One of my guilty pleasures is watching The Following. Probably the creepiest, scariest show you’ll ever see on network TV. James Purefoy turns in a chilling performance as a deranged cult leader orchestrating a string of murders. Yet a real-life situation taking place this week is much scarier…
Away from the prying eyes of the public, a sect of the world’s largest cult is in a secret meeting as you read this – selecting a new leader to direct the cult. This cult has already brainwashed millions of followers, leaving behind a legacy of torture, child abuse, and death.
Of course I’m talking about the papal conclave.
In 2006 I wrote, Why You’re Dumb, Sick & Broke, and How to Get SMART, HEALTHY & RICH!, a book which explored memes (mind viruses), and how they control our behavior. One chapter, titled “Hope, Dope and the Pope” stirred up quite the debate. And since Wiley just reissued the book in paperback, and the Vatican is electing another Pope, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the issue of mind control and brainwashing by organized religion.
In his 26-year papacy, Pope John Paul II touched the world like none before him. He introduced computers to the Vatican, traveled to 129 countries, and harnessed the power of television and technology to reach every corner of the globe. He used his visits to shake up right wing dictatorships, give hope to the poor, and shine a spotlight on the afflicted. By all accounts, he was a well-meaning and deeply committed man.
However, none of that will change the legacy of poverty, ignorance, and despair he left behind for his followers...
I don’t think he did this because he was an evil man. He impressed me as a very spiritual and caring human being. A human being who was infected with so many common mind viruses, he had no idea of the desolation he was creating.
The Pope fought Communism in his native Poland and around the globe. But I believe he was still infected with the Communistic belief that it is noble to be poor, and money is evil. He came to the U.S. seven times, and denounced American materialism each time, castigating Americans for not sharing more of their wealth with the world’s poor. In fact, he scorned the effects of capitalism at every opportunity – except when the collection basket was going around.
Historically, no one has done negative program better than organized religion. And of course the Vatican is usually near the top of the list.
Of all the people I have coached in removing their prosperity blocks, these unworthiness issues created by religion are the hardest ones to bust. That’s because religion is so emotional for most people, and core religious beliefs are usually hard wired by the time you are five or six years old.
Pope John Paul II reached out to other faiths – while never missing a chance to let them know that the one door to salvation was going to be slammed in their face in the moment of truth. He was forceful in his rejection of homosexuality, birth control, divorce, remarrying after divorce, and women and married men in the clergy. And because he appointed 95 percent of the Cardinals who chose his successor, his rigid Orthodox theological vision was continued with Pope Benedict.
Even now, another generation of kids in church Sunday Schools and private Christian schools are getting infected with self-loathing, guilt, and worthiness issues, as the church marches on. More Gay teens will take their lives, believing they have been forsaken by their God. More women will receive the message that they are second-class citizens. More people will stay in marriages they never should have been in, living their entire lives in dismal resignation.
Of course since the death of John Paul II, things in the Vatican have only gotten worse. Pope Benedict was an active theologian, but paid very little attention to the vast bureaucracy of the Vatican money machine.
The documents leaked by Pope Benedict’s butler, which made their way into the daily papers and a bestselling book, offered a glimpse into the petty infighting and blatant corruption of the institution. There were accusations of officials illegally rigging construction bids for public works, and exposed that many high level church officials were actually involved in for-profit business opportunities around Italy, and even possible money laundering by the Vatican bank.
Some of the more militant cults like Scientology get lots of media scrutiny. But the Catholicism cult receives mostly media fawning. The reason of course is so many members of the media from Pat Buchanan to Piers Morgan, Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews, are actually members of the cult. So just like the last time, the media is awash in breathless sensationalism, chronicling the process of 115 old men, appointing a new spokesman to disseminate their mind viruses.
Building on our discussion from the last post, you have to ask why people would willingly follow a mind control cult – let alone one as perverted as the Roman Catholic Church? The only answer can be the self-loathing mind viruses the church has infected their followers with.
Most of the 1.2 billion members of the Catholic cult believe the Pope has mystical curing powers from God. They believe a blessing from him will cure diseases and save lives. They still believe this, even though Pope Benedict just resigned – because of his own poor health.
Meanwhile the Vatican continues missions in sub-Sahara Africa teaching the people in the remote villages there that condom use is a sin, condemning millions there to die of AIDS every year. Think how long the Vatican has condemned condom use to prevent HIV even between married partners when one was negative and the other positive. This is not an organization that cares about alleviating human suffering, but one simply concerned with propagating its dogma. And people who buy into that dogma, doom themselves to a life of lack and limitation.
And let’s not just single out the Catholicism sect or the parent Christianity cult...
The same type of brainwashing is happening in many other temples, mosques and synagogues around the world. Organized religion is responsible for the largest share of negative mind viruses and limiting beliefs circulating the globe today. Millions of children in many faiths are right now receiving mind control programming that will relegate them to lives of poverty, suffering, and fear. Funny the difference a postal code or two can make…
Five Iranians who converted to Christianity will go on trial this week in Iran’s Revolutionary Court. They were arrested when security forces raided an underground house church and caught them committing the crime of praying to Jesus.
