JW's, Sccientologists, Moonies.. when does a cult become a religion?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Tao_Equus, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Simple question to ask but does it have an answer?

    Are two people who together decide to worship a dishcloth entitled to religious respect and status under law? Is an organisation that seeks to brainwash and isolate its "captured" to be respected or outlawed? What should define what they would call "truth" in law? Should it be demonstrable truth? If it is a re-interpretation of an older faith should they pay royalties?

    When is a cult not a cult but a 'valid' religion.

    Tao
     
  2. greymare

    greymare New Member

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    oooh you are gonna get them talking now Tao. LOL. arent they all cults. becasue its just a collective belief . just because its been around a long time doesnt make a belief any more plausible than some crackpot worshipping something else tomorrow. (thought Id add fuel to your fire, LOL)
     
  3. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    You touch on something there Grey. Many people "of faith" do indeed "switch" faith during their life. In other words they are not sure. Or they are really looking for some aspect of self-validation/purpose? I really believe that many people who say they believe in God have never thought hard about what they are saying. And I think they do not so much believe in God but believe instead that they are capable of discerning greater truth. But I digress from the thread topic.

    Tao
     
  4. Bruce Michael

    Bruce Michael New Member

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    Hello Tao,
    How's your old Dad?
    I don't believe there are any new religions- new teachings, yes, but no new religions.

    "Cult" used to be such a positive word. The "cultus" was/is the method spiritual forces come down to earth. Thus we have the word 'culture' and "cultivation"- and the cultivation of a culture.

    All religions then, are cults.

    Let's say that there are good and bad religious organisations- depending on the criteria you set. Your criteria might be political and monetary power.

    If I am a Christian I will be looking to see whether or not the spirit of Christ is present. Generally speaking I would hope that the spirit of Love is present.
    I would be asking things like:
    Are they loving?
    Does the group give charity outside of its own?
    Are they tolerant of the joys and loves of others? Do they encourage creative individual thought?
    Are they generous? etc.
    I would want them to be following the truth/humour/compassionate path.
    Those are some of my personal criteria.
    It really doesn't matter how old, big or small the group is.


    As far the the law goes- ideally, religions should not be defacto businesses. They should not be deriving income from their business activities and charging money for services that go beyond costs.

    The law itself is an ass, so I wouldn't be asking it to define truth.

    Cordially,
    Br.Bruce
     
  5. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    The World Book Encyclopedia explains that “traditionally, the term cult referred to any form of worship or ritual observance.” By that criterion, all religious organizations could be classified as cults. However, in general usage today, the word “cult” has a different meaning. The same encyclopedia notes that “since the mid-1900’s, publicity about cults has altered the meaning of the term. Today, the term is applied to groups that follow a living leader who promotes new and unorthodox doctrines and practices.”

    The leader for Jehovahs witnesses is Jesus christ, thats because they stick very closely to the bible and what it teaches .
    Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a Cult?
    Its interesting that Jesus himself was accused of being many things that were not true .
    like a drunkard, a glutton, a Sabbath breaker, a false witness, a blasphemer of God, and a messenger of Satan. He was also accused of being subversive.—Matthew 9:34; 11:19; 12:24; 26:65; John 8:13; 9:16; 19:12. and also Jesus followers had the same things happen to them .


    The principal men of the Jews in Rome accurately described the situation of Jesus’ followers when they acknowledged: “For truly as regards this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against.”—Acts 28:22.

    Evidently, this new group established by Jesus Christ was considered by some to be a religious group with radical views and practices that clashed with what was accepted in those days as normal social behavior. Undoubtedly, many today would have considered the Christians a destructive cult. The accusers were often prominent and respected members of the community, and this seems to have added weight to the allegations. Many believed the accusations against Jesus and his disciples. Yet, as you probably know, every one of these charges was false! The fact that people said these things did not make them true.

