An overview of the concept of brainwashing by the new religious movements

In addition to summarizing research on the topic, we will also present a theoretical critique that will identify its cultural significance.

An overview of the concept of brainwashing by the new religious movements

In addition to summarizing research on the topic, we will also present a theoretical critique that will identify its cultural significance. According to Enroth, scientists and scholars have discovered. Such changes are usually described as relatively sudden and dramatic, resulting in diminished personal autonomy, increased dependency and the assumption of a new identity.

Members are subjected to intense indoctrination pressures which include the manipulation of commitment mechanisms so that new recruits assume a posture of rigid loyalty and unquestioning obedience to the leadership Enroth, ; Choices based on non-rational factors such as emotion, intuition or ineffable mystical experiences are implicitly derogated as regressive primitive responses.

A latent or dormant religious self becomes manifest.

New religious movement - Wikipedia

Religious conversion can be seen as the achievement of a new religious self. As Weber notes, all historical salvation religions have shared a notion of a false phenomenal or natural self that the convert must transcend upon pain or some sort of torment, suffering or endless malaise.

The main spiritual currents of self-estrangement theory have thus rejected utilitarian instrumental rationality in favor of irrational or non-rational experience amounting to an engagement with the latent self at a deeper level.

Transition points between the stages of development have often witnessed the emergence of dynamic and controversial religious movements whose prophets have formulated new conceptions religious identity and spiritual self-transformation.

Such movements have tended to develop in a milieu pervaded by anomie while an institutionalized cultural pattern is dissolving. These transition points accentuate religious conflict and controversy. Salvation was grounded in a sacramental system and was not considered problematic for conforming participants.

Powerful self-transformation and emotional intensity was not absolutely required.

An overview of the concept of brainwashing by the new religious movements

Personal autonomy has been more or less sacralized. There are extensive choices and what was aberrant yesterday may appear at least marginally legitimate today e.

The debate thus centers around who is really contravening individualism: Bracketing physical violence, which has involved only a tiny proportion of alternative religions, [4] the disabilities reportedly imposed on their members by cults more or less depend for their validity on the brainwashing concept or alleged overpowering psychological coercion in a formally voluntary context and its application to alternative religions, which we will evaluate below.

Let us briefly restate the foregoing discussion. However, from a particular religious standpoint, this is really a good rather than a bad thing.

As we show below, the anticult brainwashing viewpoint, insofar as it is formulated precisely enough to make its empirical claims testable, has tended to be disconfirmed by research. What the anticult perspective boils down to after such empirical disconfirmation is a pseudo-scientific, all-embracing value perspective or ideology.

Shorn of its scientific pretensions, the anticult ideology is a fundamentalistic, arguably totalistic, version of the modernist worldview that targets competing worldviews as in effect tools of the devil. To conceal its character as an intolerant, arguably totalitarian, rationale for the all-embracing truth claims of the modernist worldview, spokespersons for the anticult ideology have employed two interrelated rhetorical strategies.

Diversity of New Religious Movements

This argument was often not made fully explicit, and is now somewhat outmoded, having been associated with the controversy surrounding the extreme anticult measure of coercive deprogramming. Most of the remainder of this paper will critically evaluate this claim and to a degree the related psychopathological claim with respect to several areas: If the extreme model cannot withstand critical scrutiny, than the social conflict between alternative religions and their most vociferous and legally activist critics remains essentially a value conflict which the first amendment guarantee of religious freedom forbids the state to regulate.On the Brainwashing Controversy by Janja Lalich, Ph.D.

DO NOT CITE OR REPRINT WITHOUT AUTHOR’S PERMISSION. Thanks to the disinformation being spread far and wide, and now most especially on the Internet, many professionals and laypersons interested in issues related to psychological influence, extremism, new religious movements, and cultic groups are being confused .

Abstract. ABSTRACT: This is the first part of a two-part article on the concept of brainwashing in the study of new religious movements (NRMs). The use of this term has become so emotionally charged that scholars find it difficult to discuss its merits and scientific utility with calmness and objectivity.

Adopting a new worldview and changing one’s religious affiliation may or may not be as aspect of religious conversion, but it is the adoption of a “new” self and a “new” more religiously committed way of life that is the essence of conversion concept.

Congregational Research Resources A considerable body of research indicates that popular versions of the brainwashing theory are simply wrong, yet its ideas can be linked to similar concepts that have legitimate scientific interest.
About "cults" They are, moreover, distinguishable from those religions that are new merely to Europe, having been brought by immigrants, in that the NRMs have consisted, at least initially, of a predominantly first-generation membership of converts. Some of the movements have been denounced by other movements, or have themselves rejected the label "religious.
What About the Barker Study? This countermovement has reportedly recruited participants from family members of "cultists", former group members or apostatesreligious groups including Jewish groups [5] and associations of health professionals.

Brainwashing and Mind Control in Religious Cults and Elsewhere Used of cults, “brainwashing” or “mind control” refers to the unethical use of persuasion methods with the aim of recruiting people into joining or remaining involved with a group, movement, or cause. A new religious movement (NRM), also known as a new religion or an alternative spirituality, is a religious or spiritual group that has modern origins and which occupies a peripheral place within its society's dominant religious culture.

Adopting a new worldview and changing one’s religious affiliation may or may not be as aspect of religious conversion, but it is the adoption of a “new” self and a “new” more religiously committed way of life that is the essence of conversion concept.

Conversion and "Brainwashing" in New Religious Movements