So which church is a cult?

Manxboz

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(Something I wrote a while ago, this doesn't just need apply to Christianity and it's sister denominations but all faiths as a whole. I hope you enjoy.)


Constantly many so-called ‘true Christians’ claim to follow the correct path laid down by God and that anyone who doesn’t follow their form of belief is a Cultist and follower of a Cult. Well what is wrong is the usage of cult in this term. Yes it has been thrown about in context. The original meaning of cult was a term used to mean ritual worship but today it is a narrower, derogatory sense of the word and is a product of the 20th Century, especially since the 1980s, and is a result of the anti-cult movement, which uses the term in reference to groups seen as authoritarian, exploitative and possibly dangerous. Catherine Wessinger (Loyola University New Orleans) has stated that the term "cult" represents just as much prejudice and antagonism as racial slurs or derogatory words for women and homosexuals. She has argued that it is important for people to become aware of the bigotry conveyed by the word, drawing attention to the way it dehumanises the group's members and their children. Labelling a group as subhuman, she says, becomes a justification for violence against it. At the same time, she adds, labelling a group a "cult" makes people feel safe, because the "violence associated with religion is split off from conventional religions, projected onto others, and imagined to involve only aberrant groups." This fails to take into account that child abuse, sexual abuse, financial extortion and warfare have also been committed by believers of mainstream religions, but the pejorative "cult" stereotype makes it easier to avoid confronting this uncomfortable fact.


The term "cult" first appeared in English in 1617, derived from the French culte, meaning "worship" or "a particular form of worship" which in turn originated from the Latin word cultus meaning "care, cultivation, worship," originally "tended, cultivated," as in the past participle of colere "to till the soil". In French, for example, sections in newspapers giving the schedule of worship at Catholic churches are headed Culte Catholique; the section giving the schedule of Protestant churches is headed culte réformé. The meaning "devotion to a person or thing" is from 1829.



If we use Cult in the derogatory form that it takes on today then all Christianity is a cult of Judaism but I know many would throw a hissy fit at me suggesting that. See many Christians think of themselves more special, as holier than thou, people that can do no wrong as they follow the one True God. Now I believe the God of Israel is the true God and Jesus the Christ was His Son sent down to save our souls. But Jesus will say to many at the last days ‘I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. Luke 13:27 (KJV)’

Many people listen to preachers when they preach upon certain faiths and say how they are cults and how their way is the truth, most of them find their information though anti websites and not from the actual faith they are preaching upon. These people then use what they have heard without looking up scriptural evidence or information. Remember no matter what any man tell us, only God’s Word is correct, if it is not contained within Scripture then it does not exist. To listen and take the words of a certain preacher or a certain denominations view of Christian theology is nothing but ‘Cultist’ and in many cases is distorted. If you truly want to found out what a certain faith teaches go and ask them, you would not ask a Ford dealer on what is the best Honda is. But now I hear you say does it not say in 2 John 1 “10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:’, this verse does not forbid us to allow those who we think to be wrong to enter our house to witness unto us. It does mean not allowing false teachers a platform to preach on, like say in a church. As in the early days there was no central church building but believers met in their own houses. So if we find that after them witnessing that they are wrong, all you need to do is say I’m sorry but I believe you are wrong. No need to be nasty or anything, just explain to them that you are ok where you are and allow them to leave.

Many descriptions of a cult go like this:-

A distorted view of God and Jesus, denying the Trinity laid down by the church. If you actually read the Bible there is no reference to the Trinity, this is even admitted by the Catholic church, ‘In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together....The Vatican Council has explained the meaning to be attributed to the term mystery in theology. It lays down that a mystery is a truth which we are not merely incapable of discovering apart from Divine Revelation, but which, even when revealed, remains “hidden by the veil of faith and enveloped, so to speak, by a kind of darkness” (Const., "De fide. cath.", iv). (Joyce G.H. The Blessed Trinity. The Catholic Encyclopaedia, Volume XV Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight). Rom. 8:11, 2 Cor. 4:14, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:20, 1 Tim 1:2, 1 Pet. 1:21, and 2 John 1:13 these passages teach a Binitarian view of the Godhead.

Authoritarianism,Accepting a head, council etc as leaders of the church. But does not the Catholic church accept the Popes word’s as though God spoke them? Or does not the Protestant church accept the words of the Archbishop? All churches accept authority figures, many say they act for Christ and they are Christ’s representatives on the Earth. But as we are told in Isaiah 29:13 ‘Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:’. Remember we can always tell if a preacher is of God by their works.

Exclusivism, Many of those Christians preaching against cults say that ‘Cults think they are the only way’ but does not all Christians believe that Christ is the only way? Does this not mean that all Christianity is exclusive?


So by these traits, which a government of men has decided is the description of a cult, it would seem that all Christian and in fact all other Religions are indeed a Cult.


