"Religions are just cults with more members" ...?

United States
December 11, 2008 8:18pm CST
That is a quote that I saw on a bumper sticker a little while ago, and it has stuck with me. Is this true? Now. Before I go any further a small disclaimer is in order. First of all I respect all religions, and I do not mean to bash any. I am posting this for discussion sake only, so if this is offensive in any way I apologize, I do not mean it as such. I have no desire to change or convert people. Only to have a lively discussion and hear peoples thoughts and comments and opinions about the bumper sticker. So.. moving on... Is this true? I was raised Catholic. And I look around whenever I go to mass and it makes me wonder sometimes. heck.. my family seem almost like brainwashed robots sometimes. How does religion differ from a cult? Do you agree? disagree?
10 responses
• Argentina
12 Dec 08
There's a little amount of truth in the statement, however, I don't think it's quite right. One main difference is money. Religious organizations tend to ask for a small amount of money that members willingly give, if they refuse they are still members of the religion. Cults tend to demand the coin, you either pay or you're out. Scientology is a good example of such cults, even though they are considered a religion in several countries. Good lawyers that's all. Another difference is being law abiding. Groups considered a "religion" usually follow the law as well, cults on the other hand are usually associated to illegal activities and the like, pedophilia, animal (sometimes human) sacrifices, slavery and so on. This doesn't mean cults are entirely bad, Christianity started as a cult for instance. The thing is, and here comes the kicker, religion should be about bringing people together; even if the people are members of different ones. You say you see your family acting like robots, and that's the issue I have with religious people these days: They are missing the message and acting cult like: "if you're not one of us, you're not accepted" Rich
• United States
12 Dec 08
Personally, I think Scientology is Misrepresented to some extent. People hear things second and third and fourth hand, see rumors and 'facts' online and in the paper and in the end, know very little about what it really is. I know a little, as I have spoken with members, but I do not fully understand it. Then again maybe they are trying to lure me in(which won't work, I like learning, but I know who and what I am in such respects, I won't change) But the sect in buffalo spoke nothing about 'demanding' or requiring money. They invited me to come visit and learn just as any other church would and does. I understand somewhat about their belief system.. it's different, and I think where people make and get the misunderstanding from. It's different in how they believe, in what they believe. Not like most of the 'established' religions that have been around for thousands of years, and because of that people fear what they don't understand. If you start saying some Scientology people or sects break the law, or are more restrictive.. I'll bring up the pedophile aspect and point you at catholic priests. Just because some aspects are bad and evil, doesn't make the whole such. Also.. if you start acting cult like.. doesn't that mean you have become a cult? Can't you be a cult without illegal activities? Or are the 'legal' cults just small glorified religions?
@doulaworks (1079)
• United States
22 Dec 08
what is a cult to one person is a religion to another. it is what it is, but a cult doesnt have o mean a bad thing. It is what ever pople make it, there are many religions that are misunderstood by many and becasue they are different the are tagged as cults. many mytaphysial such as Unity have been considered a cult by main stream christins for mny year, yet they have neve been to a services, or studied the teachings. I was rasied Catholic too, my family have a sort of split in where they worship now. I have been a member of Unity for over 25 years, and I am a student of the teachings of Abraham Hicks the universal Law of Attraction. Te nice part for me,i I get to be who I am and Others do to so we all win... Be Well,
@Polly289 (269)
• New Zealand
13 Dec 08
Personally, I can't get into that whole theology thing. I am inclined, however, to agree with that statement. I'm not bashing any religion, in particular because I believe there is a God but I think he comes to us in many different ways be it Bhudda, Allah whoever. Same being, different name. It's nice to believe in something and faith is a good thing. I don't, however, believe he should be rammed down our throats. I've a feeling he doesn't really like it. If he should be rammed he's probably the one who wants to do it. Spreading the word is ok but I think too many of us have taken his word tooo literally. Sorry, I did get into the theology thing. God, Bhudda, Allah Bless you.
