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How cults can produce killers
The Irish Times ^ | Jul 16 2005 | Dennis Tourish

Posted on 07/16/2005 3:40:55 AM PDT by AdmSmith

One of the commonest reactions to the revelation of the London bombers' identities has been that they were so ordinary, and in at least some instances so well educated. How could such people have callously bombed dozens of their fellow citizens into oblivion? The surprise, really, is that we can be so easily surprised.

In truth, throughout history ordinary people have believed and done extraordinary things. The key to understanding why is to recall that they do so when driven by two things - intense commitment to a powerful ideology and when they join a high control group environment whose every ritual is designed to reinforce their ideological commitment. Groups of this kind are generally known as cults.

Most people assume that, since what cults do is mad, the members must be mad to join. But in fact researchers have found no correlation between cult membership and psychological disorder.

Counterintuitively, most cult members are of at least average intelligence and have perfectly normal personality profiles. It is this which makes them valuable to the cult's leaders - those who are certifiable would be useless at recruiting others, raising money or successfully engaging in terrorism. Consistent with this, a recent analysis of 500 al-Qaeda members found that the majority of them had been in further education and were from relatively affluent families.

The only difference between a cult member and everyone else is that they tend to join at a moment of heightened vulnerability in their lives, such as after a divorce, losing a job or attending college away from home for the first time.

At such moments we are more likely to crave certainty, and the comfort of belonging to some group that gives our lives a higher purpose than day-to-day survival.

Cults promote a message which claims certainty about issues which are objectively uncertain. Despite this logical flaw, the message is alluring. Most of us want to believe that the world is more orderly than it is, and that some authority figure has compelling answers to all life's problems. An individual who claims to have "The Truth" is more convincing than someone who announces "I don't know".

We should never underestimate the power of ideology. Cult leaders know this. They invest their ideology with extraordinary power by exaggerating the extent to which they are confident in its precepts. Conviction becomes faith.

Since we can't see into their heads, we take their public performance of certainty as more authentic than it probably is. And by virtue of their skill as interpreters and purveyors of the chosen ideology, the leader also becomes a powerful authority figure, whose pronouncements are taken very seriously by his or her followers, however strange they seem to outsiders.

Moreover, most of us are much more willing to do bizarre things on the word of authority figures than we care to realise. This was famously shown by Stanley Milgram, an American psychologist in the 1960s. Milgram convinced his subjects that, by administering potentially lethal shocks to other subjects in the next room, they would be helping him in a learning experiment - a rationale, or ideology, that justified despicable behaviour.

In point of fact, the recipients of the shocks were actors who, on cue, shouted and screamed with great conviction. Threequarters of Milgram's real subjects carried his instructions through to an end, when the fake subjects next door were silent, signifying that they were unconscious - or dead.

The London terrorists had two ultimate authority figures - Osama bin Laden, and, beyond him, God. Cults, whether secular or religious, generally go to great pains to project their leaders in a semi-divine light, blessed with uncommon insight, charisma and dedication to the cause. Convincing messages from such sources, cloaked in the language of ideology, have a powerful effect.

The ideology is therefore critical, and cults are adept at reinforcing its power. Members spend more and more time talking only to each other. They engage in rituals designed to reinforce the dominant belief system. Language degenerates into a series of thought-stifling clichés which encourages other actions that are consistent with the ideology of the cult.

The world becomes divided into the absolutely good and the absolute evil, a black and white universe in which there is only ever the one right way to think, feel and behave. Members are immunised against doubt - a mental state in which any behaviour is possible, providing it is ordained by a leader to whom they have entrusted their now blunted moral sensibilities.

A further factor is what has been described as the principle of "commitment and consistency". It has been found that if people make an initial small commitment to a course of action or belief system they become even more motivated to engage in further acts that are consistent with their initial commitment.

For example, if we persuade people to attend a Tupperware party the chances are that they will buy something, even if they have no particular desire to do so. In a similar vein, if we get someone to buy cult literature, attend a meeting or engage actively in any other activity at its behest, more will follow.

