spooky cult???

Discussion in 'Community' started by jefhatfield, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #1
    between colleges, i went to a evangelistic bible college and also discovered the 12 step program with some new age undertones/members...both were very helpful in my life

    many of my friends, family, the media, etc mentioned both were cults

    while i believe neither are cults in and of themselves, i have met people who have made evangelism and 12 step groups a cult in their life

    increasingly, i have seen some groups within the fundamentalist community and recovery community act like cults and use mind control to get to their members...and sometimes, too much of the times, their wallet

    it's a sad state of affairs these days when the message of jesus and a minister (12 step) can be taken by some to use to coerce some people out of their money

    so do you know anybody who has made a once sound organization a cult in their life?
     
  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #2
    i know people who have called this retreat i went on a cult, but it all depends on what your definition of a cult is....i am also reminded of the book "Survivor" by Chuck Palahniuk which is about a so called death cult(fiction though), very interesting book and writer i must say, but all in all cults in my opninion are not a bad thing so long as members can keep open minds, which usually does not happen thus making the "cult" a problem....
     
  3. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #3
    It really depends on definitions. I don't think that any organization would willingly call itself a cult. Remember the People Church (?) in Jonestown Guyana started as a 'normal' church. I have heard that Aum Shirikyo was fairly mainstream buddhist at one point.

    There are other groups that some people call cults and some people call mainstream. Falun Gong, Raeleans, Scientologists, Mormons, the snake handlers (or what ever they call themselves).

    Its like sex. What I do is normal, what you do is kinky, what *they* do is perverted.
     
  4. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    #4
    One that comes to mind is the "Heavens Gate Cult" in California. I believe it was around 1998. They committed mass suicide. I still remember the mansion that they lived. Inside the bunk beds lined up, with the victims neatly arranged. Was amazed at how neatly placed every item was. The links on them are no longer in service.
     
  5. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #5
    That was the root password here until someone spilled the beans to management. :D
     
  6. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #6
    i agree that it depends on your definition of 'cult'. personally, i would define cult as an organization that meets one of the following two requirements:

    - To be a proper member, or receive whatever spiritual reward is promised (pre- or post-humous), one must seek out outsiders and convince them to join, support the organization, and share the organization's spiritual beliefs; or

    - Any organization whose primary objective is the harm of it's members.

    So, under my definition of cult, a lot of religions (or, perhaps i should say, some of their factions) would be classified. to some extent, even many Mac users would be cultists (those that argue mac v PC) ;) I would not classify a 12-step program as a cult, because it does not meet either requirement. However, i would consider evangelicalism cultist behaviour. If it were a small religion, say two dozen members, and they had what most consider to be "far out" beliefs, and they tried to recruit people, i doubt most people would hesitate to label them a cult. Why should a religion that's very large be held to a double standard?

    paul
     
  7. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #7
    This would make Mary Kay a cult. :)

    What about a group that gets together for S&M parties?
     
  8. Awimoway macrumors 65816

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    #8
    My experience is that "cult" is a word that is loosely thrown around to disparage any organization that outsiders dislike. More precisely, what they tend to dislike about it is usually the fact that it asks too much, in their opinion, of the members in terms of time, freedom, money, etc., and/or that it demands the unwavering loyalty of its members. Organizations that can ask this of their members can be very threatening to outsiders because they are powerful. However the greatest criticism comes, I think, from outsiders who are so strongly committed to the notion of free thought and independence that they can't help but condescend those whose priorities are different from them--i.e. they value community cohesion and loyalty more highly. In this den of libertarians I doubt I will get few to agree with me, but I don't think that independence is inherently superior, morally, to loyalty.

    That being said, most conventional uses of the term "cult" are disingenous, in my opinion. There is too wide a disparity between the denotation of this word and the connotation. Lots of organizations fit the denoted meaning. But few fit the connoted meaning which suggests a group that brainwashes its members and thrusts them into a groupthink environment where they are essentially lemmings trudging toward the cliff edge. Most groups accused of being cults are not like this at all.
     
  9. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #9
    i think my community, per se, the born again christian demomination or faction as some would call it, went from largely being about spreading a message of good news (the gospel) to a gop political advertisement close to a cult if not a full on cult

    what went from loving of all god's children went to hating homosexuals, liberals, and women's rights...the xenophobes used the be the silent minority in the evangelical movement but due to some powerful political phenomena since ronald reagan, xenophobia became the main mode of operating for many extreme fundamentalists

    nazi germany went from a christian nation, to slightly xenophobic christian nazis, to just plain totalitarian nazis without god...the transition was slow and not noticed by many,but it was a true negative transformation nonetheless

    i have to admit, if some other religion went bad or backslid into politics/cultic money worshipping, or just plain hatred, it would bug me but seeing some conservative christians in america preach christ, but without mercy and love, is a very scary thing indeed

    in a nutshell, without love, any christian action is worthless and without mercy, it is not recognized by god

    i know there are plenty of conservative christians who abhor the xenophobia that is in the growing christian religion in america, but the voice of outrage gets quieter every year as some force, call it what you may, turns the church from a group of worshippers to just another well armed, well funded aggressive mob of ideologues
     
  10. Awimoway macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Well you are to be commended for not marching in lockstep with the more hateful elements of your faith. It's ironic, though, that you would say they have become cult-like because I think of conservative Christians as the group that is by far the most free and loose with labeling others cults.
     
