Mind Abuse – Can it refer to religion too?


It looks like I was about eight years ahead of my time with this entry. The previous version of 25/10/2010 suggested things that have become painfully obvious today, given the news about systemic cover-ups in the Catholic Church. Yes, there were scattered references to cover-ups eight years ago. But the truth hadn’t come out as it has now. Here’s my revised entry. The footnote reveals an originally portentous sentence, unchanged from how it appeared on October 25, 2010.

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Mind Abuse is a fairly recent term relating to a variety of practices where a person, group or institution psychologically manipulates a victim or victims into accepting beliefs and doing things that a third party or parties, representing the moral majority, deems unhealthy and harmful to the victims’ true character and, perhaps, to the greater community.

Common examples would be so-called cults, suicidal movements and terror groups.

Some luminaries like John Lennon and Elton John have argued that all organized religion exemplifies mind abuse.  Lennon criticized religion for deflecting pressing concerns about this world to those of another world. Sir Elton John has said on numerous occasions that religion encourages hate and discrimination.

Organized religion could also be seen as practicing mind abuse if top-level officials within a hierarchy are aware of atrocious practices within their organization but hide that knowledge from tithing believers and lower ranking clergy (who, in this scenario, invest their lives in a lie or partial lie).¹

The concept of mind abuse can be helpful for victims’ recovery but is also problematic in some ways. For instance, the moral majority might see something as “abusive” when, in fact, it is essential or liberating for a believer. Socially based value judgments are not always correct.

However, we need society and all the imperfections that go with it. The key, I think, is to stay open to refinement and modification and not get stuck in tradition for the sake of tradition.

Image – Tumblr

¹ My original sentence from eight years ago:

Organized religion could also be seen as a kind of mind abuse if upper level officials in a religious hierarchy had knowledge of unsavory practices within that hierarchy but withheld that knowledge from tithing believers and lower ranking clergy (who, in this scenario, would invest their lives in a lie or partial lie).

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