Instigator / Con

You can prove all religious views/beliefs are indoctrinated.


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After 2 votes and with 2 points ahead, the winner is...

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One week
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One month
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Disclaimer : Regardless of the setup for voting win or lose, The aim of this interaction, Is for those that view it, Learn and or take away anything that will amount to any constructive value ultimately. So that counts as anything that'll cause one to reconsider an idea, Understand a subject better, Help build a greater wealth of knowledge getting closer to truth. When either of us has accomplished that with any individual here, That's who the victor of the debate becomes.

Are all those that believe what they believe been taught to believe it?

This will mainly center around christian or biblical beliefs.

If you need to understand something prior to participating in the discussion, let it be known.

Round 1
Folks stay in commotion on the sidelines. Asking questions would actually help you but stubborn and ornery you stay.

Well can the opposing side prove it?

Proving an absolute here is a titanic burden.

Step up to the plate and demonstrate your case.
Round 2
I guess a week isn't long enough. I hope the essay won't take a week to read.

In all basic practicality, constrict your arguments to three paragraphs.

The more you say, the more I'm most likely going to counter and I'm not shallow with it either, usually.

People expect shallow responses and when it's too much to handle they criticize it as "rambling".

Ramble you into refutation, so be it .
Pro set the debate as “You can prove all religious views/beliefs are indoctrinated.”  They did not define it, so I shall.  I understand the debate title to mean that it is possible for someone (me in this case) to provide evidence or arguments to demonstrate that all religious views or beliefs are the result of indoctrination.  Therein I need to demonstrate that religious beliefs start with indoctrination.  I shall also point out that the Instigator wanted a short 3 paragraph answer.  That should have been set in the length limit.  This is a very complex subject, and needs foundation and explanation

I understand how religious beliefs play a central role in many people's lives, shaping their values, identity, and worldview. My position is that all religious views and beliefs are the result of indoctrination. To support my claim, I will examine the subject in segments.

Definition and Concept of Indoctrination
Indoctrination is a complex concept that encompasses various aspects of teaching, learning, and socialization. To better understand this concept, I will explore its key elements, dimensions, and characteristics in the context of religion. Indoctrination is often defined as the process of instilling a particular set of beliefs, values, or ideas in an individual, frequently in a one-sided, uncritical, and dogmatic manner (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2018). This differ from education, which generally aims to promote critical thinking, open-mindedness, and intellectual autonomy.  The purpose of education is to enable individuals to think critically, analyze information, and make informed decisions. While education encourages individuals to question and evaluate information, indoctrination discourages such critical inquiry, often presenting the content as absolute truth.  I will show how indoctrination, and not education is how religious theories and beliefs are taught.  This foundation is very important for the corpus of my argument.

Mechanisms of Indoctrination
There are a few methods of indoctrination.  By using repetition, someone/somegroup repeatedly exposes individuals to the same beliefs, values, or ideas.  This reinforces these intended messages and makes them more resilient, and the individual is less prone to promote change or question.

Through emotional appeal the indoctrinator would lean on individuals' emotions, making them more susceptible to accepting the presented beliefs or values. For instance, religious indoctrination may leverage fear of divine punishment, promises of reward, or appeals to love and belonging.

As seen in the catholic church, authoritarianism, or appeal to authority often relies on authority figures who present themselves as the ultimate source of knowledge or moral guidance, making it difficult for individuals to question or challenge their messages.

When we combine these concepts, we see a limit to the type of information being presented in the context of the religion to the targets.  This censorship is a specific indoctrination tool. By controlling the flow of information and limiting exposure to alternative perspectives, indoctrination can create an environment that reinforces the targeted beliefs or values. This can also be achieved through physical isolation (e.g., cults) or by fostering an "us-versus-them" mentality (e.g., religious exclusivism).

