Tracie and Russell discuss indoctrination and field viewer calls.
The topic for the episode was indoctrination, how children are instilled with fear and doubt, in order to create a situation where they apply pressure to themselves to believe a god exists, even when the external pressures of family, social circles, and church groups are not around to pressure them. Their fear leads to a situation where they are so desperate to believe a god exists, they will accept very weak “signs” or “evidence” to form some justification to prop up their faith, in order to shed the fear, doubt and worry.
After they adopt the belief, they experience the expected relief, and go on to credit god/religion with that outcome, interpreting the situation not as an abusive situation where they were instilled with fears in order to leverage their capacity to more easily believe, but as being “saved” from a real threat, and real fear. Later, as a Christian, they will express their belief in terms of love, but tell-tale signs of the past threats will linger in the form of things like Pascal’s Wager and statements that imply the atheist must be full of doubt and searching for god. In other words, they are not able to even imagine a situation where a person is not “at risk” or confused and lost in doubt, without having god in their lives. This is a reflection of their own fears of what life would be like without their faith—because their only point of reference is that same environment—created by indoctrination—before they adopted the belief in god.
The opening topic was aimed at young Christians who are struggling to believe and experiencing these fears, to explain to them what they are actually being subjected to, and to assure them that there are more options available to them than a life time of fear or faith in god–that you can, in fact, not believe a god exists, and be no more afraid of the consequences than you are of the consequences of not believing in vampires. We don’t generally hang garlic on our doors, and yet we don’t spend each night concerned about vampire attacks. While not all people have an easy time shedding the fear of hell, the fact that some have is a demonstration it can be done. It is an achievable option.
It was further discussed that religious frameworks offer a very distorted view of human nature and interactions, which leaves the adherent at a disadvantage in trying to negotiate the real world if they attempt to do so outside the confines of the religion. The example used was sex versus driving. In reality, deaths and accidents occur on the roads daily. But it would not be a realistic solution to suggest that nobody should drive. In the same way, the religious model of sex—that no one should do it or think of it outside of very narrow restrictions—is not realistic. However, because their view of sex is that anyone engaging in it outside of extremely narrow circumstances is being irresponsible and sinning—they teach “abstinence only” to any unmarried adherents. In the face of incomplete and incorrect information about sexuality, the adherent has a higher risk of making errors in their attempts at sexual relationships, much like someone only taught to never drive would have difficulty trying to safely drive a car if they had only incomplete and incorrect information about the safe operation of the vehicle. When things fail, they see the “test” as being fair, when it is, in fact, stacked. Their conclusion is often that life without god/religion can only be unsuccessful for them, and life with god/religion works much better, even with the challenges of having to grossly distort and deny one’s human nature and instincts. In essence, they conclude that the option is either car crashes or never to drive—which ensures no crashes. They never have an opportunity to test the world with complete and accurate information on how to drive a car safely—which cannot ensure a safe experience, but can give one an extreme advantage in avoiding a deadly wreck over someone with little information about how to drive safely. Lacking this experience, they accept this as confirmation that the religious life is superior to a secular life, and as further evidence god knows better than humans.