Evidence based or Indoctrination?

Ark, (I am that person. )I was reared in a progressive ELCA church as a child and did not come to faith out of fear, trauma, or blind indoctrination. For me, it was a search for “truth” and the reason behind things like the origin of life and the universe that ultimately led me to a conviction of God. It was a process over time, you see.


If one is raised in a Christian environment , no matter if it is considered ”progressive” – I am not really sure what this term actually means – the fundamental tenets of faith regarding the character Jesus of Nazareth and specifically his crucifixion and resurrection are the same.

This still sounds like indoctrination to me.

Like every other conversion claim I have read, I still see no evidence whatsoever for this particular claim either.

Many of you have been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Would any of  you consider this person’s ”process over time” to be indoctrination or not?



78 thoughts on “Evidence based or Indoctrination?

  1. “Progressive” churches just wanna have their cake, and eat it too. In other words: avail themselves of the advances of secularism, while still adhering to Jesus and NT propaganda. Makes no difference to a real Southern Baptist evangelical like Branyan (or whatever he bills himself as). He regards “progressive” Christians in the same light as vampires.

    “Process over time” just means it took longer for the guy in question to get indoctrinated.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Person Ark quoted: “Ark, (I am that person. )I was reared in a progressive ELCA church as a child and did not come to faith out of fear, trauma, or blind indoctrination. For me, it was a search for “truth” and the reason behind things like the origin of life and the universe that ultimately led me to a conviction of God. It was a process over time, you see.”

    Progressive = I’ve seen this argument as a way to counter and say, See, I wasn’t raised fundamentalist, therefore not indoctrinated.

    Search for truth = so right from the start at an early age consciously was searching for the truth in the ELCA church?

    Reared = raised from an early age in a church that I never gave consent to attending and not having the option at all.

    Indoctrination = bad word and implies being forced against one’s will. When all it really means is being reared, raised and taught the doctrine of that church. Indoctrinated.

    The Progressive crucifixion and resurrection = The Fundamentalist crucifixion and resurrection

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Would any of you consider this person’s ”process over time” to be indoctrination or not?

    I’m willing to give him/her the benefit of the doubt.

    If it was not indoctrination, then this person has only himself to blame for a bad decision. But, okay, I guess the person does not see it as bad.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. indoctrination at it’s root is , as Zoe says, a way of teaching something–math, French, Catholicism–so that you understand the tenets of it. Whatever those tenets may be.

      I think it takes on a harsher meaning when you think about, say, a controlling person (Jim Jones comes to mind) who takes advantage of his charisma, his role, and his audience to teach (see?) them a new way of life, to their detriment.

      I was raised Catholic. I came from a Catholic family. I never felt indoctrinated (in the harsher sense) because it was part of my life. There were never any bible readings that we were expected to discuss (that was what ‘protestants’ did, lol) or analyze. If you missed Mass, that was your problem, and no one came to the door a week or so later to enquire about your lack of attendance. There were church dances (but anyone was welcome) and no prayers involved, there were church events, but none of it was mandatory. No one quoted scriptures at us to prove a point, which frankly was a blessing in itself.

      And when I left, it was, again, my problem. No one came to the door wondering where I had gotten to, I doubt if they even noticed, frankly.

      And I think this is the difference between belief as a personal thing, and belief as a Lesson to be Practiced Moment by Moment or you will Die and Go To Hell.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. “… this person has only himself to blame…” Everyone seems to feel that they “created” themselves, so they decide to believe. Ha! Blame it on the parents, siblings and peers. Once the dream of the supernatural is instilled (usually by the parents) it’s done. When we (the nonbelievers) look at it, we can see the scam. They (you know who they are) cannot. It is the perfect scam. GROG

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Does any Christian see it as bad? Only when they begin to doubt and finally deconvert, then then we often hear about the the gnashing of teeth etc.


  4. As long as we are here there is still time to listen to the still small voice of God Almighty to come to him. If we continue to push away at the call his voice will go away never to be heard again ….until judgement day and then it will be too late.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Judgement day” — that’s the giveaway that BC’s another crank. Or he’s been taking lessons from schizophrenics.

      Either way, he can be totally dismissed.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I used to think I heard ‘the small voice of God’. Now I conclude it never existed it was just my internal thoughts.

      I realise I could be wrong, but since concluding ‘God’ most likely does not exist I have found the Bible makes so much more sense to me now I treat it as a human work prone to human fallibility.

