Neo Calvinists?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 63dot, May 27, 2016.

  1. 63dot, May 27, 2016
    Last edited: May 27, 2016

    63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #1
    Real church with mainline roots but megachurch success or full on cult?

    Love bombing, isolationism, self-centered attitude of exclusivity, talking about the star pastors rather than about Christ, tribalism bordering on Scientology, and taking over other churches/believers, etc.

    They seem to have aspects of the well known cults with a well oiled business model like the Jehovah Witnesses, Boston Church of Christ (ICOC), or People's Temple (of the past), but are they the next big Christian-ish cult of many before it, or a really, really successful version of a mainline Protestant church?

    http://religionnews.com/2014/05/20/troubling-trends-americas-calvinist-revival/

    Thoughts?

    I was raised Methodist and went to a Presbyterian church during college and found those to be theologically sound from my point of view, or shared general beliefs and practices of most Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox churches, so I found it appalling when a local Presbyterian church was taken over by a Neo-Calvinist group and converting from a Christian church to this new group.
     
  2. steve knight Suspended

    steve knight

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    #2
    Calvinists are pretty strange when you find out they are born to go to heaven and everyone else is doomed. of course they are going to heaven so thats convenient. They are the ones that want to take over the government.
     
  3. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #3
  4. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    I had no problem with Presbyterian church and we did things churches do, but accepted other churches, too and we were body of Christ and that was all cool.

    What I have seen first with Jehovah Witnesses, then with Kip McKean's ICOC groups, and now with Neo-Calvinists, is this "we are the ONLY correct ones and everybody else is wrong because they are not us" attitude which wears thin very quickly. And no matter what bad the leaders do, the followers will defend them to the death. It's terribly scary. I don't like how the local Neo-Calvinists used pretty brutal tactics to take over a Presbyterian Church USA facility. I wouldn't be surprised if one day it's the Neo-Calvinists coming to your door unannounced claiming an exclusivity to God. Scary stuff.
     
  5. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #5
    The thread on what it is like to work at the Apple Store is relevant. Regarding this article:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/qa-with-an-apple-store-worker-2016-5?r=UK&IR=T

    Neo-Calvinist churches and Apple Stores have a certain similarly with reference to social psychology.

    From the Apple Store interview:

     
  6. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #6
    So true.

    On the first day Apple opened up campus to public it was evident it was a sort of church and employees were the cult followers. It was scary visiting but still incredibly fascinating. Very smart yet weak minded people and it really reminded me of Scientologists I knew.
     
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #7
    Fascinating link from @jnpy!$4g3cwk and thanks for it; actually, it does serve to place some focus on some feature of Apple that I have long been rather uncomfortable with (not least the veneration afforded the Founder, the last Mr Jobs).

    However, @63dot, I'm not so sure I would describe this as 'weak minded people' as much as I would see it as a group of (yes, clever) people, who see themselves as a sort of elite trying to find and form a 'community' - an esoteric and select community - membership of which will serve to define them vis.a.vis others.

    This, I suspect it comes from both a desire to belong and a desire to feel superior to others.
     
  8. 63dot, Jun 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016

    63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #8
    Being a long time Apple fan, this is what I told people and this is what I believed. I used to be seriously offended at the legions of PC users who claimed Apple was a cult of Jobs' weak-minded dittoheads.

    But having seen a few people fall to cults over the years in land of the cults (California, cough, cough), there's a certain weakmindedness married with good intentions and an elite attitude which makes for the perfect recipe for a cult.

    Being affiliated with Microsoft as a tech and having been officially invited to their Northern California campus, I was only in the area to visit Apple out of curiosity since they were close to Microsoft's main Silicon Valley offices. When I met the greeter at the front desk at Apple, with a really cool Star Trek looking counter with iMacs of five different colors as her workstation, she was completely aghast that I didn't give her a resume.

    It was an open house, first since the 1970s, to the public and while many came to try to get a job, many came to visit like me. She gave us the stink eye when I didn't give her a resume and showed no interest in joining their "cause". I wasn't google-eyed over the complex, even though it was the coolest high tech headquarters ever, and we parked right across the parking lot from Steve Jobs who had parked his well known Infinity Loop Mercedes in the handicapped spot. Instead of thinking, "Wow, this is Steve Jobs car", I remembered a lady who I worked for who used to date him and how she told me how incredibly selfish the man was in his younger days in his first stint with Apple. I thought just how the shoe fit with what was then a man who wasn't handicapped parking there and with what she told me. It wasn't anything about a man with a mission but a man who was straight up selfish. According to her, he would have been selfish whether he was a seasoned tech leader or just an upstart tech hippie.

    I was just curious and quite happy with what I was set out to do to help the computer world and realized there were offices of Apple, IBM, Adobe, Intel, eBay, Microsoft, and Toshiba all within a few miles of each other and it takes a lot of companies to run the business. There's nothing back in 2000 that Apple was considered anything close to the center of high tech or even Silicon Valley.
     
  9. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #9
    Yes, you can critique anyone for blind devotion, but I would call this a bad analogy because this is technology, not faith, no supreme diety is involved, just devotion to a technological path for fun and profit. And Apple has had quite a run, but it's too soon to say they are done.

