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Friday, July 29, 2005

Religion is cult?

Thank you all for the comments on ‘Is Christianity a cult?'

I tend to agree with most of you and it appears to me the difference between the words ‘cult’ and ‘religion’ is really very slim and semantically speaking, the word ‘cult’ is seen in a negative connotation while the word "religion" is viewed positively.

I concurred with Jared A that most religions started off as a ‘cult’ and the religious grouping will be categorized as a religion once it is widely accepted by the people. In another word, calling another religion a ‘cult’ is pretty much like pot calling the kettle black … This is not the case if the ‘cult’ in question is practicing something against the law and order or perhaps threatening the prevailing values of the community, in my opinion.

So Christianity is a cult started by a few, maybe twelve disciples?

The comment from Neptune Comics who grew up as a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran whereby she was taught not to go to church with people of other faiths because their practices were false, or she’d be risking her eternal soul, if she does so

This makes me recall the saying “The only difference between racism and religion is that the former is color conscious and the latter is color blind!” (this one is quoted by Divine Activist La Bona) and a comment by GrumbleGrouch which I generally agree as below: -

"An image of God that has been turned thus into an instrument of partisan interests, that identifies God's absoluteness with one's own community or its set of interests, destroys law and morality, by elevating what is relative into the absolute." There are many examples.

One example is the Spanish Inquisition. After centuries of war, the Europeans finally drove the last of the Arabs from the Iberian peninsula, and then turned their attention to eradicating the Jews because they had prospered under Arab rule. In so doing, they turned Catholic doctrine to the narrow interest of their own community.

Isn't there some truth to the proposition that religion is almost always "an instrument of partisan interests that identifies God's absoluteness with one's own community?" The Anglican Church was created as a consequence of Henry VIII's partisan interest. The Pilgrims and Puritans who settled New England were people who identified their religion with their community. A lot of people identify their fellow church-goers as "their community."

I just voted in the "who are God's children" poll, answering "every Tom, Dick, and Harry including criminals," and was bowled over by seeing how many respondents agreed with me. Surprising that as a secular humanist I should vote as Jesus taught, and almost as surprising that so many others voted that way. Given a chance to think abstractly, most people do not "identify God's absoluteness with their own community." I wonder whether such people are the most religious, or the least religious, among us. (Oh, by the way, why would a secular humanist vote about "who are God's children" anyway? Because I identify "God's children" as those whose rights we should respect.)

The Spanish Inquisition, the Islamic suicide bombers, or the ruthless invasion of Canaan documented in the book of Joshua are not typical behavior. Most people, most of the time, are good.”

Any differing view?


Blogger julia said...

i have a differing view
Christianity as all religions shud not be a point of discussion or debate

u just got to live it
and dat is a hard ting to do

preaching/ debating is easy and a waste of time

6:44 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Thank the Maker someone's asking the real questions!


6:53 PM  
Blogger worldwide1 said...

In some aspects,everything is a "cult".

Some believe in No God,well,that too is a cult of sorts,after all,you adhere to something that belongs in the minds of others.

Oh well...maybe i'm tripping..

But nice blog anyway..

Keep up the work.

7:20 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

"Most people, most of the time, are good."

That, coupled with the fact that most people, across the world, have been and are religious in some way seems to imply that it cannot make people all bad.

I'd like to think a realistic view would take into account the latent possibilities of religion to inspire good and bad - and that for every time you see hatred and violence inspired, you see more care and love inspired. It's as much of a fallicy to present the inquisition and anti sematism as the norm, as it is to whitewash religion and deny its part in harm.

In the end we cannot label it posative or destructive, but only take care to explore the stories of people who live it out in thier day to day lives.

As a postscript to this initial foray into answering, I might just comment on 'cult'. As far as I've understood the word, it has an older - much stronger - meaning. I seem to recall it was, and should be, used to describe those parts of religion that define it's spiritual life - so prayer and worship at an alter of sacrifice might be described as cultic practice.

The moder useage is certainly called for, in that there are a lot of dysfunctional forms around. But whwre they cause harm, perhaps we're better using the words "heretical" or "sectarian"?

7:49 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Oh yes, and one other thing. Please take care not to confuse specificty with exclusivism. I must aknowledge that, as a Methodist, I will see God and the world in a certain way. And I should be prepared to live that life to the best I can. But that coming to terms with who I am, as a particular person who's part of a particular religious community, is not necessarily to the detriment of others. It would be a strange act to label any form of community as a sectarian thing. People are different, it's part of thier nature - and to deny that we do things differently to each other would be a denial of our humanity.

The fact that there are Muslims and Christians and Jews and Secularists is to be celebrated and cherished, not merely 'coped with'.

7:53 PM  
Blogger determined minds said...

Christianity is in no means a "cult".
It is not even a religion.
nor even a faith.
But it is a term used to describe the personal relationship that one can have with God through the acceptance that none are good but that we can be accepted as such through the sacrifice that Jesus Christ, God's own son, made.

12:51 PM  
Blogger funkysmell said...



2:47 PM  
Blogger Quack Corleone said...

One of the definitions of "cult" is simply the formal ceremony or ritual with which members of a [religious] group practice their faith. In this sense, every religion has a cult, but no religion is a cult.

3:05 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Christianity is more than a personal relationship, on individual terms. If we're going to accept the inherent community nature of the thing, and the implications it has for our place in the world, then religion is a necessary word - as might be faith.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Maryellen said...

how can any thinking human being look at today's world and believe that most people, most of the time are good?
In Genesis 6:5 God saw that the wickednes of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it greived God's heart that he had ever made man, and given him a free will, and he decided to destroy man from the face of the earth. Good thing for us that Noah found favor with Him, the condition of man is the same as it was in Noah's day, but God promised he'd let it play out until the end of the age. Even Jesus wondered, would he find any faith on the earth on the day of his return. Perhaps if Christians lived the life that Jesus put before them to live, things wouldn't be so dark out there. But in this perverse world, most people, most of the time, are selfish and self seeking,and all to cruel!

4:54 PM  

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WARNING: Blind obsession with prophecy can be perilous or even fatal, reader discretion is advised! Submitted to God as His worldly Activist on a non-exclusive basis since June 15, 2005 1:00 am ET. “La Bona” is a professional name inspired by God; it means "The Righteous", “The Virtuous” or simply “The Good” in Esperanto (a neutral international language). DivineTalk® is an Open Commentary Forum dedicated to God for His Children to engage in dialogue, discourse and debate on laws, standards and values on morality, lifestyle, ethics, business and just about anything else related to their life. God enlightened to have His Words improvised and updated with the prevailing circumstances so that the divine guidance, dogma and policy will evolve with time and stay relevant to His Children in the very era they live in as the way forward. La Bona is a Truth Seeker, Myth Buster, Freedom Fighter, Cyber Activist, Liberal Animal, Good Samaritan, Messiah Wannabe and in order to serve His Children of diverse backgrounds, La Bona is motivated and aim to eventually multitask as Divine Representative, Contemporary Prophet, Celestial Executive, Deity Clairvoyant, Holy Spiritualist ...

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