First posted: July 3 2008
Updated: July 22 2008
Full Index
Indoctrination Tactics
The Real God Maybe
Free Speech
Lessons From Histoy
What Religious people really Worship
Theory for everything
107 Wonders of the Ancient World

Indoctrination Tactics and Educational Alternatives

"If you can get a man to reverence your ideals, he's your slave."
Mark Twain: American Claiment

Whenever the truth is distorted or exaggerated people make decisions based on false facts and bad things are bound to happen especially if they are important decisions

How Indoctrination Tactics Threaten Democracy

So you think you can tell Heaven From Hell
The Good God from the Devil.

Do people really have free will?

Glorification and Demonization
Divide and Rule
Censorship And Self Censorship
"Divine Truth" "Revelations" and "Miracles"
Blind Senseless Sacrifice
"Earning" Trust
Package Deal
Start Young
Positive Feedback/Negetive Feedback
Charismatic Speaker
Cater to existing beliefs
Tell Them What They Want To Hear
Start with intelligent ideas/Bait and Switch
Speak with Conviction
Repeat Catch Phrases
Appear as Benefactor
Control Education
Distract and Ignore Inconvenant Facts
Hype and Propaganda
Blasphemy Heresy and Sacrilage
The Buck Stops Elsewhere
Poetic Speech that Seems Wise
Present solutions as causes of problems and causes of problems as solutions
Virtual Copyrights of Information or morality
Control message of "prophet"
Define "good" and "bad"
Martyrdom Glorify the Dead
Pledge of Allegiance
Undefined Symbols
Doublestandard/Don't try to see the others sides point of view
Keep False Hope Alive
"They" are trying to break us up
Gods "Tests"
Coersion, intimidation and if neccissarry torture and murder
Shunning or Excommunicating
Complicate Simple Things/Simplify Complicated Things
It goes without saying that
"Gods Absolute Power" Doesn't Corrupt Absolutely
War as a Solution
List of common fallacies compiled by these are similar to the points I'm trying to make More common fallacies compiled by

How Indoctrination Tactics Threaten Democracy

Indoctrination Tactics are used to enslave the mind and turn the public into virtual slaves. People choose their goals and methods to accomplish goals based on their perception of reality or ideology often religions which are ideologies based on the worship of God(s). Organizations that attempt to use indoctrination tactics to completely control ideologies qualify as cults even if they don't completely succeed. This definition does not limit cults to religion it could include fiscal ideologies like capitalism or communism. By not providing a clear definition to these ideologies and presenting it to the public in an effective manor that should qualify as a cult. Even if you don't agree with this definition of a cult if the indoctrination tactics are accurate they should be taken into consideration.

The biggest difference between Indoctrination tactics and education is that Indoctrination dictates the truth without any scrutiny. Indoctrination doesn't involve an attempt to figure out what is true or confirm it there are no checks and balances with Indoctrination. Education does involve an effort to figure out what is true and to confirm it. Education encourages people to understand the process of figuring out the truth so that people are not totally dependant on their leaders.

What many people don't realize is that the version of communism presented to the public in the USA is not based on the communist manifesto even though they often say or imply that it is. Some of the principles in the communist manifesto are the same principles that the USA supposedly stands up for. I don't agree with everything in the communist manifesto but it is worth considering. To read a free e-book for yourself go to this free online library at't let the talking heads define it for you.

McCarthyism was the Capitalist version of the Inquisition. The House Committee on Un-American Activities used many of the same tactics as the Inquisition. It was used to intimidate people and suppress free speech like the Inquisition. It was used to distort Ideologies like the inquisition. The statement "Have you no decency" supposedly brought an end to McCarthyism or so some may believe. All this did was scale back the crudest harassment. This did not involve an effort to understand how it happened or correct the misconceptions created by the interrogations or Inquisitions. In both cases an effort to figure out what is true and correct prejudices should have been made. Understanding Indoctrination tactics should be part of that effort.

Communism is based on the word Commune which is a group of people living together in a community. So communism should refer to a community based ideology. This is a very vague definition which could apply to many things. The same goes for socialism.

Capitalism is based on the word Capital or money. This leads to the real Golden Rule "Those who have the gold make the rules". The supreme court decision to equate money with speech was the most important tactic used to enforce "The Golden Rule". In the USA The media and Government have repeatedly equated communism with tyranny and Capitalism with Democracy. This is not always the case but they repeat it so often that people believe it.

A democracy is a Government by the people for the people and of the people where the people run the Government. In order for the people to run the Government they have to understand it and they have to be educated enough to make decisions. The quality of democracy is related to the quality of education and the availability of accurate information to make decisions. The electorate is not currently qualified to make these decisions so the "experts" do it for them. They allow the public the illusion of a Democracy but not the real thing. Democracy is not just about voting for someone that pretends to look out for your best interest it is about accountable Government. One of the most important things people need to understand to have a true Democracy are ways that politicians, TV's talking heads, advertisers and religious leaders manipulate them.

In most cases teaching the public about these Indoctrination tactics and teaching rational thought is the most important Educational Alternative however I tried to describe alternatives to the specific tactics or how these tactics can be used to educate without indoctrinating. Amazingly several religious leaders have actually attacked reason logic and rationalism. Martin Luther made several statements attacking reason. Several Popes have attacked rationalism and Americanism and Malachi Martin has written that the Devil uses logic to deceive people don't listen to the devils logic. He didn't say twisted or false logic just logic. Consider me the devil.

Many of these principles may seem obvious to reasonable people but many people often ignore them if there not on the top of their head at any given time. It is also easier to remember and use them if they are presented in an organized way.

So you think you can tell Heaven From Hell
The Good God from the Devil.

If There is a God how do you know he is Good? Assuming you believe he is good. What is the appropriate behavior for a God that is really good? Would a good God inspire religion in mysterious ways even though he knows that is leading to wars and inquisitions. Would a good God remain silent When the religions he inspires prop up vicious Tyrants?? Would a good God open up a two way line of communication and provide a consistent education to every one. If the good God uses "prophets" to deliver his messages why doesn't he have his "prophets" from two different cultures get together and iron out their differences instead of fighting one war after another? Would a good God betray those who trust him? Would he allow those who delivered improved moral messages like Jesus, Joan of Arc, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to be killed prematurely and people like Stalin And Castro to live a full long life?

