So if I claimed to be God, and found a bunch of nitwits that believed me and did not harass any of them when leaving or forced them to separate or distance themselves from their families I am not a cult leader?
I think you need to refine your definition.
I have always heard it like this.
Cults are offshoots of a religion. While SECTS and DENOMINATIONS hold to core tenets of a religion, but may be very alien in terms of doctrine, CULTS are almost the opposite. Despite doctrinal similarities, they reject the core tenets of a religion.
Christian cults often have the rejection of the Trinity as their marker.
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If my daughter wanted to leave our faith to become a burqa wearing follower of another faith, I think she’d might get a bit of harassment from me.
Cults are held together on more of a tribal or pack basis whereas religions contain more of a spiritual element. Tribal instincts are not spiritual at all, they’re crude and sort of animalistic in nature.
Then it became a group that did not follow the "orthodox" beliefs of whatever religion was predominate in that area.
Now I would say your definition works pretty well for common usage.
history theology leadership finances
Orthodox Christianity is an open book. Anyone can look at the data. Anyone can inquire and make a challenge. No one has "secret knowledge" or authority beyond checks and balances provided for in Scripture: no one can "Lord over the church".
So,,the Amish are a cult?
If the members speak a different language or have a dress code that’s much different than the norm,it’s a cult.
If the belief system includes ideas that defy conventional logic,like a space ship is going to pick up all the true believers-it’s a cult.
Simple and excellent criteria. I commend you - for years so many have struggled so much to define what is and what isn’t a cult.
BUT, at the same time, many groups and denominational churches have some of these characteristics......you are warmly welcomed when you come, but criticized and condemned when you leave.
Yes, true saints will love you and treat you the same coming or going - unless things were as in Romans 16:17, 18, and I Timothy 1:19, 20.
I know a man who recently told his investment advisors to who he had committed much of his fortune that he was leaving them. Instead of protesting, or trying to keep him, they were very gracious and understanding, wishing him the best and supporting him regardless. The CEO of the investment firm later mentioned to me that he had once attended a seminar on how important it was for an investment advisor to treat a client graciously when he/she left for another firm.
I immediately thought of how this should be applied in the local church.
If they bad-mouth and criticize those who leave - it has cultic tendencies at least........
I would go a bit further and say that if the “religion” tells you that you will always be a follower of it, whether you like it or not, it is a cult.
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There is no difference. The question of whether an adherent of a particular faith is free to apostatize from their former beliefs changes with time and place.
If it requires you to try to be good enough for God, it is a cult.
I think it is all about control. A cult demands full control over your behavior, your associations and even your thoughts.