    Cult members often isolate themselves from family, friends, and even society in general. Is that the case with Jehovah’s Witnesses? NO,
    they do not live in communes, isolating themselves from relatives and others. Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize that it is their Scriptural responsibility to love and care for their families. many people get to believe lies about Jehovahs witnesses,
     
  6. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    I have just made my own religion... It's called Uhm, what month is it? November! Ok my religion is called november 17. god in the heavens cast him down to live with the humans, this perfect soul is a messenger, his name is 17, and he has to get as many as he can to follow him, or they will be lost in the coming end of the world, his mission is to make all humans make a material sacrafice and cast all their possiessions upon 17. So that they show they are dedicated and comittied to the cause, they will all come and live with 17 in this massive isolated farm and learn the ways of how they should live... Paradise is in reach.

    Now being very serious, I have made a religion. I have. "oh but it's aload of bs!" You say, so? So is your religion... ;) They all stem from bs. Some man made set of faiths/paths and belifes... Your's is no better than mine, and all in all you have about the same chance of being "saved" joining my new founded religion than say any religion you wish to name. There is -no- evidence to prove that I am not a messenger of the divine. Just because it is NEW :eek: It is classed as a cult.... The word cult doesn't sit well with me... It is such a..... Dark word. I am sure if you look cult up, it will confirm that is a religious group/movement or whatever.... The important key here is it IS a religion.... lol.. I think everyone has the right to make one, whatever works for ya I guess....So you might as well go ahead and put christianity, judaism, paganism, satanism, islam, hindu, buddishm and whatever else in the title name of this topic.... LOL a valid religion?.. That's good... That is so good.
     
  7. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    (John 15:19) If YOU were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because YOU are no part of the world, but I have chosen YOU out of the world, on this account the world hates YOU.

    But we think it proper to hear from you what your thoughts are, for truly as regards this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against.”Acts 28;22
    (1 Peter 2:12) Maintain YOUR conduct fine among the nations, that, in the thing in which they are speaking against YOU as evildoers, they may as a result of YOUR fine works of which they are eyewitnesses glorify God in the day for [his] inspection.


    true followers of christ are accused of allsorts of things . but sticking to what the bible teaches and what Jesus taught is the way to go . thats what Jehovahs witnesses do , but like Jesus ,people say many untrue things about true followers of christ .
     
  8. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    I even made my religion a poster... To pre-warn of the events that are going to take place! Join us before it is too late!!! Eeeeek lol....

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    There's an infinite number of answers to that question. When you die, there will still be answers coming into your Inbox.

    If your country is a democracy, then yes!!! As long as they don't harm anyone without consent.

    What does the current Law say about it?

    Truth is subjective. It depends on what you think is important, and your point of view.

    By "cult" I'm assuming you're referring to the negative meaning of "cult," which refers to mind control and brainwashing rather than the neutral meaning which refers to religion in general. There's two different uses of the word.

    I would say that a religion is a cult on these terms if it enforces conformity in its adherents. Christianity, for example, would not be a cult because conformity isn't enforced on all its adherents. Some denominations and groups within Christianity, however, do enforce conformity. These groups could be seen as cults. It's a question of how a group of people pursue a common cause.

    Buddhism and New Age wouldn't be cults, since there is no conformity and nothing is enforced. Matters are left up to the individual.

    True and proper religions are spiritual and do not require enforcement of conformity. They are concerned about "the spirit of things" rather than method, practice, technique or structure, as those things are just a means to an end. Just tools and instruments of work. It's how you feel that matters. It's the heart not the head.

    A cult is a machine. Who wants to be a slave of a machine for the rest of his/her life? Is your religion a machine or a spirit?

    If a religion allows you to be flexible in how you use your mind then that is what makes it spiritual. If it is inflexible, then it's like a machine whose structure and methods doesn't change. The tools and instruments are always the same. Because the religion is inflexible in how you are allowed to use your mind, you effectively become a mechanical component of that religion if you conform to its inflexible requirements. You yourself become a tool and instrument to be used. If that is the case, then you have a cult. Its the belief that the cult can only be effective because of your inflexible conformity, that it has no power except from that derived from individuals who are unwavering in their conformity to the strict demands of its philosophy.
     