One of the characteristics of the devil is that he makes a deal and when he keeps his side you find out that it comes at to high a cost. religions also claim God makes deals with his followers these deals are often called covenants. Alleged covenants with God include the covenant with Israel, South Africans, Joseph Smith and many more. When God allegedly promised Canaan/Israel/Palestine/Israel to the Jews and perhaps to the Muslims and Christians as well It led to thousands of years of wars with no end in sight. Why didn't he at least try to teach them to share it without fighting. Is this a characteristic of God or the Devil? Other covenants with God have also led to disasters.

Another characteristic of the devil is that he pretends to be benevolent then he leads you into temptation. God is portrayed as being good to earn trust then that faith is used to lead people into war. Is this a characteristic of God or the Devil? Far more atrocities have been committed in Gods name than in the devils. However I suppose a fancy story can be told to put the blame elsewhere. Do you teach truth and morality by arranging for superstitious people to deliver your message for you?

Would a good God Teach people that it is a good idea to find out what is true and check your facts correcting them when they are wrong? If God doesn't do the things that a good God would do and he does the things that a good God wouldn't do is he really good? If God inspires religious wars that lead to mass murder and torture is he trustworthy enough and qualified to pass judgment over those who commit atrocities in his name. If this is how God accomplishes his goals what goals could he be trying to accomplish??

Does God think rationally? If so do you need to think rationally to understand God? If God is an advanced intelligence does he try to accomplish his goals in the most effective way possible? Would he teach truth and morality by refusing to communicate if that really was his goal? Does God keep an organized set of records for all the facts in the world?

Do people really have free will?

If people don't have a rational perception of reality they make decisions on false facts. If a cult leader is controlling their perception of reality then the cult leader is controlling the decisions made by the follower. In this case the follower doesn't really have free will he only has the illusion of free will. In many cases if someone doesn't have the right to disagree with the group without being cast out or intimidated then that person doesn't have free will. For example If a white supremacist decides it may not be such a good idea to hate and harass people of different races he may be ostracized from his community which he feels dependant on. Therefore he continues to hate people just to get along with his own crowd. This person doesn't have free will. If cult leaders know more about manipulating the followers than the followers know about avoiding being manipulated the followers don't have free will.

The amount of free will people really have is dependant partly on the quality of their education. If one person has sufficient education to make rational decisions and another doesn't the one with the better education has more free will. If the one with less education also gets drawn into a cult then all he winds up with is the illusion of free will. Understanding these indoctrination tactics can help people avoid being deceived by them and prevent cult leaders from depriving them of their free will.

Glorification and Demonization: This usually involves playing on peoples emotions. Hype and lies are often used to exaggerate the good deeds of loved ones and the bad deeds of hated ones. This is also an important principle of mythology. Over the centuries old stories often become more spectacular. Heroes become more heroic and often their faults disappear. Villains become more evil and often their good points disappear.
Educational Alternatives: Control your emotions. check your facts and sources. remember that your side makes mistakes to and that the other side may be more like you than you think. try to apply same standards equally for both sides.

Divide and Rule: Whenever someone maintains authority as a result of unnecessary conflict we should consider whether he is using divide and rule tactics. If he does something to encourage conflict even if it is dealing with the conflict in an incompetent manor Then he is using divide and rule tactics. If he isn't doing it intentionally then he won't think of it as divide and rule tactics but the results are the same. The point is that someone or some organization rules as a result of the division. It is often easier for cult leaders to control followers if they can portray themselves as protectors of the cult from the enemy. If necessary they may create an enemy but it would usually be easier to use existing enemies and take advantage of real differences. Instead of trying to solve these differences fairly they present a biased point of view so their followers will think they are right but the enemies will never agree. Cult leaders will often create or exaggerate faults of the enemy and ignore or justify faults of allies and obedient followers. they may find fault with followers when they disobey though. When cult followers start disobeying cult leaders often create divisions to restore their power.
Examples include the Romans dividing the "Barbarian tribes, England Dividing the colonies, southern plantation owners dividing the "white trash" and the "niggers", The corporations dividing the American workers and foreign workers with outsourcing etc. Some of the most common conflicts are about religion. Most if not all religions claim that God Rules. If they are divided over religion and as a result God rules would that mean that God is using divide and rule tactics? If God really did inspire religion then either because of his influence or his negligence it would mean that. If God didn't inspire religion then religion is a sham
Educational Alternatives: Leaders need to be kept accountable to stop Divide and Rule tactics. When they try to use demonization tactics censor the enemy. If the people don't try to understand the enemy honestly they won't be able to confirm if alleged atrocities are true. If they don't hold their leaders and themselves accountable they won't know whether the enemies complaints are accurate. Peace should be restored as soon as possible in the fairest way possible in order to maintain a good quality of life. At times people will have to decide whether vengeance is more important or setting up a fair system.

Censorship And Self Censorship: Churches and governments have a long history of censoring the truth. Most people don't realize how much their own beliefs have been shaped by this censorship. Many of the things that they accept as fact are based on incomplete or distorted information. An effective cult leader can convince cult followers to censor themselves. Many cult followers won't listen to anyone who isn't approved by their cult leaders. More moderate followers may be programmed to listen and immediately try to prove their side is right without thinking it through. Cult followers often come to hard conclusions based on incomplete facts then their goal becomes proving they're right without checking their own facts unless they have no choice. During at least one presidential election they had a debate where the public asked the questions but they had to put the questions in writing first. The talking head had a chance to exclude people with undesirable questions. They may also have done additional checks to find out if the people were prone to speak out of line. Members of the protest community might have been omitted.
Educational Alternatives: If most of the dominant beliefs are based on censorship then it is necessary to review those beliefs. A system should be set up to give a bigger variety of people a chance to speak to the public without screening there beliefs. A certain amount of time should be allowed for the public to speak and a certain amount of time should be given for experts to speak. Experts that are unwilling to show the work behind their expertise starting with the basics should receive no more time than the average person. For example if an expert claims global warning is real and tells you where you can look at an organized list of storms that show in increase disasters this would be helpful. Not everyone at a public forum will want to sit through all the details but those that want to can check on there own. I suppose political leaders chosen by the people should be allowed to speak even if the people don't do a good job choosing them. Hopefully when the people are better educated they will do a better job choosing their leaders. Personally I don't like listening to stupid people but occasionally some of this is necessary. Some of these people consider me stupid and in order to figure out who is right an effort has to be made to sort it out.

