1. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    07 Feb '16 21:48
    When is a cult not a cult?
    Do you belong to a cult?
    Is it a derogatory word or neutral?

    Wiki says
    In the sociological classifications of religious movements in
    English, a cult is a religious or social group with socially
    deviant or novel beliefs and practices.


    but goes on to say
    However, whether any particular group's beliefs and
    practices are sufficiently deviant or novel is often unclear,
    thus making a precise definition problematic.


    Presumably Christianity was a Jewish cult.
    And Protestantism a Christian cult.
    And Mormonism and JWs and Southern Baptists and ...

    Cults??
  2. Standard memberRajk999
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    07 Feb '16 22:171 edit
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    When is a cult not a cult?
    Do you belong to a cult?
    Is it a derogatory word or neutral?

    Wiki says
    In the sociological classifications of religious movements in
    English, a cult is a religious or social group with socially
    deviant or novel beliefs and practices.


    but goes on to say
    [i] However, whether any particular group's beliefs and ...[text shortened]... Protestantism a Christian cult.
    And Mormonism and JWs and Southern Baptists and ...

    Cults??
    Using Wiki's definition I belong to a cult along with the Apostles and disciples. Jesus is the leader of this cult. The idea of actually trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ is sufficiently deviant and novel. Modern Christians openly laugh at and ridicule this idea.
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    07 Feb '16 22:22
    Originally posted by Rajk999
    Using Wiki's definition I belong to a cult along with the Apostles and disciples. Jesus is the leader of this cult. The idea of actually trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ is sufficiently deviant and novel. Modern Christians actually laugh at and ridicule this idea.
    The idea of following Jesus Christ is over two thousand years old; scarcely deviant or novel. Modern Christians do not "laugh at and ridicule this idea." There are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world all trying to do exactly that, and no doubt those in other denominations too.
  4. Standard memberRajk999
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    07 Feb '16 22:30
    Originally posted by Startreader
    The idea of following Jesus Christ is over two thousand years old; scarcely deviant or novel. Modern Christians do not "laugh at and ridicule this idea." There are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world all trying to do exactly that, and no doubt those in other denominations too.
    Hold on and lets see how KJ responds in the GDs thread 'Religious Quandary".
  5. Standard memberDeepThought
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    07 Feb '16 22:36
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    When is a cult not a cult?
    Do you belong to a cult?
    Is it a derogatory word or neutral?

    Wiki says
    In the sociological classifications of religious movements in
    English, a cult is a religious or social group with socially
    deviant or novel beliefs and practices.


    but goes on to say
    [i] However, whether any particular group's beliefs and ...[text shortened]... Protestantism a Christian cult.
    And Mormonism and JWs and Southern Baptists and ...

    Cults??
    I think the word has two meanings. One is the common use to mean some sort of deviant group and is derogatory. The older usage is practically synonymous with a religion (the Oxford online dictionary gives an example sentence involving "The cult of St. Olaf." ). Because of the dominance of the Abrahamic religions in the English speaking world, which are monotheistic, the world "Cult" is somewhat redundant and so tends to be used negatively. But in the context of polytheistic religions, one could talk about the old Pagan religion and the cult of Woden, without intending it to be derogatory. So I think it depends, as these things do, on context.
  6. SubscriberFMF
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    08 Feb '16 00:43
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    When is a cult not a cult?
    Do you belong to a cult?
    Is it a derogatory word or neutral?
    I'm not convinced that freeze dried dictionary defintions are entirely helpful when it comes to a word that has been 'subjectivized' like the word "cult". I think it's worth looking at what people actually mean when they use the word and what group characteristics and member attributes they may be referring to when they use the it.

    I don't tend to use the word "cult" too often ~ and when I do, I use it quite deliberately ~ because, to my way of thinking, it is a somewhat 'damaged' word - that is to say it has been rendered subjective - which is commonly used to express a gut feeling about a given group that is perceived negatively or at least with some suspicion or circumspection ~ and at the very least unsympathetically.

    I think whether a group is perceived as a "cult" is about its members and their purpose, so this means that the scrutiny regards [1] their dogma, [2] their carefully cultivated and self-reinforcing sense of "otherness" and exceptionalism, and [3] the resulting intellectual and interpersonal behavior. This is being as objective as possible, I hope.