  10. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    You're a christian right? Heh, how ironic.....
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    We've touched on this before and as mee says we always get in trouble when we go to the dictionary where definitions are put in order of priority/usage, yet they don't seem to keep up with the times or maybe we don't, do we believe Mirriam/Webster?
    So if we are a member of an organized religion we are a cult member.

    Now even by definition number three, a cult is a spurious RELIGION

    So the simple answer, when does it become a 'valid' religion?? When you become a member.
     
  12. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

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    I'd be tempted to join you 17th... especially after seeing the poster! :D but I'm already spoken for. ;)

    As someone who follows a religious tradition often termed as a cult I thought I'd throw in a few "insider" opinions. :p

    Although all Gaudiya-Vaishnava ('Hare Krsna') temples around the world follow pretty much the same philosophy and practices, I would say that it's more the mood of the place that determines if it would be viewed as a "cult" (by say a totally neutral guest who had just wandered in) more than the teachings, practices, or any kind of philosophical conformity. If the mood is open, sincere, positive & joyful, then it's all good. If somehow or other some cranky guy manages to take charge of a place, then the whole thing dies, and it can become a bit cult-like if no-one sorts it out, as could happen in any religious or even non-religious organisation where things weren't kept in proper check. Especially if miles away from any other communities. For example, a local stamp collecting group, if run by someone with intimidatory and physcopathic tendencies could roll into it's own little cult after while?

    Then there's your theoretical Super-organised Uber-cults, where on the face of it everything looks rosy, but then in the background is some manipulative mastermind pushing buttons from behind the scenes. Telling George W Bush what to do next, that sort of thing. Maybe they exist. maybe they don't? Maybe even speaking about them will lead to your phones being tapped at home? :)

    If we created a spectrum then I guess Cult with be on the opposite end to Organised Religion, and Spirituality would be somewhere inbetween? If everything is too formal, organised and conservative then it's dead. If everything is too crazy and fanatical then it's too far the other extreme. With somewhere in the middle being a healthy medium?

    Best wishes,

    ... Neemai :)
     
  13. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    i prefer the bibles message its nicer,

    (Mark 13:10) Also, in all the nations the GOODNEWS has to be preached first.
    "The eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their supplication."—1 Peter 3:12.

    For I, Jehovah your God, am grasping your right hand, the One saying to you, ‘Do not be afraid. I myself will help you.’isaiah 41;14

    Draw close to God, and he will draw close to YOU. James 4;8
     
  14. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    good thread tao,

    i would think that any religion should be allowed but other thing within it must be held accountable to the law. it doesn’t matter if it is a ‘cult’ [small religion or branch of a greater one] or a big religion, the fact remains that if people are forced, manipulated or in any other way coerced into becoming a part of the said religion, then this is a form of kidnapping.

    people have had to separate from their families because of scientology, and the way these people act is little different to mafia. i don’t see why people are not protected from this kind of harassment, if it were a similar thing but in the workplace then the law would come down on them like a ton of bricks!
    17th, nice poster!
     
  15. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    I don't know if I've ever met a more insular bunch than the JW's. You guys have a serious hive mentality. I might have checked out your church but you un's don't have potlucks. You can't get any street traffic without potlucks. The Hare Krishna's have awesome feasts which one can drop in on. When I was stationed with the Air Force in south Florida we would drive in to Coconut Grove, hit the Hare Krishna potluck, and then head down to the swanky cafe restaurants and bars. The Krishnas usually cruised out later with a drum and tambourine rhythm section. They would get invited to jam by the one man band guys that were playing the patios of the bars. Whatever kind of music the guy was playing would turn into a Hare Rama refrain for a couple of minutes, and then they'd move on. I saw an extended jam with the house blues band and the Dhoti dudes on night, and I swear I was waiting for Jon Luc Ponty to jump out from somewhere.

    Chris
     
  16. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    I'm no conformist. I'm rather flexible in how I use my mind. Lol.

    As far as being a part of a greater machine is concerned, I'm a part of none.

