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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"How Cults Rewire the Brain" (Diane Benscoter)

RELATED POSTS: "Attacking Other Religions," "Deconverting from Sectarianism," "The Church Emerging"

As I write, thousands are being duped into joining religious groups and movements that claim to be the "authentic" guardians and dispensers of heavenly knowledge and rewards. Most will, for a time, naturally soak in the euphoria of fresh conversion, being assured that they have at last found the truth, become members of the chosen people of God, gained spiritual fulfillment in specialized rituals like worship formats and daily personal religious tasks, and secured a special celestial place or state in the afterlife.  

Some will, however, eventually discover that despite feeding on and feeding others with the psycho-social and political benefits of religious membership, their spirituality is actually empty.  For the nourishment offered by religious tribalism is carnal -- exaltation of the self, reliance on human discourses, pride in human institutions, (subtle and overt) mind-conditioning techniques, security in the statistics of the here and now, and manipulation of divine will.

For some, the psychological and physical damages brought about by religious extremism are irreparable. Thankfully, others do recover from the harrowing experience to tell the story not only to challenge the initiated but also to warn the uninitiated.  Here is Diane Benscoter rising after stumbling in a "Moonie" sidetrip:

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