Brainwashed may be too strong a word to use here. Perhaps I could have titled this thread, "How to know when your beliefs are not your own and quite possible are far out-of-wack with reality". We all have beliefs about reality, i.e. the meaning of life, existence of god, life after death, conspiracies, aliens, walk-ins, etc. Unless I'm wrong, I believe that many of our beliefs are just plain wrong. Even those beliefs that we most strongly believe. How can we know if we are one of these people, or believe in one of those beliefs that are not our own (brainwashed perhaps?), delusional, not justified or based on fact.
If you talk to a member of a cult, or someone who has been brainwashed, they are absolutely convinced of the reality of their beliefs even when they are so obviously delusional to the sane person. Think about your most sacred and cherished belief. What if you are wrong. How could you be convinced of your flawed thinking? Would it even be possible? I think it would be very difficult. The stronger the belief the larger the groove in your brain. I doubt if a persons thinking can hop out of the erroneous groove into one that more closely maps reality without a lot of work. And then why work at it if you don't see the flaws in your thinking. So my question is, How can we recognize these flaws?