Recognizing Cult Talk/Patterns Part 2

Part 1 of Recognizing Cult Talk/Patterns started with a quote from psychologist Margaret Singer, noting that it is actually quite easy for someone to be drawn to a cult. They [leaders of cults] are always overly charismatic, always full of promises for a better future if you but follow their ways, always just what the hopeless person is seeking – attention, love, brotherhood, companionship, financial reward, and most importantly, promises of eternity. <-Insert Hook->

At this point you could say…that describes nearly every religion out there, and to a degree, it certainly does! Yet, there is a point in which a group tips the balance from open faith to controlling behavior, exhortation becomes authoritarianism, reproof turns into punishment.

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Recognizing Cult Talk/Patterns

Times of uncertainty create perfect hatching grounds for leaders and groups of all types to spring up, offering peace, comfort, salvation, the clear and true path to enlightenment, or the only way forward. It should be clear that cults do not orient solely around religion, religion just seems to be where it is easier to pick off adherents.

One thing is certain, people have and will continue to fall prey to these ravenous wolves, and it is our purpose and duty to help provide clear and adequate warning signs. Also to provide adequate support for those who do fall in the trap. The most common side effect, just like a drug addict is to berate oneself, to feel stupid, or ashamed – how could I be so gullible?

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Religious Semantics, Splitting Hairs

Have you ever wondered, “If Religion, specifically the Christian Faith, is about unity (and it IS supposed to be!), how can there be 33,000* stated denominations in Christendom?” One man created a religion [Jesus] that rocked the western world forever, one whose message of unity that spread like a wildfire, has been divided so many times that the message is almost lost in translation…literally!

Furthermore, there is real heat between denominations – like fans of a sports teams who have real, emotional issues with fans of another team. Christians are supposed to be on one team, yet we’ll cannibalize internally, while simultaneously destroying the message of faith. Why? Semantics.

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The Least of These

What made the message of Christ so radically different than all the other religious movements, sects and groups some 2000 years ago? There were other philosophers, great teachers, leaders, movers, and shakers. There have been perhaps hundreds, maybe thousands of startups since then, if I can use a modern secular term here. Christ and Christianity flourished as a flower in a well-watered garden – yet it was planted in a desert of a racial divide, of war, genocide, and hate.

Having attended my first Global Leadershership Summit, I believe the answer lies in the core and fundamental message portrayed by a people from all walks of life, in different companies, charities, churches, and organizations, in different leadership positions and with different callings – to be brave in the face of loving others.

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Why are we Deifying Satan?

You know, I’ve about had it with hearing about a Deified Devil. Sure, he afflicts us, has some power to harm us, with God’s permission…sends his demonic minions out to influence the world, spread division and throw darts (lies) at our faith, but I haven’t read the Scripture where he (Satan) has the power to force our hands and actions, to hear our thoughts, to implant thoughts, to change our hearts.

I once heard it said, Catholics see Mary everywhere, Christians see Satan in everything. Every movie, show, book, song, joke – there is Satan, destroying God’s children with every ounce of fun they try to take out of life. But…is Satan REALLY in everything? I think not.

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I would not have you Ignorant …

This phrase can be found (4) times in the KJV Bible translation, and it always points towards a particular topic of discussion, such as not being ignorant of how Satan operates, or how Spiritual Gifts operate. God doesn’t want us un-educated about certain and important topics.

As I pondered a recent conversation with a fellow Christian from my previous Church, I couldn’t help but come back to this phrase. Not in criticism of this brother in Christ, nor of his church, yet they [that church] definitely holds the mentality (taught from the top down) that any opinion contrary to their standard set of beliefs is to be ignored. Just don’t listen they say. Plug your ears and go la la la la la. Thanks but no thanks.

Is that Purposeful Ignorance?

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Are we cherry picking the Scripture?

Are we [Christians] guilty of Cherry Picking Scripture? I think it’s probably true for all of us, each denomination, category or flavor. We know who we are, what line or verse resonates with our ideas, so we sort of…make it…Our Scripture! I even wonder sometimes if we know we are doing it!

Let’s talk about (I hope you comment and participate!) it as we go over a common example to see if we are cherry picking Scripture!

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When it’s Right to be Wrong

Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand they say. Or, Ignorance is Bliss. I believe the first one, but the second is misleading. It’s somewhat akin to the lie our parents always told us (at least, mine did), “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That’s just not true. Words can cut to the core in irreparable ways, where bumps and bruises fade away quickly.

It’s just too easy to think we are right – justified – in the know. That our opinion is superior to another person. Yet, there is a right time to be wrong, and that is when you have a teachable heart. It’s important to acknowledge when we are wrong. Recently I was asked, “do you not believe … anymore”? I had to admit that no…I didn’t believe that idea anymore, that I had been wrong, grossly wrong.

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Fight for Faith

Fight for Faith – because it is worth it! The simplicity of the Gospel is that Christ, while you and I were yet sinners, died for us. He came in the weakness of flesh to end the battle of the Law for Righteousness (legalism). He took the penalties for our failures and opened the windows of Grace to a people not worthy of His Mercy.

Don’t believe it? Look to the woman of John chapter 8. The ancient Jewish (law) tradition was that a woman caught in adultery was to be stoned – to death. A harsh penalty and the Jews looked to trap the Messiah going against the law, yet in one moment in time, He [Jesus] ended the fight between Law and Grace.

“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” – John 8:7

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