View Poll Results: Are all religions cults?

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    23 40.35%
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Thread: Are all religions cults?

  1. #61
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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    Quote Originally Posted by RadicalModerate View Post
    Okay, to answer the question at least somewhat thoughtfully, I've found the main differences from an cult recovery website, CultClinic.org

    (Cults on the left, religions on the right, fyi)
    Deceit in recruitment Information offered up front
    Totalitarian Allows freedom of thought and members have a say
    Destroys that family unit Promotes the family unit
    Isolates its members Works within society
    Keeps non-believers out Open to general community
    Limits development of individual Interested in promoting potential
    Exploits and manipulates its members with mind control techniques While there are guidelines members are not systematically controlled
    Commitment is encouraged during recruitment process Thought before commitment is encouraged as part of conversion process
    Criticism is met with threats of legal action People are free to speak out against the tenets of a religion
    Leader and follower consider leader to be above reproach Clergy are expected to be responsible for their words and actions
    Questioning the leader, or basic tenets, is not allowed Critical thinking is allowed and sometimes even encouraged

    Exactly what I was going to say.

    By the modern definition of "cult", no not all religions are cults. Most are not.

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  2. #62
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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Exactly what I was going to say.

    By the modern definition of "cult", no not all religions are cults. Most are not.
    Deceit in recruitment / Information offered up front
    Subjective judgment. If an evangelical Christian tells me that I'll be a happier and better person if I convert, is it fair to say that he deceived me if those things don't happen?

    Totalitarian / Allows freedom of thought and members have a say
    Catholic Church.

    Destroys that family unit / Promotes the family unit
    Conservative evangelical churches that promote abstinence-only sex education, shotgun weddings at age 18, intolerance for gays, and other ideas that destroy the family unit.

    Isolates its members / Works within society
    This is just another way of saying that a religion has more adherents than a cult. It's easy to work within society when you (or people with not-too-distant beliefs) ARE the society.

    Keeps non-believers out / Open to general community
    Very few people are allowed to convert to Judaism; you're born into it. Holy sites of Islam are off limits to nonbelievers.

    Limits development of individual / Interested in promoting potential
    This depends entirely on what kind of "potential" you're trying to "develop." I can think of several entities widely considered cults that would very much want you to develop your potential in certain areas...and several entities widely considered religions that would not.

    Exploits and manipulates its members with mind control techniques / While there are guidelines members are not systematically controlled
    Another subjective value judgment. EVERY hierarchical religion (and some that aren't) engage in mind control. People just apply that term to religions they dislike.

    Commitment is encouraged during recruitment process / Thought before commitment is encouraged as part of conversion process
    So if religions encourage thought before commitment, is it just a coincidence that most people are the same religion that they were raised?

    Criticism is met with threats of legal action / People are free to speak out against the tenets of a religion
    As far as I can figure, this critique applies to two and only two "cults": Scientology and the Westboro Baptist Church. It's not exactly a hard-and-fast rule, as there are plenty of entities commonly considered cults that don't engage in this. And religions are hardly above doing it.

    Leader and follower consider leader to be above reproach / Clergy are expected to be responsible for their words and actions
    Papal infallibility.

    Questioning the leader, or basic tenets, is not allowed / Critical thinking is allowed and sometimes even encouraged
    Conservative evangelical Christianity. Roman Catholicism.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 11-01-11 at 10:16 PM.
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  3. #63
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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Subjective judgment. If an evangelical Christian tells me that I'll be a happier and better person if I convert...blah, blah, blah.
    Try looking at it from the point of view of the cult member, not the church member. Then you'll begin to see the differences.

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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Are all religions cults?
    I voted 'yes', but then I considered Buddhism, and I should have voted 'no'.

  5. #65
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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Depends on your definition of cult, and religion. There are some that would define a religious cult as any religion other than their own.
    All definitions come from the dictionary.

    Cult - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    1: formal religious veneration : worship

    2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents

    3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents

    4: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator <health cults>

    5a: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad
    • b: the object of such devotion
    • c: a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion

  6. #66
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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    Quote Originally Posted by RadicalModerate View Post
    Try looking at it from the point of view of the cult member, not the church member.
    Since those are the very terms we are trying to DEFINE and distinguish from one another, that doesn't work for this exercise.

    Then you'll begin to see the differences.
    But that's the whole point. That's incredibly laden with subjective value judgments. Why is it "deceit" if, say, a scientologist tells me I'll be a better, happier person if I convert...but if a Christian does the same thing he's just trying to be helpful?
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  7. #67
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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuckyDan View Post
    I can only speak of Christian cults, and those are defined as any group that claims to follow Christ, but who follow another person whom they exalt as Christ's equal, and who follow a book to which they give equal importance as the bible, or a heavily edited bible. Or so I was taught at a Christian University by a man who studied cults extensively.
    A lot of christians can quote Paul a lot more than they can quote Jesus....
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  8. #68
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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuckyDan View Post
    Choosing books is not editing them. And the KJV says nothing like, "And LuckyDan stood beside the Lord. And the Lord Said unto LuckyDan 'Thou art too cool for school. Ye shall be my bro henceforth.'"

    You get the idea. That's heavily edited
    Choosing which books go into the bible IS editing, in advance. Other editing happened later...
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  9. #69
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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    Quote Originally Posted by RadicalModerate View Post
    Okay, to answer the question at least somewhat thoughtfully, I've found the main differences from an cult recovery website, CultClinic.org

    (Cults on the left, religions on the right, fyi)
    Deceit in recruitment Information offered up front
    Totalitarian Allows freedom of thought and members have a say
    Destroys that family unit Promotes the family unit
    Isolates its members Works within society
    Keeps non-believers out Open to general community
    Limits development of individual Interested in promoting potential
    Exploits and manipulates its members with mind control techniques While there are guidelines members are not systematically controlled
    Commitment is encouraged during recruitment process Thought before commitment is encouraged as part of conversion process
    Criticism is met with threats of legal action People are free to speak out against the tenets of a religion
    Leader and follower consider leader to be above reproach Clergy are expected to be responsible for their words and actions
    Questioning the leader, or basic tenets, is not allowed Critical thinking is allowed and sometimes even encouraged
    I like this. What happens when a cult/religion straddles both sides? To me, Mormonism does in some areas.

  10. #70
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    Re: Are all religions cults?

    IMO, all religions start as cults, as they mature they become mainstream, once they are fully mature, they become Mutual Admiration Societies....
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