A Cult Is Not Such A Bad Idea

I believe many Christians would actually like to join a cult and don’t recognize it. Some people might contend that Christianity is actually just a huge cult. I think that is a discussion for another day. What I mean is many Christians can spot lunacy in some of the practices of notable cults and criticize them, but they would whole-heartedly embrace them if they were applied to their local church. They would not even have to change or disguise them. I experienced that first hand.

I visited a church once and attended an adult Sunday school class. The discussion that day was about the struggles with David Koresh and his Texas Cult. One lady seems so bewildered that people in the cult could not see the truth. She asked, “How could they close off the outside world? How could they blindly follow the cult leadership and not pay any attention to the world around them?” She continued to explain she thought is was child abuse to brainwash the children in the cult.

I returned to that church when I was in town a couple months later. I attended the same class and almost the exact same members were present. The topic at hand was about teenagers. The discussion was instigated by a car accident involving a local teen. Apparently, a teenage boy wrecked his car while drinking and driving. He was injured and so were 2 teenage girls.

The teacher of the class was upset and saddened because the driver was a member of the church and had attended regularly until he was 16 years old. The teacher asked what could be learned from the wreck. He also asked how it could have been prevented. What could the church do to keep it from happening again? What could the Sunday school class do?

The same lady that had made the comments about Koresh spoke up. He she spoke of her two teen age daughters. She was scared of all the temptations at hand. She worried that the girls weren’t as spiritual as they were when they were young. She dreaded the thought that they could get into a similar situation or worse.

After some discussion, she expressed what she thought would be a good solution. She felt the church should provide a way for parents to keep kids from 5 or 6 years old until 21years old out of the world. They should let parents gather and home school at the church. Parents should keep the kids at home or doing church activities. “We need to protect them from the world. We should work as a group within the church to keep our kids holy and not let the influences of our city pull them away from God. We should not allow our kids to mix with the world until they are 21 and we are sure they are ready to witness without temptation!” She proclaimed.

WOW! I could not help but think she was advocating the exact behavior she bashed just weeks before. She was fine with brainwashing and imprisoning her kids but not with other parents doing the same to their own kids somewhere else. It was totally fine if her church did it. It seemed like the old joke “The best form of government is a dictatorship… as long as I am the dictator.” Cult practices are fine if we run the cult.

The saddest part of this story is I really do believe the lady was not only sincere, but she was trying to do what was best for her kids. She wasn’t on a power trip. She did not “Want” to control them. I think she felt is was a necessity. Having control and manipulating them was just part of the greater good. That could all stop when they got old enough.

I believe she would have joined a cult if she met the right leader. I do not doubt that had the circumstances been right she would have followed Koresh, the very guy she despised.

I see so many areas now where Christians are blinded. There are so many things that are only accepted because it is the church. There are things people would not even consider if they pertained to any other area of their lives.

22 comments

  1. Clay · November 2, 2015

    Well said. I’ve had a similar post peculating in my brain for a while that I hope to write out in the next few weeks. While we’re in fundamentalism, it’s easy to see the cult-think in others, but not in ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Quixie · November 2, 2015

    Wow, this is so good. I remember when I was mired in Christianity reading Larson’s New Book of Cults because a family member had converted to Mormonism and I was worried. When I read the description of “cult” I balked and thought, “Well, with this criteria MY church would be considered a cult!” Bingo! You’d think Ida thought this one through but, nope…

    Liked by 3 people

    • adisillusionist · November 2, 2015

      I read his book. I use to listen to his radio show.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quixie · November 2, 2015

        Oh yeah? Was it any good?

        Like

      • adisillusionist · November 2, 2015

        At the time I thought is was great! I am not sure what I would think now as my view point has changed. I suspect that much of the information about various cults is good, but I think some would be wrong or skewed due to his christian bias. Also, it has been a long time since I read it so it is hard to be accurate in my assessment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Quixie · November 2, 2015

        Fair enough. I just looked at my bookshelf and sure enough it’s still there! Apparently I circled 11 out of the 19 cult-like characteristics I thought many Christian churches displayed: absolute loyalty, conformity, doctrinal confusion, financial involvement, love-bombing, mega communication, new relationships, peer pressure, unquestioning submission, and value rejection. If anyone is interested in my defining the specific terms (according to the book) I can elaborate. Wow,this was WAY before my deconversion! I was on to something there!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. john zande · November 2, 2015

    Great example.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Swarn Gill · November 2, 2015

