CAN MEMBER WINNING STRATEGIES OF RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES BE INTERPRETED AS BRAINWASHING?: ACRITICAL READING THROUGH THEOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS THEY USE

Abstract

Author(s): Faruk SANCAR

Brainwashing theory is one of the most sophisticated approaches which have been raised on the subject “new religious movement sornewagereligions”, a busy agenda for the Western world for quite a long time trying to explain their methods for gathering members, how they provided loyalty of their member sand how they maintained the motivation of a connecting bond of their followers. As a concept, brainwashing is defined as any application and propaganda technique performed directly or indirectly in any form of systematic indoctrination, manipulation and pressure to control human mind ortocreate an intellectual and ideological transformation in mind swithusingin comprehensible, irresistible, and unfathomable methods. Although this term was frequently referred both in academic circle sand in daily use, it wasused primarily tolabel members or groups participating in criminal actsor exhibiting behaviors outside the behaviors generally accepted by the community. Moving from this point with a critical inside view, here is the question we have to confront: Can the procedure sand methods and theological arguments used by religious group sand communities in Islamic world and in our country in order to gather members be evaluated within a case of brainwashing? Efforts to provide an answer to this question will on the one hand present the methods of member collection of religious communitiesand on the other hand will open to discussion whether some theological arguments of our tradition were exploited by these communities or not.

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