Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Signs Of A Cult

While there are many different types of cults such as religious cults, new age cults, and even political cults interestingly enough, even in a day when knowledge and information is at an all time high, cults and cult leaders seem to flourish.
What I would like to point out is that many of the things that occur within cults are similar. The question is why do cults and cult leaders continue to thrive and how do we identify cults? 

As it pertains specifically to religious cults, here are a few answers to those questions. Please feel free to respond with more: 

I - Cults Lead With Hate
One of the primary ways to identify a cult and cult leaders is that they nearly always implore or promote a message of "hate" and hatred. Unlike Christianity, who's message is rooted in love, the message of the cult leader is rooted in self-righteous zeal and operates off of a baseline of hatred. The target of cult leaders are hated not only because of who they are, but often because of what they have gained and by who others are around them. So in essence, the object of hatred is not only the target, but the persons associated with the target. The cult leader spends excessive time attempting to seduce those closest to their target to hate and despise the target. 

II - Cults & Cult Leaders Overtly Appeal To Emotion And Emotionalism:

In modern times the ground is fertile for cults to thrive because people are given to emotionalism. Look at trends, multiple marriages and relationships, excuses for behavior based on "perceptions", protests that are emotionally charged instead of cognitively centered. Use of emotionally charged language. This sort of language is used to inspire action based on emotion rather than rationalism. The cult leader and those who have been seduced by cults, tend to follow trending emotional highs and lows, even loving to an extreme one minute and hating fiercely the next. 

III - Cult Leaders & Adherents Often Have Lambastic Personalities:
Lambast, means to whip or punish. Cults THRIVE in this sort of environment. Within the church it is those centered around a perceived "righteous cause" In fact, in the mind these cult leaders and adherents who have been seduced into cultism, the more "lambastic" that one is, the more "right" that one is. In fact, under this method of seduction, everyone else is wrong for one reason or another, and the cult leader and his/her followers are nearly always right. 

IV- Shaming By Name Calling & The Use Of Derogatory Terms:
Unlike telling the truth whether popular or not, (as we are called to do if we are saved) cult leaders engage heavily in controlling and shaming their adherents by derogatory terms and name calling. Cult leaders also define their "enemy" or the enemy of their group or cause, and begin to teach their adherents how to label them as wsell. They even justify the use of cussing, slurs, whether racial or otherwise, and derogatory terms. They seek to justify their negative appellations based on either a micromanagement of their subject or redefining the actions of their target to absurd extremes.

V - Overtly High Appellations For Self:
The cult leader must always hold themselves out as high and above reproach especially as it pertains to comparisons with those who oppose his/her seduction. Language such as "I" and language such as "only" are not used to point toward or affirm certain truths, it is used to compare or contrast the cult and cult leaders position in relationship to others. One sign could be when teachings become centered around why "we are the only ones" who believe such and such, or "I am the only one" standing for such and such. Remember, God has an encompassing and great cloud of witnesses. No one is in the position to be the only one!

VI - Readiness, Willingness & Even A Directive To Expose Others:
Even when what is supposedly "exposed" is a figment of the imagination, a cult leader seeks to reveal the faulted character of others and teachers their followers to be of their character as opposed to their target's character. Why? Because in doing so, they attempt to undermine the person they seek to expose by contrast. Notably, the contrast is never the bible. In other words, very seldom, if at any time, does the cult leader use an objective standard as an example. The standard and contrast is always them or their person as they must take on a "star" or "clandestine" air or appearance among peers. 

VII- Redefinition Of What Is True & How Truth Is Assessed:
One of the greatest seductions perpetrated by the cult leader is the elimination of any objective standards for truth and right. The bible or biblical operation is minimized. There is no "high view" of the word. There is a redefinition to "what I say" as opposed to what the word says. This sort of seduction does not begin overtly, it begins minimally. Little by little the standard of right and what is true is changed from an objective, biblical standard, to a subjective personal standard that cannot be readily corrected. 

VIII - Occult Spiritualism:
Occult leaders and adherents seduced by cult leaders often "feel led" by a spirit to do what they do and entertain the negative thoughts they entertain. Admiration, veneration and adoration of the cult leader often takes place of biblical reading and inspiration. Witnesses to truth are only found within the saying and writings of the cult personality or those approved by the cult leaders. Some even "feel the spirit" when they see their cult leader as if the presence of God is with or upon the person more greatly than another. 

IX - Personal Attachment Or Over Commitment To Cult Leaders Or Position
The cult leaders desires that their subjects tap into their personality and emotions. They will often do this by dispensing and distributing "positions" and "titles" to their subject to create a sense of importance and loyalty. In the minds of adherents, the emotion of the cult leader is what either motivates or discourages personal actions and attitudes. There is no independence of pursuit, without the enthusiastic approval of the cult leader. In addition, when one is seduced, to even tell them that they are seduced and not behaving rationally is like threatening or challenging one to a fight. The reason is that cult leaders spend an inordinate amount of time grooming their subjects into their way of thinking and rationalization of the world. Finally, the faults, and even sins of the cult leader are often overlooked and in many cases minimized or redefined to be "right" in spite of what is obviously wrong. When this is pointed out, the world created by the cult leader is threatened and the standards of the cult followers are overturned. In short, this is idolatry. Those that follow these cult leaders are idolaters.

Conclusion:

1 Cor..15:33 ~ Be not seduced: Evil communications corrupt good manners. 
Douay-Rheims Bible

Those leaving cults and the seduction of cult leaders often need years of intensive therapy to overcome the seductions that they have experienced. Dealing with cult adherents should not be done improperly or by means of cliches. When a person has come to believe that their truth proposition is unique, only to find that it is not true, there will be great personal and emotional upheaval. So one should be careful to minister to those leaving cults as they frequently seek to commit suicide as a result of their allegiance to the cult. 

The WORD of truth is the only thing that can deliver one that has been seduced by modern cults and cultist dogmas. Jesus said that we shall know the truth and that the truth would make us free! (John 8:32)

See TRUTH and settle for nothing less, no matter the personality, the smile, or the promises of acceptance and grandeur. See HIM, while HE may be found!

Blessed!

1 comment:

  1. I can do another and list all the atheists that are cult leaders as well. Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss and certainly Sam Harris are cult leaders. they are lambastic in their criticisms of the church and theology simply because they don't agree and they do this openly and to crowd approval. Look at it, anyone who doesn't agree with their positions scientifically, they denigrate.

    So the meanings of "cult" is certainly not confined to the spiritual or theological world and worldview.

    ReplyDelete

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