My dad’s ultimate, and towards the end, only defense of the extreme evangelical Christianity, that had led him to send his children to a detention facility in a foreign country, was to laugh and exclaim, “I may be brainwashed, but at least I chose who washed my brain!”
It was a paraphrase of something my Dad claimed he’d heard Barry say in defense of his conversion to Christianity in 1971. I never actually heard the song “Eve of Destruction” until well later in life. I just knew Barry was a BIG DEAL who made it OK to say you were Christian. That and “Bullfrogs and Butterflies,” perhaps the most insipid song in the history of recorded music.
The thing is, the evangelical Christians of that era WERE brainwashed. It WAS a cult (apologies for the all-caps, but I stand by them). Everyone says, “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid” (it was Flavor Aid) as a way to say only really stupid people could fall prey to a cult. It’s not like that, that’s why cults are so scary. Jonestown cult members were well-educated, progressive socialists: they were the best the Bay Area had to offer. If anything, education seems to make one more susceptible to brainwashing. My dad was fine until he enrolled at Canadian Bible College, then based in Regina, now in Calgary operating as part of Ambrose University. Ignorance, indifference and a basic belief in one’s own common sense seem to make one most secure, the Homer/Batman defense. Charismatic leaders are people to be wary of, not people to follow.