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Author Topic: cults  (Read 15367 times)
WalkerInTheWoods
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« on: July 30, 2003, 17:32:52 »

According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary

Main Entry: cult
Pronunciation: 'k<
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: French & Latin; French culte, from Latin cultus care, adoration, from colere to cultivate -- more at WHEEL
Date: 1617
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>
5 a : 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 : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion



So basicly any group that believes in something to give some kind of devotion is a cult. We could probably be considered a cult according to the dictionary, but so is every other group of people with a central idea.
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Lysear
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2003, 17:50:54 »

the way I see it, the term "cult" is a label used to describe groups who are seen as a threat. This label can be useful at some times as it helps you to steer clear of dangerous groups and individuals. Howvever, it can also be misleading, as groups who are just new emerging religions or groups who's religions do not conform to the norms of society or the requirements of the powers that be, can be damaged or destroyed.
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2003, 17:50:54 »

logoVisit the website of Astral Pulse creator Adrian Cooper.

Home of the best selling book Our Ultimate Reality.

Astral Projection, Metaphysics and many other subjects.

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goingslow
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2003, 17:59:38 »

I understand that point of view, but in a way I think real cults use that type of thing to deny being a cult.  They might say "well to some anything that isnt an accepted religion is a cult.. or belief in OBE is a cult therefore the fact we command our members shave their head and only eat a portion of yaks fat doesnt mean we're a cult".  

I kind of want to approach it from the realization there are cults out there that do exist.  Sure society uses the term cult too loosely but because of that it doesn't follow there is no such thing.  I could name some famous ones but I wont.

To people out there who have heard of cults, have experience wiht cults.. or just recognize cults exists what makes the cult a "cult"?  Im leaning towards the one leader who really tells people what they need to do, and no deviation is allowed.
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Tisha
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2003, 18:12:15 »

Until 300 A.D., christianity was a cult.

I suppose one could argue that there are good cults and bad ones.  But I'd be hard pressed to buy the arguments.  The idea that one must conform to a certain mindset to belong to a certain group is as old as tribalism itself . . . but does that make any of it good?  HM.

Cults usually have charismatic leaders.  Often this person is the only one keeping the group together.  However, many non-cult-type clubs have this same characteristic, so you can't rely on it as a determining factor.

Also, requiring suspension of belief does not, by itself, make a group a cult.  There are clubs, and then there are cults.  Sometimes they're hard to tell apart. But you'd be amazed at the suspension of belief out there! (i.e., UFO clubs)  

So my definition of a cult works like this:  If there are seriously damaging consequences for disagreeing with a leader, questioning group ideals, or attempting to LEAVE, it's a cult. Especially if the typical consequence is something final like "eternal damnation" or "I'll hunt you down on the Astral and destroy you,"  "you'll never work in this town again," or "that's 75 years in the gulag for you."

So if you worry whether or not you're getting involved with a cult, ask yourself, what is the consequence of not toeing the party line? The answer will tell you everything you need to know.  Not being invited to their meetings/parties anymore doesn't count!

Cheers,
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Tisha
timeless
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2003, 18:16:17 »

Okay!  So I'm trying to finish the revision of my book.  My daughter is away at horse camp for two weeks so it is the perfect time to really get this finished.  But.....

You have just raised the most important question one could ever ask on this board.

To me anything can be turned into a cult like following.  Think of music rock star fans and TV/movie star fans. Idolization is a big problem in any society.  Religious and spiritual cults are perhaps the most dangerous though.  Why?  Because the 'power' of God is associated with them.  Some Joe somewhere has the ear of God.  WOW!  Now we have a problem.

There are a million reasons to get sucked into a cult.  After all think of the benefits.
(1) I am special by association
(2) I no longer have to feel insecure
(3) I can finally make a difference.
(4) I don't have to clean up all my nasty habits inside (Hardest thing in the world to do).  Now all I have to do is follow rules AB&C. It might not get to the root of the problem but I have the feeling I am really getting somewhere.
(5) I am going somewhere (big fear people inside must people is that they are not getting anywhere spiritually)
etc.

What is the common thread in all of these thoughts. Insecurity and need for respect. Insecurity causes us to want to be part of a group, so we know we are accepted, appreciated, loved, made to feel special.  It is insecurity that allows us to give our all to one person, one idea, one obsession.  