      Indeed the whole of life and human history makes more sense to me seen through the prism of there being no higher power to intervene.

      I studied Christian history at a post graduate level at a theological college and I remember saying to someone (whilst still a person of faith), ‘Christian history looks as though God is mostly absent’.

      At the time I though perhaps ‘God’ intervened through extraordinary individual like St Patrick, St Francis and Martin Luther.

      Liked by 5 people

    3. …there is still time to listen to the still small voice of God Almighty…

      In my many years of work in the Psych/A&D inpatient rehab field at a children’s, adolescent’s, and adult’s hospital with a 30-bed acute unit, I cannot TELL YOU how many times I heard acute schizophrenic, bipolar, or manic patients (most off their meds) say essentially the exact same thing you purport bcparkison. Clinically speaking auditory hallucinations — and various degrees of them not considered acute — STILL originate from the same spot all the time: the human brain. None of them quite the same. And that goes for all OTHER religions and their followers/faithers who also claim exclusive rights to Universal truth(s). 🤣

      “We do not need to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the Universe.”
      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      Liked by 4 people

        1. 🤣 Ahh, how pride cometh before the inevitable face-plant, eh?

          (starts humming & whistling the tune Rudyard Kipling inspired…)

          Our pride it is to know no spur of pride,
          And the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us
          And we die, and none can tell Them where we died. 40
          We’re poor little lambs who’ve lost our way,
          Baa! Baa! Baa!
          We’re little black sheep who’ve gone astray,
          Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree, 45
          Damned from here to Eternity,
          God ha’ mercy on such as we,
          Baa! Yah! Bah!

          Liked by 1 person

    4. @ bc
      It is comments such as this that confirm what I have always asserted – indoctrination is at the root of ALL such belief.
      You have commented here long enough to know the type of reception such a comment will elicit, Beverly.

      Furthermore, I am fully aware that any backlash from such a comment is often deemed to be ”persecution” by the believer and, in a sense, is welcomed thus, making you feel all the more justified ( because the bible says so , of course), and therefore all the more Christian.

      However, it always seems that you go out of your way to provoke this type of response, and then run for the hills.
      And, dare I suggest hugging yourself that you have at least ”delivered the message”.

      I am sure you are fully aware that most of my visitors are former Christians; many being part of strict fundamentalist sects, so they are conversant with the polemic you drop on so many of my religious posts.

      I don’t really mind as all you do is add further confirmation to my long-held belief that such nonsense is a form of mental illness. It is a way of holding people in a thrall.

      What I cannot understand is, why on earth you don’t at least try to provide some evidence for the religious claims you love to make?
      It would at least demonstrate a hitherto unknown degree of integrity.


      Liked by 5 people

        1. As the type of comment you regularly leave on my religious posts always seems to result in what you are reading from my visitors – why not give it a go?
          After all, what have you got to lose?
          I am not going to moderate you, of this you have my word, so you have a free platform.
          Be my guest …

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. That is why they have to argue that humanity is at its core depraved.

      Even when still a Christian I found the whole concept of judgement and Hell very disturbing. The idea of infinite punishment for finite offences seemed so unjust.

      I just hoped that somehow that people who missed on heaven would be obliterated (perhaps after a little time to reflect on their ‘badness’) rather than kept conscious and in torment for all eternity.

      I used to wonder how was it that I could be more merciful in my heart than ‘God’?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. How pathetic that they think humanity is depraved at birth.

        A baby has a blank slate to start, with some added genetics. From there on, if they are lucky enough to have loving parents (parent) , a decent education, a focus on reason and critical thinking and a focus on kindness and empathy, they are well on their way to a happy successful life.
        Religion need not enter the picture and in fact, shouldn’t, because it can be a destructive and blindly ignorant force.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. MARY:

      Ours does. Ooops, I mean the Abrahamic God (Big G) does. You worded it wrong, I believe you meant that “as a decent person YOU wouldn’t” … no?

      So please don’t judge a God until you’ve walked a mile in His shoes—what do you know of the agonies of seeing your wonderful Creation turn out to be so ghastly?

      (Not that as an Omniscient He didn’t see that before He went ahead and created it anyway …)


  5. I can understand how people feel that there must be some first cause behind the beginning of life and the universe. The ‘God’ concept can provide an alluring answer of sorts.

