ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 3rd April 2018, 08:41 AM   #1
Tinfoil Hater
Graduate Poster
 
Tinfoil Hater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,436
Is there really a difference between religions and cults?

As an atheist I regard all religions as superstitious cults . But for many there is a distinct difference between religions and cults. I have heard Scientology and Mormonism called cults as they call for practitioners to cut ties with family members who reject the faith. Isn't it the same with Islam and Christianity (Catholics, Amish).

Better yet- when is a religion NOT a cult?
__________________
Formerly known as Titanic Explorer
Tinfoil Hater is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 08:48 AM   #2
fagin
Philosopher
 
fagin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: As far away from casebro as possible.
Posts: 7,070
cult
kʌlt/Submit
noun
1.
a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object.
"the cult of St Olaf"
2.
a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society.
"the series has become a bit of a cult in the UK"

religion
rɪˈlɪdʒ(ə)n/Submit
noun
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
"ideas about the relationship between science and religion"
synonyms: faith, belief, divinity, worship, creed, teaching, doctrine, theology; More
a particular system of faith and worship.
plural noun: religions
"the world's great religions"
a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.
"consumerism is the new religion"
__________________
There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda
fagin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:04 AM   #3
Tinfoil Hater
Graduate Poster
 
Tinfoil Hater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,436
Originally Posted by fagin View Post
cult
kʌlt/Submit
noun
1.
a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object.
"the cult of St Olaf"
2.
a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society.
"the series has become a bit of a cult in the UK"

religion
rɪˈlɪdʒ(ə)n/Submit
noun
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
"ideas about the relationship between science and religion"
synonyms: faith, belief, divinity, worship, creed, teaching, doctrine, theology; More
a particular system of faith and worship.
plural noun: religions
"the world's great religions"
a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.
"consumerism is the new religion"


If worship of a particular figure (as in individual) indicates a cult, then the entirety of Christianity is a Jesus Christ cult. Many Christians worship Jesus as a God
__________________
Formerly known as Titanic Explorer
Tinfoil Hater is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:07 AM   #4
Pope130
Illuminator
 
Pope130's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Oregon
Posts: 3,059
Religions are tax deductible, cults are not (in the U.S.).
Pope130 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:07 AM   #5
fagin
Philosopher
 
fagin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: As far away from casebro as possible.
Posts: 7,070
Originally Posted by Tinfoil Hater View Post
If worship of a particular figure (as in individual) indicates a cult, then the entirety of Christianity is a Jesus Christ cult. Many Christians worship Jesus as a God

OK

And?
__________________
There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda
fagin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:08 AM   #6
JoeMorgue
Self Employed
Remittance Man
 
JoeMorgue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 19,502
Alright man I'm not 100% sure what new answer or information you're hoping to get out of this wave of vague, opened ended, already discussed to death topics you've started in the last few days.

The difference between a "Religion" and a "Cult" is the perception of the overall society. It's a question of reputation and trust and marketing. It's not a "When X Therefore Y" math equation.
__________________
- "Ernest Hemingway once wrote that the world is a fine place and worth fighting for. I agree with the second part." - Detective Sommerset
- "Stupidity does not cancel out stupidity to yield genius. It breeds like a bucket-full of coked out hamsters." - The Oatmeal
- "To the best of my knowledge the only thing philosophy has ever proven is that Descartes could think." - SMBC
JoeMorgue is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:13 AM   #7
Tinfoil Hater
Graduate Poster
 
Tinfoil Hater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,436
Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Alright man I'm not 100% sure what new answer or information you're hoping to get out of this wave of vague, opened ended, already discussed to death topics you've started in the last few days.

The difference between a "Religion" and a "Cult" is the perception of the overall society. It's a question of reputation and trust and marketing. It's not a "When X Therefore Y" math equation.

I think religions are cults but I'm open to admit if I'm incorrect. Other than subjective views I'm curious if there are objective criteria that differentiates a cult from a religion. I laugh when Catholics call Mormons cults - as both are cults
__________________
Formerly known as Titanic Explorer

Last edited by Tinfoil Hater; 3rd April 2018 at 09:14 AM.
Tinfoil Hater is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:14 AM   #8
The Big Dog
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 29,742
Originally Posted by Tinfoil Hater View Post
As an atheist I regard all religions as superstitious cults . But for many there is a distinct difference between religions and cults. I have heard Scientology and Mormonism called cults as they call for practitioners to cut ties with family members who reject the faith. Isn't it the same with Islam and Christianity (Catholics, Amish).