    As far as religion goes, I grew up in the Presbyterian Churn and participated in the Luthern Church (visitor, not member) as a parent, and both of these churches are what I imagine to be an ideal state for Religion to be. Concentrate on your own life and indoctrinate/brainwash your children in belief of an imagined dude in the sky who can reward or smite you, so be good for the reward. ;) ...without trying to turn your country into a frick'n theocracy. From what I've read in the OP link, this strikes me as a dangerous movement.

    Are they religious live and let live or are they pushing for the equivalent of a U.S.A. Theocracy?

    The militant religious regardless of where they originate from are a threat to our democracy, our Constitution, and to the basic tenants upon which this country (USA) was founded upon, true religious freedom. The problem with some corners of theism is that they don't view religious freedom as a neutral tenant, they view it as a self serving path (in my country) to a Christian Theocracy.
     
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #10
    Well, I have long been of the opinion that the noun 'religion' and the word 'freedom' and how it is understood that they are supposed to intersect is - historically - very different in parts of Europe and the United States.

    The prepositions used with them differ on Either Side Of The Pond.

    The Pilgrim Fathers - and others - wanted the freedom to practice their version of what they thought religion was about - thus, parts of the United States were founded on the right to practice what they believed.

    However, on the other hand, the Enlightenment in Europe expressed itself as seeking a version of freedom that defined itself as freedom from religion, the right to be free of religious interference - and control - in laws and in life.

    Thus, one of the strands that makes up how the word freedom is understood in the US is the 'freedom to': the freedom to practice your faith, and other 'active' freedoms (or rights).

    Europe sees this as freedom from - freedom from religious influence - at all - in the public sphere, and a concomitant reluctance to allow religion a space there.

    As an aside, re Apple, I have long disliked the - often uncritical - veneration that Steve Jobs - and the company he founded - have been on the receiving end of. Indeed, much though I like Apple products (and I do like some of them, a lot, it is what brought me to this site initially), I am very uneasy and wary about anything which seeks to make itself a sort of esoteric cult, which is something that Apple has run the risk of doing, at times.
     
  11. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #11
    For Apple, their stock is down and will continue to slide unless they can come up the next great thing. If that does not happen, the brand will diminish lose whatever cult status it has. I've always been drawn to Apple Products based on what they offer, starting in 1983 (Apple IIe unique product, a PC!), again in 1992 (Mac, a ground breaking GUI superior to Windows 3.0) even when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy, OSX (a advanced, stable OS, superior to Windows), iPhone (unique), and iPad (unique). They deserve their success, but will it continue? Maybe. ;)

    Regarding your comparison of Europe to the US, I agree about the emphasis in Europe being about freedom from religion. On the flip side in the US as a neutral premise, freedom to practise your religion must include freedom to ignore religion, or it's not true freedom. The militant Christians in the US only see FoR as a self serving road to Christian domination turning the phrase Freedom of Religion into one of deceit for religious gains and the glory of the Lord. :rolleyes:
     
  12. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #12
    These are more the aspects that I was thinking of. The world "cult" has changed meaning in the U.S., but, using it in a more traditional way, there are aspects of groupthink that are common to teams, cults, and gangs. In the U.S. in recent years, the word "cult" has come to be used to describe a group that ostensibly is a "religious" cult, but, in reality, is a gang with evil leadership.

    What was described in the article about Apple Stores was, in part, groupthink. But, that can be difficult to distinguish from good teamwork at times. But, it also described some aspects of a (traditional) cult. Annoying. Lots of sales organizations do that, though. (Personally, I find cultish salespeople annoying, but, there must be a reason why this happens.) The article was reassuring in that there seems to be not much gang-ish bullying, etc. Probably the most negative thing that was revealed was simply that, unlike some sales organizations, there wasn't much opportunity to move up. In some sales organizations, the best workers have opportunities to move up. I'm not sure why Apple Stores generally wouldn't.

    Getting back to the neo-Calvinists -- sounds like lots of groupthink, lots of (traditional) cult. That is humanity for you. Unfortunately, cults have a way of descending into gangs. Speaking generally, the obvious tip-off is, as was mentioned above by 63dot, focus on the leaders rather than the ideals.
     
  13. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #13
    That focus on leaders, like Scientology, is what I saw outside of Christianity in my short stint on earth. There were no Popes who had armies who were also real-life political leaders on that scale. But with groups like International Church of Christ or Neo-Calvinists, it's almost as if there is no ideal, no Christ. It's often a millionaire leader trying to be a mini-Joel Olsteen, and flashy, rich, loved, and even worshiped. The worshiping part, really, is just an end to the means of getting rich or richer.

    To his defense, if Joel Olsteen founded Microsoft or Facebook and had a 10 million dollar mansion, nobody here would bat an eyelash, but to me, and many, there's something inherently wrong about a spiritual leader cleaning up financially like that. Am I wrong?
     
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #14
    It is when they start to demand your allegiance, the wiling suspension of your critical faculties, and yes, your love, that words such as 'cult' come to mind.

    Mere greed - even if the greed is positively industrial - almost pales into comparison beside that.
     

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