“The child should believe that ‘p’ is true, in such a way that nothing will shake this belief” (White 1972a)

A question that keeps getting tossed at me is (So when did you decide to leave Islam?)

My usual response is “I am one of the few cases in which indoctrination has miserably failed” and here is when the eye brows customarily get raised. For one to actively decide to depart from a certain religion would mean that one, at some point, practiced it and/or lived it which is not the case here. Yes folks, I am living proof that indoctrination does not affect all equally. But before I get into why I never believed let us look deeper into indoctrination itself.

The very first person to shine a light on the term indoctrination in a disparaging manner was William Heard Kilpatrick (Gatchel 1972, 13) where he considered the teacher’s intention to be the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT measure (criterion) of indoctrination.

(Snook 1972, 16–67): Linked indoctrination to a certain teaching method. This unsanctioned teaching method includes: 1) Teaching is authoritarian, 2) Teaching content is drilled in students’ minds and finally 3) There are threading elements in teaching and free discussion is not allowed. Then you have the content criterion, where teaching is considered indoctrination if the content of teaching consists of unscientific doctrines regardless of the teaching method. Gregory & Woods find doctrines to be statements where one can never know if they are true or false (e.g: political or religious convictions)

Do you think you were exposed to any of the above definitions of indoctrination growing up?

For me, the answer is a big yes. In my case the exposure was a 26 year-long & extremely painful one of growing up female in Saudi Arabian totalitarianism. Where Sharia law infiltrates every breath you take till you drown in it.

Ahhhh…where to start?? Perhaps I should begin with the immeasurable number of times I have been called “whore” by family, friends and religious authorities. Or the heap of times I was severely beaten because I liked boys, expressed interest in sex, disagreed with my father bringing yet another woman as his wife into our home, or shaming the family name by committing a crime of (honor) what ever that is.

Actually no, let me start by stating how a female teacher stood there in front of me in a school religious class for years and indoctrinated myself along with another 20 some young girls with trash such as a man could and should “lightly” beat his wife if she disobeys him. How it was drilled into our brains that women are inferior to men, that we are less smart, that we have less religious based moral guidance (deen) and should therefore never seek nor be placed in a position of authority or lead. How we were subjected on a daily basis to systematic brainwashing that was intended to teach the female how to become subjugated by her own free will and choice to please Allah.

Or perhaps I should start by the endless Quranic verses and hadeeths shaming women and teaching them that they are evil temptresses who should hide their voice, their hair, their eyes, their skin…their entire identity to shield men from committing sin. How about  the verses that consider us filthy when we bleed? You know, the ones that prohibit a menstruating female from praying to her loving Allah, or touching his book.

Then you have the other verses that consider a woman’s testimony to be half of that of a man, her inheritance half of that of a man, her value to be worthless…her existence to be a burden carried on by men.

Regardless of where one starts the repelling conclusion remains unaltered

I, along with a tidy sum of people born into a religion chosen by their families based upon the region they happen to live in, have been/currently are/continue to be indoctrinated in the most ungovernable of ways. In many cases the brainwashing is a success and yet another true believer is added into the lines of countless other true believers of a society.

But…every now then the pattern is breached and a person like myself is brought up. A person who refuses at a very young age to live with objectification, prejudice, sexism and discrimination for any reason none the less the silly reason of being born female or the good Ol’ because god said so. Every now and then one of us, early on, rejects the almighty powerful god. A god who has endless issues with women (his supposed creation) and favors one gender of his creation to another….then of course you have the whole gay situation.

A god who demands love while teaching hate, urges peace through violence, and instills you with fear of hell in order to grant you access to the heavens. A god I personally have no interest in worshiping based on some dreadful teachings written in a book…or two…or three.

So yes, the attempt of indoctrination was made in my case and I am glad to report that at the splendid age of 37 I remain an Un-indoctrinated, humanitarian, very inquisitive and god rejecting Atheist.

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