Better yet- when is a religion NOT a cult?
Typically the use of the word "cult" in connection with Religions has a deliberate pejorative sense. There are actual distinctions and indeed some nations have legislated against and specifically defined "cults."

Here is a good place to start:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociol...#Cult_typology

Enjoy
The Big Dog is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:25 AM   #9
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 25,179
One idea that comes up in the distinction between a cult and a religion is that a cult will often be "socially deviant". In that sense, being a member may require an overt rejection of society in some way. In addition, a cult may be something that you cannot easily leave in order to return to "regular society".

In that sense, most mainstream religions are not actually cults because they may be considered "normal" in society or in minority religions there may not be restrictions on leaving. I heard a discussion recently about how the Amish cannot properly be considered a cult, because although their way of life is highly unusual in the wider society in which it exists, Amish actually have to leave their communities to live in the outside world for a few years. Most cults would not tolerate such freedom from indoctrination.

Those are just some random ideas though.
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:27 AM   #10
baron
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,627
The main difference is that you're free to leave a religion, but not a cult. For example, anybody can freely leave Islam without any...

No, wait.
baron is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:31 AM   #11
Fudbucker
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 8,537
Originally Posted by baron View Post
The main difference is that you're free to leave a religion, but not a cult. For example, anybody can freely leave Islam without any...

No, wait.
That was my take too, although I think the vast majority of Muslims are like the vast majority of Christians when it comes to "leaving the faith": I'll pray for your soul.
Fudbucker is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 10:14 AM   #12
Hellbound
Merchant of Doom
 
Hellbound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Not in Hell, but I can see it from here on a clear day...
Posts: 13,761
Difference between a cult and a religion?

Popularity.
Hellbound is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 04:41 PM   #13
Delvo
الشيطان الأبيض
 
Delvo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 8,019
I love Holy Koolaid's insight on this. It might not be particularly important, but it's interesting. He made lists of things that are usually generally called cults and things that are usually generally called religions (even by outsiders), and compared them looking for anything else they have in common other than the label and common glib answers like "popularity". And he found one more factor that worked so consistently that it's as if this were the definition people subconsciously had in mind all along.

If it survives after its leader is gone, it's a religion; if the leader not being around anymore causes its demise, it's a cult. His video on it is here.
Delvo is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 05:46 PM   #14
JoeMorgue
Self Employed
Remittance Man
 
JoeMorgue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 19,502
Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
If it survives after its leader is gone, it's a religion; if the leader not being around anymore causes its demise, it's a cult. His video on it is here.
That's.... not bad. Might not be 100% but yeah that's damn good.

I'd amend that to "soon after" (say a generation or two) the death of the founder because I refuse to accept any definition of cult that doesn't include Scientology, but yeah that's probably in the ballpark.

So could we say with some intellectual honestly that "Capable of self substainment" is major, maybe even defining quality that separates a cult from a religion?
__________________
- "Ernest Hemingway once wrote that the world is a fine place and worth fighting for. I agree with the second part." - Detective Sommerset
- "Stupidity does not cancel out stupidity to yield genius. It breeds like a bucket-full of coked out hamsters." - The Oatmeal
- "To the best of my knowledge the only thing philosophy has ever proven is that Descartes could think." - SMBC

Last edited by JoeMorgue; 3rd April 2018 at 05:54 PM.
JoeMorgue is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 05:53 PM   #15
Trebuchet
Penultimate Amazing
 
Trebuchet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: The Great Northwet
Posts: 22,233
Of course. Cults are small groups excluded from society with bizarre beliefs in which leaders manipulate their followers for power, and/or sex, and/or money.
Religions are large groups included in society with bizarre beliefs in which leaders manipulate their followers for power, and/or sex, and/or money.
__________________
Cum catapultae proscribeantur tum soli proscripti catapultas habeant.
Trebuchet is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 06:22 PM   #16
kellyb
Penultimate Amazing
 
kellyb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 11,255
Isn't popularity the primary key factor in if a "new religious movement" will survive after the death of it's original proponent?
__________________
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts ~ Bertrand Russell
I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend.
kellyb is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 07:58 PM   #17
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,550
Originally Posted by Tinfoil Hater View Post
Better yet- when is a religion NOT a cult?