Under Islamic law, a Muslim who converts to Christianity is considered to be waging war against Islam. The Constitution there allows judges to rely on fatwas for sentencing on crimes not addressed in the Iranian penal code. In cases such as this, these allow for everything from lengthy prison sentences to death.
That’s another really fascinating thing about these religious cults: They think the non-cult members face damnation, but they get really vengeful when one of their own leaves the cult.
During the inquisition when the Catholic Church was torturing and killing “heretics,” they were primarily concerned with the behavior of their members and converts, and didn’t pay as much attention to Jews and Muslims. (Although try explaining the definition of “as much” to the families of the Jews and Muslims who were tortured and killed if they didn’t “be saved” - figuratively and literally - by switching to Christianity.) Likewise, all minority religions in Iran face persecution from the current theocratic regime. But those who convert from Islam face the toughest vengeance.
Now some of you may think that I’m writing this to insult you or your beliefs. That is simply not the case.
The reason for this post is to question whether the dogma of your faith is causing you to self-sabotage your own prosperity and happiness, because you’ve been programmed to believe you’re not worthy.
And if the premise of your core foundational beliefs is based on superstitions and myths, everything that comes off of that premise is suspect as well.
There are people who believe Noah carried two dinosaurs on the ark, Indra was born fully grown from his mother's side (though they can’t agree if he had two or four arms), Buddha was born and instantly took seven steps to proclaim, “I alone am the World-Honored One!,” and Jonah swam around in the belly of a large fish for three days before popping out and buying a timeshare in Key West.
The problem with all of these captivating myths is they can’t keep the story straight, and so they don’t stand the test of reason to any rational, critical thinking person.
Buddhist scholars acknowledge that story of Buddha’s birth may have borrowed from Hindu texts of the birth of Indra from the Rig Veda. After Alexander the Great conquered central Asia there was extensive intermixing of Buddhism with Hellenic ideas. There is also speculation that the tale of the Buddha’s childbirth was “upgraded” when traders returned from the Middle East with stories of the birth of the baby Jesus.
The Buddha birth myth certainly sounds like a story about the birth of a God. But even Buddhism says the Buddha was not a god. And the bold pronouncement “I alone am the World-Honored One” is in direct conflict with the Buddhist teachings on nontheism and anatman.
There are about 1.5 billion people who believe the Bible is the literal word of God, even though there is no evidence to support this (at all), and is in fact, great evidence to disprove this – even in the Bible itself.
Of course there are about 1.5 billion other people who know the Koran to be the perfect word of the Creator of the universe. And the Prophet Mohammad explicitly stated that Jesus was not divine. So one thing is certain: of these three billion people who are certain about their truth – at least half have to be wrong.
Likewise, the Veda, which many believe is sanctified, is the product of many authors and shows numerous signs of having undergone considerable revisions over time.
I certainly have no problem with anyone believing any of this. Just as I have no problem with the people who believe Elvis is alive, we didn’t really land on the moon, or in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny.
Of course a rational person in control of their mental faculties couldn’t believe any of these things. But of course that leaves us almost four or five billion others who are irrational, not in control of their mental faculties and believe some or all of these things. And fascinatingly enough, the postal code they were born in, is the biggest determination of knowing which of these conflicting beliefs is the one “true” way and why the others are doomed to damnation with gnashing of teeth.
If you have a religious belief that serves you, I’m happy for you and have no desire to challenge it. I’m not one of those “militant atheists” Deepak Chopra has been ranting about recently. I glibly describe myself as a fundamentalist agnostic. I really don’t know how the universe was created and often wonder about some intelligent design or supernatural power that could be responsible for it all. I remember sitting in my church on a Christmas Eve, singing “Silent Night” by candlelight with the congregation and thinking, “If all this is simply a crutch man made up for his own peace of mind – it’s a pretty good one.” But I’m also a rational man and my beliefs must pass the sanity test.
And if YOU want to be healthy, happy and prosperous, your beliefs have to pass the sanity test. And they also must be beliefs that empower you. Not beliefs that program you that you are unworthy.
Most of the dogma in today’s organized religions are built on the premise that you are meant to suffer here, to demonstrate your worthiness for the afterlife – which is when the really good stuff comes. And depending on the religion, if you prostrate yourself enough, beg for forgiveness enough, say enough “Hail Mary’s,” ambush enough coalition soldiers, rub enough rosary beads, pray to Mecca enough times each day, blow up enough abortion clinics, kill enough Jews, or send enough money to the televangelist – you will be saved.
Most of the world’s major organized religions are set up as cosmic frequent flier programs.
If you collect enough points, you win the free trip to paradise. Whether we look at the Christian concept of original sin, the Buddhist 8-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish Covenant, or the Muslim Code of Law, they all are set up with the basic presupposition that you are a flawed being who needs salvation.
And if that’s what you are taught beginning at four or five years old, is it any wonder that you would grow up with worthiness issues? Low self-esteem, fear-based consciousness, and a tendency to self-sabotage?
