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Getting On : Faith

Sex, Drugs, and Cults

from geo - Friday, December 31, 2004
accessed 1305 times

Sex, Drugs, and Cults.

An evolutionary psychology perspective on why and how cult memes get a drug-like hold on people, and what might be done to mitigate the effects

I don't know if this article has been posted before but I found it an interesting read:

Even if you disregard what this article says about evolutionary psychology the relations it brings out between different motivators is right on.

"Cult gatherings or human-potential trainings are an ideal environment to observe first-hand what is technically called the 'Stockholm Syndrome'. This is a situation in which those who are intimidated, controlled, or made to suffer, begin to love, admire, and even sometimes sexually desire their controllers or captors. --Dick Sutphen

I always felt this about the family (as in any cult, religion, relationship, etc.) when dealing with recruiting, and more importantly, retention. That the success in retention and quality of control is in direct relationship to the type and level of strange and abusive practices. Meaning that, human nature being what it is, as long as the family creates more restrictive and abusive policies and stranger and weirder prophecies and revelations they will continue to have a strong appeal with their core followers.

The main danger to a cult like the family is that it may become mainstream. The more it becomes excepted and so forced to behave like a conventional missionary group the sooner it will lose its appeal to the personalities it recruits, and the sooner it will lose its control over the type of people it retains.

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from bullwinkle
Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 14:32


Thanks for posting that link. I found the theory comparing drug addiction and religion extremely interesting, especially since I just started reading a book called "Deadly Doctrine: Health, Illness, and Christian God-Talk", which comes with the additional subtitle: "Caution--Christianity may be hazardous to your health!". It's author is Wendell W. Watters, M.D. and it's published by Prometheus Books, NY. Here's an excerpt from the introduction of that book:

"Religion is an existential soother to which individuals, having been born atheists, are encouraged to become addicted as they grow up in our theistic society. Christianity is the pacifier par excellence, claiming to alleviate cosmological fears--fears largely of its own creation--and to relieve guilt that has been stimulated in the believer by Christian god-talk. In order to sell their product, god-talking salesmen do everything possible to prevent the believer from growing up emotionally and psychologically, manipulating the greedy egocentric infant in us all with preposterous promises of eternal bliss in the hereafter.

"In our addiction, we tend to lose sight of the price tag carried by most drugs, some higher than others. Heroin, which eases the suffering of the patient in severe pain, is also the direct cause of much human misery, with addiction linked to widespread criminal activity. Alcohol is used as a social lubricant, enlivening many an otherwise dull gathering; but it also contributes to most of the carnage on our highways and produces untold suffering for victims and their families. Smoking was once considered a routine feature of "adult" behavior; addiction to nicotene is now known to be the cause of many serious obstetrical, cardiac, and respiratory problems, both in the addicts themselves and in those around them.

"The thesis of this book, based on many years of clinical experience, is that, despite the so-called comfort of the Christian message, Christian doctrine and teachings, deeply ingrained as they are in Western society, are incompatible with the development and maintenance of sound health, and not only "mental" health, in human beings. It has been painful for all of us who enjoy the benefits of this technological age to tolerate the fact that the air we breathe contains industrial pollutants capable of causing lung cancer, and that many of the foods we eat contain additives that are harmful to human health in a variety of ways. Similarly, Christians will find it difficult to entertain the notion that the tenets of their faith (one many claim to be as essential as food and air) have side effects that are deleterious to their health and that of their children. Simply put, Christian indoctrination is a form of mental and emotional abuse than can adversely affect bodily health in the same way a drug can."
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