I know that by writing this, i am asking for a lot of abuse due to the fact that i am pretty sure that my views are in the minority. This being a controversial subject matter i do know that i may be opening a huge can of whoop ass on me. …But what is the point of having the ability to freely think and speak if one doesn’t use their platform at hand. (i think that this luxury will not be ours forever due to censorship, so i am taking advantage of the fact that i can start this conversation with you all!)
Also. I want you all to know that this is ONLY my opinion. Just because i feel this way in regards to religion, does not mean that i am making any kind of judgement on anyone else. That is one of the greatest things about living in this day and age. We can see and believe different things and still respect one another, understanding that it is ok to believe different things and still live in unity. I am by no means saying that because i feel this way, and you dont, i am looking at you with disapproving eyes. I hope that although this topic will be controversal, we can respect one another and our possibly different views. Lets see how open minded we can be to an idea that is most likely so different from the one that is opposite ours.
OK… On to the topic… Cults vs. Religion…Whats the difference?
I read a book a couple months ago written by a woman who escaped Jonestown just a few months before the horrible mass suicide. It was her escape and deposition (that she shared with the media thus receiving a lot of notice) that finally pushed Senator Leo Ryan from Ca. to gather a group of friends and families of the cult. There had been mixed word on wether or not there was abuse and malnourishment going on as well as no ability to leave. It is what put the murders and mass-suicide into action by them going down to Jonestown to see for themselves. Things obviously did not go so well with over 900 deaths accuring.
I used to live a couple blocks from the former Peoples Temple church. By that time, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple had been long gone. I would try and imagine what it was like to have such an active community locale right next door to Fillmore West. The Fillmore is still being used by artists but that is the only real interesting draw now on that block.. I am trying to remember, but i dont even know if the church is still standing or not. I do remember that there was a vacant lot on the block that the post office now has acquired and expanded into. They may have torn it down. I think they did. I would have remembered seeing it i know it.
I think to myself about the times being a lot different but not too different from now to the point that there is a lot of REALLY underfunded/unsupported community services that even today, could really be used and quite needed. As well as a lot of disenfranchised people feeling lost and not liking this consumeristic society that America has become. The fact that anyone, any race or gender or socio-economic background was welcome, i think would have made them look really progressive. I dont personally know if i could have sat through all that preaching but, the concept is viable even now.
I started looking online for people’s opinions regarding what the difference between an organized religion and a cult are. I found several different points of views on this question. The christians were the most adamant about there being a huge difference between Religion and Cults. They almost took offense to someone even asking the question.
People tend to see Religion as positive and Cults as negative. Some have even gone so far to say that a cult will ask you for a lot of your money. Doesn’t the church pass around a collection plate? I just didnt buy their argument. Instead, this is probably the best thing i read and runs along the same lines as the way i feel about the topic….
Taken from Yahoo answers, a reader states their opinion as this…
“The only real difference between cult and religion is how long it has existed. All religions are cults when new, but eventually they more or less become assimilated with the cultures and societies around them and are now “religions”.
So basically, all religions start out life as a cult, end up a religion, and die out when new cults take their place.
It’s survival of the fittest in the religion world too.”
I have to say spot on. I know that there will be a lot of people that take offense to this thought but it is how a lot of people feel… including me.
Now, just because i am not affiliated with any organized religion, this does not mean that i do not believe in a higher power. This also does not mean that i have no value system or morals. I just do not need some church to be the one to instill these into me. My parents did it with the help of mother nature. Religion always concerned me by the ability to abuse their power, and the fact that so many people over time have died in the name of religion. The other thing i dont like is the idea that we ourselves are not smart enough to be able to guide our lives through our own paths without a playbook to follow the directions of. It would make me feel like one of the sheep. I know people need SOMETHING to believe in and it is sometimes a lot easier to believe a supernatural story than believe in one’s self. I do also have to note that it bothers me that if i ever state the term “god” means that i must be refering to Jesus Christ. When i say God, i am actually refering to Mother Nature. She is my god. I think she oversees the whole universe too. I think Jesus Christ must have been an incredible speaker with a lot of chrisma and taking people who feel disenfranchised to join his cause. …But that IS how most cult leaders are seen by their disciples. Jesus WOULD have been a cult leader back in his time.