    When I was still a Christian I used to get so annoyed by pesky smart alec atheists asking ‘well who created God?’. Surely they just knew that ‘God is’. Now I am no longer a person of faith I have concluded that it is a very good question.

    So in the end proposing a ‘God’ to explain the start of life is not a reason to believe.

    It was Neil DeGrasse Tyson who observed that throughout history people have used ‘God’ to explain matters beyond the threshold of our current understanding.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. PETER:

      Good question that — ‘Who created God?’ … top marks. Who indeed? My own answer has always been the only one possible: He was created by a Godier God.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was presented in the most convincing way possible. The decision was theirs, but the herd is strong. The absolute only reason to consider such a grotesque and barbaric religion.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can well imagine how a young child or anyone for that matter, would feel, being urged to go to the altar to ”receive Christ” with possibly hundreds of eyes boring into them.
          No pressure, right?
          Just for once it would be nice to hear a story of someone walking to the altar then turning round and addressing the congregation:
          ”What’s the matter with all of you? Have you got rocks in your heads? This is utter nonsense for goodness’ sake!”

          Liked by 3 people

  6. If I created a universe with intelligent life, unless I was a narcissistic vengeful egotist, I wouldn’t even want them to know.
    Just give ‘me something nice and beautiful and hope they would enjoy it and each other and live in peace.

    And if they didn’t…we’ll that’s their problem. That alone would suffice as their own personal hell.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. MARY:

      Knowing what He was doing, as only an Omniscient can … I’d say that He is a colossal sadist. No?

      (Actually, I state this often and still all the religious trolls tiptoe delicately past …)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Julia Sweeney in her one woman show “Letting Go of God” said it beautifully. When she left her Catholic upbringing she started searching for other belief systems. She read about Mormanism and she remembers laughing, wondering how anybody could believe that nonsense. Then she though about virgin births and talking snakes and she realized neither was really any more nonsensical. The biblical stories were simply familiar ones and thus seemed more normal, more reasonable. I think that’s clear. Someone like this who grew up as a Muslim or Hindu in another country surely in their “search for truth” wouldn’t so easily settle for Christianity.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. SWARN:

      Old saying in the olde Royal Navy: “First up, best dressed!”

      A US Civil War general: “Battles are won by whoever gets there firstest with the mostest!”

      … … do we see a pattern, here?


  8. I spent over 50 years trying to find the “truth” about God and the origins of life and the universe. Finally, I found the ultimate, undeniable, inerrant truth about these things and here it is. From the Quran: “This Book is not to be doubted…. As for the unbelievers, it is the same whether or not you forewarn them; they will not have faith. God has set a seal upon their hearts and ears; their sight is dimmed and grievous punishment awaits them.”
    Quran 2:1/2:6-2:10
    See, the TRUTH is clearly spelled out right here for all to read. I came to this discovery on my own, with no help from others, and whilst inside a Christian country, America. Thus, there can be NO doubt as to this TRUTH. Why more do not see the undeniable reality presented here is beyond my ability to reason, but, then again, though God gave us all the ability to reason, some choose not to do so and to believe in false religions and false gods. Allahu Akbar

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Of COURSE the Muslims have it “right”! It says, right in the Quran, “This book is NOT to be doubted!” I mean, COME ON!!!! What other kind of “proof” do you need? Wake up, man! Before it’s too late for you! Please! WAKE UP!!!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. “God has set a seal upon their hearts and ears; their sight is dimmed and grievous punishment awaits them.”

      Okaaayyy, I think I got it. God, knowing what it was all about and about, set the seal on their hearts so that they couldn’t do otherwise, which gave Him an excuse to torture them for ever and ever, amen. I think I’ve got it …

      … we had a kid at school who loved pulling the wings off flies. He and God were made for each other …


  9. The ELCA progressive says:

    …it was a search for “truth” and the reason behind things like the origin of life and the universe…

    I’m sure there is much more context to what is being stated here by this ELCAP, but nonetheless a claim so phenomenally SUBJECTIVE for one human being (out of some 7.5+ billion!) does not or never will equal or produce exclusive rights, past, present or future, to Universal “truth(s).” If this person wants to venture that far into existence and consciousness, then I am dying for him/her to explain how THEIR own “truth” fits and aligns with Quantum Entanglement and Superposition!

