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What are the Characteristics of a Religious Cult?
Many people have studied cults. Because all cults have different beliefs, cult experts have identified common characteristics of cults, which they use to identify new cults. Thus, an organization can be identified as a cult no matter what their beliefs are. We have used the following lists of cult characteristics to help us analyze whether or not the _________ is a religious cult. We make the following lists available to others as a public service. If you have any reason to believe that you or anyone close to you is involved with a group that you suspect is a cult (religious or not) then you can use the following lists to help you decide whether the group is a cult. Please note that a group doesn't need to have all the characteristics in any one list to really be a destructive cult. If a group has more than half of the cult characteristics in any of the lists below, then you should be concerned.
Social Justice Warriors are Social Justice Activists turned into hate fueled extremists due to adopting Critical Race Theory / Progressive Stack (CRT/PS) concepts of Political Correctness + Victim Mentality deeply into their worldview / ideology. These types tend to obsess over CRT/PS. Their notions of reality tend to be very warped due to CRT/PS, such as how they think that if they're on the side of CRT/PS that they are therefore incapable of being racist / sexist / etc bigots. They tend to be offended by / defend any and all sorts of criticisms of PC / SJW / BLM and such related major talking points, even when mass murder is involved. They tend to "troll" threads (derail them, ad hominem attack their opponents, etc). Not all SJW's are proper "Special Snowflakes" I doubt, but this new "Special Snowflake Generation" we're seeing unfold has them erupting out into the social scene en masse, as they often tend to identify with the "Oppression Scale" type concepts that CRT/PS is all about. Instead of debate policy issues, they tend to try to keep everything centered on Identity Politics, which is interesting as most of them are white people driven by White Guilt. In this way they tend to be walking cliches of "misery loves company", as projecting their guilt and bigotry and self-loathing onto others is like their daily bread & butter.
Why we lie: The evolutionary roots of deception and the unconscious mind
The theme of the present book is that human beings are natural born liars. We have evolved to be deceivers not only of others but of ourselves as well. The practice of deception is not limited to humans but applies to other organisms as well. This thesis is not new but Smith makes some interesting suggestions about the evolutionary mechanisms that led to the evolution of our propensity for self-deception as well as suggestions about how the mechanism for self deception works.
The Power of Groupthink: The New Denial
Denial in all its forms is alive and well in each of us. We use it to justify what we do and do not want to do. We use it to protect ourselves. We even use it to push back the inevitable as long as possible so we can get ready to deal with it. Adults are often in denial, and we can see it at work best in our children who stamp their feet, pout and hide to avoid confronting reality. In its darkest form denial has justified unspeakable cruelty to our fellow human beings. In its best form it allows us to compassionately handle depression, disappointment and loss.
But what can we do when denial is rampant in an institution? This can take many forms, ranging from an idea advocated by a powerful leader to a pervasive belief among those active in the institution that certain tenets are truisms, or self-evident, even though they were on no one’s radar screen a few years ago. In its most powerful form, however, it can take on the character of something organizational psychologists refer to as “groupthink.”
The Power of Others: Peer Pressure, Groupthink, and How the People Around Us Shape Everything We Do
Discover how in almost every area of our lives, our behaviour is influenced far more by others than we'd like to imagine. Teenage cliques, jihadist cells, army units, polar expeditions, and football hooligans — on the face of it, each of these groups might seem exceptional, but the forces that bind and drive them can affect us all. In recent decades, psychologists have uncovered how and why our innate social urges holds huge sway over how we think and act, propelling us to both high achievement and unthinking cruelty. We are beholden to our peers, even when we think we’re calling the shots. This is the power of others.
The Fanatic and the Addict
What do we mean when we say that someone is a fanatic? One variety of fanaticism has to do with religious or political views. ... But we could also say, for example, that Bob is a "snow-boarding fanatic." ... A third sort of fanaticism is usually designated by using the shorted form of the word, that being "fan." ... Most people regard the first form of fanaticism as potentially dangerous, and the other forms as harmless, if sometimes a little over the top. But the fact that we use the same word for all of these behaviors also suggests that they share something in common-a person becomes involved in something to a degree that is so excessive that it pushes other ideas or activities out of the way. Fanaticism always entails a lack of balance in a person's life and thoughts.