The only thing that could separate this messageboard from a cult is open mindedness.  It is the user not the board that makes something a cult.  If the user comes with an open mind and wishes to share, learn, and not say I have the ear of God then all should be fine.  I have my guides but who is to say they know it all.  I am certain they do not.  This is why I like Si-Fi and fantasy.  One can explore new thoughts without (hopefully) people getting all fanatical and latching onto a concept and saying that is the way it is.  

Never get pegged into a hole. Never let someone tell you this is the way it is.  Never take in anothers belief until you have tested it through and through and know it is right for you.  

I leave my most important point till last.  
It is not what we know or preach.  It is what we practice.  If someone is not acting in a God-like manner then they do not have the will of God or the ear of God.  And even if they do act in our vision of what God-like behaviour is (i.e. humility, grace, compassion etc.).  We still must question... otherwise how will we truly understand.  

Thank you Goingslow for your most excellent thoughts and questions.

Regards,
timeless

Now I have to get back to my book.  It is like a monkey on my back demanding my attention.[Tongue]
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2003, 18:16:17 »



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beavis
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2003, 18:26:35 »

A cult is a religion with beliefs that most people dont approve of and usually not as many members. Cults are valid religions.
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WalkerInTheWoods
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2003, 19:06:55 »

The actual definition of cult says nothing about being negative or close minded. True there are some unproductive cults out there. They are the ones that get noticed. But a group that falls within the definition of a cult does not have to be negative.

#5 I think describes us.
 
quote:
5 a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book);


Do most of us here not have a devotion to either OBEs, Astral Projection, Metaphysics, etc and exploring the truth behind them? Maybe you could just say that we are all here for truth.


Thinking about it, cult seems to be a rather vague word.
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2003, 03:08:52 »

quote:
Originally posted by Tisha

Until 300 A.D., christianity was a cult.

I suppose one could argue that there are good cults and bad ones.  


[}:)][}:)]Which should we argue for christianity? [}:)][}:)]
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jc84corvette
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2003, 15:01:23 »

My religion was a cult!? I never knew that!

My feeling about cults, the public, especily the media has shown a BAD image on cults (kults). I am sure there are good cults and I know there is "bad" cults that the leader leads a mass sucide.
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2003, 15:05:16 »

quote:
Originally posted by beavis

A cult is a religion with beliefs that most people dont approve of and usually not as many members. Cults are valid religions.



I disagree, I think it is a half completed religion. A religion that is not that organized.
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goingslow
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2003, 16:00:06 »

Timeless great definition.. I think the point you made about them claiming to "have the ear of god" is right on too.  Ive noticed with many of these cults the leader almost always says the information is not coming from him but from a "higher source".  IE his incarnated version or someone he is chanelling.  I think that is important.

I mean who can argue with a higher source?  However, if it was just the human talking maybe people would think he/she could make mistakes.

Chill!

I found your definition and description VERY accurate and interesting.  The hunch added in is probably very important.  When you just get a feeling about it its often good to stick with that feeling.
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Mustardseed
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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2003, 08:13:59 »

Ha well in my book this website and movement could be as much a cult as anything. IS THE ASTRAL PULSE A CULT??? It seems that being a cult is very subjective, or as one could say beauty/villainry (is there such a thing?) is in the eye of the beholder. You have leaders, you exersise some degree of mind control through shared beliefs, you can expell people for dissent, you can punish people through flaming, and are in the process of building a astral locale where you can meet.If you had the possibility you might try to meet in real person and who knows what else. To call christianity a cult would include calling alll christians cult members I find that a bit extreme. Maybe in the beginning it was one I would agree to that. Dosnt cults have to be a bit on the small side ??
Just a few thoughts
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Tisha
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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2003, 11:12:49 »

Hmmmm . . .

1. The Christian priests and pastors would have you believe that leaving the Faith will result in eternal damnation.  Pretty final, don't you think?  Some christian sects even practice "shunning." (Amish).  I think the Catholic Church still practices excommunication.

2. The original Charismatic Leader was the Son of God . . . spoke with him directly . . . past the Word of God down to the masses . . .hmmm.  

3.  Many (but not all) Christian churches - - - the evangelicals come to mind - - - engage in what many would call cult recruiting practices (i.e., love-bombing, etc) and mind control.  The priesthood within the Catholic Church is rather cultish - - - the consequences of "wrong thinking" are pretty dismal.