One hallmark of a cult is that it enriches one or a couple people at the top by by asking members to give over the largest portion of their earnings. My uncles were involved in Krishna for decades. In that time, they frequently lied to my grandfather to extract money (promising that they could leave the compound if they had a new car, for example) only to hand that money right to Krishna. In one case, my uncle was selling various quasi-legal goods throughout Canada when he ran out of his own money for food. He drove back for days straight without eating even though he plenty of cash right next to him.

A cult generally disregards the rights of non-members at the expense of its members. My uncle wouldn't think of stealing from his church, but had no problem stealing from relatives or anyone else. It was actually righteous to do so.

As has been stated, cults will demand that members cut ties with non-members or, even worse, former members.

And then there are the insane dietary, clothing, prayer, and assorted restrictions designed to separate cult members from any sense of normalcy or connection with the world.

Now, one of my uncles is dead of complications from surgery (they didn't know he'd been a lifelong morphine addict). The other one is in federal prison for selling opioids over the internet. Such was the damage they did to his moral compass that he couldn't begin to fathom a way of making a living that didn't involve cheating.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 08:42 PM   #18
Venom
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 2,746
Originally Posted by Tinfoil Hater View Post
If worship of a particular figure (as in individual) indicates a cult, then the entirety of Christianity is a Jesus Christ cult. Many Christians worship Jesus as a God
Main difference I'd say is size and cults are usually on the fringe. There's speculation by some scholars that Christianity as we know it started out as groups of Christ cults and Jesus movements that intersected in various ways.
Venom is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 08:52 PM   #19
kellyb
Penultimate Amazing
 
kellyb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 11,255
Apparently what is and isn't a cult is mostly a matter of personal opinion. I consider JW's a cult based on how their media is restricted and their lives totally controlled by those 12 dudes in Brooklyn.

I consider other religions cults based strictly on how freakin' weird they are.

With Evangelicals, it's the single-minded obsession factor.
__________________
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts ~ Bertrand Russell
I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend.
kellyb is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2018, 09:49 PM   #20
Delvo
الشيطان الأبيض
 
Delvo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 8,019
Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Isn't popularity the primary key factor in if a "new religious movement" will survive after the death of it's original proponent?
A combination of that and whether it it's also suicidal, and whether it's mainly about the leader or about the ideas
Delvo is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 05:26 AM   #21
Bikewer
Penultimate Amazing
 
Bikewer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: St. Louis, Mo.
Posts: 12,521
It has seemed to me that religions generally start out as cults. Bart Ehrman refers to the many early-Christian groups as “Jesus cults”.
Often, a charismatic leader is part and parcel....

On the death of the charismatic leader, if the ideas have legs among the followers, the cult may become a religion. Religions are cults made good....
Bikewer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 05:44 AM   #22
fuelair
Banned
 
fuelair's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 58,582
Originally Posted by Tinfoil Hater View Post
If worship of a particular figure (as in individual) indicates a cult, then the entirety of Christianity is a Jesus Christ cult. Many Christians worship Jesus as a God
Or just one of three!
fuelair is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 05:53 AM   #23
calebprime
moleman
 
calebprime's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,382
Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
It has seemed to me that religions generally start out as cults. Bart Ehrman refers to the many early-Christian groups as “Jesus cults”.
Often, a charismatic leader is part and parcel....

On the death of the charismatic leader, if the ideas have legs among the followers, the cult may become a religion. Religions are cults made good....
this
calebprime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 06:33 AM   #24
fuelair
Banned
 
fuelair's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 58,582
Originally Posted by Tinfoil Hater View Post
As an atheist I regard all religions as superstitious cults . But for many there is a distinct difference between religions and cults. I have heard Scientology and Mormonism called cults as they call for practitioners to cut ties with family members who reject the faith. Isn't it the same with Islam and Christianity (Catholics, Amish).