"Divine Truth" "Revelations" and "Miracles": Religions portray God as the divine source of truth that is always trustworthy. There is just one problem God refuses to communicate with many if any people so there is no way of knowing what it is we're supposed to trust. In God's absence many cult leaders claim to speak for him. Since they speak for God and God is trustworthy they are trustworthy. If so how did they earn that trust? Did they earn it by figuring out what is true and showing the work so that people would understand. Nope of course not. They earned trust by interpreting "Revelations" and "Miracles" most of which happened hundreds if not thousands of years ago. If there is an advanced intelligence called God are revelations and miracles the appropriate way for God to earn trust? This has been going on for thousands of years and it has led to many beliefs that contradict each other. If this is the way God communicates since it has led to many false and in some cases insane beliefs I don't see how there can be any doubt. God has never earned trust!! God communicates in Mysterious ways and they encourage superstitions and war. Divine Revelation means you just believe what your told but in many cases not only have these divine truths not been proven but they have been disproven and still many cult members refuse to correct simple mistakes. If God really can create "Miracles" and "Revelations" that may prove that he is an advanced intelligence but not that he is trustworthy. The opposite is true. If Penn and Teller trid to convince you that they are the divine source of truth because they can do a magic trick you don't understand would you believe they would never lie. Unlike Penn and Teller many Mystics that claimed to speak in Gods including Moses and Jesus name allegedly did that. If God really can create "Miracles" and "Revelations" then this is an example of God himself using Indoctrination tactics and that would make God a brainwashing cult leader not a source of free will.
Educational Alternatives: If God wanted to earn trust honestly he would start by communicating and allow scrutiny to confirm "Divine Facts." Instead of trusting divine facts trust simple facts that can be confirmed and work your way up. If you can't learn it all at once trust the experts that do a good job showing the work and allowing scrutiny; until you can understand it.

Blind Senseless Sacrifice: Amazing as it seems religions have a long history of worshiping blind senseless sacrifice. Most modern religions don't officially do this and often look down on those that do. The Aztecs and many Pagans committed a large amount of ritual sacrifice. However if you take a closer look they may still worship sacrifice without acknowledging it. The cross is one of the most obvious examples which represents Jesus sacrifice of his life for our benefit. Or does it? what benefit are we receiving? When he lived he supposedly taught an improved code of morality which could provide benefit if we live by it. If everyone does unto others as they would have others do unto themselves then there would be a benefit that we could all share. However this would be true whether Jesus died on the cross or not. In fact if he was as wise and moral as Christians say he could have taught much more if he hadn't died on the cross. After he died on the cross others spread his message in his name and either they didn't do a good job at it or Christís message wasn't that good. Constantine eventually hijacked Christianity and oversaw the Nicene council which helped established which "sacred" texts would be included in the bible. They didn't include "sacred" texts that were burnt by those with sufficient political power to squelch ideas they didn't like. Since the same Roman Empire that tortured Christ to death had that political power they were able to control the message. Many statements attributed to Jesus weren't as moral as Christians claim. Whether he was a good moral teacher or not the Christianity that followed him was used to prop up hundreds of tyrants including Constantine, Charlemagne, Ivan the Terrible etc. These Tyrants used intimidation torture and murder to convert people to Christianity. Jesusí sacrifice didn't bring benefits instead it was used to indoctrinate people. War often brings about much more blind senseless sacrifice. The causes of war often turn out to be based on lies. They are usually if not always fought to benefit a small percentage of the population and often they don't even benefit. Indoctrination tactics are used to convince armies to fight and they rarely if ever know the real reason for war. instead of admitting something went wrong those that love the deceased glorify them and this Glorification is used to make war seem worthwhile even if it isn't. the best way to benefit from war is to learn how to avoid it and prevent it from happening again. Another example of blind senseless sacrifice is ignorance. By refusing to learn Cult followers base decisions on lies and bad things happen over and over again!!!
Educational Alternatives: Educate yourself! If your going to make sacrifices do it for reasons you understand that bring benefits you understand. Peace corp. members, Habitat for Humanity members and AmeriCorps members all sacrifice time and work for educational causes that create real benefits. The sacrifices they make aren't as big and the benefits are bigger than those benefits (usually non existent) received by religious sacrifice.

"Earning" Trust: "IN GOD WE TRUST" This is a catch phrase that has been repeated thousands of times even though God has not earned trust by communicating and allowing confirmation of principles presented in his name. Instead God has obtained trust by allegedly inspiring religion and arranging for them to use indoctrination tactics in his name.
Educational Alternatives: as I said before [If God wanted to earn trust honestly he would start by communicating and allow scrutiny to confirm "Divine Facts." Instead of trusting divine facts trust simple facts that can be confirmed and work your way up. If you can't learn it all at once trust the experts that do a good job showing the work and allowing scrutiny; until you can understand it.]

Package Deal: Ideologies and religions usually offer a relatively small number of beliefs that they expect you to adopt in there entirety. there may seem like a lot of divine religions but when you consider there is potential for an infinite number of religions it's not. They expect you to allow the "experts" to define them but the "experts" don't always do a good job often because they are biased, prejudiced, stupid or insane. The real "truth" is very complicated and there are an enormous amount of details. If an effort is not made to narrow these things down there is no way anyone will figure it out
Educational Alternatives: A well organized set of facts that is held up to scrutiny if the best way to figure out the truth. Starting with a list of subjects and basics for each subject. This list will be long and it will need to be categorized. For example History would be one category which includes archeology and many other subcategories.