But then there are other churches within the Christian communities who are not cultish at all.  I rather believe that once a cult becomes very large, it becomes rather difficult to control.  A charismatic leader, for instance, will be able to control a few hundred people, but a few thousand or a few MILLION . . . it gets to be a bit like herding cats.  

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James S
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2003, 11:42:05 »

At the risk of repeating something I said in another topic...

The christian churches have managed to distance themselves from the cults in the same way that Amway distanced itself from pyramid selling -
semantics, technicalities and good lawyers.

James.
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goingslow
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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2003, 20:49:35 »

quote:
Originally posted by Tisha

Hmmmm . . .

1. The Christian priests and pastors would have you believe that leaving the Faith will result in eternal damnation.  Pretty final, don't you think?  Some christian sects even practice "shunning." (Amish).  I think the Catholic Church still practices excommunication.

2. The original Charismatic Leader was the Son of God . . . spoke with him directly . . . past the Word of God down to the masses . . .hmmm.  

3.  Many (but not all) Christian churches - - - the evangelicals come to mind - - - engage in what many would call cult recruiting practices (i.e., love-bombing, etc) and mind control.  The priesthood within the Catholic Church is rather cultish - - - the consequences of "wrong thinking" are pretty dismal.

But then there are other churches within the Christian communities who are not cultish at all.  I rather believe that once a cult becomes very large, it becomes rather difficult to control.  A charismatic leader, for instance, will be able to control a few hundred people, but a few thousand or a few MILLION . . . it gets to be a bit like herding cats.  





I think you have to look at the followers of any religion though to really argue it's a cult.  Some christians are very cult like and the way they interpret the religion I could see you arguing this point.  But I think timeless had a good point when she said its the members that make it a cult.  

What about all the christians that just call themselves christians but dont believe in hell, or damnation or many of the other teachings?   Wouldnt that make a difference in whether you can argue it's a cult?  Many christians I know are like this.. They believe in Jesus and some of the church's teachings but they throw away a lot more of it.  

Its sort of for arguments sake thing.
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Tisha
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« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2003, 13:21:54 »

Goingslow, one can persuasively argue that people who say they're christians but who don't buy into Christian theology aren't really christians, but they're too afraid to admit it, for fear of going to hell or inviting community/family wrath.  I was one of these people in my twenties, but I finally accepted I JUST DIDN'T BUY IT. I had to accept the fact that, although I loved Jesus, I just wasn't a christian.

Christianity is more than just "believing in Jesus."  Its this whole big thing - - belief in a transcendant God, belief in heaven/hell, belief that Mary was literally a virgin, belief in Satan, belief that all other religions are false, belief in the idea that only certain people will get into heaven and everyone else will burn.  There is a LOT more to this, including Christianity's sordid, murderous history, but I'll stop here.

There are minor differences between christian sects, but the basics are pretty solid.  To be confirmed a Christian, you have to give an Affirmation of Faith that says you actually buy into the theology. Did you ever go through "confirmation class" in church?  I sure did.

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Tisha
timeless
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« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2003, 15:53:39 »

Dear Tisha,

I am quite comfortable claiming myself to be a Christian. To me a Christian is someone who respects Christ and his teachings.  A Christain follows the teachings recorded by the disiplines who walked, talked, ate and slept with him...bye bye Paul).  NOT the teachings and rules set by the jokers who came after Jesus died (i.e. Paul) who claimed to know the will and have the ear to hear the resurrected Jesus and God.  

Mind you, I was not raised on fundementalist Christianity. The United Church of Canada is officially a Christian church and I was christened into this church.  Yet we allow gay ministers.  We do not pay much attention to the gospels written by Paul[:O] and focus on Jesus' recorded teachings.  One of our lay preachers is gay and married in our church.  WOW!  Scary for other Christians out there eh!  Only in Canada eh!  

The United Church has its sins which it is paying for.  We were the first of three Canadian churches to compensate North American Indian peoples who were taken away from their families and some very badly treated in the name of Jesus.[Sad!]  There are always some really rotten apples in any religion, cult, group.  It's these types of fanatical, unbalanced members that rot the religion and church. They ignore the fundementals of Christianity, love, compassion, understanding.