It needs to be made clear that indoctrination can be intentional or unintentional. Intentional indoctrination involves a conscious effort to instill specific beliefs or values in others, often to promote a particular agenda or maintain social control. Unintentional indoctrination, on the other hand, may occur when individuals unknowingly perpetuate certain beliefs or values due to their own socialization and cognitive biases.  Those biases are based on their own exposures, and psychological acceptance of the indoctrinated principals.  I am not saying indoctrination is bad.  I am saying what it is.

The Role of Culture and Socialization in Indoctrination
Indoctrination is deeply embedded in culture and socialization processes. It is the foundation of children learning language, and social interactions. Cultural norms, practices, and values often shape individuals' worldviews and influence their susceptibility to indoctrination.. In collectivist cultures, social relationships and obligations often take precedence over individual desires or goals. For instance, where conformity and obedience to authority are highly valued, indoctrination may be more effective and pervasive.  Additionally we see the COVID response gave and excellent example of the role of culture and socialization with the purposes to force compliance; i.e. indoctrinate.

The COVID-19 lockdown, mask, and vaccine response can be seen as a form of indoctrination in the sense that these measures were implemented and promoted in a way that aimed to ensure public compliance with specific guidelines and recommendations. While the intentions behind these policies were claimed to protect public health and prevent the spread of the virus, I argue that the approach had the hallmark elements of indoctrination. It is essential to note that this analysis does not necessarily imply negative intentions or outcomes but rather explores the aspects of the response that resemble indoctrination. This comparison is vital as we apply indoctrination to religion.

One way the COVID-19 response resembled indoctrination was through repetition and consistent messaging. Government agencies, health organizations, and media outlets continuously reinforced the importance of lockdowns, mask-wearing, and vaccination (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020). This constant reinforcement of the message aimed to ensure public adherence to the recommended measures and create a sense of collective responsibility. Not all COVID response elements were indoctrination.  Some was education, and much was manipulation.

Another aspect of the response that could be seen as indoctrination was the reliance on authority figures, such as government officials and public health experts, who often presented themselves as the primary source of information and guidance on COVID-19 (World Health Organization [WHO], 2020). By emphasizing the apparent expertise of these figures and encouraging trust in their recommendations, the public was more likely to comply with the measures, even when some aspects of the guidance evolved or changed over time.  We saw this first hand in the censosrhip or "misinformation" strategies adopted by big tech companies sourcing those "experts". At the same time, experts who did not follow the established narrative  were deemed edge cases, “quacks” or otherwise unreliable.  That two sided approach, shows the real power of indoctrination.

The COVID-19 response fostered an "us-versus-them" mentality in some cases, with individuals who followed the guidelines potentially viewing those who did not as irresponsible or even dangerous. This dynamic may have contributed to the polarization and division observed in some societies, further reinforcing the adherence to guidelines among those who complied .  We see this us-versus-them mentality in religions

I spent extra time on the COVID example, to illustrate the indoctrination concepts I outlined above.  We can see how indoctrination works, from a lens that we have all experienced.   Now we can apply it to religious beliefs.

Early Childhood Exposure to Religious Beliefs
Religious beliefs are typically introduced to children at an early age, making them more susceptible to indoctrination. Children are predisposed to trust and accept the beliefs of their caregivers and authority figures, making it difficult for them to critically assess the validity of religious belief. This early exposure to religious beliefs can result in a deep-rooted attachment that persists into adulthood, shaping an individual's worldview.  The exposure is different based on the religion, or the cultural norms of the child culture. 

One thing evidently clear, is that the main religions, while different, follow a very similar indoctrination path based on 3 things.   Repetition, Emotional Authority, and Social Importance.

Christian children are often exposed to Jesus through the basics of prayers at home.  Follow that by attending church services, Sunday school, and Bible study groups. They may also participate in religious rites such as baptism, either as infants or when they are older. Family prayers, religious holidays, and reading Bible stories are other ways children are introduced to Christian beliefs. 

Muslim children are introduced to Islam through daily prayers, learning to recite the Qur'an, attending mosque services, and participating in Islamic holidays such as Ramadan and Eid celebrations. Islamic teachings are often integrated into family life and may also be part of their formal education. 