In this, fanaticism seems like addiction. By making that comparison, I don't mean to imply that addiction is equivalent to being a Lady Gaga fan. Addiction is a life-threatening problem that causes untold suffering in our society. But it is also true that addiction is similar to fanaticism. Addiction too entails a lack of balance, a situation in which one substance or activity crowds the rest of a person's life out of the way.
In fact, some addiction experts (such as Bruce Alexander) define addiction in this way: An addict is likely to be a person who is adrift from their moorings in the values of their community and as a result they are desperate for self-definition. Thus, like the fanatic, the addict loses his or her balance and becomes focused on just one desire. And that desire can become like a cancer, spreading and taking over a person's life.
The neuroimaging results, however, revealed that the part of the brain most associated with reasoning--the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex--was quiescent. Most active were the orbital frontal cortex, which is involved in the processing of emotions; the anterior cingulate, which is associated with conflict resolution; the posterior cingulate, which is concerned with making judgments about moral accountability; and--once subjects had arrived at a conclusion that made them emotionally comfortable--the ventral striatum, which is related to reward and pleasure.
"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," Westen is quoted as saying in an Emory University press release. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts." Interestingly, neural circuits engaged in rewarding selective behaviors were activated. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones," Westen said.
Identity politics, also called identitarian politics, refers to political positions based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify. Identity politics includes the ways in which people's politics may be shaped by aspects of their identity through loosely correlated social organizations. Examples include social organizations based on race, class, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, culture, language and dialect. Not all members of any given group are necessarily involved in identity politics.
The term identity politics came into being during the latter part of the 20th century, during the Civil Rights Era. During this time period, identity politics were used by a minority group to form a coalition with members of the majority. en.wikipedia.org...
Neoconservative (Nazi) Mind Control was used by Bush
The best past example would be the way the Nazi's converged different social mindset biases into one solid construct. What they did was they turned the Nazi political party, German Nationalism, Race and Religion into one single concept / mindset. That meant, to question something about one level of social group was to question everything. For example, if you questioned the Nazi party itself it meant, in the minds of those who had been indoctrinated / brainwashed, that you were also questioning / attacking the Race and the Religion and the Nation and so on.
originally posted by: IgnoranceIsntBlisss
So what the Neocons did was merge party with nationality with religion. If you criticized Bush or Republican Big Brother / war policies then that meant you were an anti-American Islamofascist. What I never got around to doing however, was how soon after Obama took office the Liberal Media started labeling anyone who didn't support his policies as being "racists". So right after Bush stepped out, the DNC crowd already started basically resorting to the Bush social psychology propaganda playbook, or rather the Nazi playbook of race politics, where the Neocons didn't actually use the race card overtly, and with Obama it was double-down race cards all up the sleeves. This was an early sign the SJW phenomenon we're seeing today, or perhaps better explained as the kind of Media policy that helped to create it.
The Many Faces of Fanaticism
Psychologist of religion Tõnu Lehtsaar has defined the term fanaticism as "The pursuit or defence of something in an extreme and passionate way that goes beyond normality. Religious fanaticism is defined by blind faith, the persecution of dissents and the absence of reality." Lehtsaar has explained extreme and extremity in this context as the following: "Differing from balance. Extremity does not indicate something different in principle but different in degree, intensity, frequency or importance. Extremity does not indicate qualitative but quantitative differences." According to Christopher C. Harmon fanaticism “involves great energy, single-minded direction and a lack of any restraint or moderation. It is characterised by extremes of effort and fervour of intensity."
The Three Characteristics of Extremism - Huffington Post
1. Unquestioned certainty about one’s position
An extremist is certain that his position is absolutely and completely true, and will go to great lengths to defend it. The underlying insecurity that accompanies this certainty stems from the fear that any element of doubt would negate the person’s self-identification and, therefore, his very existence. As Joseph Soloveichik famously noted,
All extremism, fanaticism and obscurantism come from a lack of security. A person who is secure cannot be an extremist.
This insecurity drives the extremist to assert that not only is his view right, but is, in fact, the only view that holds truth. In the most extreme form, he will silence, and even kill, those who present the possibility that he may be wrong, in order to keep from ever exposing the fragility of his own position.