The key is that each new step is but a small advance on what has already been done. A terrorist cult does not order each new recruit to engage in a suicide bombing tomorrow. But they will gradually build to that point, so that the final act of detonation is but a small incremental step from that which was taken the day before. The gulf from where the person started to where they have ended up is not immediately apparent.

Within the cultic environment I am describing, ideological fervour is further strengthened by the absence of dissent. Imagine, if you can, a senior DUP member daring to suggest that Gerry Adams has some redeeming qualities.

The reaction of his or her colleagues can be readily imagined. It is even more difficult to imagine a group of terrorists listening patiently while one of their number offers the view that "maybe bombing London is not such a good idea". Rather, any deviation from the official script is met by a combination of silence, ridicule and yet louder assertions of the group's dominant ideology.

Ridicule is a powerful social force. It strengthens people's faith in their belief system. Rather than risk becoming marginalised, most of us wish to affiliate even more closely with those groups that we have come to regard as important.

Secondly, when no one is openly critical we tend to imagine, wrongly, that those around us are more certain of their views than they are. The absence of obvious doubt from anyone else quells any reservations that we ourselves may be harbouring, and tempts us into ever more enthusiastic expressions of agreement with the prevailing orthodoxy.

We reason that, if something was wrong, someone other than ourselves would be drawing attention to it. Psychologists call the process "consensual validation". What seems mad to an outsider becomes the conventional wisdom of the group. All sorts of dismal group decisions, including many made by business and government, can be partly explained by this dynamic.

People have been attempting - and failing - to imagine what must have been going through the minds of the bombers in their last minutes. Surely they must have looked around, and had some glimmer of doubt? It is necessarily speculative, but my guess is that any such feeling would have been muted.

Within cults, the gap between rhetoric and reality is so pronounced that, of course, doubts do occasionally intrude. But cult members are taught a variety of automated responses to quell the demon of dissent. For example, a member of the Unification Church who suddenly doubts that the Rev Moon is the ordained representative of God on earth might chant "Satan get behind me".

It is likely, I think, that the London bombers spent their last moments in a final silent scream, designed to obliterate in their minds the pending screams of their soon-to-be victims. It is a sound we all must now attempt to deal with.

What therefore can be done? It is certainly clear that where cultic groups engage in illegal activities the full force of the law should be deployed against them. It is less clear that outlawing any group deemed cultic is the way forward. Who, ultimately, is to decide on the difference between, say, your legitimate religion and my view of a cult?

We must become suspicious of those who claim certainty, we must challenge all authority figures and we must cherish dissent: it is these responses that diminish the leaders of cults, rather than the society in which we live.

Dennis Tourish is a professor of management and organisational behaviour at Robert Gordon University in Scotland. He is co-author of On the Edge: Political Cults, Right and Left published by ME Sharpe


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; cults; islam; london; londonattacked; londonunderground; terrorattack
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Here is a qoute from http://www.mayhem.net/Crime/cults1.html

"Killer cults tend to be led by charismatic megalomaniacs who pit themselves and their churches against the rest of the world. They are usually apocalyptic visionaries drunk with lust and power that have physical and sexual control over their followers. In most cases their beliefs stem from twisted interpretations of established doctrines. These self-proclaimed divinities usually amass a large arsenal of weapons before bringing forth their personal day of reckoning."

1 posted on 07/16/2005 3:40:56 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: nuconvert; Dog; Coop; Cap Huff; Saberwielder

Looking into the head of UBL and similar megalomaniacs.


2 posted on 07/16/2005 3:43:25 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
How could such people have callously bombed dozens of their fellow citizens into oblivion?

Here's the answer.

Islamic Scholar Warns U.S. of Two Faced Muslims
3 posted on 07/16/2005 3:49:18 AM PDT by Man50D
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To: AdmSmith
Consistent with this, a recent analysis of 500 al-Qaeda members found that the majority of them had been in further education and were from relatively affluent families.