@krfanlim (232)
• Malaysia
12 Dec 08
Now that you mention it, haha, it actually sounds pretty true!! It's like, a big group of people who have the same frequency of thoughts, resonating with one another. But i think all religions are to be compared to cakes; cakes with different icings and decorations, but it's all the very same thing inside it. It all leads to the same path of happiness.
@Galena (9124)
12 Dec 08
I tend to think of a cult as being a religion that focuses on a person, usually a charismatic leader of some sort. so certainly, in the early days, Christianity would definitely have been what I consider to be a cult. which I find quite funny, as a lot of Christians like to call my path a cult, and my religion has never had anything much in the way of a leader type person. it very rarely has a priesthood even. just each person with their own right and ability to reach out to the divine.
@Pascha (65)
• United States
12 Dec 08
All religions are cults. All of them. Every single last one of them. I don't care if your religion is Christianity, Buddhism, Muslim, or Pagan in origins. All are cults. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they are bad things either. We tend to associate the term 'cult' with negative influences from the past. One cult brings negativity into the open, and so all cults must be bad. then people feel the need to differentiate the difference in cult and religion. They quantify their beliefs with things like "oh, this isn't a cult, that's my church gathering for worship services. It's a religion!" "He's not a cult leader, he is our pastor! The tithe we give is to support the church!" "It is God's will of what happens next. Only He has the power to heal and to love. God is good, therfore, this is a religion and not a cult." In the end, every person needs to believe in something. Even nothing is a belief system. It is our belief in the something that gives us hope when all is lost, that gives us comfort when loved ones pass away, that give us a reason to dream! However, it is still a cult if there is more than one follower. Sports teams? Cults. Organized yes, an all with a common goal. Still a cult. I'm betting most people don't tend to think in those terms though. Just because all religion is a cult practice, it does not mean that all cult practices are negative.
@benhilo (873)
• Tripoli, Libya
12 Dec 08
The difference between a religious church and a religious cult is the degree of obsession and rigidness. A cult is more obsessed and rigid.
• India
12 Dec 08
Cults are a subverted form of religion with one person trying to sway people according to his dictates. Often the cust head is a maveric and is later exposed. We have abundance of such people in the world who can sway you by their knowledge or their gift of the gab. It is up to you if yo get swayed by them or jsut listen to them and use your own brain.
@sisco100 (2347)
• United States
12 Dec 08
i have to agree with you on this. i think there is a fine line that makes a difference between a religion and a cult. the only thing that i can think of is they its two different levels of belief. when you really think about them both you find things in common with each other. whats stopping someone from turning a religion into a cult and vise versus. both believe in a higher power or something along those lines. but there are some religions that i don't think would come close to being cults. anything that worships one higher being for every thing is one that i would consider more being like a cult. I'm more likely to believe a religion that has more then one good for different things like the Egyptians. i know that there are most likely people who are going to find what i said offensive, but I'm not try to offend anyone I'm just sharing my view and there's no crime in that. I'm not here try to tell people what to believe and not to believe. i apologize in advance to those who are offend by this.
@SueD823 (371)
• United States
12 Dec 08
Perhaps an organized cult, or rather one that is socially accepted. I know many people need religion, i.e. church, in order to fulfill needs within them and I use to need that, too. I still love my occasional trip to church to refresh my self and to socialize, as well. I agree that many seem like robots who are brainwashed into thinking a certain way and if you aren't "that" way, you are somehow different. Many religions think black and white and there is no gray. Though this may be off topic, regarding the black and white thought, when I think of religion I think of forgiveness and acceptance. Though aren't some of the "religious" the first to throw stones at, for instance, gays? I'm not here to judge, I am here to love, I'll leave the judging up to my God. I have my relationship with God without going to church on a regular basis and I'm doing well. I have my bible I read and many Christian self-help books. Though they are Christian based, it does not mean that I agree wholeheartedly with what they say. I have my own mind, and as I said, I prefer to love and not judge.