What’s in the Word “Cult” Used By “Christians”?

8 10 2011

UPDATE – is the whole Christian Right itself, behaving like “an apocalyptic cult” dragging America toward civil war and if so, wouldn’t that make the Romney-Huntsman cult troublesome not because it’s radical but because it’s not radical enough?

******************
Prominent Pastor Calls Romney’s Church a Cult:

“I’m going to instruct, I’m going to advise people that it is much better to vote for a non-Christian [Mormon Willard “Mitt” Romney] who embraces biblical values than to vote for a professing Christian like Barack Obama who embraces un-biblical values.”

OTOH, Jeff Sharlet’s work to expose a more secretive and cultish “prayer” cell in the nation’s capital, known only as The Family, calling themselves Christians and using that bible to justify their personal and global dominionist politics, isn’t something this man calls a cult or calls out politicians for practicing? Hmmm . . .

It’s time to take political faith seriously. And if doing so strikes you as invasive, unseemly, and irrelevant to the job the candidates are seeking -– well, then, it’s really time to take faith seriously, including its uses and abuses in a democracy where piety and cynicism have long been comfortable companions.

See also:

More on C Street: Is It a Shadowy Multi-National Government?

Asking Candidates About Their Faith and Extraterrestrial Beliefs

Look Lynn! Bobby Jindal Has a Brother in Exorcism!

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32 responses

8 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

The word cult is used by Christians in a pejorative fashion in order to negatively label any faith, not in keeping with their interpretation of the Bible, as false, dangerous, insidious, and nefarious.

There are official sociological uses for the word Cult. But most of the time, contemporary Christians fall short of understanding the more official definition, and their own part of that definition for a variety of reasons.

Also, the word Cult can be used to describe any system or social construct that is perceived to be a threat to Christian dominance in that context. So Science is considered a “belief system” and therefore it would qualify as a cult.

Oprah Winfrey fans are part of a Cult.

Islam and Judaism–Cults. In this world many Christians do not acknowledge Judaism as a parent faith and they do not understand their relationship or should we say, spiritual kinship with Judaism and Islam–all three being Abrahamic due to sharing the Torah or Old Testament.

The Sociologist Durkheim fought this mentality over a hundred years ago by redefining the paradigms under which one studies cultures and religion. And here we are still fighting this battle linguistically and academically.

8 10 2011
JJ

In this world many Christians do not acknowledge Judaism as a parent faith

The ones I’ve been concerned about recently though, have been the ones claiming such close kinship to Israel . . .

8 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Yes, but its probably *Replacement Theology, which while beneficial to Christians, is inherently destructive towards Judaism, because there is a desire to displace Judaism as the *Chosen People and take their place–hence the terminology.

In this world, Israel is the Cat’s paw to start Armageddon. This is very convenient, since according to contemporary narratives, they are in fact at Ground Zero for this final act, and will not survive.

8 10 2011
JJ

Right (I read all the Left Behind books, don’t ask me why, which is the extent of my “knowledge” about this world view.) So — disturbing!

8 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Friends who encourage you to throw yourself on a proverbial grenade in the hopes they can take your place–are not your friends.

IMHO.

9 10 2011
Nance Confer

I really can’t wait until all of this hogwash is viewed as being in the same category as every other cult and mythology.

9 10 2011
JJ

Including what I see as Romney’s REAL antisocial cult belief, in the divinity of corporate business.

9 10 2011
JJ

The C-Street “Family” Christians are of that cult too, all about being chosen for wealth and power. They are absolutist, literal and unshakeable in that belief, not as they blithely claim, in truly free market principles or free access to life-liberty-pursuit of happiness for all, nor any “American Dream” or real democracy or even the literal Christian bible (which warns off rather than exalts, rich men and their property/money/power.)

The NYT Sunday Review pieces were about that from different angles today, btw. One said Thomas Jefferson changed John Locke’s “life, liberty and PROPERTY” to “life, liberty and PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS” to emphasize that in this culture at least, money/wealth and happiness were to be neither equated nor exclusive. Further, even in the Locke holy triumvirate without Jefferson’s change, property meant holding only enough as could be put to good use, not endless amounts being hoarded by financial cult high priests and sacrificial scraps left for the other 99% of humanity:

A country, for example, that overemphasizes G.D.P. growth and market performance is likely to focus policies on the big drivers of those — corporations and financial institutions — even when, as during the recent past, there has been little correlation between the performance of big businesses or elites and that of most people.