On an interesting side note, right now the Canadian government is very close to approving same sex marriages. This fall or winter we hear. The province of Ontario has already approved it and gay couples in Ontario are given all the privileges enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.  One province in particular is strongly against same sex marriage.  Guess which one...you guessed it Alberta...home of the largest group of fundementalist Christians in Canada. The Pope has written letters to our prime minister Jean Creten (purposely misspelled this) and his presumed successor Paul Martin.  They are both practicing Roman Catholics (actually attend church regularly). Both say they are going to ignore the Pope on this.  After all the Pope is just a guy (who may or likely does not have the ear of God) and Jesus never said anything against homosexuality. So while Paul Martin and Creten may now not be considered good Roman Catholics I consider them good Christians. Many Canadian Christians feel that if homosexuality was such a sin, Jesus would have said something. He did not.

Not interested in a debate with any fundementalists out there.[xx(]  The [xx(] is for the debate not the fundementalists.  If you really hate all this, say what you will, have at her.[Tongue] I will still consider myself a Christian. I believe Jesus was one of the greatest prophets and masters to walk this earth. But my church does not promote him as the only way to reach 'heaven'.  

Regards,
timeless[Smiley]
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cainam_nazier
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« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2003, 04:23:19 »

One of my favorite things to do is aggitating a "fanatic" by telling them that I am not interested in thier cult.

I do this only for the reason that people don't truely understand the meaning and usage of the word.  It is only one of many words that through time have picked up an alternate and negative meaning.
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« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2003, 07:47:49 »

You guys are really funny sometimes, and I might add quite interesting. It seems there are a lot of people on this forum who has a lot of dislike for Christians and who will take every oportunity to demean and belittle them while at the same time choosing to ignore any voice raised in an attempt to question your own behaviour and beliefs. I will question again and hope someone answers. IS THIS SITE A CULT or at least cultish in its ways and values?? It seems that there has sprung up a new way to be a cult!! the internet. Shared belief systems can turn and become a cult, I think
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cainam_nazier
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« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2003, 08:13:31 »

Interesting thought Mustardseed.

The Astral Pulse Cult.....nope.  It doesn't role off the tounge right.

And on another note.  I do not keep my cult comment for christians only.  I'll use it on anyone who is fanatical.

And in all honesty I believe that all the various religions are extreamly helpfull to a great many people.  But what really chaps me is when a person is unwilly to hear an alternate view because of thier religious beliefs.  It also bothers me when a person tries to crame thier beliefs down your throat as if there was absolutly no other way.  Sadly there are people like this every where, from all walks of life, from every religious and non-religious school of thought.
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« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2003, 09:20:16 »

Hi Mustardseed !

I don't think that christianity is actively demeaned by anyone on the forums. Well, perhaps there are a few people who choose to express themselves in what might appear as a negative tone, but you just have to take it as an opinion on a forum, that's all.

Is this site a cult ? No. However certain posts do exhibit unhealthy symptoms as Chill pointed out in his post.

Is Christianity / any religion, for that matter, a cult ? No. The distinction between a cult and a religion is pretty clear, just pick up a dictionary !
best wishes

Mark
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Mustardseed
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« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2003, 09:47:38 »

Yea I agree with both of you allthough it has nothing to do with the way it rolls off the tounge  ha. It is a bit far fetched to have a remote cult so maybe we are "safe" here,however I am thinking a lot about how shared fanatical beliefs can cause a very wierd bonding between people even though far removed from each other. This was the case with the columbine shooting as well as the recent shooting in Washington. There was as far as I have read a common thread or common denominator of interest in certain passtimes games music lyrics death metal etc. So I would say that it does seem that in this day and age a culd does not have to occupy the same physical space but more a shared belief. The indoctrination and the traditional strong leader could be substituted by the internet!!!. Another issue that most folks seem to avoid is that a cult does not nessesarily denote a negative thing. I see many movements that started as "cults" it just seems that society has loaded the word very negativly.
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« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2003, 16:53:30 »

Mustardseed/all,

Although I dare to tell the truth about Christianity, this does not make me "anti-christian."  There's a world of difference, honestly. (PS my boyfriend of near 5 years is a christian).

