Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dangerous cults?

I don't know if anyone caught the Jeremy kyle TV programme which looked at religious cults, focusing particularly on the 'Jesus Christians'.

On a personal level, I have no time for any of these organisations, which appear to be largely led by authoritarian personalities, attracting those who feel the need to follow.

The problem is that many of the so-called anti-cult organisations have their own, inevitably evangelical Christian, agenda.
They are not interested in the real problems of mind-control and authoritarianism, for if so, they would give up their own religion. What really counts as a 'cult'? Seems to me it should be about the way they treat people, not whether they have any kooky beliefs (which could be aimed at any set of beliefs)

I would, this, have great suspicions about anti-cult groups who do not start from a neutral position but believe that the main problem with cults is not the way they operate, but what they believe. I would certainly question people like Graham Baldwin, who appears to start from the position of being 'a Christian'. That makes his entire operation suspect. He merely wants to replace one set of beliefs with another. Which one is the 'cult'? Both propagate supernaturalist fairy-tales which cannot be verified. The question is what methods do they use and how much harm they do.

I would suggest that the anti-contraception position of Vatican plc and the homophobia of evangelifundamentalists does far more harm in terms of actual amount of damage done.

The original cult-busters were not operating from a religionist perspective. Their concern was the activity of particular groups. I remain to be convinced that this is so with regard to those operating from their belief that their sort of cult's beliefs are true, and others not so.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mersey,

Just dropped in to say, hi.:)

God bless!
Grace.

Dave Rattigan said...

Couldn't agree more. It is a sad thing that many cult-watching groups are ultimately bothered about doctrine more than actual abuse.

In some cases, abuse slips under the radar because other Christian groups are loathe to call them on their abuse or use the dreaded C word (cult). After all, they're Trinitarian, so they're brothers and sisters in the Lord!

Did you ever run into the Jesus Christians when they were in Liverpool? Very abusive, manipulative group. They campaigned quite heavily in the city centre in the early to mid-1990s.

Merseymike said...

I did. They were very aggressive in style - I actually had reason to report them for hassling someone on the street. I think they were eventually caught out by City Council restrictions on that sort of activity without prior approval