    Great observation. I am not sure if you’ve heard of Julia Sweeney’s (for Saturday Night Live cast member) one woman show “Letting Go of God”. I watched it on YouTube (it was like 13 parts) not sure if it still there, but it is well done. Anyway she was talking about how when she had broke away from Catholicism but was still searching for a religion that fit her, she did some research on Mormonism, and when she heard the mythology behind it she initially though, “My that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, how could anybody believe that?” But then she thought about it for awhile and said wait a second “In my story there is a guy made from dust, a woman made from a rib, a talking snake, a virgin giving birth, and all sorts of other stuff and I realized that the only reason why the story of Mormonism sounds strange is because it is not the story I’m familiar with.” It was an epiphany to her and an extremely important observations. Stories, even if we accept them as stories, seem more normal when we are familiar with them. It takes some real careful observation to notice how equally far fetched the story you believe is compared to other ones.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Peter · November 3, 2015

    One aspect that tends to make cults so dangerous, but at the same time hard to leave, is the shunning of those who leave. The Jehovah Witnesses in particular apply this method of control. I have heard of it also applying in some fundamentalist more mainstream groups. It is one of the greatest evils perpetuated by religion and can readily be justified from the Bible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • adisillusionist · November 3, 2015

      Yes, no doubt. I told one of my closest friends about my no longer believing. I told that particular person because I thought they knew me well enough to talk about it. They were intelligent enough to understand. They immediately told me I was poison and could not be allowed to contact anyone in that family. My phone calls were never returned and my texts messages were ignored.

      Like

  6. pcts4you · November 3, 2015

    The only difference between a religion and a cult is the size of the congregation.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Richard · November 4, 2015

    Great account you give here. I’m curious, while listening to this woman speak were you seeing the hypocrisy or did that realization come later?

    Like

    • adisillusionist · November 4, 2015

      I did see the hypocrisy. I felt like the church was never suppose to shelter kids that much. I always taught mine to go be light and salt to the unsaved.

      It was just amazing to me then that she described almost exactly what she was against just weeks earlier.

      It might have been easier for me to spot because I did not know her. Also, the only two things I her her say were the very two I mention here.

      Like

      • Richard · November 4, 2015

        Did events like this (and others I assume) lead you to doubt your faith or was it the other way around and when you started doubting you noticed more and more inconsistencies such as the hypocritical (though well intentioned) position this woman took?

        Liked by 1 person

      • adisillusionist · November 4, 2015

        No, I did not waver at all through this or other things like it. I had been conditioned to justify everything I believe.

        I tell what lead to my deconversion in my post “The Straw That Broke The Religious Camel’s Back.”

        Like

  8. tsentientpuddle · November 5, 2015

    I used to be surprised at the contradictions that religious people seemed to hold. My absolute favourite was from a fundamentalist who was attacking one of Richard Dawkins books. “Jus because it’s written in a book, doesn’t mean it is true!” But I think this ability to simultaneously hold two contradictory positions (or have two opposite opinions on the one position in this case) is just part of what makes us human. I see it everywhere, including my own thoughts and attitudes. It is just something we need to work to overcome.

    Cheers for the post.
    Shane

    Like

    • adisillusionist · November 5, 2015

      Very true. We all have our own bias, counteractions, and justifications.

      Like

  9. richardofoxford · November 15, 2015

    I see this as a cult that is using an established religion as its vector, in the same sense that a rabies virus uses a dog as its vector or a trypanosome uses a mosquito. The religion makes a good cover for them: a shield of respectability and a ready-made pool of unsuspecting victims There are anyway plenty of potential cultists to be found, such as insecure people who want to feel superior to the Rest Of Us without actually excelling in anything difficult.

    The Roman Catholic Church does some foul things, but mostly refuses to harbour cults, as do the “mainline” Protestant denominations. (Forgive me for generalising; I’m trying for brevity over accuracy.)

    Like

    • carmen · November 15, 2015

      Richard, that is a perfect phrase –
      “who want to feel superior to the Rest Of Us without actually excelling in anything difficult.” I have often thought that religion gives people power who wouldn’t otherwise have any in their lives. Yes, I think you’re onto something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • adisillusionist · November 15, 2015

        True! for both you and Richard on this one.

        Like

      • richardofoxford · November 15, 2015

        The idea is not mine, Carmen. I owe it to Heinlein’s story /If This Goes On/, written 75 years ago.

        ” … and dirty underwear. He’s too lazy to be a farmer, too stupid to be an engineer, too unreliable to be a banker- but, brother, can he pray!”

        Heinlein grew up in a poor family in Missouri. ‘Nuff said.

        Like

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