Start Young: Whether Indoctrinating or educating it is important to start young. The first person to educate a child is usually the parent. Cult leaders realize this and if they already indoctrinated the parent then they can get the parent to help indoctrinate the child. Of course neither one of them will consider it indoctrination which is why it is important to define the difference between the two. Cult leaders often encourage parents to turn their child over to them for education (indoctrination) as soon as they are old enough. whether it is the parent or the cult leader they dictate the truth without allowing any scrutiny. When contradictions come up they create confusing justification to explain why the contradiction doesn't exist. This is the beginning of doublethink where people believe two or more contradicting facts. Once this irrational thought process gets started it just keeps getting worse at least until an effort is made to correct mistakes. Cult children are not taught to figure things out or correct mistakes. They may claim they correct mistakes but what they actually do is conform to the cult beliefs whether they are right or not. In some cases they may actually get facts right but without a rational thought process they have a difficult time applying them properly.
Educational Alternatives: When children are old enough to start recognizing mistakes and asking lots of questions they should be encouraged to think things through and understand how to confirm facts and figure out more on their own. This doesn't mean fact should never be dictated but they should allow them to consider alternative facts and go through the process of sorting them out to confirm them.

Positive Feedback/Negative Feedback: positive feedback is something that is used to teach kids as soon as they start potty training them when you smile at them for doing it right. At that age that is all they understand. They don't know why they are doing it just that it creates a positive response from the parent. when they get a little bit older and they start to think for themselves they may start disagreeing with their parents or teachers. when this happens the parents of teachers may get angry creating a negative feedback. This leads to an unconscious belief that proof of truth is based on Positive Feedback/Negative Feedback instead of an effort to find out what is true. Approval of teachers is considered evidence of truth. This may seem to work fine if the teachers actually are right. However if teachers use these tactics instead of encouraging independent thought it's usually because that is the way they were taught and they didn't correct their own mistakes. So they are often not right at all. Even when they are right they don't teach deductive reasoning to figure out additional facts this way. Many cult followers never realize that an effort to figure out and confirm facts is a good idea. They just look for the most effective way to get positive feedback from their own group and this involves conforming to cult beliefs regardless of truth.
Educational Alternatives: As I said before [When children are old enough to start recognizing mistakes and asking lots of questions they should be encouraged to think things through and understand how to confirm facts and figure out more on their own. This doesn't mean facts should never be dictated but they should allow them to consider alternative facts and go through the process of sorting them out to confirm them.] It would also be helpful to encourage healthy debate without taking offence. just because someone disagrees with you doesn't always mean they are insulting you. Even if they are insulting you it won't do any good to get in a huff about it.

Charismatic Speaker: Many cult leaders use charisma to attract followers including Hitler and Jim Jones. A recent history channel special used a look alike to portray Jim Jones as a junky which may be accurate but this actor wasn't nearly as charismatic as the real thing. I know I've seen film of him in the past that seemed much more charismatic. This is unfortunate since it makes it harder for people to understand why so many people fell for him. I never thought Hitler appeared as charismatic as the Germans seemed to but that is almost certainly because I don't speak German and I didn't watch many of his speeches live. Charismatic speakers make you feel like they care about you whether it is sincere or not. They make people want to receive positive feedback from the speaker. Everyone wants to be associated with the popular guy. In order to do this they will believe or do incredibly foolish things. This doesn't involve an effort to figure out what is true.
Educational Alternatives: Once again Leaders need to be held accountable. Warning people about charismatic cult leaders helps but it is not always enough people need to have someplace else to go. Many of Mansonís followers were rejected by society or at least they thought they were. If society doesn't provide them a place to go a cult might. Or in the case of Richard Ramirez and the Columbine duo they may rebel on their own without a cult. They were subjected to abuse either from their peers or Ramirezís strict "Christian" relatives so they turned to worshiping Hitler and or Satan.

Cater to existing beliefs: It is a lot easier to attract followers if you cater to their existing beliefs if you try to change their beliefs all at once they won't follow. Hitler often denied doing this and he could point to many that he was demonizing to back this up but he was catering to anti-Semites that were predisposed to hate Jews. Hitler, Manson, Jones and many others all catered to Christian beliefs to attract followers. They all made some changes after they attracted a following but they didn't completely change beliefs. If you look closely at history past religions did the same thing. That is why different religions have a lot in common. Christianity adopted parts of both Jewish and pagan beliefs. The saying Amen almost certainly came from Ancient Egypt where they had Gods named Amen, Amon, Amun and Amenhotep. This doesn't involve any effort to find out what is true or confirm facts. Most people think a credible person is someone who agrees with them. They don't think of themselves as prejudiced.
Educational Alternatives: The word prejudice means prejudgment. This is when you come to absolute beliefs without figuring out what is true. People need to know that in order to know what is true an effort has to be made to figure out what is true. Records of this effort should be kept in an organized fashion and showed to the public including the work behind it. No one will be able to look at all of this but if every one looks at the most important basics and a different set of other subjects. then someone will see each subject and have a chance to confirm it.

Tell Them What They Want To Hear: People are always looking the quick fix or the get rich quick scheme. Just about everyone has heard the saying if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. But as soon as some one tells them what they want to hear they quickly forget. They also want to be told they're right when there is ever a disagreement. When someone agrees with them they want to be friends when someone tells them inconvenient facts they get upset. The one they want for a leader is the one that makes things sound easy. Hitler told the Germans they had legitimate complaints against the French, the Austrians, the Jews and more. This is what they wanted to hear so they believed him. In the case of the French they may have been partly right at one point. Remember at that time conquest was considered Glorious to many and they were always fighting back and forth. I don't know about the Austrians but I'm sure the Jews didn't do much if any thing against the Germans. Some of them were just accustomed to solving problems by blaming the Jew hating the Jew. They didn't want to hear any one say "You know we've been blaming the Jew hating the Jew for thousands of years and it doesn't seem to be working maybe if we try something else it will work". Someone who says that might get thrown down the steps. Similar things did happen according to Mein Kampf.
Educational Alternatives: Tell them what is true and encourage them to confirm it. Vigilantly remind the public that if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. Say it in different ways so they think about it. When a cult leader uses this or any other cult tactic some one should speak up before it goes to far.