Better yet- when is a religion NOT a cult?
When it is like Methodism/Episcopalianism - happy middle and upperclass people who talk vaguely of god and etc. while quaffing beer, sodas or martinis and discussing new sales figures or stock reports.
fuelair is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 07:21 AM   #25
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,383
Differences between religions and (religious) cults :

(a) Size, that is, number of adherents

(b) This is the more important distinction : My particular religion, that's a bona fide religion. Yours, on the other hand, is a cult. (You know, like when I make abrasive comments I'm sharp and witty and incisive and frank ; and when you do it you're trolling.)
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 07:56 AM   #26
Hellbound
Merchant of Doom
 
Hellbound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Not in Hell, but I can see it from here on a clear day...
Posts: 13,761
Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Isn't popularity the primary key factor in if a "new religious movement" will survive after the death of it's original proponent?
Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
It has seemed to me that religions generally start out as cults. Bart Ehrman refers to the many early-Christian groups as “Jesus cults”.
Often, a charismatic leader is part and parcel....

On the death of the charismatic leader, if the ideas have legs among the followers, the cult may become a religion. Religions are cults made good....
Adding my vote here. Popularity may be a glib answer, but I've yet to see any evidence of anything beyond that for the difference.

Religions start as cults. In order to survive, in order to grow, in order to become religions, they have to become popular, at least locally. They have to move from the fringe towards the mainstream, at least to some degree. If they don't, they stay unpopular and usually die out when the fringe population changes or dies. If they do change, moderate the nuttiness and become more inclusive, they'll grow and gain popularity. Of course there are other factors that influence the growth rate and popularity, but at the base, that's the difference. The other differences mentioned: charismatic leader, fringe, etc, are simply characteristics of that popularity (or more precisely, reflections of it's ability to attract followers).

Think of it like survival of the fittest, but fitness is measured in followers. Cults are single-celled organisms...until they evolve enough to have a face we usually don't start taking them in as pets

Cults are baby religions; sometimes they grow up, sometimes they don't.

Last edited by Hellbound; 4th April 2018 at 07:58 AM.
Hellbound is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 08:59 AM   #27
Tinfoil Hater
Graduate Poster
 
Tinfoil Hater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,436
How about Hare Krishnas; a Hindu sect. They seem. pretty peaceful and don't care if people leave their group. In Islam, leaving the faith can result in death. There are tens of millions of Muslims- does that render the whole faith a cult? How,about the Amish, known for casting out members who reject their ways?
__________________
Formerly known as Titanic Explorer
Tinfoil Hater is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 09:03 AM   #28
kellyb
Penultimate Amazing
 
kellyb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 11,255
I personally consider both fundamentalist Islam and the Amish cults, for sure.
__________________
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts ~ Bertrand Russell
I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend.
kellyb is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 09:05 AM   #29
badnewsBH
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 271
As one comedian (whose name escapes me) once put it, "it's somewhere *before* one million rounds of ammunition!"
badnewsBH is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2018, 11:45 AM   #30
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,550
Originally Posted by Tinfoil Hater View Post
How about Hare Krishnas; a Hindu sect. They seem. pretty peaceful and don't care if people leave their group. In Islam, leaving the faith can result in death. There are tens of millions of Muslims- does that render the whole faith a cult? How,about the Amish, known for casting out members who reject their ways?

As I stated up-thread, there are many reasons to consider Hare Krishna in America to be a cult. It's not peaceful to believe that any amount of lying, cheating, criminality and outright theft is justified so long as the victim isn't Krishna. Nor should a religion take all of its adherents' money or dictate that they cut off relationships with family members.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2018, 02:39 PM   #31
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,315
Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Adding my vote here. Popularity may be a glib answer, but I've yet to see any evidence of anything beyond that for the difference.

Religions start as cults.

.........

Cults are baby religions; sometimes they grow up, sometimes they don't.

When Jesus was strutting his stuff he was the leader of a cult.

When he died, (a bizarre story about the circumstances surrounding this event exists), some people cobbled together some scribblings made a considerable time later, and a religion was born.
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2018, 06:29 AM   #32
Hellbound
Merchant of Doom
 
Hellbound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Not in Hell, but I can see it from here on a clear day...
Posts: 13,761
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
When Jesus was strutting his stuff he was the leader of a cult.