And it is this small analysis that is consistently overlooked by the MSM and the liberals. They claim terrorism is often caused by the poor & suppressed in the ME or culture. And until it is understood that this is not the case at all we will remain vulnerable to attack. We are not at war with the poor in the ME, but the rich of the ME and that gives a whole different perspective on the WOT and the phrase "Nation of Islam."

4 posted on 07/16/2005 3:53:32 AM PDT by EBH (Never give-up, Never give-in, and Never Forget)
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To: AdmSmith
But in fact researchers have found no correlation between cult membership and psychological disorder.

LOL!

The smallest minority in the world is the individual.

Individual vs Collective

Freedom vs Slavery

Life vs Death

5 posted on 07/16/2005 3:53:39 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: AdmSmith; swordfish71; broadsword; Nesher; Fred Nerks; jan in Colorado; ariamne; ...
Good post AdmSmith...I also think that there must be some type of drugs involved, as there was in the days of the Assassins

PROP Ping!

6 posted on 07/16/2005 3:55:41 AM PDT by Former Dodger ( "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." --Einstein)
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To: AdmSmith
Charismatics? ROFL! More like sociopaths with delusions of grandeur. That's the kind of guys who lead killer cults.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
7 posted on 07/16/2005 3:57:19 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: AdmSmith
We should never underestimate the power of ideology.

This holds true in many other areas as well. One just needs to look at the cult of Klintoon, or the cult of Feminism, or Scientology... or any any brain dead progressive committed to some loopy cause.

8 posted on 07/16/2005 3:59:25 AM PDT by Fzob (Why does this tag line keep showing up?)
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To: AdmSmith
Cults promote a message which claims certainty about issues which are objectively uncertain.

This is also unfortunately a classic definition of religion in general, and thus by itself gives us no way to differentiate between a "religion" and a "cult."

Of course, the traditional definition is that my beliefs are a religion, and yours are a cult.

9 posted on 07/16/2005 4:03:16 AM PDT by Restorer (Liberalism: the auto-immune disease of societies.)
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To: EBH
Exactly. And the other point is evil is a matter of personal CHOICE. Its not caused by social conditions, economic deprivation, familial abuse, or educational attainment. People who do evil do it because they enjoy violating society's rules and because it gives them a god-like power over others. They don't do it because society didn't give them a fair shake. That's the difference between how conservatives and liberals look at bad guys. We believe they need to be punished. Liberals believe they need to be understood and rehabilitated. In a nutshell, there's the difference between the two philosophies in our Age Of Terror.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
10 posted on 07/16/2005 4:05:57 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Restorer
the traditional definition is that my beliefs are a religion, and yours are a cult.

Which is why it's futile to lable something a religion or cult. In reality, the phrase 'Islam' is just an identifier for a philosophy that is antithetical to the West.

We didn't need to know why the Japanese/Nazis hated us during WWII, and we certainly didn't care whether or not their religions (Shinto/Pagan) were cults.

11 posted on 07/16/2005 4:22:36 AM PDT by lemura
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To: AdmSmith
How cults can produce killers

Soooo, the Davidians PRODUCED Janet Reno?

12 posted on 07/16/2005 4:28:57 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: lemura

Personally, I do not care what someone believes.

I care a lot about their actions, particularly if they involve me and high explosives.


13 posted on 07/16/2005 4:30:55 AM PDT by Restorer (Liberalism: the auto-immune disease of societies.)
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To: Larry Lucido
What exactly did liberals have against the Davidians? They harmed no one and yet the Left relished finishing them off with tanks. The same Left that shrinks from the use of force against Islamofascist terrorists.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
14 posted on 07/16/2005 4:35:50 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

Precisely my point. It was self-appointed anti-cultists such as Rick Ross (who inexplicably has admirers on this site) who advised "Slash-and-Burn" on how to implement her final solution on the group.

The author of this pablum is prominently featured on the Ross site, not surprisingly.