    And if his/her answer is always identical to every single Quantum physicist on Earth and their’s to his/her… hahahaha, THEN I might give some weight to his/her personal claim with further questions. But if Quantum Entanglement and Superposition are a bit too much, too alien, then let’s begin closer to home with an exhaustive, a cumulative consensus just among “Christians”™ as to the nature and function of the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Let’s ignore temporarily the other two Abrahamic faiths/religions of exclusive truth! Is there complete identical unity about the nature and function of the Godhead among ALL living “Christians”™ right now or ever in the past?

    Or here’s a fun one! Was Jesus/Yeshua born without sin BEFORE the creation of all life? Was He sinless and pure between the ages of 12 and 29?

    So Mr/Ms/Mrs ELCA progressive, WHAT IS “TRUTH” exactly?

    Ark, many of us here are familiar with this excellent video, but I’ll close with it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Two minutes in and already got it. He’s got it (I got it years ago) — your faith is essentially your location. To rephrase, your faith is where you were born and/or indoctrinated into/with. EOS.

      A few rule-demonstrating exceptions, like moi (takes modest bow) and those other irksome doomed people (Ark, Jz, etc etc).

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry to confound the issue with a third possibility … my choice is almond impregnated choccie-coated creamy vanilla on a stick. (And it’s real, in my paws, with a life expectancy of milliseconds).

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hahaha… sounds tasty! 😋 So I’ll go with your turning of the proverbial kitchen table on me…

            Sounds delicious IF I could ever get a glimpse or whiff of what you’re raving about — gone in milliseconds!? 😉 Yet, I am very happy to try your “almond impregnated choccie-coated creamy vanilla on a stick” seeing that I don’t think I’ve ever had it! IOW, I don’t know ANYTHING about it since I’ve never heard of it much less tried it. I’ve never been to your part of the world Argus so I know nothing of the Kiwis. I would not even arrogantly pretend to know much about your delicious sounding treat, cuisine, or your culture since I have never been there in person.

            That was my point in my seemingly ridiculous question Sir. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Not ridiculous at all … a fellow aficionado, no less! (So few of us left … I may just take a snap or two and post ’em for you.)

            Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope. If it’s who I think it is, she doesn’t have a blog. She hangs out with those of us who deconverted for a while, then takes a break, then comes back, then takes a break, then takes a break. 😀 She’s been commenting on one of the deconverter blogs of late. No need for a link for me. Carry on.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. ZOE/ARK:
          How about a link for those of us in PT boats who sit watching the huge flashes of battleships exchanging broadsides beyond the horizon?


    1. It’s sorta like a dysfunctional marriage, without the rough edges showing. You aren’t happy, and you’re not sure why, and when you bring the subject up, you are either tuned out or shouted down and you think, it must be my fault. I need to try harder.

      No matter how hard you try to please the other person, you always always fall short. The soup was too hot, the sheets are wrinkled, there’s dust on my good shoes, your hair is a mess can’t you DO something?

      It must be my fault. He tells me it is, and he’s usually right. I need to try harder.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Judy:

        Don’t try to please—just be yourself. Speak from the heart. Let ‘rm have both barrels.(And if all else fails, bite the buggers …)


  10. Ark:

    “Like every other conversion claim I have read, I still see no evidence whatsoever for this particular claim either” …

    … awwww, come on, come on~! There’s no lack of it. THE Holy Book is full of it, and all the Gospel Truth! And umpty-million believers surely cannot be wrong, or deluded?

    Like I said, the Holy Book is full of it. All of them are, in fact.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. And one thought that I have never really worked through before.

    What is the point of hell? What is the purpose to punishing dead people? It isn’t as if they were going to be reincarnated as toast, it isn’t as if they can teach anyone a neener neener lesson about sin, they dead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JUDY:

      it’s not the consequent punishing that is the big deal—it’s the threat inherent in the possibility of said punishment, no?


  12. Hell isn’t for sinners deceased.
    Hell is for waverers quick.

    (‘Quick’ in the olde sense of the word, meaning living.)

    There’s no point in punishing dead people—it can’t be done. But sure as hell you can scare the shit out of wavering live people, no?

    Hell makes sense only as a polar opposite*. (If you’ve got a Heaven on offer, you have to have a Hell. Brrrrr~!)

    * Hello Stick, meet Mr Carrot. Carrot, this is Mr Stick.

    Liked by 2 people

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