Start with intelligent ideas/ Bait and Switch: If you read Mein Kampf you may see that Hitler had some good ideas. "Now that the nation has learned to cry for bread, it may one day learn to pray for freedom". "evil can only give rise to evil". Mein Kampf. If you pay close attention to some of the things Charles Manson said they were good ideas even if he didn't present them well. They use these good ideas to earn trust then they betray it.
Educational Alternatives: Demonizing cult leaders and pretending they are all bad with no good ideas is counterproductive. In some cases other leaders ignore these good ideas. They wouldn't be good leaders if they did that but few leaders are as good as people believe. When some people see that the cult leaders are the only ones coming up with these good Ideas they follow them. If reasonable people figure out which concerns are legitimate and address them then cult leaders will be less likely to attract followers.

Speak with Conviction: Never Admit your wrong. Most cult leaders do this. Many cult followers were never taught that it is a good idea to figure out what is true they just believe the person that sounds like he knows what he is talking about. If an expert tries to explain that he is trying to figure out what is true he sounds unsure of himself to many people. Some one who always has a quick answer to everything seems more credible. Someone who changes his answers even for good reason doesn't appear to know what he is talking about. In many cases cult leaders also change their stories but they seem better at convincing the followers that it isn't really a different story or that they have a good reason. Many cult leaders spend their time learning how to convince the public they know what they are talking about while other experts spend their time actually figuring out what is true.
Educational Alternatives: The public needs to be taught that it is a good idea to figure out what is true and that means if they find a mistake and they fix it they are getting closer to the truth. If they have good reason and they can explain it this is not an example of ignorance or stupidity but intelligence. An example of ignorance would be if they refused to fix their mistakes.

Repeat Catch Phrases: "A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth" Vladimir Lenin(?) Even if I didn't get this quote right it still fits. Many Anti-Semites repeated over and over again that Jews were responsible for everything bad. This started long before Hitler. Tyrants arrange for people to portray them as benevolent over and over again so often people believe it. In Russia there was an old saying that if the Tsar knew what was going on he would fix it. After Stalin took over people said if Stalin knew what was going on he would fix it.
Educational Alternatives: The catch phrases that are repeated the most often should be scrutinized the most to make sure they are right. This is an example of a cult tactic that would be a good educational tactic as long as it is done right. The things that should be repeated the most often should be the most important things and the basics. I seem to keep repeating that I think it would be a good idea to figure out what is true. If it really is a good idea to figure out what is true then this is worthwhile. Other things that are worth repeating include the following. destroying the environment is bad protecting it is good. trying to avoid war good starting wars based on lies bad. The purpose of the economy is to improve quality of life so buying things that don't improve the quality of life is dumb. The purpose of the economy is to improve quality of life so buying things that don't improve the quality of life is dumb.

Appear as Benefactor: Cult Leaders often try to obtain your trust by convincing you that they are tying to help you out and look out for your best interest. One of the way they do this is to Warn you of "danger" from others. They might describe things that others are trying to do to you. When they do this they imply that are not doing the same thing. In Mein Kampf Hitler often described cult tactics when the enemy was using it against them. In some cases he was right but even then he used the same tactics and did it much more effectively. The damage that Hitler did was far worse than any threats or perceived threats Hitler described. Manson, Jones, Koresh and many more also did similar things.
Educational Alternatives: Whenever someone warns you of danger check to make sure it is a legitimate threat and check to see if the leader is using the same tactics. Consider the motives of leaders they are not always what they seem. There have been an enormous number of times where ulterior motives of past leaders have been exposed to assume that it will never happen again or neglect to consider it is foolish.

Control Education/Control Perception of Facts : This is one of the most important tactics cult leaders use. Cult leaders have to make sure teachers are not teaching inconvenient facts to maintain control. Teachers could be the biggest threat to cult leaders so they have to keep a close eye on them. When they check up on teachers they try not to appear to be checking up on them. They act as if they are looking out for the best interest of people. This may be easier to do if they actually believe their own lies. Technically if they believe their own lies they are mistakes not lies but the results are the same. Either that or they are very good actors. This sounds like big brother and it is but unfortunately it is true. Remember the Scopes trial and many more recent cases where the Christian right has interfered in education including a case in Kansas. Bill Donahue has been on TV lately telling people not to read these "Atheist books" and "The Golden Compass" which the Catholic Cult considers a threat to their authority (possibly because it reminds children of the Inquisition).
Educational Alternatives: In order to stop this rational people have to pay more attention to education. Teaching is one of the most important jobs there is so Teachers deserve respect. However if they indoctrinate children the damage can be big. They may not realize they are doing this. Good Education for the teachers themselves is necessary. When they do a good job people should stick up for them. Accountability is tough if not impossible but that should be the goal.

Distract and Ignore Inconvenient Facts: This is quite common did you ever noticed a talking head on TV respond to a question by making a speech without actually answering the question? If not have you ever watched a talking head on TV? Religious people do this all the time. I don't know whether they realize they do it or not. Many people don't notice this when it happens sometimes if I'm not paying attention I don't notice it.
Educational Alternatives: When they do this on TV the person who asked it rarely ever points it out and when they do it is often during a shouting match. A calm "you didn't answer the question" would usually be more appropriate. Then the audience would think about it and come to their own conclusion. It would also help to put things in writing and bring the most important things up again.

Hype and Propaganda/Manipulate Emotions: This is often used to confuse and distort the truth. Hitler was an expert at this. He wrote extensively about Propaganda in Mein Kampf. If rational people took a closer look at Mein Kampf in the 20's WW 2 could have been prevented. Unfortunately the majority of the public at that time didn't understand it and those that did either didn't have the bully pulpit to teach the public or they wanted to use Hype and Propaganda for their own purposes.
Educational Alternatives: Whenever leaders distort the truth we need someone to do reality checks and check the facts. When someone uses distorted "reality checks" we need reality checks on the reality checks. We need reality checks until people are sick and tired of reality checks. Then when people complain someone should say "tough shit this is the way to get to the truth" then eventually people will get used to it.

