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Are modern day cults and fanatics really so different to the likes of jesus, buddah, gandhi (read fo

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posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:02 PM
I touched upon this some were in a previous article I done it’s a serious question that deserves to have some serious thought – What is the difference between past religious gods/deities/figures to today’s religious fanatics? Now don’t flame me just yet
. Now explination of fanatic and cult:

The word cult pejoratively refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre.[1] 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'.[citation needed]
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.[2][3][4]

Pretty straight forward yes?

Religious fanaticism is fanaticism related to a person's, or a group's, devotion to a religion.

Ok pretty straight forward right? Hmm no its not actually if you think about it, as its all down to perception of the culture/people

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.

Now lets take a look at who the major religious leaders of the world were/are.

Henry and Dana Thomas Great Religious Leaders List
Jesus Christianity
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
(Listed chronologically)
Jesus Christ
Apostle Paul
Saint Augustine
Thomas Aquinas
Martin Luther
John Calvin
Joseph Smith
Other categories in the DeVore/Linford Series are: Explorers, Scientists, Inventors, Writers, Painters, Composers, and Leaders.

Greatest Historical Religious Figures (Bill Yenne)
(Listed chronologically)
Lao Tsu
Jesus Christ
St. Paul
St. Augustine
St. Thomas Aquinas
Martin Luther

Now the serious question we have though is that could we compare the likes of jesus, buddah, Muhammad to todays fanatics/cults such as David Koresh (branch davidiands), L Ron Hubbard(scientology), to name just 2, there are many many more. Were they really all that different? Now before I get replys about the differences of the teachings or how this person was bad and that person, that’s not what I am getting at, could those past religious founders/leaders be compared to todays cult leaders?
Take a look at this article I found

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…

Intresting take on it

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.

The above kind of explains what I was asking earlier

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”.

It is true though wouldn’t you say not only in the case of jesus, but in the cases of all the revered gods/deities/people of the past . as awake_and_aware stated in a previous thread how would we react now a days and I belive the above article had it spot on


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.

I suggest reading the article in full source

So what is the true difference between todays cults and the teachings of buddah, jesus, Confucius ,Gandhi? Take the catholic church is that not deemed to be fanatical and cult llike? Because in a way, all religions can be put in either or both categories. Cult, a group of people following one leader in to a "sect" of say, a religion of unknown pantheon or unbelievable practices. Waco Texas for example. His followers were led to believe he was a, or "the" God. A sheep herder, leading his flock to what they believed was ever lasting life.. then led them to their death. Look at another example; People everywhere that will kill or be killed for their God, because.. the person they listen to told them it was ok. Do we consider their path a cult? Would Muslims be considered a "cult"? Catholicism is Christian, but the Christians will be the first to tell you, "NO.. I'm not Catholic". The most popular religious standing is Catholicism and yet, it is ONE sheep herder, leading his flock. Benedict?! Is he the leader of a "cult". They worship "saints", they pray to the mother of God. They pay pennants prior to Heaven or Hell. This is definitely outside the box of mainstream religion. Yet it has been the basis for religion since Christianity rose.

I hope I have left you enough to ponder over and hopefully get some decent replys going. I don’t want this to fall into flame wars, take a serious look at my main question here and the reason I posted. Thank you

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:16 PM
reply to post by ronishia

Cults like Scientology and Mormonism use the same techiques as other religious groups have throughout history. (And i'm not saying it wasn't useful when knowledge, communication and infrastructure were scarce)

They provide an unfalsifiable basis for their doctrine. (Unprovable claims, revealed wisdom) So that no one could prove it true or false, claiming that faith is the one true binding "virtue". That believing their conclusion is better than investigating the claim. I think this is wrong.

They imply that you would be better with religion. It's interesting to note that charity, altruism, nobility are not traits that are exclusive to religion - Human decency doesn't derrive from religion, it precedes it.

I'm not condemning the great things that religion has done, i would never condemn charity, or promoting love but these concepts can be understood without the need to believe unprovable things.

There's nothign to stop someone from borrowing moral and ethical teaching from many different religions and from even from figures such as Martin Luther King, or Ghandi, or even Sam Harris?

The only reason to submit to a single religion is if you agree to the doctrine of that religion. "You agree to the Christian dogma" And what's common amongst "moderates" is that they "cherry-pick" the doctrines, calling their "faith" into question.

It's very easy to pick and choose the verses, but it doesn't generate a consistent picture of faith.
edit on 22/5/11 by awake_and_aware because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:21 PM
Reply to post by awake_and_aware

Hebrew Roots or Messianic Judaism is considered a cult by mainline Christianity, and it does not cherry pick doctrine at all.

