Religion a Choice or It’s Just a Brainwashing. For decades organizations and associations have been using pressure tactics and mind control in the name of religion. Through brainwashing an individual is forced into conversion, which not just violates human rights, but also has negative psychological consequences. They realize the extent to which they had been under the influence when they exit or defect from the system. Free will in religion is essential to maintain human rights and dignity but the way things stand, religion is not a matter of choice.
The concept of brainwashing originated from the communists with the intention of overpowering the free will of the victims or forcing them to become communists (Anthony 1999, p. 424). It was then applied by religious cults in converting people. Religious experiences and beliefs are caused due to hallucinations and delusions (p. 428). Anthony cites Abgrall who believes that brainwashing, mind control, mental handling, coercive persuasion, are all methods to replace the thinking process (p. 426). Hypnosis makes people highly susceptible to “suggestions” (p. 428) and the altered states of consciousness results in conversions based on overwhelmed will (p. 429).
Even though America has rejected the brainwashing model, Robbins cites three shocking events where violence resonated – Jonestown, Synanon and Rajneeshpuram (Robbins, p. 171). How the court or the judges interpret law widely differs from psychological reality or how transformations or beliefs can be affected or influenced. This has been found in not one but a series of conspicuous events. Evidence from France, Belgium and Geneva demonstrate that various techniques have been used to recruit members and retain them (Richardson and Introvigne, p. 147) although there are allegations that America has exported the concept of brainwashing to all other countries. A French psychiatrist compares conversion or brainwashing to seduction .which is used as an alternative to the difficulties of everyday life. .