MaverickM11
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The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:05 pm

Another thread brought up something that I've often wondered-what's the difference between a religion and a cult? For me personally, I see no difference between Christianity, Sikhism, Islam, Judaism, and the Branch Davidians, those following the Hale Bop comet, Mormonism, the Moonies, Scientology, etc.--the only difference is that some institutions have more followers than others. Moreover every single religion originally started as a cult that was an anomaly to the prevailing "religions". So when does a cult become a religion, and what's the difference?
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
QANTASforever
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:45 pm

I don't that going from "cult" to "religion" is a natural progression. Religions mature over time, they spawn other movements..it's a very gradual process.

I think that the difference between a religion and a cult is that a religion is a free for all, wheras a cult is rather more esoteric.

That's very vague, I know. I have flirted with the "Freezone" style of scientology in the past - and it's really spoken to me. It's amazing how wonderful the learning of a religion can be when you are removed from the centralised "church".

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GQfluffy
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:47 pm

The difference between a religion and a cult?

Easy...the number of Choir Boys....
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MD-90
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:54 pm

Quoting MaverickM11 (Thread starter):
Moreover every single religion originally started as a cult that was an anomaly to the prevailing "religions". So when does a cult become a religion, and what's the difference?

It doesn't necessarily follow that all religions originally started as cults, and then became religions.

The first three definitions of a cult, from the American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary, 4th ed.

1a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader. b. The followers of such a religion or sect. 2. A system or community of religious worship and ritual. 3. The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.

I think 1. is what people usually think of when they think of a cult, since 2. and 3. are extremely broad, and can pretty much apply to any religion.

There are some grey areas, too. To me, the LDS Church can seem cultish at times, although I wouldn't label it a cult. I also wouldn't label the original Christian church a cult either, even though it was definately out of the norm among the Jewish population.

However, I think that Fred Phelps' "church" is a cult.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 12:15 am

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 3):
1a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.

What religion hasn't started as such? If you take out "authoritarian" you have just about every religion's beginnings.
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777236ER
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 1:38 am

How mainstream it is. Christianity was a cult to the Romans, Islam was a cult to the Middle East pre-13th century.

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 3):
There are some grey areas, too. To me, the LDS Church can seem cultish at times, although I wouldn't label it a cult. I also wouldn't label the original Christian church a cult either, even though it was definately out of the norm among the Jewish population.

Right, so a cult is whatever MD-90 defines it to be.
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EA CO AS
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 1:45 am

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 5):
Islam was a cult to the Middle East pre-13th century.

What was the predominant religion in the Middle East before the rise of Islam?
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TedTAce
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:18 am

Cult=organized religion

Accepted Religions are typically accepted because they TRY to serve the greater good of the community, Cults TEND to be self serving.

My OPINION is that while most organized religions have been somewhat self serving forever, they have been blatant about becomming self serving to the point of culthood over the past 10-15 years.
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prosa
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:32 am

Religion are happy to share their belief systems to anyone who asks. Cults, in contrast, usually claim that their beliefs are too "intense" to be described to the uninitiated. People who join cults get the belief systems revealed piecemeal as they get more and more involved - which means, in most cases, as they contribute more and more money.
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MaverickM11
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:54 am

Quoting TedTAce (Reply 7):
Cults TEND to be self serving.

Scientologists, Mormons, and Moonies would disagree...as would probably any cult in all honesty.
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eilennaei
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:02 am

Religion is a cult with the enforcement powers.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:43 am

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 2):
The difference between a religion and a cult?

Easy...the number of Choir Boys....

This is probably the most accurate answer so far  Silly
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
sidewinder
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:45 am

CULT:
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

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
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

I think most people tend to see a cult as #3
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allstarflyer
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:57 am

The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Imagine if beer was supreme. The difference would be Sabena332(religion) and GKirk (cult). Simple.

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Logan22L
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:28 am

One is a group of brainwashed zealots whose goal it is to convert others to their strict beliefs. The other is a cult.
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KC135R
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:37 am

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 3):
1a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false

I want to know who determines what is considered extreme and false? Because there are some forms of "mainstream" religion that I consider extreme - does that make them a cult?

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 6):
What was the predominant religion in the Middle East before the rise of Islam?

If memory serves...
Pre-Islam the Arabs in the region were mostly believers in different polytheistic religions that worshipped gods of the sun, moon, etc... There were also some who followed Christianity and Judaism in the region, but I believe in much smaller numbers.

Muhammad didn't "create" Islam, per se - his big contribution to Islam was reforming it. Muhammad changed the predominant Arab religions from polytheistic to monotheistic - teaching his followers to believe only in Allah, the "one true God".

I may be oversimplifying it, but that's the best I can remember right now.
 
Fokker Lover
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:52 am

Religions are accepted by the general public. Cults aren't. Other than that, there is no difference. Watch out for all of them.

I like what Jesse Ventura once said. " Organized religion is a crutch for weak minded people."
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Logan22L
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RE: The Difference Between A Religion And A Cult?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:56 am

Quoting Fokker Lover (Reply 16):
I like what Jesse Ventura once said. " Organized religion is a crutch for weak minded people."

Which was nothing more than a weak-minded plagiarism of Karl Marx's "Religion is the opiate of the masses."
"The deeper you go, the higher you fly. The higher you fly, the deeper you go."

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