. . . the purpose of a society is not merely the creation of wealth, especially if most of it goes to the few. Even John Locke, who famously enumerated our fundamental rights as being to life, liberty and property, qualified this by asserting that people should appropriate only what they could use, leaving “enough and as good” for others. Thomas Jefferson later consciously replaced the right to property with a right to “the pursuit of happiness.”

And happiness has become the watchword for those seeking different measures that might better guide governments.

The larger point of that article is a sort of cult religion, too, that what we believe and what we value is a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of how we live and how we treat each other. Call this cult The Force maybe, as in Star Wars!

Han Solo: Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. *I’m* in it for the money.

Princess Leia, dripping with disapproval: If money is what you love, then that’s what you’ll receive.

9 10 2011
JJ

I’m in a Facebook discussion about Florida’s attempt to re-legalize “dwarf tossing” in bars, as entertainment for paying patrons — among other things recently banned as unacceptably degrading — because a GOP lawmaker says doing so will create jobs for otherwise unemployed dwarfs and presumably being thrown for sport like a toy or a rotten vegetable is less degrading than being out of work in an already universally degrading economy??

In that conversation, a not-dwarf friend of a friend posted that he’d done more degrading work in his past so what was the problem, as long as the dwarf consented?

I asked if the same would be true for selling babies and kidneys in his view. He said selling kidneys sure, but babies were different, whereupon I joked that they were different for guys perhaps, but for us females, growing either one inside our own bodies and then selling/giving it up was pretty similar and ought to be up to our own informed consent too, and that there were deeply human considerations beyond anyone’s laws about money.

And then I added:

Btw that reminds me of an incredible bioethicist’s argument about how kidneys and babies ARE very similar life-creation enterprises and should be viewed similarly in human ethics and law (the analogy is near the end)

9 10 2011
Lynn

“In this world many Christians do not acknowledge Judaism as a parent faith”

… except when they employ the use of the term, “judeo-christian,” in order to sound broad-minded, while advocating small-mindedness.

“Israel is the Cat’s paw to start Armageddon”

If I only had a nickel for every time I’ve heard an evangelical say, “God has given me a heart for the Jews.”

I’ve never heard about dwarf tossing. Wow. What a telling sign of the times. Dwarf tossers: the new job creators. Following popular logic, we should give the tossers tax breaks to encourage further innovation…

9 10 2011
JJ

Lynn, what a good Koch minion you would make! Except — not the dwarf tossers but the corporate liquor-licensed and fabulously greedy-wealthy who book the dwarf-tossing, are the “job creators” doncha know. Gotta get your rhetoric honed if you want to make those big Koch bucks . . .

10 10 2011
Lynn

Good point. I was sloppy. I definitely require tutoring. 😉

10 10 2011
JJ

Conservative former congressman Joe Scarborough this morning on his cable show, calls the evangelical’s anti-Romney cult comments “bad theology” and “deplorable.”

10 10 2011
JJ

Hey did you see this power of story over the weekend, about the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators? An insufferable party crasher and a classy deposed princess reenact that original Star Wars scene! 😀

(He says rapacious greed and ruthless abandon of our fellows is all there is and if you’re against that, who needs you? She says fairness and shared responsibility matter more.)

Herman Cain: Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. *I’m* in it for the money.

Nancy Pelosi, dripping with disapproval: If money is what you love, then that’s what you’ll receive.

10 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Ick! Herman Cain. He is mean spirited. And he oozes smug.

10 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Lynn they say Judeo-Christian, but if you really engage with them, on this matter, some–if not a lot will deny Judaism as a parent culture.

Some seem to imply that the Hebrews and the Modern Jews are somehow different. They will say that Christianity takes precedence because Jesus was with God at the moment of creation–and therefore trumps this idea of Judaism as a parent-religion/culture.