Too often christians take my opinions about their religion as a personal slam on them.  This is not my intent, nor is it the intent of most Astralpulse members who bear ill feelings toward the religion as an INSTITUTION. Christian PEOPLE are a wildly heterogenous group; one cannot generalize about them at ALL.  However, the religion's HISTORY, from it's cult beginnings to its near domination of western societal values, is VERY well documented, and the topic is fair game in a discussion forum such as Astralpulse.

Now, as to the existence of online cults.  ABSOLUTELY they exist.  The key is their attempts at mind control . . . if there is mind control or brainwashing, and the group has other cultish charicteristics, then it's probably a cult. HOWEVER, I wonder how powerful an online cult can really be, since to "leave" the group involves nothing more than turning off the computer, or at the very least leaving the website and changing one's email address.  After all, what are the "consequences" of leaving an online cult?  More free time? (laughs)

Is Astralpulse a cult?  I don't think so; its members are too opinionated and diverse to qualify. And as long as our opinions stay opinions, and our theories stay theories (instead of facts or sacred truths), we should be safe from that low road.
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« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2003, 00:18:18 »

But my opinion is sacred truth....It says so in the Big Book of Dave.

Actually I think it far easier than people realize for a cult to get started on the net.  Look at the number of people who are pulled in by internet fraud every year.

I think that a cult started by such means could become very dangerous, very fast.  The number of people alone on the net would aloow its numbers to grow rapidly.  This being some thing that your "normal" cult would have difficulty at since thier numbers are large based on the area they are in.  

I also believe that a cult started in such a manner would be very dangerous for they same reason Tisha mentioned, simply because no one is being forced, at least not at the start.  Look at it this way....Your loyalty base for ANY institution, cult, school of thought, or fan club, started in such manner would be much higher.  This due to the very fact that those invloved are there because of thier own free will, no one is forcing thier hand.  These people would remain loyal as long as they thought thier needs, desires, or wants where being met.

If you really think about it, every thing said makes sence.  Look at what happens to "Heaven Gate".  They did have a web site telling every one what they were about, what they believed, and all that junk.  That site lasted about 30 mins after the news hit.  Oh it was copied and mirrored on other sites, but they were all brought down in an extreamly fast time frame.  WHY DO THIS?  Because sadly, the major reason being, people are sheep.  Had the site remained up some one else would have gotten the idea, and followed in the name of those beofre them.  And we would most likely still be dealing with it.
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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2003, 02:17:15 »

A lot of interesting viewpoints here. I think the thing that should be damned is my slow internet connection (hence my rare replies).

If people are sheep, then does that make someone who does not follow other people a shepherd (with or without a flock)? IMO, a shepherd could be benevolent (herding the sheep for their safety and sheering them during summer) or malevolent (killing the sheep, not necessarily for food, maybe just for fun or to release anger) Even the Bible refers to people as sheep. A person may or may not have influence over a group of people. Let's say a person merely states their opinion and people like it so much they decide to listen to everything that person says. That person did not intend this, but merely intended for their opinion to be heard by these (or any) people. This person now has a flock of sheep they did not intentionally inherit. This sometimes happens through books that are written. Harry Potter, for example, was written by an ordinary woman with children. She was not very well-off financially and wrote the stories for her children. When she was discovered, the book became quite popular, and she became very rich. The morals that were conveyed through her stories will likely be followed by its strongest audience.

Well, that's all for now.

The ironic thing about the world is that it is perfect. It is perfect because it does exactly what it was designed (and created) to do- function as a spiritual learning tool. The latest thing I have learned is that there is fate, but we can act freely upon the circumstances and situations we find ourselves running into. How we decide to act determines the next possible set of outcomes for us (with divine intervention possibilities being a given). We have limited ourselves by the choices we have made in the past because through those choices, we have opened some opportunities to ourselves and closed others.

Joining a cult also closes some doors and opens others, though I would think doing such a thing would close more doors than it would open. This can be good or bad. The more we know, the more complex our paths become. The less we know, the more narrow our paths become, but we also lose control of our paths with the lack of knowledge. The kinds of people who are drawn to cults are generally impressionable and naiive people who think that everything's going to be okay whether they take control of their situations or let others "help" them do this.

Sorry, my brain is running too fast for my fingers to type out all my thoughts in a way that will make sense to anyone. They will probably sound stupid and idiotic, or unresolved in some ways. As always, point out anything you believe is a flaw so I can try to explain more thoroughly.
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