Are we indoctrinated?

Wandering around Youtube I saw a comment on a video randomly trying to get attention saying that religion indoctrinates people and a lot of stuff that anyone could easily debunk, but that single one left me thinking. Are we indoctrinated? MacMillan dictionary defines “adoctrinate” as “to teach someone a set of beliefs so thoroughly that they do not accept any other ideas”. If we actually are, is it something bad?

By that definition we would not be indoctrinated. The Catholic Church approach is Faith and Reason. We are to evaluate everything as to whether it is True or False, Good or Bad. God loves wisdom, not ignorance.

1 Thes 5:21 Test all things; hold fast to that which is good.

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I agree that we’re not indoctrinated… just take a look at all the Catholic children that have fallen away from their faith.

One could say the same thing about anything really… look at science based facts for example, we get told a fact and we just accept it.

If we were really indoctrinated, people wouldn’t switch faiths or fall away from the one they grew up with.

I’m a convert (from Anglicanism). Nobody proselytized me - I became convinced of the truth of the Catholic Faith through my own studies as a young, inquisitive man. My studies included all of the world’s main religions.

When I was received into the Church, I didn’t know one single Catholic in good standing to sponsor me (my priest found someone willing to sponsor me).

Having become convinced of the truth of the Church, it’s difficult to imagine that I could accept any other faith. I’ve studied and rejected the world’s other major religions, and I’m not willing to accept the idea that God’s True Church can only be found in some little church in Podunk Kansas which escaped my attention.

So I consider myself self-indoctrinated.

I think any well-catechized Catholic is (and should be) indoctrinated. Unfortunately, there are lots of Catholics who are not well catechized.

Well, given that the root of “doctrine” means “to teach” (the same root as the word “doctor”), since we are required to give assent on matters of faith and morals, we are indeed indoctrinated, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. To be indoctrinated simply means that we have been taught and we have absorbed those teachings. There are some things that are non-negotiable, just as in the secular world, there are some things that are non-negotiatble.

Americans, for example, are indoctrinated to hold that the Constitution is the supreme authority of the land, or that republican democracy is the only proper form of government for the United States. Anyone who opposes these principles are deemed, at the very least, wackos. That’s indoctrination, and is not necessarily a bad thing.

The most heavily indoctrinated people I have ever met are the ones who believe they have no religion, and therefore consider themselves unindoctrinated.

However the fact is they have an organizational structure similar to JWs and Mormons with indoctrination published through media, with elders in white coats and initials after their names telling the layman what to believe is truth, with security checks in place called peer review.

You are quite right, the only reason we think our microwave ovens heat our food and that email actually works is because we are indoctrinated. “Scientists” tell us that “em waves” can “excite” “molecules” but those of us who have broken free of their indoctrination see that this is all just an elaborate hoax to get people to buy gadgets and become atheists.


Nice try, my friend, but if life is just about gadgets, we have lost the plot.

And if people went around proclaiming that life was just about gadgets, then you could begin to make a case that they are indoctrinated. But you were originally talking about “the ones who believe they have no religion” not “the ones who believe gadgets are the meaning of life.”

To insinuate that the only reason science is playing an increasingly important role in societies is that it indoctrinates people is to ignore the reality of the computer you’re using to read this message. The scientific method works, and so people respect and pursue it. Science is, in a pragmatic sense, justified by its success. If you want to argue that science is merely an “organizational structure similar to JWs and Mormons with indoctrination published through media,” you have to first convince me that my microwave doesn’t actually work, and that smallpox is not actually eradicated.

Getting warmer, I am talking of higher things than science, which at its proper level is pragmatic. Beyond that is theology and philosophy. Take as one small example, NASA which is supposed to be about science, has gone beyond that and speculated existence of life, and even the origin of life beyond this planet. That, my friend, is not science, that is philosophy, developing a world-view, a religion (in the correct sense of the word).

religion: Latin religiō conscientiousness, piety <religāre to tie, fasten (re- re- + ligāre to bind, tie; compare ligament)]

Comments are not randomly trying…the comment was willed and willful. Are you fooling yourself?

Man is the only animal that needs indoctrination to survive once leaving the womb. My sense is the content of indoctrination is the issue- is it? What is at issue is the binding to of a way of life that has rules. Have no rules and nothing is bounded- no religion.

Acceptance of ideas is not agreement. I accept all kinds of ideas. I don’t agree with many.

well said, much better than me. thanks.

So where are the swaths of people who have been indoctrinated into believing that NASA’s speculations are the truth? As far as I know, speculating and indoctrinating are entirely separate activities.

Perhaps your attitude towards speculation is colored by religious indoctrination. I find that religious speculation is actively discouraged, mostly because people worry that it will lead to deviations from orthodoxy. Speculating in science is encouraged because it can lead to interesting discoveries when the speculations are followed up with investigations. There is no corresponding “methodical investigation” in religious circles, so the concern is that people may speculate themselves away from the established norms, and there may be no way to “get them back.” I have no doubt that many religions* in theory *support questioning and speculating, but it’s been my experience that this is mostly lip service; their support drops off pretty quickly if you are even the slightest bit persistent.

I have no problems with science, I embrace it openly as should any Catholic. I do however have problems with that which is defined as scientism. It is where theory and speculation turn into fact within one generation of its surmise. But I also consider the higher pursuits of theology and philosophy (wisdom based pursuits rather than information based pursuits like science) far more useful to man, for it gives to the soul, not the material microwaves.

You seem to be confusing the Catholic Church, who is open to exploration and examination, with Fundamentalist religions, and therefore much of what you say is not particularly relevant to the Catholic Faith (religion).

I would also point out that NASA are not speculating because they have used the phrase “we believe” not “we speculate” not “we feel adamant”. No “we believe”.

I also draw attention to the number of times the scientific community has publicly had to recant previous statements, statements which were taught as fact to our children.

Who indoctrinated these people? I have found indoctrinated people come in all stripes, religious and non-religious.

Well, I left the Church for over 25 years, admitting that I didn’t know if the message was true or not. After a great deal of seeking, and finding, I returned. Doesn’t really matter to me if I’d been indoctrinated or not since I had left it all behind, willing to find truth wherever it was to be found.

One could only wish that Catholics were properly indoctrinated, but sadly, they haven’t been for years. Hardly anyone knows any doctrine or the reasons for it or the history behind it.

I have to agree that secularists seem to be the most heavily indoctrinated, having bought into the secularist doctrines that were pushed at them from elementary school to graduate school, with no letup.

Well said.

Based on your definition, which I agree with, shouldn’t this also hold true for others who have been brought up and indoctrinated in other than the Catholic religion?

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