Stockholm syndrome is often defined as when a hostage develops an empathetic psychological connection with their captor. The reason this happens (as clearly, the hostage is the victim) is that the hostage subconsciously figures out, as seems reasonable, that if they are nice to their captors, they will receive better treatment in exchange. And that’s true.
An easy reference to this is the trope of the “Uncle Tom” in African American slave life during American slavery. During American slavery, certain slaves were mentally trained that if they accepted their slavery, and willingly worked with their master, they would receive better treatment in exchange. And said slaves bought into this, and cooperated in exchange for said better treatment. The African American community now refers to such slaves as “Uncle Toms”.
I propose that the process by which Stockholm syndrome sets in subconsciously, is a tool that ministers of faith use consciously to trick those in their congregation into becoming ardent followers of their own supposed volition.
I’ll explain. When a person enters a church community, they are usually doing it simply for the community at first. A community is a small society. And the smaller the society, the more socialist the society. This is why socialism works well in small countries. The culture is similar throughout a small country, so people tend to be more inclined to share with their neighbors, as everyone is culturally similar to everyone else. This happens all the more in a church community. In fact, for most people, their faith/ideological community is the first place outside of their family that they would seek help. And in this lies the incentive for Stockholm syndrome to take hold.
When you join a faith or any ideological group, you first join for the benefits of that small society. Even if the benefit is simply a cure for loneliness, or a moment of reprieve from other small societies, like said person’s place of employment. But no one wishes to think that they are using their faith for a selfish goal. So they instead cling to the altruistic motive preached by their respective church leaders and effectively become true believers. And they go on to preach that message of altruism that was preached to them upon their arrival, to all the new souls that wander in. And preaching/teaching the ideology of the group to new members gives a sense of seniority to the member of the group that is now doing the teaching. Thus further solidifying the beliefs of the said person doing the preaching, as that person now finds a sense of pride in preaching the group’s message to another. This is the selfish motive, the appeal to pride, that spreads a religion.
This is the same process that a person who develops Stockholm syndrome goes through. Albeit that in the case of Stockholm syndrome, the incentive to treat your captor’s cause with an altruistic mindset is incentivized through the fear placed upon the victim by the captor. But isn’t it fair to say that everyone who seeks out religion, does so out of fear of this life or the afterlife not going well if they don’t.
And even though the process of submitting to a religious belief, obviously happens more gradually than a kidnapping. Still, the motive to react with altruism to those already in the new society you are entering is the same. The motive is that you can only receive better treatment within said society if you go along with said society. And the more the leaders of said society are convinced that you are truly loyal to their society, the better the benefits get.
When you look at religion and any ideology as a form of Stockholm syndrome, it forces you to take a step back. And even if you must go along with an ideology, to survive. There is something much better in admitting that duality of self to yourself, because then at least you can mentally escape said society when the opportunity is made available.