The Brainwashing Church

I was on a Facebook debate forum called “Political Junkies” and I read a recently opened discussion about religion. One member that supported the Church posted a lengthy defense of religion, but it was the following statement he made that really got my blood boiling:

“Youth groups allow for young adults to avoid “idleness” which is detrimental to the human charactor.”

Here was my lengthy response:

Breaking Dave RE: Youth groups allow for young adults to avoid “idleness” which is detrimental to the human charactor.

For starters… it’s character*

Second, you are full of shit.

I was once a member of a youth group, during which we attended an annual weekend conference in Steubenville, OH. We’d spend the rest of the year fund-raising to afford it. Once the Church had it’s cash, we would be on the list. The conference had about 3,000 young people and involved a series of speeches and preachings and other such ceremonies over the course of the entire weekend. All the males slept in one giant tent and the females in another, but we all joined up for the various “activities”, or should I say brain-washing sessions. 

One particular session, the only one where they separated the genders, was simply dubbed “The Men’s Talk”. They passed around hard lifesaver candies. Once we all had one we were instructed to put them in our mouths but not to chew. After a few seconds we were instructed to take them out with our right hand and put out our left hand. Then we were to place the used lifesaver in the left hand of the person beside us. Naturally, everyone was grossed out and uncomfortable with most refusing to actually do it. 

The lesson? Those who have premarital sex are “used” and therefore are to be reviled. “Why would you want to be disgusting?” they asked us. And being that we were all young teens, we simply accepted their logic as our own. Yes, yes… those that have premarital sex are a sinful people… of course! It all made sense now.

We had one “older” member of the group that was 17, one of the nicest and most caring individuals in my view, who professed that she had turned to Christ after engaging in such “sinful” behaviors. The brainwashing from the Youth Conference was so effective that I stopped viewing her as a good person and felt betrayed and uncomfortable around her. And she was welcomed back to the Church because ONLY the Catholic Church offered her “second chance virginity”, a spiritual restoration of her purity. Convenient, yes?

So no, Youth Groups are not remotely “good”. They recruit young people and show them “love”, make them feel a part of something… and then point out the enemy and command us how and why to hate. It’s the most revolting process of indoctrination I’ve ever seen and unfortunately directly experienced. 

I am SO thankful that I managed to break free of the Church’s hold. I was deeply devout to the point of professing on a stage in front of those 3000 people in Steubenville my intention of joining the priesthood. Massive applause. People putting out their hands toward me, praying over me, expressing how proud they were. I was 16. 

All it took was one philosophy elective in high school to FINALLY expand my mind and open the long-dormant rational side of my brain. Once I recognized how many faiths there were, acknowledged that they all held the same level of devotion and certitude in their particular version with the same level of “evidence”, I realized how impossible it was to know which one was right. And if I couldn’t know which then the rational choice would be to abstain from making a choice altogether. From then on I was agnostic and over time, as my embracement of logic and reason increased and I studied the history of how religious sects originally came to be, I became an atheist.

Thank the God that doesn’t exist that I did.

“If religion is not a bridge instead of a wedge, if it isn’t about inclusiveness of other peoples view, not just that they have our view, it’s going to separate us and it’s going to destroy us.” – Bradley Whitford


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