Posted by mrsjiggy at user-2ivfoaj.dialup.mindspring.com on April 01, 2001 at 14:44:27:
In Reply to: Jason : Clarification posted by The Immortal Grimace on March 31, 2001 at 03:57:38:
"When does a religion switch from a 'cult' to a 'religion'? I'm not qualified to judge. My guess is you're not either."
Actually, any form of organized religion is a cult. (I'm right in the middle of studying this in a Cultural Anthropology class and I just got involved in a pretty heavy discussion regarding this on another message board, so when I saw these posts, I couldn't help but jump in and add my two cents.) The definition of "cult" has been warped by society to mean something entirely different than was originally intended. And, in fact, the true definition of "cult" is not how society portrays it today. It seems to now have a very negative connotation to it and it really shouldn't. The dictionary definition of cult, while it will still have the more accepted societal viewpoint as a part of it, is actually something different than it is taken to mean. Here is a sample:
A system or community of religious worship and ritual.
The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.
There are four "stages" (if you will) or types of cults/religion:
1) Individualist cult - without the "need" of an intermediary
2) Shamanistic cult - a very small group; intermediary begins to take on a role
3) Communal cult - a slightly larger group with an individual responsible for conducting or "leading" the group; a stronger emphasis is placed on the group (there's a lot more to it to, but I want to try to keep this relatively brief)
4)Ecclesiastical cult - an even stronger emphasis is placed on the group and a hierarchy begins to take form; this is more specific and considerably more structured than the other three
Most Christian-based religions fall into the Ecclesiastical category, as do many others.
As for you comment about judging. You have no idea how much it pleased me to read that!!! =) That is something I have been tyring and trying to teach people and all too often "they" just don't get it. While it frustrates me, I know that each person has to lead their life in their own way and if going around and calling people "evil" and telling them they're going to burn in Hell is how some choose to live their lives, then there's little or nothing I can say or do to change that. And, I don't want to go against my own words and judge them for that. I don't think it's right, but I won't judge them for it.
Anyway....I haven't yet read all of the rest of the posts in this thread, but this one caught my eye and I wanted to share a little of what I know. To bring it a little bit back on topic so that I don't get completely flamed....ummm...
Jason, what do you think of the actual definition of cult as compared to the societal definition of cult?
ok...I'm done now. If at least one person finds this post the least bit interesting or insightful, then I have accomplished something. If not, then well, I guess all I can say is, flame on! Of course this is so far down the board now that maybe nobody will even see it. Who knows?!
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