What do you think of people who say all religion are cults?

  1. Like how women just lost the inherent right to make their own reproductive choices in America because of America's Christian fundamentalist fascist half (Republicans).

  2. As someone who grew up a JW, I can confirm the church took my childhood from me and I’ll forever be haunted by the fact I will never be able to get it back.

  3. People do bad things, and they seek to corrupt legitimate institutions to justify it. It is not an issue specific to religion.

  4. It's baffling how people like you don't understand that the entire developed world uses Reddit, and the entire developed world is largely non-religious. Reddit isn't some special secret microcosm where atheists are overrepresented compared to the developed world as a whole.

  5. When I took anthropology it was generally agreed that what makes a cult is...nebulous and hard to define. I'd be cautious with anything that tells you hard and fast rules to define what a cult is when social scientists don't even fully agree on a definition.

  6. as a friend of cult survivors, i've gotta say that it's pretty fucked up for a very serious reason. cults are not religious by nature, one of the easiest ways people are drawn into cults is by them refusing to believe it's a cult because it's not religious. cults can be groups that pose themselves as self improvement programs, support groups, "spiritual" new age movements that insist they are not religions, or job opportunities. these are typically the most dangerous types of cults. the word cult does not mean "people i don't like that all believe in something similar," it means a group which adheres to the BITE model or other similar tools used to assess the danger of a group.

  7. The functional purpose of the word cult is to allow religions to distinguish themselves from “cults” even though they are fundamentally the same. Everything you said about cults could be applied to religion, and everything you said about religion could be applied to cults. Both can be dangerous, it just depends on the particular people involved. The real danger is to act as if one is inherently different than the other, this leads to people getting lulled into false senses of security and allows the figureheads of either to take advantage of their subordinates. It happens in cults, and it’s happened a whole hell of a lot in religions as well. Everyone just needs to be vigilant in either situation. Some leaders do good, some do bad. This is true in either case.

  8. It depends on the church too I guess, I'm agnostic but I had to go to the church when I was a kid and I wouldn't compared it to a cult.

  9. The fact that you "had to go to the church when I was a child" sounds very much like a cult. You had to follow the beliefs and practices of the cult.

  10. I think it is silly and lazy. Religion is a tool just like any other, and growing up an atheist in a bible belt state, you quickly find most religious people are good, honest, and mostly accepting, and faith is often more about comminity than moral absolutism. To blame religion for the things that people use religion to excuse justify is a bit like blaming science for the atom bomb.

  11. Doesn't help when a lot of people say, "religious institutions" and they just mean Christianity. Or related denominations. Especially on places like Reddit.

  12. Well thought out and well said, cults definitely try to isolate their followers because if someone in the cult trusts even a few people outside of it they probably won't be sticking around very long with that outside perspective

  13. If you're in a big group of people and a guy in robes and a weird hat is telling you to repent, you're in a religion.

  14. If you're in a big group of people and a guy in robes and a weird hat is telling you to repent, you're in a religion.

  15. If you're in a big group of people and a guy in robes and a weird hat is telling you to repent, you're in a religion.

  16. I agree with them. The only difference between a religion and a cult is the number of people involved and how recently it came about. Just look at Scientology, it's seen as a cult, which it absolutely is, but I don't think their belief system is any less believable than any other religions'. Hell, Mormonism started as a cult, yet now it's seen as a legit religion, which I think is only because it's 200 years old and in that time has gained millions of followers.

  17. They either grew up in a fiercely religious family or not. I grew up in a religious family. What I was taught in church growing up was to show goodwill towards others. That's it.

  18. That there are 2 different words existing doesn't mean their meanings can't be the same. Synonymous words exist and are plenty

  19. So dangerous they might make you strap explosives to your chest and blow up dozens of people in suicide bombings?

  20. I think you misunderstand the ammount of executions, rapes, harrassment, and bullying religious leaders and followers commit in the name of their god

  21. hmmm yea would be great if we could have like a list of all words with definitions next to them or something in like an alphabetical order. someone should make that. we could also like put it online and make it searchable, would be dope.

  22. They're mixing up religion with behaviours of fanatics. Some behave like cultists, but the religion they claim to be part of is not the cult. Rather, the cult is the community they belong to which takes things into their own hands.

