Friday, September 29, 2006

Cult or Religion?

The following characteristics of cults bear a striking resemblance to the make up of Islam.
So which is it...religion or cult?

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry?or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar?or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

The group is preoccupied with making money.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

The most loyal members (the ?true believers?) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

Some of the characteristics are identical to the makeup of Islam....particularly the us versus them philosophy.


At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started reading the Koran the other day. In the first chapter, all it does is squeel about the Jews and Christians being too close minded to accept new prophets. What kind of religion is that, that starts with criticising others, and not touting their own beliefs?

Cult, no doubt.

At 12:43 AM, Blogger David Schantz said...

I would have to say Cult. Children born into it will say religion and the only way to live.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

At 6:19 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

it is a very hard read farmer John. Most of it is disjointed and contradictory.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

I know lots of Muslims, and none of them are like that.

I'm sorry, but talk radio and right-wing blogs are not good sources for learning about Islam.

I didn't find the Koran to be a difficult read. I did find it to be repetitive, but so are most religious tracts.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger waterbaby said...

Hmmm. As I read this, I immediately thought of Christian American Conservatism.

Meets all the criteria, as far as I can see.



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