I was, as usual, rambling on about how theists are all brainwashed zombies (gross generalization), and my cousin O, who is married to a devoted theist, questioned me about my definition of "brainwashing." So here goes, wikipedia definition:-
Brainwashing, the application of coercive techniques to change the values and beliefs, perceptions and judgments, and subsequent mindsets and behaviors of one or more people, usually for political, financial, personal, or religious purposes
But since this is my blog, and the beauty of that being I can say whatever I want without needing extensive research to back up my own personal belief system, I am, therefore, going to say that by "brainwashing," I just mean a concept or belief that has been drilled into someone's head through upbringing. The most prominent characteristic of brainwashing being that this said concept/belief system is so hardwire in us that it has became the undeniable truth, with or without any facts to back it up. And it has been so integrated into our thinking system that not only will it never occur to us to question whether it is true, but we also assume that everyone else naturally share this same exact value. And I think this definition really fits the model of an evangelical Christian. (Although some would argue that the reason behind their inexcusable obnoxiousness are their burning desire to save the blasphemy sinners.)
Culture, therefore, by my definition, will fall into the category of brainwashing. Cultural values are very powerful. Referring back to one of my previous post about Asian American females and their suicidal rate in US, I strongly believe that half of their psychological issues are because they were not able to live up to ridiculous expectations. And where do these expectations came from? Culture, family, upbringing. It is something that is very difficult to shake.
It was only recently, when I was having a conversation with my Morman friend, whom nearly bit my head off, do I realized some of my own brainwashed values -- the number of kids a healthy, normal couple should have. Growing up in an extremely overpopulated place, there are government sponsored (?) commercials to tell people to have no more than two children (population replacement). I still remember the song and the graphic image -- stressful mother yelling at her young kids -- to this date. It had became a natural part of me to believe that two is the ideal number of children to have, or at least the maximum number to have. I have slided a little bit to believe that the "acceptable" amount is 2 + 1 (accident). Anything over three is excessive, and, frankly, a bit nuts. Even though rationality will tell me that a couple who can afford it can have as many kids as their hearts desire, I still firmly believe that two is the ideal number.... Oh, the power of brainwashing.