  23. I realized one thing lately... People's opinions and thoughts don't really matter because it only serves their ideology so it's pointless hearing what people think about things because it is inevitable and unchangeabe.

  24. I’d say they don’t fully understand what a cult is, but I fully empathize with the sentiment. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t grow up in a religious family.

  25. I believe all religions are the creations of men or women. Men and women are flawed, no one is perfect. Some folks have the ability to convince others they know better than anyone else. So they convince them that god exists and must be worshipped in only a certain way. That is the beginning of a cult.

  26. Gathering people that need an explanation for how the world works, and using them to gain money, vote for their politicians, etc.

  27. I can't see a difference between the big world religions and cults or sects or between "faith" and "superstition". It's not that I hate religion, I just don't get it.

  28. They're playing around with definitions, in what even they'd describe as an attempt to delegitimize more respected religious institutions by lumping them in with ones that aren't particularly respected. I think that's a pretty objective answer.

  29. That makes me think they are probably from the Western world and are used to Judeo-Christian religions which they use as an arbiter for all religious belief.

  30. A personal god or gods would be " a particular figure". So definitionally they are not mutually exclusive. Besides shitoism and Jainism, is there any religion that does not venerate individual deities? Even polytheistic religions have specific ceremonies for each individual god. So more accurately, the majority of religions are cults.

  31. There are hateful and ignorant people on both sides. Those who claim all religions are cults simply make it easier to identify them as such.

  32. I think they're ignoring the differences between a belief system and a system of control. Many religions are cults, or are implemented as cults--you are ruled by fear, strongly discouraged from questioning, and taught that following these instructions is the only path to happiness you could ever have. But this is not how every single religion functions. However true it is of the ones many of us here on reddit see (cough some major sects of Christianity), there can be religions and parts of religion that function otherwise, that can provide comfort without requiring control.

  33. What am I supposed to think of them? Can't argue with the truth. The only difference between religion and a cult is the size of the gathering.

  34. The only difference between a religion and a cult is how many people you've murdered. If that number is low, you're a cult.

  35. I'm an atheist, but they're wrong. There's clearly a difference between organized religion and awful cults like scientology. People just like using dramatic terminology, but in a way that kind of gives cults legitimacy by comparing them to actual organized religion where people can come and go freely and some priest isn't going to be sending private investigators to stalk you with their tax exempt earnings

  36. There's a curve to it. If you know nothing about Christianity, it's easy to hate it. If you know a little bit about Christianity, like it's the reason for holidays and decorations and getting to imagine you'll see Grandpa again, it's easy to love Christianity. If you learn more, it gets easier and easier to despise it again.

  37. I’m a religious guy, I’d like to think of myself as a Christian but I’m not apart of any specific sect of Christianity. I think it’s completely understandable for people to feel that way, religion as a whole is responsible for countless atrocities. As long as they still respect normal religious people as human beings just as I respect them I’m A ok with them. God bless🙏

  38. Technically speaking, every religion is a cult. However, I would also say that there is a difference between “religion” and “spirituality” and that not all spiritual teachings or ideas are “cultish.” So, it becomes important for us as individuals to be able to discern for ourselves what is true for our experience. For some people this is found in a religious framework, and for others it is found in a self-made patchwork of spiritual concepts gathered over a lifetime.

  39. Unless you a brainwashed and in a cult (and believe you have to convert poor people in different countries or the will go to hell).

  40. They are people who have only learned about a single religion or aspect of a religion. They are not people who have given religion a chance with an open mind.

  41. "I’ll tell you what you did with atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities, or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanized them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were a woman, crushed their scrotums if they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disemboweled them, hung them, burnt them alive. And you have the nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you." — Madalyn Murray O'Hair

  42. Ignorant. Most are likely thinking of a handful of "big religions" they know. The only thing every religion has in common is being a religion. A lot of religions are even closed / don't recruit (ex. Judaism, Tribal religions, Hoodoo), which precludes them from being cults. Not every religion does the fucked up stuff Christianity does. Even within my religion (Judaism), there is massive variety. I am Reform Jewish, and my practices differ massively from people who are Orthodox Jewish.

  43. Tbf, the world is a lot more complicated than "this is defined differently". When a group of people start acting like another, the definition changes. Cults stem from religion by its definition, so while the religion as a whole may not be a cult, large portions of them belong to their own cults

  44. I'd ask them to define a religion and a cult and I think they'd probably struggle to come up with a definition for either that actually works well.