Jewish children are exposed to God through observing the Sabbath, attending synagogue services, participating in Jewish holidays, and engaging in family rituals such as Passover Seders. Jewish education, including Hebrew school and Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation, also plays a crucial role in repeating and enshrining Jewish values.
Hindu children learn about their Hinduism through family rituals, temple visits, participating in Hindu festivals, and engaging with religious texts and stories. Religious values and practices are often intertwined with cultural identity and daily life, expressed in dress, food, and music. 

The similarity of the various religions, in exposures, and social intertwining, really starts to paint a picture of belief through assimilation, rather than individual belief from education or critical thought. The probability of children retaining the beliefs they are exposed to at a young age is influenced by various factors, including family and community support, religious education, and cultural context. In general, when religious practices and values are consistently upheld and integrated into daily life, the likelihood of children maintaining their beliefs into adulthood is higher, which is effectively the definition of indoctrination through repetition.

The Role of Religious Texts and Authority Figures
The role of religious texts and authority figures in indoctrination is significant, as they provide the foundation for beliefs within a religious tradition. These texts and figures offer a sense of justification, legitimacy and authority to the belief system. These treatises present the beliefs as absolute truth and demanding obedience and adherence to the prescribed principles. Similarly, political ideologies like communism and authoritarian regimes, such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), rely on authoritative texts and figures to instill and maintain their ideologies, and demand obedience therein.

The Bible serves as the foundational text for Christianity, comprising the Old and New Testaments. The Bible's authority is central to Christian indoctrination, as believers are told to adhere to its teachings and look to it as a source of divine wisdom. Sermons, Bible study groups, and Christian education programs often involve the interpretation and discussion of biblical passages, but do not encourage discussion on validity, or truth. 

We have the same thing in Islam. The Qur'an, believed to be the word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It, like the Bible, serves as the ultimate source of guidance for Muslims in all aspects of life. Islamic indoctrination relies heavily on the authority of the Qur'an, with believers encouraged to memorize and recite its verses, engage in its study, and follow its teachings Reciting, and memorization, being a key element, that is void of independent analysis or construction.  

The Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh, is the foundational text for Judaism, consisting of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. It can be argued that Jewish indoctrination relies on the authority of those texts, as well as the Talmud, a vast collection of rabbinic interpretations of the Hebrew Bible that provides guidance on various aspects of Jewish life. Jewish education and religious practices, such as the study of the Torah, participation in cultural services, and participation in synagogue services, are real cornerstones to reinforce the importance of these texts for their belief structure.
We can see three main stream religions have the same corpus of teaching strategies. Those strategies are indoctrination based.  There is another religion that I think exemplifies the concept of religious indoctrination, that being Scientology, or The Church of Scientology.

The book, The Modern Science of Mental Health (1950), by Hubbard, is considered the foundational text for Scientology, introducing key concepts such as the reactive mind, engrams, and auditing. Scientology indoctrination is rooted with followers engaging in a process called the Bridge to Total Freedom, which involves progressing through various levels of spiritual awareness and understanding (at great expense). The authority of Hubbard's writings and the central role they play in shaping the beliefs and practices of Scientologists are key to the process of indoctrination within the religion.  Within the group, you are not permitted to learn about elements of Scientology, until you have reached certain “levels”, creating an internal us-versus-them ideology, and a focus on attaining higher levels.

From a pop culture perspective, Scientology has garnered significant attention for its indoctrination practices,  among other things, from accounts of former members who have "run away" or "gone clear." A great example is the 2015 HBO documentary "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" directed by Alex Gibney (Gibney, 2015). The film, based on the book by Lawrence Wright (2013),  exposes the church's practices, controversies, and the experiences of former members who have left. The documentary examines the lives of these ex-Scientologists, recounting their stories of indoctrination, control, and the challenges they faced in leaving the church. 

