Cult Conversion: Freewill Or Brainwashing?
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|Cult Conversion: Freewill Or Brainwashing?
The controversy surrounding new religious movements seems to be foremost concerned with whether or not the members of these religions come of their own freewill or if they convert as a necessary and inevitable response to advanced coercion, or “brainwashing” techniques employed by the cult leaders.
The concept of brainwashing came into popular existence in the 1950’s as the result of attempts to try and explain the behaviour of some American GI’s who defected to the Communists during the Korean War (19 Oct 1999). Many people, including some professionals, found brainwashing to be an acceptable explanation for the otherwise unexplainable behaviour. However, the brainwashing theory did nothing to explain why hundreds of other captured GI’s chose to remain true to their country even at the risk of being tortured. It could not accurately account for the behaviour of a select few GI’s when it did not offer any explanation for the behaviour...
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