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Where do you draw the line between run-of-the-mill Bible Thumpers and Cults?

How do you react? Does it matter to you? Do you treat them the same?

By LucifersPen7
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25 comments

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5

its a cult when it stops them from living a normal life.

Bible thumper person who lives with his kids and wife, works a job, has hobbies.

As opposed to a cult person who lives in some group home with non-relatives and spends hours a day chanting and growing kale.

I don't usually treat bible thumpers differently than anyone else. I just don't have the energy to be mean to people.

key point ...kale

4

To me there is no line, all religions are cults.

Rugglesby Level 8 Jan 13, 2018
3

I think that one indicator would be that people start making irrational decisions that they would not normally make, based on the direction of the cult leader.

nlcperk Level 5 Jan 13, 2018

That's another interesting distinction. With "backsliders" or people who begin to question the leader, they are usually required to provide penance through action. Religions in general tend to be a lot more forgiving of those who aren't as faithful.

Also, ever notice that with cult leaders, they themselves do not have to hold themselves to the same standards they require their followers to do? They rationalize their exemption, as irrational as it might be, but the conditioning keeps the followers in line.

3

Bible thumper describes a person who wields their faith like a weapon. They're mostly harmless unless you invite them to share their opinions or beliefs, then it's on you for opening the door. Most decent people know when to stop if you just tell them honestly that you're not interested.

Having had a close brush with a cult (not my choice, my mom was into some weird shit when I was young) I can honestly say that the most frightening aspect of a cult is their ability to convince people that what they say and do is justifiable even when a young child can see very clearly that these people are fucking crazy. It would be understandable if there was some sinister villain behind the scenes pulling strings but some of these outfits are headed by folks who genuinely believe in their own brand of lunacy. If you or a friend is seriously involved with a cult, run.

macrobius Level 6 Jan 12, 2018

Cults have a more insidious nature and generally revolve around one individual.

3

To me, ALL religions are cults. Some have just been around longer, and become more mainstream than others. They're all cults nonetheless.

KKGator Level 9 Jan 12, 2018
2

I rather agree with Sassygirl3869. Cults depend on a charismatic central figure in the form of an actual living person (not just a dead figure-head), who commands out-sized authority and uses it to isolate members away from their other social connections. That is not all religion. BUT, it IS quite a few offshoots of Christianity that claim to be mainstream Christianity. Bottom line for me is, all religions deal in fantasy and wishful thinking. Cults are, additionally, led by individuals severely lacking in accountability to others. Pope? Head of the Mormon church? I think they get accused by other Jesus advocates as being a cult in large part because of that very form of unquestioned leadership. It's a judgment call to some extent. We could accuse many Protestant splinter groups of the same thing and might have a point.

2

Cults will isolate people from their friends and families to brainwash them. Cults are worse. Cults also take possessions and money from converts and stuff them their own coffers. The only bible thumper I personally know is my nurse who keeps a professional distance. Her husband is a Baptist preacher and I've never met him or plan to.

2

@nicperk makes a great point. by the main definition, a cult is, "a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object."

For my personal definition, I would add that the figure is usually alive and leads the cult. With that definition, most religions are not cults.

Of course, if we allow for objects and dead figures - then Christianity is the cult of the Christ. Judaism could be considered a cult of God. Pastafarianism is a cult if the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

You get the picture. So - decide for yourself.

MrLizard Level 8 Jan 13, 2018

oops I clicked like when I disagree. religion's leaders are alive. they promote obedience and collect millions used to indoctrinate to collect further millions. semantics I guess

@markdevenish I don't think that's true for all religions, but you might make that argument for Catholicism and the Pope. Besides - the definition I looked up supports the idea that all (or most) religions should be considered cults. I specified that removing most religions fits my working definition. I mean that, in normal conversation, to most people, I would not talk as if most religions are cults.

2

I admit I have to smile at those who are fanatical or really passionate about getting me to believe with them . I have a lot of patience because I am secure in my own beliefs. And often I learn something from them . Learning about others faiths and practices is fine with me.