  11. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #11
    thank you so much

    it's so funny...the group most feared by the conservative (religiously, and not always politically) christians is either the jehovah witnesses or the scientologists and what's funny is that the growing lunatic fringe of christianity, which may very well now be the majority, is really almost exactly like those two groups they fear and attack

    christ was never in lockstep with anybody and neither were the apostles in the early days of the faith...and they certainly didn't align themselves with the rich and powerful since they saw their reward as not on earth

    today's american christian is very likely to fall into a political persuation and philosophy more than they are to the core beliefs as found in the bible, in context, of course

    right now, it does not serve the purpose of the far right to be "compassionate" so that spills over into right wing christians who take from a page of reagan than from a page of the new testament

    so who cares if gay people want to marry?...our right wing culture has no problem with molesters, thieves, and murderers getting married, but they hate the idea of two law abiding gay people getting married...it's amazing hypocrisy

    i don't want to be in lockstep with hate since my faith, as it was intended, does not preach hate and i love those who don't agree with me...jesus loved all, even the ones who hated him...today's larger christian body wants to hate those who hate them and it's simply wrong
     
  12. Awimoway macrumors 65816

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    #12
    I feel very much the same way. I am a member of one of those Christian faiths that are often labeled cults by the religious right. But the vast majority of the people in my church are very right-wing themselves. I don't agree with their politics at all. To me, compassion and tolerance were absolutely central to Christ's doctrine and accordingly I try to make it central to my faith and politics. Fortunately, the church itself tries very hard to remain politically neutral. They only rarely speak out on issues that particularly rile them. But I don't even agree with one of the few positions they have taken. I am not entirely comfortable with being diametrically opposed to a position of theirs, but I can't deny my conscience and I trust God knows that I am doing what I think is right.
     
  13. darkblue macrumors newbie

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    Sydney, Australia
    #13
    Christianity has become just too broad to define I think. Even within the denominations of Christianity there are denominations, and it stretches further than politics, well it does in Australia anyway.

    My niece/nephew go to a very very conservative Baptist school, except it's been defined as a cult. It goes something like this: the teachers are expected to have lots of children, and when those children grow up, they marry one another and then have more kids who must become teachers, so it's a vicious cycle. Occasionally somebody within this community/cult would rebel against it and then they would be ostracised and kicked out.
    They're not allowed to watch TV, have a strict dress code (skirts must cover ankles, shirts buttoned right up), hair style code (women must have their hair long, men must be clean shaven), if they want to spend money they have to ask permission of the Principal, and worst of all, they all live on one street side by side and all the fences have been knocked down between the houses. Basically they try and cut themselves off from this 'evil' society as much as they can.

    Of course they are aware that a small minority of the Sydney population know this, nevertheless they have flourished as a school cause many parents support their strict ways of teaching.
    Personally, I think my sister should send her kids elsewhere. I sure wouldn't want my daughter attending there.
     
  14. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    Santa Cruz Ca
    #14
    This is drifting off topic but let's really look at this one....

    In many respects a Cult is a belief or doctrine based organization that is either extremely politically unpopular or extreme in it's beliefs.

    According to the Roman Empire, Christianity was a dangerously subversive Cult until it was popular enough to warrant the Imperial government choosing an "official" sect to become the state religion.

    Acording to the Catholic Church, The Cathar religion, the earth-based religions of Gael (Druidism), Judaism, Islam and later the Holy Roman Catholicism (Eastern Catholicism) were all dangerous enough Cults to warrant regional genocide over a period spanning centuries. At the same time the Priests of the order of the Temple of Solomon, who were in fact of an obscure sect of Judaism were quietly tolerated so the Roman Catholic Church had a body that could handle money lending and banking.

    On the other hand we have what are traditionally called Cults in the Media:

    Raelians, the followers of Charles Manson, the New Davidians of Waco Texas, Est, The Moonies, The Simbionese Army, etc.

    Then there's businesses that use the Cult Model:

    Mary Kay, Amway, etc.


    What's the lesson here?

    Never let another person's Dogma cut you off from God and lead you into being used. Your relationsip with commerce and the Almighty are YOURS, find your own path.
     
  15. AngryLawnGnome macrumors regular

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    Jan 5, 2004
    #15
    I love cults, but I have had to avoid some top members just to keep my feet, literally.
     

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