One of the greatest steps you can take to become healthy, happy, and prosperous is to do some serious critical thinking about your religious beliefs. Think about what the subliminal messages are from them, and what you were exposed to as a young child. There you will find many clues on what has caused you to create the results you have in your life right now.
The sad truth is, billions of people are members of a mind-control cult and don’t realize it. Some are more benevolent than others. Some do a lot of good.
Some of my dearest friends in the world are Mormons. I can’t even begin to tell you how impressed I am with their faith and the good they do. I was wowed with the service they did here in South Florida after Hurricane Andrew. And since I have come to know so many so well, I am immensely impressed by the way they live their lives. Hell, if it weren’t for the restrictions against swearing, drinking, drugs and pre-martial sex, I’d probably be a Mormon too! (Although I’d probably be in the sect that allows polygamy.)
Just because a religion teaches compassion or service to others does not make all the myths about it true. Personally I believe the Bible is a great metaphysical textbook on the principles of prosperity. The parables are great lessons on living a prosperous life. But to take it as the literal word of God would require a leap of craziness I’m simply not interested in. This is the same book that promotes slavery, teaches to beat your children, to kill them if they talk back, and stone others for everything from heresy to homosexuality, sorcery to working on the Sabbath.
And please don’t try the argument that these things are only in the Old Testament and they were somehow countermanded in the New Testament. They were not. There are numerous places in the New Testament where Jesus and his apostles endorsed Old Testament law. I have read it all the way to the end: There is no place where God suggests that once we create a civil society that you can forgo the slavery, stoning, and other barbaric savagery.
The Bible certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on beating women and killing the non-believers. The Koran holds its own in this regard. Here are a few quotes, direct from the Creator of the universe:
"God's curse be upon the infidels!" (2:89)
"[We] shall let them live awhile, and then shall drag them to the scourge of the Fire. Evil shall be their fate" (2:126).
"Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is worse than carnage. . . . [I]f they attack you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded: but if they desist, God is forgiving and merciful. Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme. But if they desist, fight none except the evil-doers"(2:190–93).
"As for the unbelievers, neither their riches nor their children will in the least save them from God's judgment. They shall become fuel for the Fire" (3:10).
"Never think that those who were slain in the cause of God are dead. They are alive, and well provided for by their Lord; pleased with His gifts and rejoicing that those they left behind, who have not yet joined them, have nothing to fear or to regret; rejoicing in God's grace and bounty. God will not deny the faithful their reward" (3:169).
An objective reading of this book by a rational person reveals that the people who take it literally are very dangerous to the rest of the world. It exposes a chilling revelation of the Muslim beliefs on jihad and martyrdom. Is it any wonder that this Holy book is used for validation to fly planes into buildings, plant bombs and kill people?
Whatever religion you follow, it behooves you to question it with a critical mind: Do those beliefs empower you or tear you down? Are they coming from love or fear? Did you come to those beliefs by critical analysis and rational thought – or because they were programmed into you as a child, based on the postal code you were born in? Like me, you probably have a deep desire to know more. But it doesn’t get us anywhere to pretend to know things we really don’t know. If you want to be healthy, happy, and prosperous – you have to stay in touch with objective reality.
Want to know what kind of mind viruses you’re infected with and if they’re holding you back from success? Then read, or re-read Why You’re Dumb, Sick & Broke, and How to get SMART, HEALTHY & RICH! You can get it at B&N or Amazon.
Want to debate me, explain why I’m going to rot and burn in Hell, or pray for my salvation? Before you do, please read, Letter to a Christian Nation from Sam Harris. Certainly one of the most thought-provoking and brilliant books I’ve ever read.
If you come to the belief that your religion serves and empowers you – great. If it is what you think it is – it will survive the scrutiny of a healthy skepticism. But if you’ve blindly accepted the doctrines and dogma and they are programming you to be a victim – your life will never improve until you blow up and replace those limiting beliefs.
If there is a power greater than us, the greatest gift it bequeathed upon us is the power of the rational mind. What a sin it would be not to use it.
All mind control cults use many manipulative techniques: social proof, peer pressure, propaganda, even abuse, sensory depravation, torture and violence to control their members. And if you don’t think most organized religions are cults, you either don’t know the definition of the word, or you don’t know the history of organized religion.
But one thing I can promise you is this: No one can control your mind – unless you allow them to.
So the Cardinals are meeting and the world is breathlessly waiting on each puff of smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney. But what the church really needs – what the world really needs – is leaders who will lead for our highest good, not to protect fear-based dogma – from spiritual consciousness, not Iron Age superstitions – from rational thought, not irrational craziness.
We need religions that can celebrate their faith without persecuting those that don’t share it. Religious leaders who respect for all humans, including Lesbians, Gays, Transgender and Bisexual people. Who respect women and people with other beliefs as equal citizens.
We don’t need religions that program us that we are contemptible, unworthy beings and sorry sinners. We need religions that build us up. Religions that exhort us to do new and greater things, to walk the path of enlightenment – which is simply becoming the best we can possibly be. That’s my kind of religion.