Blasphemy Heresy and Sacrilege: This is what George Orwell called thought crimes. He applied it to a secular tyranny but it's the same thing. This is not just applied to bad manors but often the truth remember Galileo? Socrates?
Educational Alternatives: Criminalizing free thinking should be criminalized not free thinking! Free speech should be more important than worshiping a God that refuses to communicate.

The Buck Stops Elsewhere: Always blame others. The people in power are in the best position to solve problems if they do things right but they are also in the best position to shift the blame elsewhere. When those in power have the bully pulpit and the media doesn't do a good job holding them accountable they often cover up their mistakes instead of fixing them. They are often more concerned about keeping power for themselves than solving problems for the majority.
Educational Alternatives: Leaders need to be held accountable and the public needs to realize that they should be voting for someone capable of doing the job. The goal of elections should be to find the most Qualified person for the job not the best manipulator. In order to keep leaders accountable the public needs a much better education.

Poetic Speech that Seems Wise: Poetry and wise catch phrases may sound good but if they don't make a clear point that people actually understand it doesn't do any good. For cult leaders this is actually the point. If People don't understand it then the cult leader can interpret it for them. The goal of this tactic is to make the cult leader seem wise without rational accountability.
Educational Alternatives: good leaders should learn how to say things in a way that others understand and can confirm. people should be encouraged to trust things they understand and can confirm more than things that they don't really understand even if it sounds good.

Doublethink/believing two contradictory beliefs at the same time: Many people criticize cult followers for doublethink but what they don't realize is that from the point of view of the cult leader that wants to enslave brains this is a good thing. If the cult leader convinces followers to ignore contradictions he can control the emphasis at different times. For example most religions have a moral code that says do unto others as you would have others do unto you or something like it. They also say something like kill the infidel. Depending on what the cult leader wants to accomplish at any given time he may shift the emphasis. The cult leader is counting on the short memory of the masses. If that doesn't work he always has a confusing story to explain away the contradiction without correcting it.
Educational Alternatives: People need to understand that Accurate facts don't contradict each other. Accurate facts don't change. Accurate facts stand up to thorough accurate scrutiny. The way people perceive facts is constantly changing but not the facts themselves. If there was a well organized set of facts it would be much easier to check them. A system to organize facts would start by dividing things into different subjects and go on from there.

Present solutions as causes of problems and causes of problems as solutions: Don't laugh this really does happen. War is routinely portrayed as a solution. Cats were killed to stop the plague and rats and fleas multiplied. People were "cured" with leeches and bleeding. increase revenue buy cutting taxes. etc.
Educational Alternatives: It is important to actually figure out what causes problems and how and what solves problems and how. It is also important to show the work so people understand it. If you can't find out how a cause or solution works at least show the work that indicates that it works one way or another and keep looking for an explanation.

Tokenism: Politicians routinely use tokenism to convince the public they are solving problems and the they parade the token solutions over and over again. There have been many token minorities often conservative ones that back up the establishment or quiet ones they can point to. They rarely if ever use a outspoken person as a token. If you consider Thurgood Marshall a token he would be the exception however as far as I know he didn't change his beliefs to satisfy the establishment so even if he was a token it would be a step in the right direction. There have also been many examples where the media or politicians cited people that rose from poverty or received help from politicians. When this happens politicians often make it seem like something bigger than it is. I think Hillary recently approved a message where someone said they called her office for help with health care and she saved the day for them. She can't do this for every one that calls her.
Educational Alternatives: A closer look at the overall situation is in order. It shouldn't be controlled by just one person or institution. They should show the work. It might involve a boring tedious statistical analysis. like it or not this is the way to go. An effort to present it to the public in a way they can understand should be made.

Virtual Copyrights of Information or morality: most if not all religions claim that they have the one and only true belief system that includes morality. They imply that in order to be right you have to adopt their beliefs. If you describe a good sense of morality then a Christian (or Muslim) might say that means your a Christian. "The only road to salvation is through Christ". And since neither Christ or God communicate it means the only road to salvation is through our cult leaders. Cults routinely encourage followers to acknowledge "facts" selectively according to the way cult leaders portray them at any given time.
Educational Alternatives: Accurate facts should stand on their own merits. Some one like Darwin or Newton may deserve credit for recognizing them and presenting them in an organized manor but they didn't create the facts. Darwin once said "I hope no one believes what I say just because I said it". (approximate quote cited in one of Carl Saganís books) This implies that the work he showed should be looked at and confirmed. If it holds up to scrutiny people should believe it because it is true not because Darwin said so. I suspect Darwin would have been disappointed by the term "Darwinism" instead of evolution if he knew about it.

Control message of "prophet": "The thing that matters here is not the vision of the man of genius who created the great idea but rather the success which his apostles achieve in shaping the expression of this idea so as to bring it home to the minds of the masses." Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf.
Most of the "prophets people worship have been dead for hundreds if not thousands of years. Even if they are in heaven as religious people claim they are not communicating with anyone in a manor that can be clearly understood and confirmed if at all. Their messages are being relayed by living cult leaders. These cult leaders usually cite "Holy Books" that are the word of God but the books are not clear in todayís language and they apply few if any of the historical standards used for other historical texts. The result is that the followers have to rely on leaders to tell them what they mean and sort out the contradictions for them. This method enables modern cult leaders to virtually enslave the minds of the followers in Gods name. As usual God remains silent while this happens.
Educational Alternatives: As I said before [ Accurate facts should stand on their own merits. Some one like Darwin or Newton may deserve credit for recognizing them and presenting them in an organized manor but they didn't create the facts. Darwin once said "I hope no one believes what I say just because I said it". (approximate quote cited in one of Carl Saganís books) This implies that the work he showed should be looked at and confirmed. If it holds up to scrutiny people should believe it because it is true not because Darwin said so. I suspect Darwin would have been disappointed by the term "Darwinism" instead of evolution if he knew about it.]

