd by some may be the norm of others.

The best thing to do would be to come clean to your parents. Hiding your beliefs, or lack there of, from them will do nothing but cause you internal turmoil. Make sure your parents are aware that you’re not an Anthiest. You havent completely abandoned you beliefs. Instead tell them you are an Agnostic, and unsure of exactly what you believe in. While I may not currently agree with the Christian beliefs I do think they have a pretty good moral code.

Do on to others as you would have them do on to you. Because you question your beliefs is no excuse to abandon the principles you believe in. Logic is your friend. As Voltaire once said, “If god did not exist, it would be nessicary to invent him.”

That was well thought out and wickedly funny. You should post more often instead of saving your “insights” to yourself.

The most important thing to do is to re-examine your habits. Stop and think before you make a decision instead of letting your automated responses to do it for you. What you are doing, in fact, is changing those automated reponses, but it will require time and effort.

Skippman very good advice espicaly about comeing clean with the parents. Also Robert A. Heinlein is my favorite author, you should also read Job,A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein as well. Witch has a religous theam.

Here kitty kitty, love the name stinkykitty:D

Only to a Wiccan.

When I left my parents’ home (i.e. went to college) I too decided that I was tired of being ‘brainwashed’ religiously. Until then I’d thought it polite to at least attend the services they did.

The best advice I can give is to do your research. It may sound bizarre to research beliefs, but when you’ve spent your whole life being fed one thing, it’s hard to pull other ideas out of thin air. I began taking out books from various libraries on different types of spirituality/religion and soon came upon something that made much more sense to me than what I’d been told throughout childhood.

Once you’ve reconnected to what makes sense to you, work with it, research it, inhabit it, play with it, be it. Eventually, if you feel rather comfortable with whatever variation or combination of WHATEVER… you can broach the topic with your parents. They likely will feel it before you even have to speak to them, which is wonderful; you’ve evolved, and they’ll just have to accept it. Worst case scenario is that you continue to believe whatever you’ve come to believe, and you spend a few hours reciting things you know by heart each week until the time comes when you are no longer under their rules.

Let us know how it works out. Best of luck.


Just remember that the one thing you have - even if you do follow a Christian god - is free-will and independent intelligence. This does not conflict with Biblical teachings. God/Jesus wanted people to come of their own free will. So doubting/questioning - there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it is healthy and good.

Also remember that you will probably spend your whole life deciding - and changing - what you believe. Faith - including atheism - is a bit like a journey, and as you change so will your mind, and your faith.

I think you should be able to tell your parents you have faith issues and you are working it out. Tell them you want to have a faith on your own terms, make your own discoveries. Doubting - even rejecting - christian teachings does not by default turn your life into a bucket of crime and sin. It may be very difficult for your parents to accept that you are growing up and following a different path to them, but that is part of growing up, and the independence and respect that they must afford you, and you them.

My recommendation is to just constantly remind yourself to be open to new things. I had the same problem at one time and eventually overcame it by simply sitting down and thinking a good deal about why I really did or did not believe certain things. After I figured out what I belived and more importantly why I believe these things it was just a matter of keeping an open mind about new beliefs or ways of thinking.

And I don’t recommend following Welby1’s advice as a way to change your relgious beliefs. I have actually carried out those steps, more or less, and don’t really recommend it unless you are doing it for strickly emtertainment perposes. It’s really never a good idea to think that much about God or religion while on all sorts of drugs. It always leads to bad things. But if you want to try it just for fun, well that’s up to you.

That’s an unusual way to spell ‘athame’…


Why are you not going to church with your parents? If they DON’T go to church, are they really going to be that upset if you don’t. Then you wouldn’t have to lie to them about what your are doing. If they ARE going to church, why are you going to different churches or at different times?

Stinkykitty, thanks so much for the compliment. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now.


To start off your re-education: Who wrote the bible?

You can’t control the actions of other people without force, so it’s pointless to try. One thing is for certain, you’ll get into a lot more trouble for lying to your parents than you will from telling them you don’t share their religious beliefs. Your parents probably have some idea of this already otherwise you would be going to church with them, right? Don’t they ask you what the priest spoke about at Mass?

thanks for all the replys, and currently i haven’t told my parents that i don’t believe but i have talked to them about why they do believe and somes doubts i have, generally the reply from them i get is, well i dont know the answer to that really, but you just have to have faith.

I’m trying to get the books you all suggested from the library today and am doing some more research. my family has given me a million and one creationist books, although most of them assume you already believe in some form of creator, or the back bone of their defense is the prediction of israel coming back together.

