You will be brainwashed, it’s a given, it’s life. You simply are what you eat. Garbage in, garbage out. You will be brainwashed because you are human, not because you are bad.
The bible speaks this truth to us many times. Guard your heart. Think critically. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
First, what does “brainwashed” even mean? “Indoctrination that forces people to abandon their beliefs in favor of another set of beliefs.” Or “persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship.”
No one is an island, so we are easily influenced by the people we hang out with, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the websites we visit, the things we chose to focus on and think about. The modern world is absolutely epic, so sophisticated in it’s numerous ways of brainwashing us, really unprecedented in all of human history. We have subliminal programming, words, images, outright psy/ops and social engineering going on 24/7, all designed to bypass your ability to reason.
I get a bit frustrated sometimes trying to discuss this with others, Christians mostly, because I feel like we should all understand this already. It is not that I think anyone is bad because of the choices we make. I make multiple questionable choices myself.
It is not that someone is “bad” to be a huge fan of the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, etc, it is that we are celebrating the undead, viewing a whole lot of violence and graphic sexuality and that will all impact our attitudes, thoughts, feelings. 99% of preventing harm involves simply becoming aware of what you are consuming, why, and how it is impacting you. If you aren’t even willing to even ask the questions, you’re pretty much powerless.
I’m not suggesting banning anything or withdrawing from the world or never engaging with culture. I just want us admit, become aware of, acknowledge that what we ingest actually impacts us.
There’s often a huge gender difference going on here, too. I’d say the vast majority of women, especially moms, will understand what I have just said. They will get it. Perhaps it is because women are more likely to be aware of our emotions and some 80% of advertising, cultural messaging, is generally targeted towards us? Perhaps men are at a disadvantage in this situation because they tend to be far more visual and they often like to perceive themselves as more rational, reason based?
Porn is one obvious example. I’ve lost track of all the conversations I’ve had with Christian men, Christian men mind you, advocating and arguing in favor of porn. There are some who actually believe that violent sexual imagery is not addictive, does no harm, and is actually beneficial. Besides, they don’t actually view the “really bad stuff.”
Not all mind you, a whole lot of men get it, the majority even. It is just that the same arguments I often hear used to validate, justify, make porn okay, I also hear used to validate, justify, our consumption of outright bigotry and even political hyperbole. We’re having a culture war here, the rules are now different, the left/right does it, so it’s all okay.
That is pretty much the response Pastor Wilson gave me and he is only one of many I have tried to talk to over the years.
Personally I don’t care if you’re indulging in this left leaning dystopian facebook fantasy about the coming fascist apocalypse or hanging out on the far right celebrating your status as a victorious deplorable, neither of these things have anything to do with having the mind of Jesus Christ or spreading the good news.
In fact, these things can be really dangerous because they play off our biology, our tribalistic tendencies, and they cause us to start labeling good, evil, and evil good. They kill our natural affection for one another.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. -2 Timothy 3