float

the original kStyle blog.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Cult/ Not Cult?

It's time to share with you, dear float reader, one of the favorite games of my household. On a semi-regular basis, I will give you a web site to peruse. You then determine whether the organization qualifies as a cult or not and vote in the comments. Remember, there are no wrong answers. Let's start with an easy one:

Adi Dam

6 Comments:

Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Unfortunately (perhaps), I can't really play this game--to us atheist-type people, they ALL look like cults. My favorite story about this is when I worked with a nice, mainstream, raised-Protestant woman in her 20s. She was pretty together, too, I should add. But she regarded the then-president of our company askance when he went to Mexico or some place to become a shaman. She mentioned some belief or other that he had mentioned, classified it as beyond the pale. I pointed out that Catholics believed that the priest's intervention turned the communion wafer and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ--you know, that whole idea of transubstantiation? She didn't believe me at first. Really.

Anyway, this falls more at the really-cultlike end of the spectrum, in my book, for the main reason that he's declaring his own divinity, and that that seems to be central to the message. I'm unclear on how often Christ declared his own divine parenthood, but it does seem to me that his message had more to do with peace, love, and understanding than it did of worship of Christ. Similarly, the Dalai Lama (whom I adore) opens his heart, his mind, his self to all beings, and doesn't seem to ask that they follow him at all.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

As another atheist-type person, I'll put in that they don't all look like cults to me...

8:48 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Oh, this was a warm-up. Wait for next time...we'll have some good fun then with a more subtle example.

You can see, if you look closely at the organizations classified as cults versus religions, that there's a difference. A big one. A lot of it has to do with whether you're following a Realized GodMan who was once Joe Schmoe from Hoboken, and a lot with whether discussion is allowed. Also, I have a personal rule that if the web site says "We Are Not a Cult" anywhere, well, it's a cult.

It's hard to say how cultlike Christianity was originally, as a lot of the "I Am The Way..." stuff could have been added by the writers of the Gospels. Some ongoing sects of Christianity probably qualify.

By the way, let me know if you have any suggestions for web sites with which to play this game.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

All of which makes the Buddhist variations interesting, in that a given lama is an incarnation of a particular being entity, but it's more that it just happened to be that person.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Ooh! I'll play!

This one's totally a cult. A cult with a decent web designer.

4:29 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Isn't it funny? Thanks for playing, Ann.

4:45 PM  

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