When he died, (a bizarre story about the circumstances surrounding this event exists), some people cobbled together some scribblings made a considerable time later, and a religion was born.
Pretty much my point exactly. As it becomes more popular and socially acceptable (same thing, really), it turns from cult to religion. The reason cults tend to be more extreme in views is because those extreme views are, generally, less socially acceptable. To make the leap (from cult to religion) they have to approach a more popular stance, generally, although there are exceptions. Religions like some of the old Central American beliefs (with human sacrifice), or perhaps the Catholic Church during the height of it's power (Inquisition, Crusades, and couldn't be a ruler without paying at least lip-service), tend to blur that line a bit.
Hellbound is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2018, 07:07 AM   #33
ahhell
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,470
I think there is value in distinguishing organizations like Branch Davidians and more traditional religious groups. The typical lines drawn to define a cult are that they center around a single charismatic(usually living) leader and they routinely isolate members from non-members. Typically isolation techniques are literal physical isolation on compounds and what not but also heavy use of jargon and distinctive dress.

And yes, religions tend to start as cults. If the cult ends after the leader dies, its a cult if the cult survives and accommodates society, its a religion.

Last edited by ahhell; 6th April 2018 at 07:08 AM.
ahhell is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2018, 07:12 AM   #34
Hellbound
Merchant of Doom
 
Hellbound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Not in Hell, but I can see it from here on a clear day...
Posts: 13,761
Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
And yes, religions tend to start as cults. If the cult ends after the leader dies, its a cult if the cult survives and accommodates society, its a religion.
Exactly. If it gets more popular
Hellbound is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2018, 07:26 AM   #35
C_Felix
Master Poster
 
C_Felix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Just outside Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2,905
Religion isn't a cult when you're on the inside looking out.

Religion is a cult when you're on the outside looking in.
__________________
Eqinsu Ocha!
Eqinsu Ocha!
C_Felix is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2018, 07:46 AM   #36
ahhell
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,470
There is a Cult that started out more as a religion and then became a cult.

Scientology, originally it was much more than a bunch of self help clubs where folks got together to read dynanetics. Quirky but not something folks were laughed at for doing.

Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Exactly. If it gets more popular
I think there's more to it than that. If the odd religious group just had some strange ideas about god but otherwise were regular folks who went to work most days, took their kids to soccer practice, and didn't have weird jargon, I don't think most folks would say it was a cult.

Last edited by ahhell; 6th April 2018 at 07:48 AM.
ahhell is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2018, 07:46 AM   #37
Tinfoil Hater
Graduate Poster
 
Tinfoil Hater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,436
Christianity certainly started off as a cult
__________________
Formerly known as Titanic Explorer
Tinfoil Hater is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2018, 03:32 PM   #38
solfe
Scholar
 
solfe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 62
In my mind, and I have not really thought about this much, the difference is worship. Cults only worship. Religions consider the divine/supernatural relative their place and mankind's in the world. Skeptics consider their place and those of others in the world, without the divine/supernatural.

A religion can't be a cult because of the consideration aspect, but can contain one. A cult doesn't consider outside things, so it can't be a religion. Skeptics make lousy cultists for a couple of reasons.

It isn't very good, but it distinguishes particular motivations and points of view.
solfe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2018, 04:02 PM   #39
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,315
Originally Posted by Tinfoil Hater View Post
Christianity certainly started off as a cult

Still is a cult.

One of the measurers of a cult given above ^ is the leader is still alive. Now the Catholic Church, (The One True Church ), has a direct line to God via the Pope, who even gets to tell God what to do up there.

Quote:
King James Bible

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
This is Peter being addressed here and the Pope is the successor. Mind you he has to be sitting in that special chair when he does this binding and loosing.
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2018, 04:16 PM   #40
kellyb
Penultimate Amazing
 
kellyb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 11,255
Originally Posted by solfe View Post
In my mind, and I have not really thought about this much, the difference is worship. Cults only worship. Religions consider the divine/supernatural relative their place and mankind's in the world. Skeptics consider their place and those of others in the world, without the divine/supernatural.

A religion can't be a cult because of the consideration aspect, but can contain one. A cult doesn't consider outside things, so it can't be a religion. Skeptics make lousy cultists for a couple of reasons.

It isn't very good, but it distinguishes particular motivations and points of view.

Interesting perspective.

So, you don't think scientology, JWs, and the Amish are cults?
__________________
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts ~ Bertrand Russell
I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend.
kellyb is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:32 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.