Matt Taibbi has a riveting article about the techniques used by the pastors of the Cornerstone Church. It makes terrifying reading.
By the end of the weekend I realized how quaint was the mere suggestion that Christians of this type should learn to “be rational” or “set aside your religion” about such things as the Iraq War or other policy matters. Once you’ve made a journey like this — once you’ve gone this far — you are beyond suggestible. It’s not merely the informational indoctrination, the constant belittling of homosexuals and atheists and Muslims and pacifists, etc., that’s the issue. It’s that once you’ve gotten to this place, you’ve left behind the mental process that a person would need to form an independent opinion about such things. You make this journey precisely to experience the ecstasy of beating to the same big gristly heart with a roomful of like-minded folks. Once you reach that place with them, you’re thinking with muscles, not neurons.
Of course, the same techniques work for any flavour of religious or political dogma, this is not simply true for Christians alone. It is a great pity that we, as a species, are so susceptible to these techniques designed to extinguish critical thinking. As George Carlin has said: Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that””.
(hat tip to Dangerous Intersections for the link)
Addendum July 2017: …and, wouldn’t you know it, Mr. Taibbi turns out to be a despicable human being himself.