15 posted on 07/16/2005 4:41:41 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Man50D

No go on the link.


16 posted on 07/16/2005 4:43:01 AM PDT by DB ()
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To: DB
Sorry about that. Try this.

Islamic Scholar Warns of Two Face Muslims
17 posted on 07/16/2005 4:47:33 AM PDT by Man50D
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To: AdmSmith
The author uses paragraph after paragraph of psychobabble to finally get to this "prescription":

What therefore can be done? It is certainly clear that where cultic groups engage in illegal activities the full force of the law should be deployed against them.

What the hell does that mean? Strictly enforce zoning laws against Jehovas Witness temples? More health department inspections at Hare Krisha-owned restaurants?

We must become suspicious of those who claim certainty, we must challenge all authority figures and we must cherish dissent: it is these responses that diminish the leaders of cults, rather than the society in which we live.

Yep, that will have the muzzies quivering in their boots.

18 posted on 07/16/2005 4:51:34 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: AdmSmith
Militant secularists try put down all other religions. Amish are very separate and commited but they do not blow themselves up.

And it is militant secularists who in the name of their cult murdered the largest number of people.

19 posted on 07/16/2005 4:58:03 AM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: Larry Lucido
What the hell does that mean? Strictly enforce zoning laws against Jehovas Witness temples? More health department inspections at Hare Krisha-owned restaurants?

Forced integration of the Amish, shaving the beards of the Hasidic Jews. Just do not do any profiling and do not look at these young men with Saudi passports.

Militant secularists are going to use Islamism as a reason for the new attack on all religions.

20 posted on 07/16/2005 5:02:13 AM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: AdmSmith

Nobody, from any and all religion, should blindly allow others to tell them what to think.


21 posted on 07/16/2005 5:02:53 AM PDT by tkathy (Tyranny breeds terrorism. Freedom breeds peace.)
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To: AdmSmith

"Killer cults tend to be led by charismatic megalomaniacs who pit themselves and their churches against the rest of the world. They are usually apocalyptic visionaries drunk with lust and power that have physical and sexual control over their followers. In most cases their beliefs stem from twisted interpretations of established doctrines. These self-proclaimed divinities usually amass a large arsenal of weapons before bringing forth their personal day of reckoning."

Liberals democrat party is a killer cult by these standards.


22 posted on 07/16/2005 5:04:39 AM PDT by ohhhh ( That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice,..)
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To: tkathy
Nobody, from any and all religion, should blindly allow others to tell them what to think.

The fact is that the only a minority of people are thinkers. Majority are the followers. Even the greatest thinkers have most of their ideas inherited from the past generations (many of them unknowingly). Men are social animals more than they are individuals.

That is why we do not have 6 billion religions or 6 billion political ideologies or 6 billion civilizations.

23 posted on 07/16/2005 5:08:47 AM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: Former Dodger

"Now no man was allowed to enter the Garden save those whom he intended to be his ASHISHIN. There was a fortress at the entrance to the Garden, strong enough to resist all the world, and there was no other way to get in. He kept at his Court a number of the youths of the country, from twelve to twenty years of age, such as had a taste for soldiering... Then he would introduce them into his Garden, some four, or six, or ten at a time, having first made them drink a certain potion which cast them into a deep sleep, and then causing them to be lifted and carried in. So when they awoke they found themselves in the Garden.

"When therefore they awoke, and found themselves in a place so charming, they deemed that it was Paradise in very truth. And the ladies and damsels dallied with them to their hearts' content...

"So when the Old Man would have any prince slain, he would say to such a youth: 'Go thou and slay So and So; and when thou returnest my Angels shall bear thee into Paradise. And shouldst thou die, natheless even so will I send my Angels to carry thee back into Paradise.'"

(from 'The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian', translated by Henry Yule, London, 1875.)