2. Demonizing those who disagree
A hallmark of an extremist is the often vile language used to attack those who disagree or hold different viewpoints, blaming the other for all the ills of the world. In a gentler form this takes the form of sarcasm and attacking the other’s character, but the intention is the same. It seems that many crave this type of language, perhaps in order to clarify one’s position, arouse passion, or create a “team” in which to belong. An extremist, though, can’t allow himself to see one who disagrees as a fellow human being, with the same essential needs, desires, and hopes, as himself. This would open the door to compassion, which may lead to doubt — something an extremist cannot allow.
3. Desire for a Final Battle, or “Holy War”
Most disturbing of all extreme views is the belief in the inevitability of a Final Battle that will — usually violently — sweep away unbelievers and usher in an era of world-wide unity under the Truth of one view. There seems to be a glee behind this, and one only needs to listen to a “hell and brimstone” preacher, of any faith, to feel this strange eager anticipation of chaos. Apocalyptic visions are not the sole property of religion, though. Just listen to the mad ranting of Nazi propaganda, or the cold plotting of the Soviet Union’s plans to topple the evils of capitalism and bring in a worker’s paradise — or to some of the current voices of extreme atheism that urge the end of any form of religion and spiritual belief.
Collective narcissism (or group narcissism) is a type of narcissism where an individual has an inflated self-love of his or her own ingroup, where an "ingroup" is a group in which an individual is personally involved. While the classic definition of narcissism focuses on the individual, collective narcissism asserts that one can have a similar excessively high opinion of a group, and that a group can function as a narcissistic entity. Collective narcissism is related to ethnocentrism; however, ethnocentrism primarily focuses on self-centeredness at an ethnic or cultural level, while collective narcissism is extended to any type of ingroup, beyond just cultures and ethnicities. Some theorists believe group-level narcissism to be an extension of individual narcissism, though others believe the two to be independent of each other.
The Ten Planks of Collective Narcissism
1. Everyone needs to recognize the authority of our group.
2. Our group has all predispositions to influence others.
3. When our group rules the world it will be a much better place.
4. Our group is extraordinary.
5. Our group must be the center of attention.
6. We will never be satisfied until our group gets all that it deserves.
7. We must insist upon our group getting the respect that is due to it.
8. Our group must amount to something in the eyes of the world.
9. Everyone needs to understand that our group is the most important.
10. Our group deserves special rights beyond that of those we deem as opposing it.
How Should We Define Evangelism?
Evangelism is teaching (heralding, proclaiming, preaching) the gospel (the message from God that leads us to salvation) with the aim (hope, desire, goal) to persuade (convince, convert). ... An “aim to persuade” also reminds us that people need more than a data transfer. Some who think of evangelism as only teaching do a good job of explaining, expanding, and answering questions, as we all should. All Christians should apply themselves to think through reasons for the hope we have in Christ, reasons that sweep aside the objections and questions.
Moral Hypocrisy: Social Groups and the Flexibility of Virtue
People are capable of performing unambiguously immoral acts, but appear equipped with the psychological mechanisms to relieve themselves of responsibility. Indeed, moral hypocrisy has been conceptualized as an individual’s ability to hold a belief while acting in discord with it. An equally unsettling, and perhaps more socially relevant, type of hypocrisy could be an interpersonal phenomenon whereby individuals’ evaluations of their own moral transgressions differ substantially from their evaluations of the same transgressions enacted by others.
If such hypocrisy is common, there is good reason to theorize that this asymmetric charity might extend beyond the self.
Specifically, group affiliation might stand as a limit on the radius of one’s ‘‘moral circle,’’ qualifying in-group members for the same leniency that individuals apply to their own transgressions. To the extent that the group stands as an important source of self-definition, one may have an interest in protecting the sanctity of that entity. Indeed, ‘‘in-group morality’’ has been posited as a fundamental moral intuition.
The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.
Peer Group Pressure: Suppressing doubt and resistance to new ideas by exploiting the need to belong.
The Asch Conformity Experiment
Imagine yourself in the following situation: You sign up for a psychology experiment, and on a specified date you and seven others whom you think are also participants arrive and are seated at a table in a small room.
You don't know it at the time, but the others are actually associates of the experimenter, and their behavior has been carefully scripted. You're the only real participant.