    But to return to the 'gut feeling' I mentioned which I think the word "cult' is imbued with and which triggers its use in some cases and doesn't in others; I think, when the word is used, what is under critical scrutiny is the effect that the instance of groupism in question has on its members.

    By this I mean: how the members' intellectual faculties (and, sometimes, their integrity) are distorted or truncated in some way by the demands of conforming to their group's doctrine, and the degree to which this distances them from what the user of the word sees as common sense.

    I don't think the word "cult" has been made invalid or that it cannot be used effectively to communicate its users' ideas or perspectives ~ especially to perceived 'cult members' ~ but I do think that restricting one's handling of this word to the bald, rinsed phrases or words found in a dictionary will not allow this topic to be examined with much success.
  7. Account suspended
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    08 Feb '16 09:49
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    When is a cult not a cult?
    Do you belong to a cult?
    Is it a derogatory word or neutral?

    Wiki says
    In the sociological classifications of religious movements in
    English, a cult is a religious or social group with socially
    deviant or novel beliefs and practices.


    but goes on to say
    [i] However, whether any particular group's beliefs and ...[text shortened]... Protestantism a Christian cult.
    And Mormonism and JWs and Southern Baptists and ...

    Cults??
    According to the wikipedia definition Anonymous the hacking group would be defined as a cult or any group of person who held an unorthodox view.
  8. Cape Town
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    08 Feb '16 10:23
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    When is a cult not a cult?
    Do you belong to a cult?
    Common usage:
    Those other people who believe differently from me and I violently disagree with, and are too small a group to be part of the establishment. It also helps if they have a strong figurehead and hints of idolatry.
    It is used largely as an insult.
  9. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    08 Feb '16 10:34
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Common usage:
    Those other people who believe differently from me and I violently disagree with, and are too small a group to be part of the establishment..
    I agree, but when is "too small"? What is the tipping point?
  10. Cape Town
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    08 Feb '16 11:33
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    I agree, but when is "too small"? What is the tipping point?
    It is far from being a clear definition. Even the Catholic Church may be called a cult - usually with reference to the near worship of saints or because of the 'cult like status' of the Pope.
    The word 'cult' has a number of connotation's. The purpose of calling a group a 'cult' is the 'labelling fallacy' ie the trick of labelling something with a certain name so as to suggest it has certain properties you do not wan't to name directly because you know you cannot support them. The best example of that fallacy is the way people in this forum argue over the use of the word 'atheist'.
    If you don't want to directly address the beliefs of another religious group (because doing so might highlight the fact that yours are also not easily supportable) then you call it a 'cult' and simply dismiss it as not worth discussing.
  11. Cape Town
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    08 Feb '16 11:39
    The Wikipedia page gives a good idea as to the wide range of meaning.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult
  12. SubscriberSuzianne
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    28 Feb '16 16:06
    Originally posted by Rajk999
    Using Wiki's definition I belong to a cult along with the Apostles and disciples. Jesus is the leader of this cult. The idea of actually trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ is sufficiently deviant and novel. Modern Christians openly laugh at and ridicule this idea.
    You keep banging this drum, but in no way does this resemble music. It's just noise.
  13. Standard membervivify
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    28 Feb '16 20:33
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    When is a cult not a cult?
    Do you belong to a cult?
    Is it a derogatory word or neutral?

    Wiki says
    In the sociological classifications of religious movements in
    English, a cult is a religious or social group with socially
    deviant or novel beliefs and practices.


    but goes on to say
    [i] However, whether any particular group's beliefs and ...[text shortened]... Protestantism a Christian cult.
    And Mormonism and JWs and Southern Baptists and ...

    Cults??
    This question reminds me of when I was in grade school, and I asked my teacher why we considered characters like Zeus "mythology" and not Christianity. Her answer: "Because no one follows it anymore".

    Popularity is the only stopping any religion from being considered a cult.
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    28 Feb '16 21:59
    Cults i think generally have a charismatic leader, for example, Scientology with its emphasis on the teachings of Hubbard, or more militant ones like Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese Domesday cult which let off poisonous gas on the Japanese metro system under the influence of the teachings of Shoko Asahara. We can think of others like the David Koresh leader of the Branch Dvaidians of Waco, Texas.
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    28 Feb '16 22:44
    If being "novel" is a requirement, than a cult is just a religion in its infancy.
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