labling other religions "Cult"
The inconsistency of definitions and interpretations which defile the English language is what truly makes us stand out from all other generations. Just watch how the word becomes transformed over the duration of this article. Starting with the dictionary definition of a word like cult. Here's the ever popular Websters version:
1a. a system of religious worship or ritual 1b. a quasi-religious group, often living in a colony, with a charismatic leader who indoctrinates members with unorthodox or extremist views, practices or beliefs 2a. devoted attachment to, or extravagant admiration for, a person, principle or lifestyle, especially when regarded as a fad (the cult of nudism) 2b. the object of such attachment 3. a group of followers, sect
The first part seems to be pretty cut and dry, not to mention all encompassing to just about any religious organization, but lets keep the focus specifically on the followers of Christ for a moment. By interpretation I take note that a cult is first and foremost being defined as a system of religious worship or ritual; but then follows into that unorthodox practice of living in a separate colony, having extremest views, and following a charismatic leader.
I still see allot of christian religions falling into this category. How often on the airwaves do we see mainstream religions riveted to a hard hitting Evangelist who draws the attention of the masses with powerful and thought provoking messages.
I think it is evident that in Christian dominated American socioty, there is a hard left and a hard right point of view; One (such as myself) might see these points of view asExtremest in nature. Concerning the issues of the day the topics of discussion require an answer and at times leave little room for grey areas; IE. Abortion, marriage, the death penalty, war..... People become compelled to take a stance and choose a side, and often times the side they take is based on a religious preference.
While perusing the ever modernized wikipedia definition of "Cult" I found this somewhat disturbing entry;
"Since at least the 1940s, the approach of orthodox, conservative, or fundamentalist Christians was to apply the meaning of cult such that it included those religious groups who used (possibly exclusively) non-standard translations of the Bible, put additional revelation on a similar or higher level than the Bible, or had beliefs and/or practices that were not held by current, mainstream Christianity." -cult wiki.
I view this as a direct and deliberate attempt of demoralization, aimed directly at my church, and it crept it's way into one of the most popular resources on the Internet. Nothing saddens me more than to see churches rising up against each other, to discredit, demonize, and sensationalize, all in hopes to point people in the "Right" direction.
More specifically, conservative Christian authors, especially fundamentalists and Evangelical Protestants, narrowly define a Christian cult as a group who claims their beliefs conform to Christianity, yet factually deviate from Christian "fundamental beliefs."
This mind set, although conceived for the purpose of preserving their religious values, is one of the largest causes for hatred amongst Christians, It throws honest truth seekers into the pile with suicidal, separatists, and Satanists. They want you to see any church which does not fall within their standards as brain washers, and with their leaders equated to infamous characters such as Jim Jones, Alister Crowley, Charles Manson, or David Koresh.
So what is the current definition of a cult? I believe that it is held in the public eye that they are separatists, they block themselves outside of society and attain a paranoid view of the rest of the world, They are founded by eloquent speakers who dupe the gullible into prospects of enlightenment. they use brain washing tactics to get their followers to conform to their ideology and sometimes commit murder or suicide.
The rising of these particular organizations is random at best, they are easily distinguishable for those who govern themselves by the laws of common sense. Unfortunately we live in a society full of uncertainty, people rely on vices and addiction; self esteem is low for those who compare themselves to movie stars, and super skinny super models. They are those who simply wish to fit in, and feel the need to be part of something. They are people just like everyone else, they are part of the children of God who have gone astray.
When a church goes on the offensive towards other religions they indoctrinate this "Defending the faith" attitude which puts a stain on their entire format, they don't focus on their own beliefs, instead they spend their time criticizing others, they devote entire classes to it. people commit to hours of scholarly research in a degrading attempt to debunk other belief systems when they should be focused on their own salvation.