Define "Good" and "Bad": "(With) an able and persistent use of propaganda heaven itself can be presented to the people as if it were hell and, vice versa, the most miserable kind of life can be presented as if it were paradise." Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf
War is often portrayed as a good thing. The cross represents torture and Christians refer to it as a peace symbol. Secular education that is almost always more accurate than religious education is often demonized. Research has been demonized by religions that consider it a threat to their authority. In many cases the things that were considered bad in the past are good today and vice versa. Religious leaders often Control efforts to figure out best interest of people. They usually do it in a biased and or irrational manor.
Educational Alternatives: People should be encouraged to think for themselves and get a better education. Simply making a list of things that are good and bad and explaining them will help. When things change from good to bad or vice versa explain why. Don't pretend the change didn't happen. This may seem tedious and unnecessary to many but it would be better than what many are doing.

Martyrdom Glorify the Dead: Many people actually dream of becoming a martyr. They seem to believe it helps solve problems and win disputes. Even if it does I don't see how any rational person could consider it the most effective way of winning a conflict especially for the martyr. People that worship the dead often portray them as people who could do no wrong. The problem with that is if they did make a mistake those that worship them try to convince themselves that the mistake was not a mistake at all. That means that the mistake often gets repeated over and over again and people can't learn from them. They also try to convince themselves that the death was for a great and glorious cause. This often leads to the Glorification of war which makes war seem like a good thing. The Glorification of war is often used spur people to more wars. When people worship the dead they often do many things that distract them from helping the living. There have been an enormous amount of effort to create memorials for the dead. Modern Memorials are not nearly as elaborate as those created for ancient Kings Pharaohs etc. but they still create an enormous effort that they choose to believe benefit the dead. Some people spend a lot of money on funerals when they are having a hard time supporting themselves. These efforts to glorify the dead big and small distract people from more practical activities that actually help people capable of benefiting from the help. people get so emotional that when you try to talk rational to them they may say it is disrespectful of the dead.
Educational Alternatives: The truth is not disrespectful. Instead of worrying about people after they are dead do the best you can before they die and make the best of it when they do die. Attempt to learn from things that go wrong then apply lessons in the future so that the death won't be in vain. If people learn from mistakes then there is a real benefit. If you try to glorify the past and wind up repeating mistakes the benefit will not be real and may be counter productive.

pledge of allegiance : Pledges of allegiances have often been extorted on the past at the point of a sword or gun. This is not a sincere pledge that is earned it is an extortion tactic. This has often been done in the past for king, country or religion. People often don't know what they're pledging to just that the alternative is death. Many of the beliefs people now hold were established in the past this way. Then the beliefs were passed down from generation to generation. Even after the intimidating tactics were scaled back an effort to correct false beliefs was not made. Modern Pledge of Allegiances still have more subtle ways of intimidating people in some crowds.
Educational Alternatives: I see no good reason for any pledge instead just teaching people to respect each others rights and abide by commitments will do. However if people still make these pledges they should understand them and the people should help decide what the pledge should say instead of tyrants or political hacks.

Undefined Symbols: Cult leaders like to use symbols that are not always clearly or consistently defined. They convince people to worship the symbol the depending on what they are trying to do at any given time they may interpret it differently. Does the cross stand for torture war sacrifice peace morality or something else. It has been portrayed to represent all of those things and more at one time or another. Hitler wrote about The Swastika in Mein Kampf I don't think he provided a clear definition but he glorified it and convinced people to worship it. Now most people think it stands for hate bigotry and fanaticism but that didn't change until others defined it instead of Hitler. The Stars and Stripes is supposed to stand for freedom of speech democracy etc. to many people but then protests are often suppressed in the name of the flag. Usually about flag burning but if it doesn't stand for freedom of speech anymore I'm not going to get to upset about it. The corporate media get a loud bully pulpit those that don't agree get to speak to modest crowds and often be portrayed as rabble kind of like Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington etc.
Educational Alternatives: I don't see much need for symbols myself but if people like them they should clearly define them understand what they mean. Most important they should remember that what ever they represent is more important than the symbol itself. If The Stars and Stripes Stand for freedom of speech and democracy then the freedom of speech and democracy is more important than the flag!! Don't let symbols stand for two contradicting things.

Ridicule: If cult leaders can't come up with a rational argument they often use ridicule to make those that they disagree with seem foolish. They are counting on a childish concern with being laughed at that some people never grow out of. Many cult members are never taught to shrug that off. They are still dependant on approval of their peers. In some cases they are taught to shrug off statements that ridicule them from those outside the group dismissing them as fools that don't know what they are talking about. They don't teach members to sort through statements ridiculing them and figuring out if any of it is true and if so correcting the mistakes. Especially if it is about something the cult considers sacred. Once the cult considers something sacred it becomes difficult if not impossible to think about the sacred subject rationally again. Some times when people disagree with you they really are saying things ridiculous and it is hard to resist using ridicule yourself. Or so you think as often do I.
Educational Alternatives: An effort should be made to brush off the ridicule and try to sort through the facts rationally. In some cases ridiculous statements are so stupid that they are not worth any attention at all. However if a large number of people take it seriously like religion and it leads to disastrous results an effort should be made to sort out the facts and decultify superstitious people.

Double Standard/Don't try to see the others sides point of view: Not Sincerely Anyway. In most cases cults set one standard of principles for those within the cult and another for others. They interpret things differently depending on the situation.
Educational Alternatives: Create a consistent set of principles put them in writing and then to apply them consistently. If the principles are mistaken fix them but don't pretend the change never toke place and change it back when convenient.

Keep False Hope Alive: First of all I don't mean Jesse Jackson. Many cult leaders or politicians will try motivate people by raising their hopes based on distorted principles then eventually things go wrong instead of correcting the real mistakes they often point the blame else where.
Educational Alternatives: An effort needs to be made to recognize the real causes of problems and the real solutions. They need to be checked and double checked. Then a record should be kept and people should be reminded of this record.