  45. They are clueless. I might think going to a church each week is a social club but there is no way I could think all religions are cults .

  46. Usually just assume they're 13 years old and just discovered youtube gotcha atheism and joined the atheism subreddit because fighting the power is cool.

  47. I would say they are incorrect. I will admit some religious organizations have some serious social , emotional and physical control that give off real cult red flag but, I wouldn't consider Gladys down the road who goes to church on Sunday and makes potato salad for the pot luck a cultist.

  48. I find it funny that atheists go after religion so much when secular persecution has also killed millions of people and most atheists I run into also try to force their belief on you. Some institutions are definitely cults and all institutions have some level of fantasy and speculation.

  49. I'm an atheist and I have never tried to push my belief on anyone nor have I ever witnessed an atheist do this. I have, however, come across many religious people that see atheism as a direct attack on their religion when in fact, its just a different opinion. Most occasions the religious person has come across as pushing their belief because they have become agitated that someone would refuse to believe in their God. Religious people I come across will 9 times out of 10 get a bit tetchy over someone stating their atheism. It's interesting you see it the other way around. Where are you from if you don't mind me asking?

  50. I'd say that's genetically related to some of the reasons they claim to hate religion, eg it's dogmatic and unreasonable and coming from an emotionally charged place.

  51. That they have a point. I'm cool with people being religious and using that belief to strive to be better and do good. But once they start using their beliefs to impose their views on others under the justification that they're the only ones who are correct and nobody can disagree because some dude in a funny outfit/hat said so because some book supposedly says so because god said so, then it's pretty much the same logic as in a cult.

  52. It’s a pretty accurate description. I grew up and still hold many core values of my Christian faith but if you look at the steps to a cult and how every single religion gains it’s followers or otherwise..they are eerily similar. Now I’m not saying all religion is a cult but most are. You can also be apart of a religion and not a cult.

  53. I grew up in a very religious Catholic community and family (Poland) and I agree, every religion is a cult. It's just stories that a man wrote and people follow it. Most very religious people I have met are the biggest hypocrites that do more harm than good. Then go to church trying to pray the devil away. Including priests raping little boys. Atheists I find most reasonable, good people that do not care what everyone else does.

  54. I’d say the biggest difference is the short term impact of a cult that makes it more palpable and thus ‘worse’ compared to the long term dramatic impact of religion which is probably actually worse

  55. All religions are cults. There is no definitional difference between religion and cult. One tends to have a more negative connotation than the other, but there's no substantive difference between the two.

  56. I mean it's literally true, isn't it? The only thing that distinguishes a cult from a religion is whether or not the underlying beliefs are immediately socially maladaptive.

  57. In all honesty religions and cults have an insane amount in common if you were to simply think about reversing the roles of what you accept the conception of a cult is you mite understand their point

  58. It’s a fact that all religions began as a cult. But what makes the difference between a religion and a cult? Time. About 100 years. Once a cult is able to establish itself for several generations, we call it a "religion." Before that, we dismiss it as a dangerous threat to real religion.

  59. Well, obviously, what else is a religion supposed to be? A group of people following a religion with conventionalized belief system are by definition a cult. From the Oxford dictionary: “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object”. Most mainstream religions fit this definition.

  60. Ehhh, I'm not defending religion here, but there's a difference between one's brain actually perceiving crap that's not there, and misatributing unanswerable existential questions to ancient superstitions. There's some similarities sure, but fundamentally different

  61. I think they're immature atheists who think in overly simplistic terms and only really care about stroking their ego and patting themselves on the back for their "intelligence"

  62. Then again, those who refuse to see the many similarities between cults and cult leaders, and religion and religios leaders could be said to be in denial and somewhat ignorant. And, they're proud to be both in denial, and ignorant.

  63. you just immediately made an assumption about atheist’s “stroking their ego”, for no reason whatsoever. Atheism isn’t about pretending to be intelligent, it’s the the disbelief in religion because there isn’t any evidence to back up the existence of what religion believes. Thanks for demonstrating you have absolutely no idea what atheism is.

  64. That they've never studied religions or cults in any particular depth. Or are prone to making sweeping generalizations and lack the nuance needed to productively study of human social systems

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