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Are ALL Religions Essentially Cults?

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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 09:19 AM
Original message
Are ALL Religions Essentially Cults?
I think so...
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 09:24 AM
Response to Original message
1. Cults do have some distinguishing characteristics
Small, insular, extremist, revolving around a particular personality (the cult leader).

I think you could argue that the difference between a cult and other religeons might be a matter of degree, however difference in quantity becomes difference in quality at a certain threshold.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-04 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #1
18. Is It The Religion That's A Cult... Or The *Local* Church?
This would fit in with your description of being small, extremist, one (or two) leaders with dynamic personalities. Depending on the church it may or may not be isolated from outside influences.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
2. I think the main differences are age and success
Cults that last long enough or that convert large numbers of people, or both, are eventually called religions.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. I bet there's useful analogy with the difference between a
fatal disease and a successful parasite. Unsuccessful parasites are too virulent: they burn themselves out by destroying the host. Successful parasites do not completely take over, and so they survive.

Religeons with longevity resemble successful parasites. They utilize resources, and propagate themselves, but at a level that allows the host to function.

Religeons are the common-cold of the meme ecology. Cults are ebola.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Interesting analogy!
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lapislzi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-30-04 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Hmm...extend the metaphor: vectors
How these things are spread. Some vectors, like mosquitoes, are difficult if not impossible to control. If the vector is unpredictable and difficult to eradicate, the disease will be more widespread, longer-lived, and cause more damage.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-04 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #8
20. the vectors are channels of communication
speech, writing, evangelists. Hard to get rid of those.
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Gelliebeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-30-04 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. that is very interesting phantom
successful parasites don't destroy the host immediately they evolve over time and are therefore more resistant to antiparisitic therepy.
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fshrink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-04 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #3
15. And successful parasites are
mutated unsuccessful parasites. In other words, a religion is the future of a cult!
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-04 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #15
19. Yes!
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
4. I think there is no doubt
cult:
1. a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.

b. The followers of such a religion or sect.


2. A system or community of religious worship and ritual.

Christianity:
1. Is a delusion in which people worship a deity and many other supernatural beings no one has ever seen (or seen evidence of)

2. Involves ritual cannibalism

3. Includes the belief (shared by many, if not most of them) that the natural and desired course of human events is for us to destroy ourselves (commit mass suicide)

4. Careens from one subcult of personality to another (jesus, prophets, evangelists and other conmen)



it is a cult. Some last longer, some attract larger numbers of members, but they're all cults.


It is also not true that all cults self-destruct.



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lapislzi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-30-04 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
6. Yes...it's the thinking (or lack thereof)
The programming of the thought process.

There were times when this was not the case--when the monotheistic religions were more mystical and the goal was to expand faith, not inhibit it. Karen Armstrong gives a good analysis of the historical trends in A History of God and The Battle for God. I strongly recommend the latter as a scholarly analysis of what's going on today and how we got here.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-30-04 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
7. Probably. When you assign personalities to invisible beings;
when you become rigid in your beliefs; and when you have to demand faith from your believers, yep you are cultish. I think the key is how flexible are your beliefs when facts prove them wrong? Are you ready to move on and accept the new facts as true?

Most religions practiced today cannot be objective in examining the truth. I believe Buddhaism may be the only exception that I am familiar with.
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frank frankly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-01-04 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
10. yes. absolutely. yes.
YES.
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-04 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
11. By definition, yes
All religions are cults.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-04 08:08 PM
Response to Original message
12. are all cults, then, religions?
as well?
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fshrink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-04 09:23 PM
Response to Original message
13. Yes. A matter of size. nt
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-04 10:45 PM
Response to Original message
14. Ironically, it was the forewarning of cults that made me an unbeliever
In the Jr high some fanatics came to our youth group to warn us of various threats to our souls. One threat was rock music; Pink Floyd, Stones, Doors...you know the classics (of course any that I didn't have, I made a mental note to buy asap).

Also there was POT, which apparently was fertilized by Satan himself so certainly it was a no no.

And then there were cults. They explained how cults go about brain washing naive youths into a life of sin and immorality. That's when I realized that I was in a diluted cult. While cults' methods are a little more extreme, essentially the system isn't all that different from xtianity. They have to condense it down into a more potent delivery system because they don't get years to indoctrinate the way traditional religions do.

Go to any church camp in America - cult lite. Look at some of the weepers and wailers on TV - again, cultish. Just take some fear and guilt, and add lots of positive reinforcement to keep you coming back for more. Throw in charismatic leader to mesmerize and you're in business.
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SheWhoMustBeObeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-04 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
16. Lots of good responses
I think what many of us experienced when we rejected our childhood faith is evidence that all religions are cults. It's very unlikely we were raised in acknowledged cults like Scientology or the Children of God/The Family, yet many of us experienced the same trauma leaving our various Christian sects that cult members undergo when they leave their groups.

A very close member of my family became a "Child of God" during the height of COG's popularity in the 70s. He eventually came back to us but the experience scarred our entire family. To this day he does not discuss his involvement, which lasted almost a decade and took him to at least three countries. I had to fill in everything by researching online. For more about this bizarre Christian-based group and their now-deceased, pedophiliac leader:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/fam_love.htm

http://www.apologeticsindex.org/f07.html - this site has many links to ex-members' testimony as well as COG's current site
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-09-04 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
17. Do you want to know the difference between a cult and a religion?
A religion has a university and a football team.
(sorry, I don't recall who gets the attribution for that gem).
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