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/assassin.htm


24 posted on 07/16/2005 5:21:40 AM PDT by Fred Nerks (Understand Islam. Understand Evil. Read THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD link My Page.)
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To: AdmSmith

We have these same type of ordinary Putz's living here, working hard in the 7-11 by day fermenting violence by night. Ordinary looking middle -eastern people who pose as Americans, but are really hoping to destroy our America and rebuild it into an Islamic shiitehole. Dont be surprised when these people attack.The ACLU is doing all they can to help.


25 posted on 07/16/2005 5:27:16 AM PDT by sgtbono2002
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To: Former Dodger
I anticipate that we should work on a policy that reduces the probabilities for crazy states and minimizes their impact. Yes, this implies that we should interfere with the ideology of those states, be it Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, North Korea or Iran.

One possibility that we as free citizens could do is to collect money for translating important books that could be downloaded for free on the Internet, why not start with this book http://syrcom.cua.edu/Hugoye/Vol6No1/HV6N1PRPhenixHorn.html that probes in to the origins of the Quran and proposes that it has Syriac Aramaic origins; the promised 72 virgins are actually garpes, oops they were really sour ;-)
26 posted on 07/16/2005 5:48:19 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith

garpes => grapes


27 posted on 07/16/2005 5:49:58 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
Good post.

The author's diagnosis of symptoms is right on the money.
Most cults don't turn violent, hence they're usually laughed off and/or ignored.

Imo, 'deprogramming' is just another name for trying to negate learned (and varying degrees of) submissiveness and instilling a human being with a rational, independent backbone for the first time in their lives.

In most cases, scaling Mt. Everest on one's knees would be an easier task.

Once a cult turns to unprovoked violence toward innocents, the factors of time and the safety of the community will/should exclude any responses 'gentler' than imprisonment or extermination.

If the quote attributed to him is accurate, Einstein was close, but wrong.

The two most common elements in the universe are actually hydrogen and wishful thinking.

28 posted on 07/16/2005 5:52:10 AM PDT by tomkat
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To: AdmSmith
This article is nonsense from start to finish. The thing wrong with people who murder innocents wholesale is not that they think anything with certainty. Only the most doctinaire and narrow minded skeptical philosopher could possibly think so. "If only they were skeptics", sigh. That is the whole argument and it is demonstrably false.

Skepticism was deployed in the east in support of theology long before it was used in the west to attack it. Ghazali is a lot older than Hume. The belief that nothing can be known with certainty can promote mysticism (by erasing the line between rationalism and mysticism). Doctrinal Asharite theologians are determined skeptics. Faith is acknowledged to be devoid of certainty, certainty and any desire for it is regarded as a species of pride, attempting to control God. To the point where belief in necessity in any form is regarded as heretical. This is not an obscure theological position held by nobodies, it is one of a handful of dominant theological schools in Islam.

Nor is the willingness to accept death a sign of madness. The article turns bravery into madness, or any hope for an afterlife. All Christianity, all Islam, all Hindus teach the existence of afterlifes, as things taken on faith typically, nothing to do with certainty (a modern philosophy shibboleth, not a religious one). You can think they are reassuring fairy tales, but two thirds of mankind profess them so you can't call them abnormal. Ask an anthropologist how far back it goes and across how many cultures. Nor have peoples who rejected such things as mythical been famously tolerant. The greatest mass murderers of the 20th century professed no such beliefs.

Men accept death because they are mortal, and at some point any reasonable man recognizes that there can be and are things more important. The lay runs "then out spake brave Horatio, the master of the gate, 'to every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late, and how can man die better, than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of their gods?'" There is nothing irrational in self sacrifice even to the point of death, if the object is important enough. No one can permanently avoid death, but men can avoid cowardice, servitude, immoral actions, disgrace. Many a soldier has accepted death in battle to save others, there is no metaphysical mystery involve. A rational acceptance of mortality is quite sufficient.

The thing wrong with terrorists who blow others to bits is not that they aren't philosophical skeptics, or that they believe in an afterlife, or that they accept death. People exist who have any or all of those characteristics that have absolutely nothing wrong with them. It is that they kill innocents, and in doing so they commit a great moral evil. That is quite completely all, and it is not complicated.