Results: Asch measured the number of times each participant conformed to the majority view. On average, about one third (32%) of the participants who were placed in this situation went along and conformed with the clearly incorrect majority on the critical trials. Over the 12 critical trials about 75% of participants conformed at least once, and 25% of participant never conformed. In the control group, with no pressure to conform to confederates, less than 1% of participants gave the wrong answer.
Hypnosis: Inducing a state of high suggestibility by hypnosis, often thinly disguised as relaxation or meditation.
Inside a University Ceremonial PC Cult Chamber (Safe Space)
All the hubbub over these "Safe Spaces", but have you ever seen inside one? Today I got to wondering what happens when they go inside them. A little poking around Youtube and this is what I did find:
So there it is. Having a bad day? Are you having doubts about your faith? Did you just get owned in a debate? See someone wearing a Trump t-shirt? Too many straight cis white men in the hallway this morning? No problemo! Just step into the Safe Space and entrance yourself in all of the pro-anti cis white people propaganda posters and such. Don't forget your free condoms and lube on your way out.
...CONTINUED...edit on 10-9-2016 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss because: (no reason given)
Safe Spaces - Berkeley Student Cooperative
the group forms a circle and holds hands. the facilitator sends an impulse (hand squeeze) around the circle variations: eyes closed; time it and do it a few times; do snaps, whistles, finger snaps, claps etc
NOTE: this is a SILENT activity, and should only be done once a SAFE SPACE has been established. the group forms a circle, including the facilitator, and holds hands. the facilitator then reads a list of‘step out’ questions and directions. ex: “step out if you have ever felt alone. (pause) take a look around you. (pause) please step back. step out if you…” etc. when a person chooses to step out, they drop the hands of those in the circle, and take one step toward the center, where they pause, look around, and then rejoin the circle and hold hands again. the last question should be “step out if you could have stepped out for a question, but chose not to”.
variations: at the end of the activity, hold a brief guided meditation (on our oneness, on the connection of the community, honoring our common experiences and bravery in sharing them, etc); before and/or after this activity, do an “Impulse” activity.
Love Bombing: Creating a sense of family and belonging through hugging, kissing, touching and flattery.
Attack Independent Thought - Critical thinking is discouraged as prideful and sinful, blind acceptance encouraged.
Exploit Personal Crisis - They use an existing crisis as a means of getting you to participate.
Information Control: Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged.
Thought Control: Adopt "loaded" language (characterized by "thought-terminating clichés"). Words are the tools we use to think with. These "special" words constrict rather than expand understanding. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous "buzz words".
What Cults Don't Want: No cult wants its inner workings exposed, although sophisticated cults may curry media interest or even employ public relations consultants and ad agencies to manage their image.
Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms
Absolutism - They insist on total, unquestioning obedience and submission to the group, both actions AND thoughts. Group "love" and acceptance becomes dependent upon obedience and submission. Unconditional love...isn't.
originally posted by: IgnoranceIsntBlisss
Modern liberal PC is entirely steeped in Identity Politics making it anti-individualistic. Essentially all of its forms are tied to one mass social group issue or another (race, gender, etc). Generally, as with conservatives, PC is mainly just a nuance. With liberals it is the Dogma, where the core set positions is the Creed. The two are deeply intertwined essentially beyond recognition now, as the Magisterium (party) has set its Orthodoxy as being all about these Identity Political 'things'. With conservatives its more a mere tool to maintain conformity. With liberals its is what is to conformed with consciously, ad subconsciously. With conservatives is about how to act. With liberals about how to act, think and feel.
Every cult can be defined as a group having all of the following five characteristics: It forms an elitist totalitarian society.
Intense Study - Focus is on group doctrine and writings.
Guilt and Fear - Group dwells on members' "sinful nature" (many use public confession).
It turns out that all normal humans are subject to becoming effectively addicted to self-deception.
originally posted by: bobs_uruncle
a reply to: IgnoranceIsntBlisss
I read the entire OP and subsequent attachments. It is an excellent summation of a growing or developing psychological condition. It certainly gives cause to rethinking all positions, regardless of what or whom one throws their support behind. More later, it's late and it will be interesting to see how this thread progresses.
Excellent thread and research.
an awful lot of discomforting materials for humans to contemplate.
Pro Gender Neutral
Pro All Races
Pro All Sexes (except white men)
Pro Religions (except Christianity they hurt people)