In addition to the aforementioned, there are numerous lawsuits and news stories over the years, further highlighting allegations of indoctrination and control within the Scientology organization. Garcia v. Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc.: In 2013, former church members Luis and Rocio Garcia filed a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, alleging fraud, breach of contract, and other charges related to their donations to the church. The case went to trial in 2016, and the jury awarded the Garcias $1.1 million in damages.

We can see how that has helped to shape the narrative surrounding Scientology, painting a picture of a religion that relies heavily on indoctrination, control, and secrecy to maintain its influence over its members.  But it does more.  There are many collateral elements  we see in Scientology, that apply to all religions, as it relates to indoctrination being the primary and fundamental tool for exposure, and compliance…  which makes some people “believers”, and what I would call “followers”.

Social Reinforcement of Religious Beliefs
As identified above, with families, and social groups, religious beliefs are often reinforced through social mechanisms, such as group rituals, shared experiences, and community support. These social factors can create a strong sense of belonging and identity, making it more challenging for individuals to question their validity or authority of the beliefs or even consider alternative perspectives. This social reinforcement is s specific and targeted effort to further entrench indoctrinated beliefs.
Religious ceremonies, and rites of passage that serve to strengthen the beliefs and practices of the faith are present in all mainstream religions.

In Christianity, baptism and the Eucharist (or Communion) are two key ceremonies that reinforce. In Islam, the daily prayers (Salah) and the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca serve to solidify a Muslim's commitment to their faith.  Salah are often taken in groups, and mosques can be heard all over the world as the prayers commence.
In Judaism, the Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies mark a young person's transition into religious adulthood, requiring them to assume responsibility for their religious observance and participate in the community.  This is a very important social and familial ceremony, with high expectations on the budding youths to be able to recite Jewish scripter.  Recite, not believe or understand, just recite. Similarly, the Passover Seder, a ritual meal that retells the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt, strengthens Jewish identity and the continuity of tradition, and also forms the foundation of an us vs them mentality of the Jewish people.

Cognitive Biases
Cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias and motivated reasoning, can contribute to the persistence of indoctrinated religious beliefs. We saw both of these elements in the COVID situation, you see it in North Korea, and we can see details in the Scientology related media.  Confirmation bias leads individuals to seek out and favor information, people, cultural elements, that supports their existing beliefs while generally disregarding evidence that contradicts them. Motivated reasoning is a related phenomenon, wherein individuals construct arguments and interpretations that favor their preexisting beliefs, which I think may have been a foundation for this debate topic. Both of these cognitive biases can make it difficult for individuals to critically assess the validity of their religious beliefs, further perpetuating the effects of indoctrination.

Some argue that the mere fact we are self-aware, shows there is a god.  However the development of moral reasoning and understanding can be explained through evolutionary and cultural processes  and the diversity of moral beliefs across cultures and religions challenges the idea of a single, objective moral source, and therefore the assumption of one god.  So if god cannot by nature be assumed, his/her/their existence is predicated on information being conveyed, and indoctrinated.

In conclusion, indoctrination in on itself is the foundation of exposing religious views and beliefs through various mechanisms, including early childhood exposure, the role of religious texts and authority figures, social reinforcement, cognitive biases, and the argument from consciences and understanding. These factors contribute to the persistence and entrenchment of religious beliefs, making it challenging for individuals to critically assess their validity.  We have seen that the core aspects of religion are based in repetition, “teachings”, studying, and social conformity.  Therefore, can conclude that religious beliefs are resulting from indoctrination.


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Round 3
Looks like I have two weeks worth of reading. We're going to curtail this up .

Also I'm sorry. I didn't think we didn't know what indoctrination is. I don't think we'll have a problem with the word.

I think you know that it's being taught something, to believe it with out critical thinking, without asking questions and therefore to ultimately mean that there was no God that actually caused you to believe in Him at all .

The belief was taught to you, programmed in you to just accept.

Now the topic is concerning indoctrination in ALL cases. 

