"Credulity. More difficult to dissuade than to persuade, and easier to put wrong than to put right."
(Joseph Joubert / 1754-1824 / Notebook)
How does an adult become the follower of a religion?
The page "Why does man believe so easily?" gives some indications about the reasons making belief, for some people, a true need.
This present page tries to give a light, not on the substance, but on the form of the relation that is established between the individual, a priori free, and religion or its representatives.
Then, this page does not approach the case of the children immersed since their birth in the religion of their parents or of their social sphere. They will, most, in all their life, maintain this religion by conformism, by passivity, not to disappoint those who are fond of them or, quite simply, because one has "forgotten" to learn them how to think on the outside of immutable dogma written several centuries ago.
So, the question is to understand the way by which an individual, who regards himself as fully using his free will, can be appealed by a religion or a belief that he did not know before.
A parallel may be drew with the techniques of communication which, in all the fields of life, lead man to modify unconsciously his behavior of purchaser, worker, voter... to bring it in a direction where some one else would liked he goes.
Better than a long speech, I propose to you to use the richness and the diversity of language. The small progress of thought below shows how one can gradually find oneself under the influence of a religion or more generally (because principles are the same ones) of an individual, a doctrines, a sect, an ideology...
to pay court
to give one's patter
to make dizzy
to take in
to chain up
One can notice there are only active verbs for the one who is communicating or, more exactly, who is speaking. The interlocutor, i.e. the one who is listening, is restricted the passivity.
How does it work?
A communication is balanced and effective if each one can express oneself in his turn, approving or criticizing the ideas of the other, bringing one’s own ideas, building them progressively, if possible without a priori.
In practice, it is seldom like this for various reasons:
a hierarchical difference (example: boss/employee);
a relation of authority (example : parents/child, professor/pupil, priest/faithful, savant/novice, doctor/patient...)
psychological ascendancy of one over the other;
a behavior (often unconscious) inducing a mental block for the other (ex: a stubborn one who never changes his mind)
inequality in the master of the spoken language and of dialectics;
unbalanced communication in its form: "top-down", unilateral (example: conference, speech, publicity);
technical characteristics that allow exchange only in one direction (TV, radio, lack of microphone in the room...)