Thursday, April 18, 2002

Kelli asks about the difference between cults and religions.

I have studied religion for some time and have NEVER seen a definition of cult that does not just as well describe many forms that the major religions, and some non-religious organizations, take. It's a useless word, in my opinion, used to bully groups that other people don't like. When I went to Baptist Sunday School as a kid, I was taught that Catholics were a "cult". No joke. Yet the Baptists are at the very least just as manipulative and deceptive as Catholics. So it's a name-calling, bullying, insulting, worthless word. The origin of the word "cult" is a Latin word meaning to adore or care for, which "cultivate" also comes from.

I'm not saying that many religions are not manipulative. Obviously, many are, and many do not deserve to be placed in the same group as the great world religions, all of which I respect deeply. But these religions are great and staggeringly long-lasting because they take many many different forms. Some of these forms are some of man's greatest accomplishments. Other forms of the same religions can be malignant, as we see coming from the Middle East.

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