So the big burden for the opposing side to eliminate is God not being responsible for the individual to believe in lieu of the so called indoctrination. I'm not going to say indoctrination doesn't exist. But the opposing side whether they realized this or not, stepped into an astronomical task.

They have to prove absolutely, that everyone that has a religious belief, everyone has been indoctrinated.

That's astronomically impossible.

Before I conclude this here,  I want to bring up some scripture given the belief in it and God.
This will be used to expound on what I mean about God drawing and causing a belief, being the cause.

In Romans 10, I could start from verse 1 but this is not an essay. 

At verse 14 " How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"

In context drop down to 17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

How do we know absolutely the belief that some hold has not been setup by God versus a man's work of it? 

I'll just go here expounding more this time on the predestinated setup.

In Ephesians 1 , starting at verse 3 " Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will".

I'll drop down to verse 13 for the sake of this not being an assay. Maybe it is in some eyes.

"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit".

Again, this was to elaborate on what I'm talking about. So let's take a person to believe all of this and given God is real, you may just not know it, this would mean at least in some cases indoctrination didn't actually take place.

Another point to consider which I didn't originally intend to close with but how do we know there are not cases where people having religious beliefs  weren't critically cognitive with?

I heard an interview involving a minister being asked "How do you know the Bible wasn't just made up by man?"

The Minister's response demonstrated critical evaluation. Why? First and foremost, he didn't say "Oh I never thought about that, I just been taught to believe." 

Case closed right there. But we can go further. The response was " the Bible has been written in a way where it doesn't favor or benefit him(mankind)."

That's sort of a paraphrasing but there's a contrast between the two where there's no agreement. The nature of man's involvement in anything would identify with him as he is.

The point is, some thoughts were given.

Again, an astronomical task and bold position to take.

I have demonstrated extensively the role of indoctrination into religious beliefs.  All the Instigator needs to do is demonstrate a religious belief that is not rooted in indoctrination.

They have not done so yet.  I stand by my previous argument.

The Instigator references the Bible as a form of proof.   I find this approach supports my position..  I f one believes in the bible, they have been exposed to it.  Those believers have formed a sense of authority bias on its writings, a fundamental requirement of Christian belief.  I have set forth indoctrination is the form of exposure to the writings, and the belief system that one must believe in the writing.   

There is an erroneous inference that indoctrination requires no thought, i.e. the writers reference to the Minister.   I have established that the foundation of religious exposure is through indoctrination.  People can pontificate, study, qualify, or think about it in any manner they want.  I still hold that the foundation of beliefs is from indoctrination.  Not automation,  not blind belief.  .  

Round 4
Shout out to the comments. We have a case where they attest to not being indoctrinated.

I know of several folks that weren't indoctrinated.

You can't prove every single religious case is indoctrination. For that you have to be everywhere to know all things. That's how the root or whatever you say is not established in indoctrination in ALL cases.

Your task was to prove it in ALL cases, not that indoctrination exist itself.

Thanks for trying somewhat.

Excellent collegiate essay by the way.


It appears as if the Instigator is expecting my to provide all arguments.  The instigator only provided one example of what they perceived to be proof of belief without indoctrination, yet  I demonstrated how that was a circular logic.  The instigator did not refute anything I said.    A reference to a comment, is not an argument.  In addressing that comment, I am more than comfortable to speculate that if that individual was interviewed, we would see when the actual belief came in, and that belief was a tree grown from the seeds of indoctrination.

As I mentioned above, the process through which religious beliefs are formed and maintained can be seen as a form of indoctrination. Early exposure, authoritative figures and institutions, and social and psychological factors all contribute to the reinforcement and perpetuation of religious beliefs.  Religious systems discourage critical thinking and the exploration of alternative viewpoints, and in fact reinforce their own viewpoints through  actions such as scripture repetition, processed ceremony, and a feeling of inclusion. 

As I said above, I do not think that all indoctrination is wrong.  We do it to our kids for their safety.  We do it to our peers for consistency in performing work.  We do it as part of community stability.  And religion is no exception.