We should actually think before we start to attack those of other sects within Christianity. They are our Brothers and Sisters, they believe in Jesus the Christ. Who knows maybe they have the right view, test all knowledge against God’s Word and that Word is Christ (John1), ask the Holy Ghost to testify to whether what you are hearing is correct (Rev 22:16-18). Don’t shout horrible names at each other, Love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 19:19) it’s not the way God or Christ would have us do it.
 

wil

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I agree muchly on the cult argument, however I think the word really became radicalized in the 60's when various offbeat groups were called cults, and then it became to include any christian group that didn't fit someone's set of norms or expectations. Today for many it encompasses major Christian denominations like Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses etc. It is hard to find any Christian groups that don't find some other Christian group as worthy of using the 'cult' moniker.

As to your summation
We should actually think before we start to attack those of other sects within Christianity. They are our Brothers and Sisters, they believe in Jesus the Christ. Who knows maybe they have the right view, test all knowledge against God’s Word and that Word is Christ (John1), ask the Holy Ghost to testify to whether what you are hearing is correct (Rev 22:16-18). Don’t shout horrible names at each other, Love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 19:19) it’s not the way God or Christ would have us do it.
I would change that to:

We should actually think before we start to attack those of other sects or religions or belief systems. They are our Brothers and Sisters, co travelers on this planet. Who are we to judge, who knows maybe they have the right view. Don’t shout horrible names at each other, Love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 19:19) it’s not the way God or Christ would have us do it... Consider, as Jesus asked....'Who is your neighbor?'
 

Dream

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'Cult' sounds a lot like the word 'Culture' but is more religious sounding, less about food and manners. If there is a group that wants to control people by discouraging them from thinking, should they be called a cult or is there some more specific word to use? Also what would be a good less derogatory word to use for small religious groups. Don't say 'Ma and Pop'.
 

mojobadshah

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They are all cults. A lot of them are probably racially divided. They brainwash people into believing things that no one could possibly prove. In other words they're organizations that are based on delusion. They hide behind laws that their people wrote up themselves like "Freedom of Religion," to prevent their people from getting locked up in insane asylums. What pigs fly out of my ass? Really? They're message rarely gets across. In the end we're all human. They're businesses under the guise of non-profits. But why should they be getting the notoriety for being charitable organizations when the ideas that make them what they are not original to their organization, and can be proven to have come from one heritage? So that they can continue to bs people?
 

Dream

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They are our Brothers and Sisters, they believe in Jesus the Christ. Who knows maybe they have the right view, test all knowledge against God’s Word and that Word is Christ (John1), ask the Holy Ghost to testify to whether what you are hearing is correct (Rev 22:16-18). Don’t shout horrible names at each other, Love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 19:19) it’s not the way God or Christ would have us do it.
Seems reasonable to me. You know the disagreements actually are rare or getting more so. It is not fashionable to condemn others over a disagreement.
 

Saltmeister

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Seems reasonable to me. You know the disagreements actually are rare or getting more so. It is not fashionable to condemn others over a disagreement.

I think we need to take a poll/survey to be sure
 

mojobadshah

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They are our Brothers and Sisters, they believe in Jesus the Christ. Who knows maybe they have the right view, test all knowledge against God’s Word and that Word is Christ (John1), ask the Holy Ghost to testify to whether what you are hearing is correct (Rev 22:16-18). Don’t shout horrible names at each other, Love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 19:19) it’s not the way God or Christ would have us do it.

Seems reasonable to me. You know the disagreements actually are rare or getting more so. It is not fashionable to condemn others over a disagreement.

Who are our brothers and sisters? The people who are ripping off the Zoroastrian heritage? I don't know what the heck you're talking about, but let them believe what they want to believe. In the end its all about the "money."
 

Saltmeister

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Who are our brothers and sisters? The people who are ripping off the Zoroastrian heritage? I don't know what the heck you're talking about, but let them believe what they want to believe. In the end its all about the "money."

If the money is going to charity, going to the sick and homeless then it's going to a good cause.
 

mojobadshah

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If that's the case all the religious institutions that make their money off of the Zoroastrian heritage can give me the money and I'll make sure that it goes to good causes. Jesus would have given me the money cause he would have known how F'd up it is to bear the Zoroastrian heritage in world full of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
 

Saltmeister

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If that's the case all the religious institutions that make their money off of the Zoroastrian heritage can give me the money and I'll make sure that it goes to good causes. Jesus would have given me the money cause he would have known how F'd up it is to bear the Zoroastrian heritage in world full of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

You can have the money then.
 

Dream

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If that's the case all the religious institutions that make their money off of the Zoroastrian heritage can give me the money and I'll make sure that it goes to good causes. Jesus would have given me the money cause he would have known how F'd up it is to bear the Zoroastrian heritage in world full of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Jesus would write a book and publish it on lulu.com. It would have an ISBN and everything.

You can have the money then.
No, lets do the circle trick where we draw the circle on the ground and throw the money into the air. Whatever God wants you to have will be blown to your house, and I'll keep the leftovers.
 

Lunitik

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Depends how you define cult... all organized religion is a cult because all religion utilizes group-think to control and delude people.

The only non-cults are those which say "don't believe, experiment and confirm".
 