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posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:23 PM
i think the inclusion of confucius and lao tzu is a bit wrong. they were just wise men with philosophies on life. why would you include them in this arguement but not other philosophers like plato, socrates etc.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:28 PM
reply to post by jonnyb578

well obviously there are alot more out there that i never mentioned i dont think there is a thread long enough to include everyone, the reason i mentioned them? because in todays society they *could* be deemed as fanatics ( hence my inclusion of the terms of what each mean). im not for a second saying they were or questioning their teachings, i was merely posing the question of would they/could they be deemed as fanatics/cults in todays society.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:29 PM
reply to post by Lemon.Fresh

Christianity is a cult too, they all have the same pagan roots. They all have rediculous rituals, of course some are now argued as tradition but some believers, adhering to certain dogmas, eat bread and wine literally as the blood and body of Christ.

Taking delight in human sacrifice, and believing it abolves an entire species of "sin" seems to be quite "cult-like"

They're all cults that threaten potential followers with concepts of afterlife. Bribe on someone's greatest fear - death. And offering them a great promise - eternal life. These are deceptive techniques.

It's immoral practice IMO.
edit on 22/5/11 by awake_and_aware because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:30 PM
It seems to me that todays religious/cult groups all seem to be too eager to get at your money.
From what the Bible says and what we have been led to believe, Jesus would never have asked for donations of any kind.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:34 PM
reply to post by jonnyb578

I'm not being a know it all, and i'm glad you mentioned Plato/Socrates:-

And there's a key difference between Socrates and Jesus;

Socrates didn't ask that you follow him, he didn threaten anyone with consequence if they do not listen to him.

He offered his wisdom, and his wisdom proved to be useful, and neaningful without implying the supernatural.

I don't care if Socrates existed or didn't his words still carry meaning, and they don't insist upon themselves.

The moral and ethical teaching of Christ is still questioned in the Philosophy of Religion. And there are many contradictory statements in the New testament. Much of it's preaching is now considered bizarre.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:34 PM
reply to post by ronishia

The only thing one needs to become a prophet is to be dead. Once someone is dead a mythology is free to be formed around them by power hungry vultures, probably the same vultures that spend their time ensuring most of these people have no success until such a time as their death.

Death cults that venerate fallen heroes are barbaric but nothing new.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 02:40 PM
Everyone will have the same view for ourselves and our spirituality, and we won't refer to ourselves as cultists or religious fanatics, or any such words and labels. Our entire being will just be common knowledge to us like the blue of the sky. We won't pick and choose from the teachers: we'll all have become teachers ourselves. Many of our little "religious" traditions will melt away and we'll just learn to love one another and any and all other life in equality. No borders, just Oneness.

We'll be the oxymoron "conscious humanistic spiritualists" (notice the mind-body-spirit reference) from the observer's point of view.

I feel that's our destiny, anyway. We seem to be gravitating towards common ground, and that's my sincerest hope for humanity. No more extremes. In our earliest days, we simply existed and knew we existed, and nothing more than that; one extreme (dependance on the body). In the dark ages humanity swerved towards the religious extreme side, everyone else was a witch or a heretic (dependance on the spirit, although tainted by the dark ages and similar "witch hunts"). 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:

Am I heretic and/or a stupid fellow for thinking this?

edit on 22/5/11 by AdamsMurmur because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 02:49 PM
reply to post by AdamsMurmur

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

Firstly, why is skeptical disbelief an "extreme"? Atheism is not a positive claim, it's a disbelief - An extreme would be to jump to a conclusion before having evidence.

There is such a concept as an Agnostic Atheist, but there shouldn't be any name for an Atheist or an Agnostic. There is no such thing as an AWitch, or AUnicornist, or a Anti-Astrologist, you either disbelieve a positive theory or you don't.

Whilst Carl Sagan argued absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.... he also argued that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

The middle ground is just being a coward. The only person who has to lose is the person who jumps to an extraordinary conclusion, whether God exists or not, Faith runs the risk of being proved wrong, where skeptical disbelief is honest with the evidence that is available.

Agnostic Atheists do not claim God cannot be proven, only that thus far there has been insufficient evidence (empirical or logical) to warrant such a belief.

Again, i don't find a position of skeptical belief to be "extreme".

Your venn diagram of colours reminds me of a recent one i came across:-

As you can see we can all have a laugh about religious dogma, and carry on the search for truth.
edit on 22/5/11 by awake_and_aware because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 05:45 PM
reply to post by awake_and_aware

Nothing wrong with being skeptical, in fact it's encouraged, it's just forcing beliefs on others is when things get hazy. I am not excluding religion at all by saying this either, as forcing those beliefs on others is just as bad. The only reason I call it an extreme is that some refuse to try and put on the shoes of the person they're talking about, and they rely solely on what they see with their eyes, just as some rely solely on their hearts, and some rely solely on their muscles. As an example: I believe in evolution just as much as I believe in creation. I'm definitely not afraid to "look" at the world around me - I LOVE science and history - but I don't depend solely on what I see with those eyes, that's it.

I found the pic amusing btw.
The center of my image would be all of them (like the ones in the OP) and all of us though.

As a side note, the early Christians didn't believe in resurrection like that, they believed in reincarnation like the Eastern faiths.
edit on 22/5/11 by AdamsMurmur because: (no reason given)

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