Christadelphian indoctrination

By John Bedson

Most Christadelphians cannot be objective in their search for truth because they belong to a religion in which almost every member was born and bred into the religion. Christadelphian offspring almost invariably follow the family religion. Likewise Catholics beget Catholic children, Jews beget Jews, Muslims beget Muslims, Hindus beget Hindus and every other faith based religion gives rise to children of their own faith who only rarely change their childhood beliefs.

In their late teens to early twenties these young people of all faiths often claim to have re-evaluated their religious beliefs and surprise surprise they almost invariably conclude that their family religion is correct and that all other faiths are false!

From its inception Christadelphianism has been a reactionary faith believing that Christendom is astray from Biblical teaching. This has produced a degree of paranoia amongst its adherents which they in turn have instilled into their children. There is therefore something more extreme about the religion than most other Christian denominations that can often show a degree of ecumenicalism. Christadelphian children are manipulated by their parents, relatives and other Christadelphians into acceptance of this faith in a manner that verges on cult-like behaviour.
  • They are persuaded by their parents and by indoctrination from Christadelphian talks that secular society is evil, humans are worthless sinners, and that other religious beliefs are false.
  • They are persuaded that normal, reasonable, rational human reasoning is faulty - "the thinking of sinful flesh." 
  • They are persuaded that human society and other religions are not a suitable emotional support system.
  • They are persuaded that Christadelphianism is the only true religion.
  • They are persuaded that the Christadelphian way of thinking and interpreting the Bible is superior to the "World" outside the rligion.
  • They are isolated by every means possible from learning about contradictory ways of thinking such as other theologies, Skepticism, Atheism and Agnosticism etc.
  • If possible they are made to attend Christadelphian day schools such as Heritage Colleges, or some are even home schooled in an effort to isolate them further and to stifle their natural instincts of free thought, doubt and independent thinking which could lead them to challenge Christadelphian belief.
  • The urgency of speedily accepting the family faith is impressed upon Christadelphian youngsters by scaring them with talk of the imminent return of Christ to judge non-Christadelphians and Ex-Christadelphians like us.
  • The rewards of accepting the family religion are emphasised. These include family acceptance, a Christadelphian social support network, forgiveness of supposed "sins", eternal life and everlasting happiness.
  • The unpleasant consequences of rejecting or leaving the family religion are explained to them. This usually entails the loss of friendships, shunning by relatives and a harsh and permanent reaction and or rejection by their parents and siblings. We Ex-Christadelphians know to our cost the bitter emotional price that we were made to pay by our Christadelphian loved ones when we left the religion.
  • Christadelphians then establish a life-long system of re-enforcing their religious beliefs in the minds of young people. Regular attendance at meetings is enforced by the threat of excommunication. Christadelphian dogma and their peculiar way of looking at society and life is repeated week after week, year after year at meetings, in books, magazines and online forums where their mantra is repetitively instilled.
  • The result is a religious community that is not able to think rationally about their beliefs. Change is resisted and reform opposed. Their doctrines, dogma, attitudes and beliefs acquire a rigidity that is the antithesis of the example of their founder Dr John Thomas.
  • As human understanding, science and society progress and enlightenment spreads, Christadelphian beliefs become increasingly separated from reality and irrelevant to normal people. The result is increasingly paranoid thinking by Christadelphians. Many of them have come to see the rapid advance in science and human understanding as a conspiracy to reject the Bible and to engage in lascivious behaviour.

This well known phenomena of childhood religious and cultural conditioning establishes a vice-like grip on the human mind that is almost impossible to break. The idea that a young person can objectively re-evaluate his family faith is an illusion. We Ex-Christadelphians can witness from our own personal experience that it is incredibly difficult to break away from our family faith. It invokes a huge amount of emotional pain and distress. It required us to think the unthinkable and accept that our family religion was wrong.

When a Christadelphian young person or adult attempts to re-evaluate their faith the human mind's various cognitive bias's operate to re-enforce the individual's pre-existing beliefs. Evidence that challenges their faith is either dismissed, doubted or given a low value. Evidence that supports their faith is prioritised and given a high value.     

Human cognitive bias is so strong that even the most feeble evidence in support of a pre-existing belief is elevated into the delusion that it lends support to one's faith. For example Christadelphians often quote natural disasters or political events in the Middle East as being portents of the imminent return of Christ. They have been engaging in this sort of behaviour for almost two hundred years and other Christians have been doing it for two thousand years. Others quote trivialities like the instruction in the book of Leviticus to wash hands as some sort of confirmation that the Bible contains wisdom that was not known before it was written. This sort of reasoning is defined by psychologists as Apophenia.

There are approximately ten thousand different faith based religions in the World and each one imprints their religion into the minds of their children. Those subjected to this conditioning find it almost impossible to think rationally about their faith. The only way that Christadelphians can know the truth about religion is if by pure coincidence they happen to have been born into the correct religion. They have to be holding a winning ticket in the lottery of religion and that ticket was given to them through descent, not by faith. This is an absurd method by which God would select his chosen and cruel to the billions of unfortunate children who have the wrong religious brand of parents. A loving God would not be so heartless and capricious. Therefore it cannot be true. It must be a logical impossibility.