Now there is so much money, power and followers throughout the world, Christianity is seen as a main-stream religion, but it is far from the only religion. And when anyone says God, Christians always think that that MUST mean their dear Jesus. I think this is ignorant and rude. What if you are Hindi, or a Taoist or Muslim or Buddhist? They have gods that they believe in that is not the Father, the son and the holy spirit. Some of them have many gods in fact. Organized religion is in theory to do good, but the greed and power corruption i believe ends up usually taking hold using the guise of the good doings that they base their teachings on.
For me personally, any one entity that powerful is a dangerous thing which has the ability to do dirty things with the power to cover it up. It also has the power of pressured group think. I think these 2 things are really dangerous. So for me personally, i’d rather see my god as the mother of the earth, the universe and everything within rather than a really chrismatic human we think is supernatural (if he even existed. It is a possibility that there was never a such man named Jesus Christ. There is no concrete proof of this and all writings about him came many years after his so called death.)
Church and Cults are basically creating a community. Both entities have the ability to let greed and power lead them due to fear of losing all the devoted. I have heard things about Mormonism and Scientology making it very hard to leave the “church”. Sometimes even tracking them down and dragging them back or banishing them from their friends and family and everyone they know.
If your religious thinkings are so strong, there should be no problem with maintaining your flock. If a member decides that they want something different for their lives (which eventually someone will), let them go because there will be more joining as well. But i think these “churches” see it as once you are mine, you will remain mine at all costs!
I know that i have insulted a lot of you and i want to apologize for this. It is not my intention at all, but religion is a prevalent piece of curent society and i think i have a right to say what i feel as especially since I have to listen to all of the “god” talk that permeates my every day life. Nobody is worried about the fact that my beliefs are being imposed on by assuming that everyone must me christian. No one sees that there are a lot of people out there that do NOT believe in the supernatural story of christanity as well as catholocism, and Jewish religions.
There has been more death, bloodshed and abuse thanks to the untouchable-ness of organized religion. I chose to believe what i believe and believe that organized religion/cults are dangerous and not for me. This i know is not the popular belief but i think that there are more people thinking this than you would imagine. I think that cults are built out of the need to belong and the need to have a guided path of belief laid out for them.
I wish that everyone could see that even without cults and religion, we would still create community and have morals. I will never in my lifetime see this kind of utopia, i know this. But it would sure be cool. If i HAD to be religious back in the day, gnostics would be the group i would most likely join because they believed that by learning and increasing the knowledge within ourselves, we are honoring God by using what she gave us to its fullest. I like this concept. Expand our brains and our experiences and we are using as much as we can that are are our gifts from God. Thats it!
No memorizing scripture that is redundant to curent society. I think maybe cults have figured out that their teaching needs to fit into the times. Learning social protocol from 1700 years ago may be slightly outdated in ideas. And this being, i think that there will be a bigger pull away from organized religion with this newest technologic generation. The church better think hard and jam up into the modern world if they expect to remain relevant. Getting up to go to church on a sunday morning will not happen if the most recent release of Halo has just been purchased i promise!
If you want to remain, you have to evolve and adapt. I do not think that organized religion thinks that they have to do this. It has worked this far…. But just because they have not had to overhaul their belief acceptance, does not mean that it never has to happen. If it does not, it will be trying to out teach social media. And social media will probably win.
I know that this is long and windy. I am sorry for that. I just wanted to ask you readers what you think about this concept. Is religion SO different from a cult? What makes you feel the need to live with religion? Do you believe what your religion states? Have you been born into it and now it is your community or is it really that you believe the teachings? In what way does religion serve your life? Do you think you would be totally lost without it and would you still be able to live life with moral dignity without someone telling you that you have to?
Because i am not A-typical religious, these things make me curious. Maybe by sharing, you can help enlighten me about why so many people need this so badly in their lives. I can not judge what i do not know so please do not think that this post is bashing and judging. It is not. Its just a modern conversation about faith and what that intails. I am so lucky to live at a time that allows us the ability to talk about our beliefs. And as long as you are not hurting anyone and it benefits you, i believe it is a good thing. Its just not so much for me.
What started this topic was a post by
THE GPS WISDOM FILES. You should check it out here…
and i will add a couple more links about cults here….
This last video i really like. He sums it up for me really well. What do you think?