"They" are trying to break us up: Small cults often present outsiders as the enemy and discourage all contact with them. Larger cults don't cut themselves off completely but they do set up double standards.
Educational Alternatives: It may be easier to convince people to listen if you get them alone. This can border on divide and rule tactics. Demonizing fellow cult members will do little if any good but ignoring the irrational beliefs won't help either. In some cases when something goes wrong like violent cult abuse the follower may be more receptive to rational arguments. It is also better to Decultify these people when they are young. That either involves an effort to simultaneously decultify the parents and children at the same time or separate them. This is the problem they are having right now with the polygamist cult in Texas. whether to separate them or not probably should depend on how much abuse is really going on. If they do let them stay together some other efforts should be made to convince cult members to think rationally.

Patriotism: "Our Country Right or Wrong" this saying is usually the way many people apply patriotism whether they admit it or not "Support the Troops" This saying is often used to support politicians more than the troops. Patriotism that doesnít involve a rational thought process routinely leads to foolish things that usually only benefit a small percentage of well connected people.
Educational Alternatives: "Lets figure out whatís best for our country first then do it" Support the troops by not starting unnecessary wars. by tying to figure out how to prevent wars before they start.

Gods "Tests": Cult leaders often say God Is "testing us". I'm not sure what they mean or even whether they have any idea what they mean. I often get the impression they think of this as a loyalty test. They refer to it as a "test of faith" but it seems to mean the same thing. Another way to think of it could be a test of intelligence. If it is a loyalty test then what if anything did God do to earn loyalty? God inspired religion then religion spent thousands of years committing atrocities in his name while he remained silent. This doesn't sound like the appropriate way to earn trust and loyalty to me. many organizations seem to test loyalty the same way as God including the mafia, neo-Naziís and many Tyrants. The Mafia supposedly use the same custom of kissing the Godfather/Popes ring as the Catholic Church.
Educational Alternatives: If it is a intelligence test then try to be intelligent and think rationally. Don't put your trust or Faith in God unless he earns it and you know how he earned it. God has a hell of a lot of explaining to do before he can come close to doing that. Until then the only trust or loyalty God obtains will be based on deceptive and or extortionary tactics.

Coercion, intimidation and if necessary torture and murder:
These are the Tactics used throughout most of history to establish beliefs. This rarely if ever involved an effort to find out what is true. This is a blatant method used to enslave the mind. In many cases after the intimidation tactics are scaled back the beliefs established by them are preserved and passed down from generation to generation. Educational Alternatives: beliefs that were developed in this manor directly or indirectlly need to be completely reexamined. Instead of intimidation a rational thought process should be encouraged including thorough scrutiny to find and correct mistakes.

Shunning or Excommunicating: This is often used to intimidate followers and prevent outsiders from having any influence on the cult. Cult leaders rely on the need to be part of a group that many people have and in order to belong to a cult you must be compliant. Now many people think of Excommunication as a joke including myself. But When the Catholic Church was at the peak of it's power it meant that people would no longer have the protection of the Catholic Church. This was an invitation for many to abuse the Excommunicated person with impunity. This is very similar to extortion tactics by the Mafia. I think Mario Puzo once referred to the Catholic Church as the first Mafia.
Educational Alternatives: In order to separate people from these cults or decultify them they have to have some place else to go and they need to know it. Freeing the body is much easier than freeing the mind. This will require a reeducation process that is not controlled by a cult. In many cases what may have happened is a reindoctrination process where they just convert from one cult to another.

Complicate Simple Things/Simplify Complicated Things: Very often when cult members come to inconvenient facts they turn it into a very complicated story and fluff it up to explain why the opposite is true those that want to believe latch onto it even if they don't understand it. In many cases they also do the reverse. One of the biggest examples is when "Fundamentalist" claim that the bible is the Divine word of God. That is what they consider a fundamental.
Educational Alternatives: The bible is a long complicated book full of contradictory facts. A fundamental is a basic fact. If you want to know the basics you have to look inside and find many alleged basics. Then you have to sort through them to figure out which ones are at least possible. If I held up a math book and said it is a fundamental fact that this is perfect even though it was full of mistakes no one would accept it but with religion they do just that. An attempt needs to be made to recognize ones own biases. Keeping an organized record of facts will make it much easier to check them.

It goes without saying that: or everyone knows that... this is the kind of subtle thing speakers slip in that develops a preconceived idea. If it is followed up by something obvious people notice but if it is subtle it could help develop prejudicial ideas. Another problem is that many of the basics that you would think go without saying really don't.
Educational Alternatives: Simply thinking about this is usually most of the solution. Even then people may forget for a while. It goes without saying that gambling institutions wouldn't survive if they didn't fix odds in there favor. OOps if everyone knew that they wouldn't gamble. I guess it doesn't go without saying after all.

"Gods Absolute Power" Doesn't Corrupt Absolutely: Or so religions would have you believe. If God inspired religion then stood by silently for thousands of years while religions committed one atrocity in his name after another no one is more corrupt than God. The least he could do is communicate if he was as good as religious people pretend. Good advise would be far more beneficial than "miracles" or "revelations" that are used as indoctrination tactics.
Educational Alternatives: Think for yourself!!!

War as a Solution: We've had a war on drugs, a war on poverty, a war on cancer, a war on terrorism etc. You might get the idea that people believe that war solves problems. In order to take something seriously you have to go all out with war or so they imply.
Educational Alternatives: War is not the solution it is the total absence of solution. In some cases like stopping Hitler and King George it may have been necessary but the real solutions didn't start until after the war ended. The creation of the constitution and the Marshal plan were the real solutions even if they weren't perfect. The constitution was written by a very small percentage of the people not "We the people". It was a long time before woman and blacks got the vote. Most people are still not familiar with how the government works so there is still a lot of educational work to do.

Light provided by

Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death

Full Index
Indoctrination Tactics
The Real God Maybe
Free Speech
Lessons From Histoy
What Religious people really Worship
Theory for everything
107 Wonders of the Ancient World