What is a Cult?

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William
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What is a Cult?

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Post by William »

otseng wrote this advice:
otseng wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:33 am
2ndRateMind wrote: Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:07 am So, here are two reasons I consider JWs a cult.
I don't want to get this thread too side-tracked, but I'll throw in a few comments.

A general principle when dealing with other religions is to avoid calling a group that they would not call themselves. For example, it would be disrespectful to call me a a Fundie, even though I am a fundamentalist. Or it would be disrespectful to call me a heretic, even though I hold to unconventional beliefs. So, even if it is true that I'm a Fundie and a heretic from another's perspective, to show respect, it's best to avoid saying these things.

On the other hand, I don't want to censure this forum too much and prevent debate on the belief of others. We should be able to debate if a group's belief is right or wrong. It is a fine balance between respect and freedom of expression. We try to promote both, but it's not easy.
There are two main points that I see.

1: A cult is a real thing.
2: Being offended is a subjective opinion, no matter the number of people who are offended by the same things.
[3: [2] is true of practically everything experienced by humans.]

What Is a "Cult"?

Cult
[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

In modern English, a cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or by its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal.

This sense of the term is controversial, having divergent definitions both in popular culture and academia, and has also been an ongoing source of contention among scholars across several fields of study.

The word "cult" is usually considered pejorative. [="expressing contempt or disapproval."]

An older sense of the word[] involves a set of religious devotional practices that are conventional within their culture, [culture is where the word cult derived] are related to a particular figure, and are often associated with a particular place. References to the "cult" of a particular Catholic saint, or the imperial cult of ancient Rome, for example, use this sense of the word.

While the literal and original sense of the word remains in use in the English language, a derived sense of "excessive devotion" arose in the 19th century. Beginning in the 1930s, cults became the object of sociological study in the context of the study of religious behavior. Since the 1940s the Christian countercult movement has opposed some sects and new religious movements, labeling them "cults" because of their unorthodox [= "outside of the mainstream"] beliefs. Since the 1970s, the secular anti-cult movement has opposed certain groups, and in reaction to acts of violence which have been committed by some of their members, it has frequently charged them with practicing mind control. Scholars and the media have disputed some of the claims and actions of anti-cult movements, leading to further public controversy.
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As we can see, a 'cult' in its unadulterated original meaning, described an ordinary [="natural"] manner in which human cultures evolved.
In that sense, one can say that Christianity started out as a "cult" because it involved those things [a set of religious devotional practices that are conventional within their culture, [baptism - bread and wine - serving one another] are related to a particular figure, [Jesus] and are often associated with a particular place. [Jerusalem - Rome - Church(es)]

Where does the pejorative use of the word originate?

The article refers to the more modern use of the word by "anti-cultists" but it is obviously an attitude which has more than one name attached to it.

For example, The Romans regarded early followers of Jesus to being "Christians" and the use of the label then, is the same [has the same motivating attitude behind it] as how the word "Cultists" is used. [today]

As a derogative. As a means of identifying something one distrusts/detests.

If we look at the way the Dominating Religions representatives argued with Jesus, we see clearly enough that they regarded Jesus as a charismatic [popular with common folk] rabble rouser who promoted conflicting religious views to their own well established ones.

If we examine the evolution of the Jewish religions belief systems we clearly see at it origins, a cult, [in the non-derogative sense] and one which appears to have itself derived from within a culture.

We can ascertain by this observation that ALL religions begin as cults and that ALL cults are products of the particular cultures they come out from.

Religion thus, is something which starts out as a cult and eventually becomes the standard generally accepted beliefs the Culture which created it, goes by.

In the case of Jesus and the Jewish religions [in those times, according to the story] he [and most of what he said] was regarded by many of those religious individuals as 'untrue' and ['cultish' using that word in the same vein as it modern use, as a derogatory.]

Expressions such as "Lying Spirit" and "Of the Devil" were devices used in conjunction with accusations. Indeed they still are.

In that light, if one is to take into consideration that calling someone something which one knows is most likely to cause offense to the one being called that something, even using such expression as argument in a debate setting, which insinuates "devils" "demons" "lying spirits" "Satan" [and any other type labels] in which to imply the one you disagree with is influenced by evil intent, must also seriously be considered as non acceptable in said debate settings.

I think that if it isn't already clearly in the forum rules that such expression in relation to these types of labels, [even the subtle implying of] is unacceptable and can result in moderator warnings.

After all, even inferring someone is 'deceived by Satan' just because they do not agree with [and show why they do not agree with] ones beliefs systems [culture], is offensive and that which is purposefully expressed to cause offence should not be tolerated, even that it can be sourced as a religious expression.

Do you agree with me?

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Re: What is a Cult?

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Post by wiploc »

William wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:00 pm What is a Cult?
The way I see it, "cult" is a derogatory word that old established churches direct towards newer churches that are recruiting from their membership.

The point of the label is to undermine the young church's legitimacy. "They haven't been around as long as we have, and their beliefs aren't the same as ours. They are just a cult."

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Re: What is a Cult?

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Post by William »

wiploc wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:17 pm
William wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:00 pm What is a Cult?
The way I see it, "cult" is a derogatory word that old established churches direct towards newer churches that are recruiting from their membership.

The point of the label is to undermine the young church's legitimacy. "They haven't been around as long as we have, and their beliefs aren't the same as ours. They are just a cult."
In the 'mirror-mirror' sense, the established churches [religions] [ re-'legions'] undermine themselves, because they too started off as a cult.

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Re: What is a Cult?

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Post by Difflugia »

wiploc wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:17 pmThe way I see it, "cult" is a derogatory word that old established churches direct towards newer churches that are recruiting from their membership.

The point of the label is to undermine the young church's legitimacy. "They haven't been around as long as we have, and their beliefs aren't the same as ours. They are just a cult."
I'm sure that's what the priest of "That bush just moved! Run!" said about those upstarts with their fancy chanting and dancing around the fire.
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

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