2

Love the fact that so many here say exactly what I think too: Cult = small unpopular religion. Religion = large popular cult. Before Christianity became a theologised religion it was a Jesus Cult, and there various versions of it. They all start off the same way.

David1955 Level 8 Jan 13, 2018
2

You don't. Christianity is a cult of human sacrifice.

BD66 Level 7 Jan 12, 2018
2

They are all and the same at the lowest denominator. Why waste time in categories, sub divisions and classifications.

1

I was told, long ago, that if the founder of the group is alive, it's a cult. If he's dead, its a religion.a religious scholar told me that the basic Christian belief is that if the religion is not based on the gospel, the first 5 books of the bible, then it is a cult. (Think Mormons, Scientologists, Unification Church...et, al.)

Benmonk Level 6 Jan 13, 2018

I don't think so...where does that leave Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, even Buddhism.

1

There is no difference between bible thumpers and cults. Religions are the most followed cults in the world. I find it so amazing that normally intelligent people can accept and follow, become ensnared and blinded by such mindless teachings. Why are they so blind ? Neither the realist nor the bible thumper is open to any deciding argument, so there is no point in pursuing the subject.

madmac Level 7 Jan 13, 2018
1

They all are cultists of the various sects of abrahamic mythologies. Be they jew, xian or muslim they engage in ritual behavior; seek to convert, avoid or destroy unbelievers; have priestly "mediators" who condition their thoughts and control their behaviors;...

Still, so long as we don't discuss religion and I don't detect an immediate threat, I'm fine with anyone, though I'm wary of strangers. After all, nearly 80% of everyone in the US believes one way or another in the "big sky guy".

1

To be honest, I think "regular" religious people are more dangerous to society at large.

@buck1977 Plus, without moderates, extremists lose their ability to gain members, support, and funds. Imagine how the world would view someone who believes in one of mankind's dead gods, and proselytized about how he was going to smite those that don't believe and repent. Is he really going to convince anyone to do anything other than maybe offer him their leftovers? That's how all cult members would be viewed if there were no "regular" believers.

Except generally speaking, religious people are upfront about who they are, whereas as cults have a tendency to do a bait and switch. Everyone is still operating under the premise that a cult has to have a religious angle. Scientology doesn't, neither does HerbaLife, or just about any other pyramid scheme that hooks you with better health or wealth promise. THOSE ARE CULTS TOO!

@LucifersPen Yes, and just like the religious extremists, the MLM extremists would be nothing without their moderates. My theory holds up.

0

In P.I.E.Bonnewitz book "Real Magic" (later editions) has a "is it a cult" test. The most telling trait is what he calls "the creepy factor", however mandatory conformity is always a big hint.

DaveAaron Level 4 Jan 13, 2018

The "creepy factor"? That's not subjective at all.

"Creepy factor" is the mathematical relationship between, strength of believers, personality of leadership, rigidity of practice, the overwhelming sense of being right or chosen or superior by divine right. violent tendencies and actions, an inherent need to break with basic social interaction, denial of science/education, and about 20 more categories

0

I have a slightly broader definition of a cult. If a religion teaches you that you are morally superior to other people just from believing in a structured set of beliefs, then you belong to a cult. I have often been accused of belonging to a cult by Traditional Christians simply because my New Thought beliefs aren't in line with their specific denominational teachings. Ironic, I know, but irony is usually lost on those folks. #MAGA. (also ironic).

0

every religion is a cult. size does not matter, or its age. i don't treat them all the same, you can have a conversation with cultural believers,. where you are talking to a brick with a bible, or qaran literalist. those types don't care about what is fact, or what science and history actually shows, they ignore it and call us crazy for accepting man made science, lmao, as if there books are not man made. i treat the bible thumpers like retarded children and laugh in their face. as it should be.

0

Now days I don't really care. I'm in here and happy.

0

There are no lines between any belief system from atheism to theism

0

same delusional lot. all with an over active front right lobe. medication may help !

0

yes

0

It's all a cult at some level. It just comes in many degrees of crazy.

0

Never run at the mill all those moving parts are dangerous. There are blowhards and then there are fanatics the blowhards are usually wimps.

azzow2 Level 9 Jan 12, 2018
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