    I don't serve ideology. I'm not one of its acolytes. When I make meaning of something, it's largely independent of what the rest of the collective thinks. I can't play copy-cat in this game and nor can I fall for the idea that I must be a part of a group mentality. I have to trust my own intuition.

    I'm more of an individualist and anarchist in my approach to the faith. I do my own thing, my own way and I follow my own agenda because it's between me and God.

    If I am in some way to be connected to the rest of the collective it is through my relationship with God, not an ideology, creed or philosophy, or through conformity or enforcement of that ideology/philosophy. Likewise, anyone who wants to connect with me as a part of that collective must not connect by means of dogma, banners, slogans and bumper stickers, but their own personal relationship with God.

    While much of Christianity is conformist in its approach to faith, I've realised it doesn't have to be that way. The mistake is to think that one must become a part of the collective by conformity to a creed or ideology. Much of Christianity has encouraged that thinking. I believe otherwise. We become a part of the collective by our personal relationship with God, not conformity to ideology.

    The reason why conformity is employed as the main tool, instrument or mechanism for pursuing the goals of Christianity is because our religious leaders don't believe we're smart enough to think for ourselves. They have more confidence in their own plans, designs and agendas than those of their followers. If we have any achievements in the way of spirituality, it is by and according to their logic that we have achieved something. They don't give us credit.

    Christianity by nature doesn't enforce conformity. That is why there are so many different denominations. The denominations themselves believe in and enforce conformity, but they derive from something greater than themselves that doesn't enforce conformity. You could say that what the individual denominations do is "cultic," but that comes from their belief in conformity. Conformity is used largely because Christians don't even know they're enforcing conformity. If the word "conformity" was employed in our vocabulary our eyes would be opened and we would promptly stop doing it. This is one of the major paradigm shifts the present generation of Christianity needs . . . :eek:

    Of course, this may mean that Christianity may become somewhat "diluted" -- something fundamentalists hate -- but it is something I see as necessary if we are to become more spiritual. Dilution is a good, rather than a bad thing. I'm a believer in soft power. Soft power rocks.

    When in doubt . . . add more water.:) That's the solution.

    As far as Christianity is concerned, it's not the religion, but how you approach it, that can make it a "cult."
     
  17. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    The original sense of the word "religion" is something that is "passed down", related to words like "relic" and "relegate". If you make up your own beliefs, that is not a religion; if you get a lot of followers, that's just a "personality cult" around you; but if, after you are dead, and after everyone who knew you personally and was swept up by your charisma is dead too, the movement still goes on, then it is a "religion". The Mormons and JW's are "religions"; Scientology will stop being just "the personality cult around L. Ron Hubbard" when all the ones who were attracted to it by Hubbard are gone, if indeed Scientology continues.
    I second that.
     
  18. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    It's a hall, not a church :p Everyone/anyone is always welcome to come in and have their life force sucked out via a used macdonalds straw directly from the cranium.....

    1 sorry then chief.

    2 Yes, as soon as you join it and have a faith it is then a cult.... :)

    3 But, but, but, you're not meant to think for yourself, simply follow the rules and guidelines of god and christ and off to paradise you go. They do the thinking, that's why they're in the top seats and you're in the cheap seats.

    Thanks buddy! I used gods very words at the bottom of it, he said that.

    _Z_ Thanks to you also buddy!

    Now, If I set my faith seriously into 'November 17' and my posters warning, which is a warning from god.... I now have a valid religion.. Even if there are but a few memebers or a million memebers and at the same time it is a CULT! :eek:

    But, that poster is the bible's message. :)
     
  19. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    maybe you are over looking the bible message , which is GOODNEWS and as psalm 37;20 says ,

    For the wicked themselves will perish,

    and as psalm 37;11 informs us ,

    But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth,
    And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.

    now that is a goodnews message and it is just what we need:)
     
  20. greymare

    greymare New Member

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    that is supposing and hoping that WE are the meek. what if we arent??? Maybe your version of meek isnt what was intended?
     

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