You are here: Home > scary stuff

September 27, 2006

scary stuff

Posted by dogpossum on September 27, 2006 12:12 PM in the category television

The other night there was a story about the Exclusive Brethren on Four Corners which we watched all the way through.

This was mostly a story about people who had left this very conservative relgious group, and there was much discussion of the Brethren's equivalent to 'shunnning', where 'excommunicated' members were excluded from the community. This meant that they weren't allowed to talk to, touch or interact with their families or any other Brethren after they'd been excommunicated. When you take into account the fact that this group do not allow their members to eat or drink with non-members - effectively 'separating' them from the rest of society, being 'excommunicated' is a devastating practice.

One of the things that I noticed was how passive and unaggressive all the former Brethren members were. They spoke of experiences which made us cry, but their manner remained largely 'flat' - definitely unaggressive. And while there was reference made at one point to one man's 'aggressive' response to being excommunicated, it wasn't really in the range of 'normal' aggression, as I'd put it.

It was frightening stuff: to see people who's lives had been devastated responding calmly. It made me wonder if perhaps they were all seriously depressed (though they probably were - suicide rates for excommunicate Brethren are frighteningly high), but it also made me think about how such controlling religions encourage passivity. It also made me think about what it would be like to teach students who'd been trained so thoroughly not to think critically, or to question.

Scary stuff.

Posted by dogpossum on September 27, 2006 12:12 PM in the category television