Amergin

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I thought the difference between a cult and a faith was that a cult was based on following, worshipping, and obeying a human being or group of humans. By that, Christianity is a Cult because it is based on a hypothetical Jewish religious rebel 2000 years ago whom Romans later deified. Jesus was a human being by all Christian references. That he was later deified does not change anything.

Islam is also a cult in that it is based on following and obeying Muhammad, who asks us all to worship the ONE GOD, Allah. The difference is that Muhammad is not deified. Muslims worship an undefined cosmic creator who is clearly not human. That puts Islam more into the category of being a faith.

Judaism seems to be more of a faith in that its founders were not worshiped as gods. They were prophets seizing authority in the name of an invisible and unproven god, JHWY.

Buddhism is more of a faith and not a cult. Siddhartha (Buddha) was never considered a God but a teacher. He was not even authoritarian.

In summary, Christianity, the Rashneeshians, Jonestown, and the Flying Saucer Nuts constitute CULTS.

Islam and Judaism are faiths and perhaps they are a division of the same faith I call Islamo-Judaism. Buddhism is a pure faith that does not even require the invention of a God.

A Cult is an organised group who follow a leader who is considered human and more than human, with authority, demanding lethal punishment for disbelief.

Some falsely claim that Atheism and Agnosticism are cults or faiths. Since a faith requires belief in something without evidence or contrary to the evidence.

I have belief as a Non-Theistic Agnostic. I lack belief in gods, demons, leprechauns, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Mother Goose, or the Great Pumpkin.

I do believe in the evolution of all life found on Earth including us.
I believe in a spherical Earth, 4.5 billion years old.
I believe in continental drift on moving tectonic plates of basalt crust.
I believe in the heliocentric solar system, Earth as the 3rd planet.
I believe in 8 planets (4 rocky and 4 gas or ice giants).
I believe in Planetoids beyond Neptune in the Ort Belt.
I believe in a belt of dust and ice beyond the Ort Belt.
I believe in our Sun as part of the Milky Way Galaxy.
I believe our Galaxy has hundreds of billions of stars (some with planets)
I believe in thousands of billions of other galaxies.
I believe the Universe is 13.7 billions of years old.
Nobody knows what preceded the Big Bang.
We do not know what is beyond 13.7 billion light years away.
I believe in Supermassive Black Holes of maximum Gravity.
I believe that Black Holes are at the centre of every galaxy.
I believe that my mind is a manifestation of live brain circuits.
I believe that my mind dies when my brain dies.


Amergin
 

Dream

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From many accounts Scientology is a tightly controlling cult. Its surprising how fervently we trust personalities and hold people in awe.
 

Amergin

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From many accounts Scientology is a tightly controlling cult. Its surprising how fervently we trust personalities and hold people in awe.

I agree. I just thought about Mormonism which has been called a cult. And I agree that it fits your definition of a cult as well.

The Catholic Church is a cult in that it theoretically is tightly controlled by one man who claims to speak for God with infallibility despite being wrong most of the time. Actually its control over its believers is rather weak today compared to the good old Dark Ages of the Inquisition, heretic burnings, and witch burnings.

Evangelical Fundamentalist Christianity which I call Christian Talibanism, represents a bunch of small cults based on a form of mind control over people by charismatic or near charismatic preachers who are uneducated rednecks (high school grads) who attend Bible Schools that train them to memorise selected meme scripts, skip dance, cry on effort or fake it, and shout. Their congregations are largely composed of poorly educated and naive people who are controlled by endless repetitions of the Fundamentalistic Biblical meme.

It seems that many cult leaders become incredibly wealthy and live in oriental splendor while the congregations lives on the edge of starvation, the next meager pay cheque, and homelessness. The wealthiest also profit from fake faith healing which I find to be despicable.

Amergin
 

Snoopy

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Belief/believe is used to mean quite different things. Sometimes it needs to be cleared up as to what meaning is intended for the word. For instance, a materialist atheist believes that the sun will rise tomorrow; this is obviously not the same as the Christian who believes that we shall be judged on Judgment Day.
 

wil

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Belief/believe is used to mean quite different things. Sometimes it needs to be cleared up as to what meaning is intended for the word. For instance, a materialist atheist believes that the sun will rise tomorrow; this is obviously not the same as the Christian who believes that we shall be judged on Judgment Day.

While we'll for discussion sake completely disregard the fact that the sun has never rose, and will not 'rise' tomorrow...we'll just take that misnomer as fact and move on.

Or should we....as it is our perception that the sun rises...or our belief in the perception...for those that can't grock the science that the earth turns and from our vantage point it only appears the sun does rises.

Could it be from the atheists vantage point there is no G!d.

And since this Christian neither buys judgement day nor the sun rising from my vantage point...that not being a physical vantage point but a thoughtful one....where does that leave us....err....stand?
 

Paladin

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From this perspective I see that based on our psychology we are not only perpetually deluded but we love to argue that it is only the other that is deluded and only we defined as "us" and sometimes only as "I" is or are not deluded but of course that would be insane no? Because what if there were no "other" to be deluded?

It would seem then that we, us and I are all deluded, but still we love to argue about it don't we?
 
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