But what they don’t realize is that the rules by that D&D Dungeon master only apply because of the Sheol. And even then, technically since all the souls reside in the Sheol–anyone can make the claim of being with that god at the moment of creation [see Genesis].

10 10 2011
Lynn

“Christianity takes precedence because Jesus was with God at the moment of creation–and therefore trumps this idea of Judaism as a parent-religion/culture.”

Interesting. You’re right that the idea of Judaism as a parent culture is a discussion I’ve never really pursued. I’m a refugee from Saddleback Church tripe and pop-evangelism, you know. 😉

10 10 2011
Lynn

from the article: “the man was trying to throw his shoe over the fence of the White House but missed and hit a police officer”

…sounds like something I’d do.

10 10 2011
Nance Confer

So this is all just a giant game of D&D? Makes more sense now. . .

10 10 2011
COD

I thought The Cult was an 80s rock band?

And selling babies is already legal – it’s called private adoptions. Michelle worked for as an adoption counselor for an agency when we lived in GA. I’m in sales for a living. I know sales when I see it. They were selling babies. The birth mom got a place to stay, food, and medical care until she had the baby. The rich white folks who were paying $25,000 plus expenses got to jump to the front of the line and be guaranteed a white adoptive kid.

10 10 2011
10 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Pseudo Mysticism = Cultic Milieu

11 10 2011
JJ

Chris, I’ve been thinking lately about that sort of economic royalty, not just their private planes or even cadillac health care and buying out public university business schools, but rights and responsibilities that money is never supposed to be able to privilege/punish, such as fighting their wars and birthing their boutique babies. Buying out and corrupting our vote. Koch-funded social policies are indistinguishable from their corporate conservatism, so that all Koch leads to Rome where 99% of us are their gladiators and slaves and concubines.

And if it’s all about exploiting the underclass, then to get richer and richer and evermore powerful, you’d need to keep expanding that underclass to include more and more of us, right? (Like tobacco companies expanding the ranks of smokers.) Eventually there’s no independent middle and Americans aren’t just serving them as their consumers and employees but literally become their property, to do with as they see profitable.

11 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Well that in part has already come to pass. Online posts are monitored in order to determine whether or not to hire someone. You can’t get more ownership than that. Speak your mind–and choose not to eat. GOPers always frame hostage taking as choice.

There is more in that vein, but I need to find my glasses first

11 10 2011
JJ

Romney the corporate financier millionaire and heir apparent of the GOP nomination, gave a China answer today that I WISH he (and all GOP pols) would give about Wall Street!

“I can tell you that if I’m president of the US, on Day One I will designate China as a currency manipulator . . on an unfair basis . . . I like free trade, I want free trade . . . but I don’t want people to CHEAT. . . to the disadvantage of American employers and American jobs, and we keep talking about that and not doing anything about it. And I will, if I am President.”

Then there’s “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” in Vanity Fair:

“The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves.

In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government—one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good.

The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.”

11 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Be that as it may, they don’t need our tax dollars either. I see no reason to give my tax dollars that end up in their pockets, when I intend [and was told] that it would go towards infrastructure, parks, libraries and the like.

These rich bastards could pack up and leave tomorrow, and there would be others who could take their place, as management, CEOs, collectives who could invest–They are just as disposable as the rest of us. I don’t know why people can’t see that. They do after all, put their pants on one leg at a time just like we all do.

In fact I am rather insulted that they imply daily that the rest of us do not produce the leadership or skills to run things. We do that every day. They pay us to.

11 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

And ditto on the cheating of the Public.

99 all the way.

13 10 2011
JJ

Lynn and all — Young Son informed me this afternoon, that Tolkien in Lord of the Rings, wrote TWO dwarf-tossing scenes!

13 10 2011
JJ

The tossed dwarf’s name was Gimli.

14 10 2011
Lynn

I had no idea dwarf tossing has such a rich history.

So, does Young Son like to play online games? I found something for him. 😉

http://www.fetchfido.co.uk/games/midget_tossing/midget_tossing.htm

14 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Oh my.

14 10 2011
JJ

Oh heck, must I now go parse “what’s in a name” between dwarf and midget? 😉

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