What if you ran a cult, and needed to cut off your followers from the constant flow of information from the outside world?
That outside information is potentially devastating to member loyalty. It could cut your income to shreds, and undermine your reputation in the hearts and minds of your followers. But coercion is not compatible with modern life, and as well-educated, as your potential recruits tend to be, you will never be able to directly persuade them to ignore the rest of the world. You can’t just tell them to immediately shut it off– close their eyes and ears and bury their heads in the proverbial sand. They’ll get suspicious. And such bold requirements would ring in their consciences as your critics and their non-cult family members constantly repeat it back to them, desperate to prevent recruits from joining you.
So, what if you could get them to do it to themselves? What if you found the perfect doctrinal blend of fear and guilt that would create in your followers the overwhelming desire to voluntarily ignore all outside information? What if you could get them to fear– truly fear, as in be phobic about– such contact with the outside world? As if this (they may come up with great pejoratives for it like “worldliness”) were a direct threat to their eternal salvation, and that of their children?
Go one better, in fact: what if you could get them to do all the persuading for you? What if they even convinced one another that the more they cut themselves off from non-cult sources of information, the more morally pure and superior they would become? As they competed with one another to be the most ignorant of the real world, you wouldn’t even have to issue any instructions to do what they already enjoy doing– becoming the most ignorant/pious believer in your cult! (This also leaves no paper trail for your critics to use against you, and leaves you with plausible deniability about this little gem of genius you stumbled upon).
Even further beyond! What if in so insulating themselves from everything “worldly”, they became convinced that they were fulfilling a prophetic destiny critical to the conflict between good and evil throughout the ages? What if they wrapped this voluntary ignorance up inside the very meaning and purpose they had assigned to their lives, to your cult, and to its preservation?
Hallelujah! You’ve just established one of the fastest-growing religions in the world.
4 thoughts on “Voluntary Ignorance”
I always heard that punchline as “because someone might see them and think they were dancing.” Same diff. 😉 Bit more guilt. Perhaps doing something that would lead SOMEONE ELSE to sin! LOL
I feel awful for the joke I am about to tell, since now I really feel sorry for SDAs when I think of that wicked brilliant Jesuit tearing that Adventist a new asshole in debate. Okay then, I really DON'T feel that bad. It's one of those Guilty Pleasures:Q: Why don't SDAs have sex standing up?A: Cuz it might lead to dancing.
Delusion is a powerful explanatory tool in answer to your first sentence's implied question. I agree with all your claims re Adventism here; they square up with my investigations.
I have no idea how Adventists can continue to believe the transparent drivel they do. How many top Adventist theologians have came out publicly opposed to the Investigative Judgment and the 2300 days crap? 90 percent? 100 percent? And how many Adventist preachers now admit that probably 80 if not 90 percent of everything that EGW wrote was plagiarized? 90 percent? And now her lies about the Pope “changing Saturday to Sunday” have been totally rejected by their own theologian, Samuele Bachiochi, who puts the changeover date 200 years before the first pope. And virtually EVERYTHING that any of their thinking theologians come up with suggests that Sunday Keeping started early in the First Century AD.As far as I can tell, about the only tangible thing left is a profitable meatless soya-food industry, Loma Linda University Hospital and maybe ADRA, although even ADRA has been sucking pond water lately too. I was talking to a wicked smart Jesuit friend the other day, and he wanted to know how the SDA got its start. Well, I told him, first they predicted Christ would return in 1844, and when that didn't happen they manufactured the IJ doctrine out of thin air, as part a massive face saving effort. Now, one of their leading theologians, Raymond Cottrell has demonstrated the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 was literally 2300 DAYS and ended with the restoration of the Jewish Temple. Then, a brain-damaged, mentally-ill pathological liar of a plagiarist took the reigns and instituted Sabbath Keeping and the fear of National Sunday Laws, both of which were thoroughly debunked no later than 1888 by the White's top right hand man Dudley Canright. Then in 1919, the General Conference met and concluded that EGW was a colossal fraud and debated whether they should let the cat out of the bag for the average denominational believer. This Jesuit chuckles and says “And people still go?” And I said, yeah, they do. Go figure.
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