A very nicely told tale; thanks for sharing.
> the core of religious belief seems to lie in it deliberately preventing criticism of itself, either internally or externally
Funny how a certain newly elected world leader seems to be employing the exact same tactic. It's a time-worn but ever effective technique: create bullshit fake problems that only you can solve, convince people they're true and sell your phony solutions.
Confrontational argument with your friend isn't likely to get you very far. While it is not the easiest path to persuasion, the Socratic method as employed by Peter Boghossian and described in his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, may be the best approach for arguing someone out of a belief system.
To answer one of your questions, it may be less of a matter of telling him that his mind is controlled than it is to get him to recognize it for himself. Keep in mind, you can lead the horse to water. The horse still chooses to drink.
Very best of luck.
A friend's father had an intriguing continuation of the old adage. Maybe you can't make the horse drink, but you can salt the oats.
I believe it really depends on you personality and style in addition to your friends personality, and the strength of your friendship. To throw down a Christian saying it all comes down to love. For me I gently approach people with love, they know I truly care. My approach won't work for others. Other people can be aggressive and it works. It can also work for someone like me to be strong and assertive with someone who is close to me as it disarms them seeing me so passionate. In general I like to simply drop questions that can't be answered without the expectation of a direct answer. Let them steam on it on their own time. It is human nature for one to be more persuaded if the answer comes from within. So I simply put the questions out there a little at a time. Remember this is not about making a point or being right. It is about changing the way one thinks and processes information. When someone is brainwashed concerning anything it's not a matter of changing ones mind, it's a matter of changing ones thinking and outlook on life. This is not an easy or instant decision such as choosing dinner.
Yes disarming is only sometimes a good tactic, but when it does work it really works well. I don't often use it as it is prone to backfire. It is most effective for those close to you as they are not accustomed to seeing you use a different tactic than usual this is why they will actually stop and listen. I like the Jedi mind trick method as I call it. I drop hints let them think about it until it seems like it was their idea. I use it on my wife all the time. It almost never works as she knows what I am doing. Her resistance and my persistence in using it has made me fairly effective at using it on ther people they are more susceptible to the force!!! I do always get a thrill when this tactic works on my wife because she knows exactly how I influenced her and agrees to her dismay. My wife of 18 years uses more of a shotgun technique with me so I am also now very proficient at dodging bullets!!!
First of all, I question the fairy tales. For me, it begins with the Apostles Creed. Jewish beliefs differ from Christian's. I ask many questions, "Do you believe that ... ?" or "What evidence do you have for your belief?"
• Judaism does not have formal mandatory beliefs
• The most accepted summary of Jewish beliefs is Rambam's 13 principles of faith
• Even these basic principles have been debated
• Judaism focuses on the relationships between the Creator, mankind, and the land of Israel
Judaism has no dogma, no formal set of beliefs that one must hold to be a Jew. In Judaism, actions are far more important than beliefs, although there is certainly a place for belief within Judaism.
~ Judaism 101, http://www.jewfaq.org/beliefs.htm
The closest that anyone has ever come to creating a widely-accepted list of Jewish beliefs is Rambam's thirteen principles of faith. These principles, which Rambam thought were the minimum requirements of Jewish belief, are:
I agree, fear, often learned as a child, motivates some to believe these myths. Hope is another side of that concept that draws them to a better world than they experience in the present. Some believe because they don't want to take responsibility for making decisions and living with consequences; others believe in view of the fact that they can use fear and hope to exploit others. These ancient "push/pull" techniques stimulate thought and action.
Ditto! Fantastic reply, Joan.