I think they essentially realize that i’m agnostic by now and they say, “well god wants you to doubt and find him yourself so your faith is solid.” Which is nice in theory, but if I dont “find” god then they’ll say i haven’t looked hard enough… lol i can’t win. I guess i’ll just have to make my decision without their consent.

But here’s where the plot thickens. My sister about 2 years ago (she’s 20 now) went and joined some group of christians in a house out in the woods, ever since she’s turned into a obsessive religious zombie (which is strange because she’s been the exact opposite her whole life), she dropped out of college and does nothing but go to church, go to work, come home, pray, etc. When she heard about my doubts from my parents shes been coming over to the house constantly (this is very odd) and she keeps trying to get me out to her christian household and wants me to get togther with her and read these books, watch these movies, etc… I resist coming out to the house, then her friends start coming over with her, pressuring me to come to “the house.” Is it just me or does “this house” sound like a cult? I saw a movie on the Moonies in school, i must say the feeling i get is similar.

We go at different times, mainly because my parents like to go at night on sunday because that’s when their friends go, i go in the morning because i dont like wasting my nights and it’s easier for a more discreet skipping. :smiley: I wouldn’t skip church if i could learn some new insights, but after 16 years of the same stories, you kinda get the point…

I used to blatantly skip chruch and my dad didn’t mind if it was for one week. But after 2 he would get real angry and threaten to take things away like cable-modem etc.

It just seems wrong for my parents to make me do things against my will, but i suppose i do get alot from them (food, clothes, house, support), so is it wrong of me to not go or propose i dont go? When i say i dont want to go, the say how about you go out to “the house”? lol, i’d rather go to church.

For the most part your parents are there to teach you. This includes a value system. If their value system is based on religion then they will attempt to pass that on to you. This is inevitable.

On the subject of the house. It’s possible your sister has fallen in with a group of Calvinists. To my understanding Calvinists believe in hard work for the sake of glory to god. Or some such. I’m not solid on it, so don’t quote me. While generally harmless, any compulsive behavior has inherent risks. If she shows sudden personality shifts, then I would be concerned.

“Making choices is the only freedom anyone really has. Exercise that freedom.” ** Robert A. Heinlein **

I consider Robert Heinlein to be the most prolific writer I have ever read. I greatly mourn the fact that I will never have the chance to meet such an intelligent, introspective man. Every Heinlein book seems to teach a lesson:

Time Enough for Love - That no matter what, life’s worth living.
Stranger in a Strange Land - That all religion is inherently silly and foolish to those who don’t share your views.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - That freedom is the most important of all human necessities.
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - That nothing in life is certain.
To Sail Beyond the Sunset - That all taboos are inherently foolish superstition.

I’m thankful a good friend of mine, Bog rest his soul, turned me onto him. His collection of Heinlein novels is my most prized possession.
But back to the matter at hand. One can become addicted to anything. Weather it’s psychosomatic or an actual need that drives them is irrelevant.

The most important thing, remember not to judge. Remember to accept. It’s acceptance of our fates, motivations, and differences that make us who we are.

“He who can perceive beauty, but with a serene mind.” ** - H. D. Thoreau **

Concerning your sister:

I have some family members that I could only describe as having a “very unhealthy” level of religious fervor. They were associated with the Glory Barn, which is closely related to the Moonies.

After a certain amount of intense badgering by them, I did a couple of things.
I made it quite clear that:

  1. I had had enough.
  2. Continued pestering just made me want to avoid them.
  3. Before long there would be consequences.

I did this in as civil a way as I could, but I was quite firm.

They backed off very briefly, and then just couldn’t help themselves and went right back to it.

I began taking measures.

With all them, one thing was certain. Sometime, during any conversation, my personal salvation was absolutely going to come up. When it did, I would end the conversation as tactfully as I could. I tried to make plain that that was not open for discussion with me. This went on for a while, but they were persistent and refused to drop that topic from conversations with me.

This is sad, but this is where we are today.
I do not even open their letters.
I do not take their calls.
I do not visit.
In fact, to the best of my ability, I have absolutely zero contact with them.

The point of this is not to suggest this is the correct path to take. It is more of a warning, I guess. You may be different, your situation may be different. But, this is an example of how things could turn out.

I have to be satisfied with this. I didn’t just capriciously make this policy. I tried to make a couple very specific rules concerning acceptable behavior around me. I made sure they understood what I meant. I gave them many “chances” to get off my back. I finally gave up on them.