But people like the writer of this piece are not really interested in what is wrong with the bombers themselves. They are merely using them as a prop to preach against their ideological bete noirs. Since belief in morality and the existence of real moral claims binding on all men is not something they philosophically accept, they look for anything else. And hurl their denunciations at anyone who seems certain of themselves (when the bombers needn't be, and mathematicians can reasonably be certain of all sorts of things), or believes in an afterlife (Mother Teresa must have been so dangerous then, right?), or accepts mortality (as though they will live forever if they don't, and all soldiers are fools).

29 posted on 07/16/2005 5:58:06 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: tkathy
And the bombers aren't blindly following what you tell them to think. Not the issue, plenty of thinking men are willing to kill innocents and to teach others to do so, to die trying, etc.
30 posted on 07/16/2005 5:59:44 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: AdmSmith

"[I]f we persuade people to attend a Tupperware party the chances are that they will buy something, even if they have no particular desire to do so."

I always suspected Tupperware was a cult!

No, seriously, good article. Although I'm not sure the DUP (Democratic Ulster Party?) will appreciate being included.


31 posted on 07/16/2005 6:37:34 AM PDT by jocon307 (Can we close the border NOW?)
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To: JasonC
I don't think the author is equating cult with religion, though he is noting similarities. He makes some good points: Cult members are not mentally defective, they are sentient, intelligent, capable. Despite this, they cannot be rationally dissuaded from their purpose; we can't reason with such people. This is a paradox to many. He also points out that cult members do not so much worship God as worship their deified leader.

The article falls short in omitting a central feature to all this: hypnosis. He does describe many effects of hypnosis but never applies the label. Hypnosis is reinforced by repetition, and this brings to mind the madrassas and mosques where these people are transformed (or programmed.)

I read that the Islamists in Gitmo are allowed their daily prayer rituals. What would happen if we were to disrupt this cycle of repetition?
32 posted on 07/16/2005 7:22:10 AM PDT by tsomer
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To: Man50D

Link is incorrectly parsed and appears to be no longer existant.


33 posted on 07/16/2005 7:23:19 AM PDT by Iris7 ("What fools these mortals be!" - Puck, in "Midsummer Night's Dream")
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To: Iris7

Later link works, thanks.


34 posted on 07/16/2005 7:28:41 AM PDT by Iris7 ("What fools these mortals be!" - Puck, in "Midsummer Night's Dream")
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To: A. Pole

I agree with your two posts.

This author's point of view is standard American Liberalism, that is, that "believers" are very dangerous, and that anyone who thinks differently than they do should be criminally prosecuted.

That American Liberalism is also a cult escapes him.


35 posted on 07/16/2005 7:34:49 AM PDT by Iris7 ("What fools these mortals be!" - Puck, in "Midsummer Night's Dream")
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To: AdmSmith

A better perspective is to study God's Word to discern between a false god and the Truth.

The evil vice isn't faith, rather faith allows one to discern and avoid such evil consequence.


36 posted on 07/16/2005 7:40:06 AM PDT by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: AdmSmith

Bump!


37 posted on 07/16/2005 7:57:00 AM PDT by F-117A
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To: AdmSmith

Thank you for the post. The general tenor of this thread revolves around the mechanical and group psychological issues in the cult behavior of the most intelligent of the herd animals on this planet.

While interesting, I would suggest that the 'technology' of cult behavior is not the issue. The problem is profoundly spiritual.

In short: There is a spiritual ruler, an adversary, a deceiver of all mankind - whom the Jews correctly see as the problem at the very beginning of The Book: Ha Satan.

Islam is a demonic religion. Satan has invaded some of the Christian church, but not to the extent of his success with Islam.

This entire historical process is a Greek tragedy in slow motion and will eventuate in much more blood and fire before long, if the Islamonazis are not treated in the same manner as the Bushido cult in Japan in the 1940s.

