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The word cult pejoratively refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The narrower, derogatory sense of the word is a product of the 20th century, especially since the 1980s, and is considered subjective. It is also a result of the anti-cult movement which uses the word in reference to groups seen as authoritarian, exploitative and that are believed to use dangerous rituals or mind control. The word implies a group which is a minority in a given society. The word was first used in the early 17th century denoting homage paid to a divinity and derived from French culte or Latin cultus ‘worship,’ from cult- ‘inhabited, cultivated, worshiped,’ from the verb colere 'care, cultivation'.
The popular, derogatory sense of the word has no currency in academic studies of religions, where "cults" are subsumed under the neutral label of the "new religious movement", while academic sociology has partly adopted the popular meaning of the word.
Religious fanaticism is fanaticism related to a person's, or a group's, devotion to a religion.
religious fanaticism is a subjective evaluation defined by the culture context that is performing the evaluation. What constitutes fanaticism in another's behavior or belief is determined by the core assumptions of the one doing the evaluation. As such, there is currently no constant academic standard for what defines a fanatical religious position. As with any fanaticism (e.g. militantism, and anti-superstitious), it has the danger to be bigoted, rely largely on sweeping statements (in some cases entirely) and generalisations often twisting what its opponents are actually saying (or the meaning) to what the speaker wishes their oponent had actually said/ meant. Often the arguments come accross as bigoted, completely unwilling and unable to fully take on an opponents point at any stage, just like their religious extreemist counterparts, whom they openly dispise (although they are often assertions and not arguments, again just like many religious fanatics) and will actively demonise those they opponents.
Henry and Dana Thomas Great Religious Leaders List
Moses Jewish prophet
Isaiah Jewish prophet
Zoroaster founder of Zoroastrianism
Buddha founder of Buddhism
Confucius founder of Confucianism
John the Baptist prophet and contemporary of Jesus Christ
St. Paul Christianity
Mohammed Prophet of Islam
St. Francis of Assisi early Christian theologian
John Huss Bohemian Christian reformer; founder of Czech Hussites
Martin Luther primary founder of Protestantism
Loyola theologian and founder of Jesuits
Calvin founder of Calvinist branch of Protestantism
George Fox founder of Quakers
John Wesley founder of Methodist movement
Swedenborg founder of Swedenborgianism
Brigham Young 2nd prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mary Baker Eddy founder of Christian Science
Gandhi Hindu reformer and Indian political leader; mother was a Jain
Greatest Historical Religious Figures
Other categories in the DeVore/Linford Series are: Explorers, Scientists, Inventors, Writers, Painters, Composers, and Leaders.
Greatest Historical Religious Figures (Bill Yenne)
St. Thomas Aquinas
How could an eminent esoteric teacher such as Jesus, with such an important spiritual message, have been so persecuted and hated by society in his time? Would he still be today? Are there other people teaching this same message who are also now persecuted, and why?
This article will delve headlong into answering these questions, by looking at how Jesus might be viewed by our modern society using its method of critiquing minority spiritual groups—the criteria for labeling a “cult”—with some startling results…
Society in the times of Jesus, today, nor ever, has provided the means for spiritual awakening to people. Jesus came as he said, from out of this world, from outside of society to bring enlightenment to it. But society as a whole rejected him and what he taught—it was only a few individuals from within it that really followed Jesus, back with him to his kingdom of heaven.
This same scenario has repeated throughout history, wherever and whenever people have wished to reach enlightenment. Esoteric teachers and truths have come into society to help those within it, only to be chased and hunted out.
It’s not hard to imagine Jesus coming to teach his message again today and thus facing the same persecution: instead the cries of “blasphemer” replaced with the modern equivalent—“cult leader,” and the disciples and those who followed him—a “cult”.
Here is an overview of what makes a “cult” to give the general idea of what a cult watcher might be looking for in Jesus:
“Singer stresses that all cults are based firstly on a thought reform program. Such programs aim to dilute people’s individuality, change their core belief systems and alter their concept of themselves. This is done by imposing a “totalistic ideology” which “explains everything” Such groups will say they are “THE WAY”, the “ONLY WAY” be it in religion, science, self-help, psychotherapy or politics. Lifton points out that “included in this mystique is a sense of ‘higher purpose’, of ‘having directly perceived some imminent law of social development’, of being themselves the vanguard of this development.” Consequently, all other groups are charlatans, shams, impostors, degenerate, etc. Normally they have authoritarian leaders and lieutenants at all levels and/or they venerate the works of dead leaders to justify their totalistic ideology and actions. Not choosing the group’s Way will usually lead to humiliation, damnation or death.”
Notice that the overview above focuses on what Jesus taught but puts it in a distorted and negative way.
In modern times more and more are becoming Atheist/Agnostic, the other extreme, and view any others as believing in nothing more than the imagination (dependence on the mind). The middle ground is where we should be headed, as illustrated in this image