Before we get underway in this post I would like to take the time to define two key words that need to be understood beforehand. For this I will be using the Sage dictionary and thesaurus which is a very useful freeware tool by Sequence Publishing that you can download here The first word is doctrine: 'a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school.' The next word is indoctrination: 'Teaching someone to accept doctrines uncritically.'
Having defined those two words in the simplest terms we can begin to discuss one of the biggest problems with religious beliefs in general and Christianity specifically. It is my opinion that when most people come to accept religious beliefs, they do so because they have been convinced that the doctrines that they have been presented are true by default. Here in the U.S. most people believe for instance that there is a God in the traditional Christian sense of the word. Former president George H.W. Bush is quoted as saying: "I don't
know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be
considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
Christianity is so entrenched in our culture that even politicians defend it as true, although in many cases it carries with it ulterior motives. Atheists have been called every name in the book and have been singled out as un-American despite the fact that many of us have honorably served our country in military conflicts and have died in the defense of not just our freedoms but those of everyone else in the country regardless of religion, race, or creed.
What Christians in this country fail to realize is that they generally believe what they believe because they have been indoctrinated. Some of us later than others and not all of us by official religious teachers but we have been taught that God exists and cares for us. We are told he is love and that he wants to "save" us from our evil ways, because he wants us to be with him forever. We learn these ridiculous beliefs from our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. We learn these things in the same way that we learn as a child that Santa is real and if we don't behave he will not bring us anything for Christmas. Both of these things are the exact same forms of indoctrination.
Whenever things go wrong in my life and I discuss it with a friend or some family member the first thing that they tell me is to trust in God. Things will work out they say, you just have to have faith. Here in the states most people hold a basic belief in the biblical God and they live as they please and do as they please. This is seen all the time where I am from here in the Bronx, NY where gang bangers wear crucifixes in the hope that while they are outside selling crack or shooting someone in the back their god will protect them! Many have never even read what the bible has to say they just claim to believe it by default because pretty much everybody else believes it as well.
All these people share one thing in common; they are all deluded! Some more so than others but in the end it's all the same delusion with different degrees. These people did not come to God through the use of reason, they came to God through faith. It is because of this that no amount of argumentation or evidence will convince them otherwise. To break free from silly beliefs and indoctrination you must ride the horse of reason willingly no matter where it may lead you.
When a believer reaches this vital step he/she begins to analyze and rethink their beliefs from a more logical standpoint. It only took me one reading of the bible in its entirety to get there, for some it may take a little more. This is why we atheists have a saying that states: "read the bible, we need more atheists." When the bible is read not through the clouded lenses of faith but rather through the bright lights of reason it just does not hold up.
To break free from indoctrination you must first accept the fact that you have been indoctrinated, be willing to re-evaluate your beliefs from a different perspective. And finally be true to yourself and what you find out. No one can do this for you it is just like trying to break a harmful addiction to drugs. It takes honesty and hard work.