(Now donning my asbestos undies...)


38 posted on 07/16/2005 7:59:12 AM PDT by esopman (God Bless Freepers Everywhere)
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To: AdmSmith
The ideology is therefore critical, and cults are adept at reinforcing its power. Members spend more and more time talking only to each other. They engage in rituals designed to reinforce the dominant belief system. Language degenerates into a series of thought-stifling clichés which encourages other actions that are consistent with the ideology of the cult.

So then FR is a cult ?

39 posted on 07/16/2005 8:20:49 AM PDT by oldbrowser (The MSM is a cancer on our society)
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To: JasonC
This article is nonsense from start to finish. The thing wrong with people who murder innocents wholesale is not that they think anything with certainty. Only the most doctinaire and narrow minded skeptical philosopher could possibly think so. "If only they were skeptics", sigh. That is the whole argument and it is demonstrably false.

I have "discussed" with wahhabis, and I can assure you that if they would be less sure about their beliefs, we would not have the present scale of the problem with these terrorists. Many of them are generally friendly, even law-abiding persons, except that they are possessed with their strange idea. If we can show them that the basis of their faith is not what they think, we would marginalize the most extreme of them.
40 posted on 07/16/2005 8:39:44 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: tsomer
They aren't hypnotized, it isn't a spell, changing cycles of repetition would make no difference whatever. They are simply men who have consciously and rationally decided to commit evil acts, that is all. There are no rabbits feet to rub that will make them go away. Evil enemies have to be fought by direct force, that is all. And the only "cure" for it at the individual level is deciding that the acts involved are evil and refusing to commit them because one refuses to do evil. Which is called morality.
41 posted on 07/16/2005 10:22:44 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: AdmSmith
I've discussed with wahhabis, and with asharites, and with western philosophical skeptics who are also commies, and I can assure you skepticism does not prevent any sort of moral evil to the slightest extent. It is a prejudice of people whose religion is skepticism. They do recognize moral evil in skeptics because their world-view is built around "non-judgmental" people being "safe" and "reasonable". Which is nonsense, of exactly the same sort as the nonsense of Muslims who say those committing these atrocities cannot possibly be true Muslims because Muslims are righteous and true.

There is no connection whatever between the strength or weakness of epistemic claims anyone makes and their moral virtue. Nada. Empirically. It is made up, a mere hope or wish or self-identifier, not something you know anything about in the real world, and false.

42 posted on 07/16/2005 10:28:18 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: tsomer
I read that the Islamists in Gitmo are allowed their daily prayer rituals. What would happen if we were to disrupt this cycle of repetition?

They would be angered, and strengthened in their extreme beliefs. Better to provide them with selected books in Arabic.
43 posted on 07/16/2005 10:29:30 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: JasonC

You discuss this as an intellectual endeavor, but those engaged in terrorism has not read about the Mutazilites-Asharites debate, nor about moral right or wrong.

They think that what they do is the absolute right thing to do. (I am not including those that are forced to become a "martyr")

They have not read any philosophy 101, they are just believing in what their Imam is filling in their head. We have to identify those "spiritual" leaders and take them out .


44 posted on 07/16/2005 11:11:06 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
Some of them believe what they are told, others think "one way I'm worm food, the other way I go to heaven, what's to lose?", others think it is likely, others trust their teachers or trust their God, others don't give a damn, some are just blind with anger, some think they are helping their "brothers", some think they are standing up for their families or other Muslims overseas. But all of them, to a man, do not mind committing morally evil acts because they are themselves immoral. And that is the only problem with them, not their motives or their sense of certainty. You can find men with the same motives and the same sense of certainty behaving much better all over the world and in every sect or belief. The difference is not epistemic commitments or how sure they are of anything. The difference is morality, they willingly kill innocents. They don't need to be untaught having opinions or believing things or to be more cowardly. They need to be taught morality, that committing immoral acts is the worst thing you can do, worse than getting killed, that nothing can justify it, and that killing innocents is the epitome of moral evil. This is not what the author of the piece is talking about, because he is philosophically uncomfortable teaching absolute morality. Which is his own problem, not theirs.
45 posted on 07/16/2005 11:39:34 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: JasonC

Don't you think people who have been taught morality can be swayed?


46 posted on 07/16/2005 11:44:53 AM PDT by nuconvert (No More Axis of Evil by Christmas ! TLR) [there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: nuconvert
Anyone can choose moral evil at any time. Men who have been taught what it is, how it works, why it is bad, who have felt the ugliness of it in their bones, as are immunized as men get, about doing so. But always can. Men are free and that means free to choose evil at any time.
47 posted on 07/16/2005 11:47:37 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: JasonC

So, you think all men (people) are basically immoral and it's a day-to-day, hr-to-hr struggle to fight the temptations and live moral lives?


48 posted on 07/16/2005 11:52:21 AM PDT by nuconvert (No More Axis of Evil by Christmas ! TLR) [there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: nuconvert
No, most men learn morality from those around them and decide to adhere to moral norms throughout their lives. Most slip occasionally in minor matters without ever committing any great crime. They are free to act immorally, they face occasional temptations to do so (provoking circumstances, opportunities to get away with things, momentary anger or despair), and most successfully resist on those occasions.

Some men, on the other hand, never decide that they are against moral evil and do whatever looks good to them. Or convince themselves they decide what shall be moral or immoral and proceed to do whatever looks good to them. Such men only behave themselves when they see clear and present dangers in failing to do so, and are not uncommon.

And some men don't pay much attention to those dangers, which are ephemeral enough, and not the real reason to avoid immoral conduct. They think themselves superior because they see the shallowness of conventional restraints, and experience their freedom to choose evil as liberating. Occasionally this is a phase in wild young men feeling their oats and it issues in precious little, and maturity or worldly responsibilities cure it. But it can go as far as they let it, all the way to self righteous service to morally evil courses of action, "idealistically".

This is less common than either of the previous, but happens often enough to fill all of recorded history with endless crime. Evil is always with us because men are always free to chose it, and some men do. The rest of us then have to deal with them, by force.

49 posted on 07/16/2005 12:05:40 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: AdmSmith
"Killer cults tend to be led by charismatic megalomaniacs who pit themselves and their churches against the rest of the world. They are usually apocalyptic visionaries drunk with lust and power that have physical and sexual control over their followers. In most cases their beliefs stem from twisted interpretations of established doctrines. These self-proclaimed divinities usually amass a large arsenal of weapons before bringing forth their personal day of reckoning."

From a secular perspective the above quote appears accurate. If one studies Scripture and Bible doctrine, the reasons for cultic activity being so heinous is a bit different.

The term 'charismatic meglamaniacs' with respect to original meanings is contradictory. Charisma, from the Greek CHARIZOMAI, might be translated as gracious or a gift not requiring anything in return and frequently associated with a spiritual gift. A meglamaniac, though, is usually associated with a person seeking power for themselves. Accordingly, a person who gives a spiritual gift with the intention of gaining more power for themselves is not synonomous with the God of Scripture, nor with the mind of Christ, but rather following a policy of evil.

This choice of words, if an accurate description of a preacher, indicates the preacher isn't preaching the Word of God, but rather a false doctrine.

Characteristics of arrogance in advanced stages of worldliness also correspond to the vices mentioned, such as lust for sexual control and physical control.

The final comment is accurate, though, as most human misery is brought about by our own volition and arrogance.

It's also interesting to note that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever might believe with faith should perish, but might have everlasting life. Whereas those who fall away from God, might be prone to pit themselves against the world, rather than pitting themselves against their old nature.

Amazingly, by remaining faithful in daily study of His Word, even deceptive policies manifest how His Word remains worthy of trust.

50 posted on 07/16/2005 12:11:21 PM PDT by Cvengr (<;^))
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