Reposted from unknown source, well worth reading.
Is Christianity a Cult?
YES IT IS!
"I want you to know something, this is sincere, I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fucked up.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the resume of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would've been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago."
Don't just react. Let us consider this question honestly.
How do YOU view members of a cult? Let's say, the Heaven's Gate cult, whose members all killed themselves in the hopes of riding the UFO in the tail of Comet Hale-Bopp.
1) Probably, you would say that members of a cult have lost the ability to think for themselves. They abandon rational, critical thinking. (Most normal people would not accept the idea of salvation in the tail of a comet.)
Now, consider the claims of the bible- walking on water, parting of the Red Sea, sticks to snakes, Jonah and the whale, Noah and the Ark, etc. Do people accept these things without question or critical thinking? They most certainly do!
2) You would probably say that they do not have any thoughts that are different from their leadership. Now, do most Christians hold wildly different viewpoints from their leaders? No.
3) You would also say that they do not question what their leaders say, and are willing to do ANYTHING they are told to do for salvation, including the killing of others, or themselves. Most Christians would not question what their minister or priest told them, and they would do anything to secure their salvation, if they were told to do it by their leaders.
4) You would say that they deeply and sincerely believe that they have found the truth, and that they are strongly defensive when they are confronted on areas of their beliefs. This statement applies exactly to all Christians.
5) Also, you know that people who are in cults always deny that they are in a cult.
The indoctrination practices of Christianity are indistinguishable from any other cult.
How can I qualify this statement?
According to the Grolier Encyclopedia, brainwashing involves two aspects: the confession of past crimes or errors, and re-education to new beliefs. Victims of brainwashing are "brought to confess" by "isolation from familiar surroundings", and a "routine requiring absolute obedience and humility", and "social pressure" from other victims with whom they are in contact.
"The last includes mutual criticism and self-criticism sessions, which play particularly on the generalized guilt feeling that all people have to some extent. At the same time regular indoctrination sessions are conducted. The acceptance of the new ideas is again fostered by group pressure and the anticipated reward of freedom."
These are the methods of Christianity.
More from Grolier Encyclopedia: "Improved understanding of psychology and neurophysiology have enabled modern totalitarian regimes to create extremely effective brainwashing programs.
Some of their techniques, however, have been used for centuries; the INQUISITION, for example, elicited confessions from alleged heretics by similar methods. In the context of religion, some scholars have noted a parallel between brainwashing for political purposes and the techniques used by some religious groups to generate religious excitement and conversion."
Again, Christianity. The parallel is observable in religions that use physical means (such as scourging, singing, rhythmic movement, dancing and drumming) to induce a trance like state in which the individual is open to conversion.
It is also apparent in the mind-control practices of some of the modern religions prevalent in the United States and elsewhere, most notably the People's Temple group of Guyana, whose 900 person membership committed mass suicide in 1978.
What happens to individuals who have been psychologically abused and morally betrayed by fundamentalist cult-like churches?
How can they recover from the damage done? Physically leaving a church is relatively easy, but the emotional and psychological departure can take months or even years.
This is why it is hard to understand how any person can stay under a state of religious influence - much the same way that people fail to see how battered women stay with their abusers.
Such dysfunctional and destructive cults of religion (whether Hari Krishna's, Moonies, Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate or Fundamentalist Christians) often use manipulation, fear, and deception to maintain a hold on members.
They also shower their prey with unbelievable amounts of affection and approval for staying in the group and meeting their expectations ("love-bombing").
The religious cults discourage members from receiving information from the outside. Thus it becomes a sin to read any "worldly" publications or "spiritual pornography." Cults establish their own distinction between right and wrong, good and evil; everything in the group is positive (godly), and doubts, and serious questions are not tolerated.
The authority of the group's leadership is virtually absolute. All problems are oversimplified and deflected either away from the group or back towards the individual (this is a methodology that is called conflict isolation).
It is no wonder, therefore, that the religiously abused frequently suffer from emotional and psychological problems. It is high time that our society recognizes and deals with religious abuse as a social-psychological disorder in itself.
Generally, a person who breaks involvement with a controlling religious group will encounter the following problems:
* Depression - the product of group-induced self-doubt and self-blame.
* Isolation and loneliness - the shock of crossing the barrier from one social environment to another.
* Impairment of decision-making and other intellectual skills.
* Floating - occasional lapses into the group's imposed mindset, often triggered by certain stimuli (music, symbols, key words or phrases, etc.).
* Difficulty in talking about group involvement - often related to strong feelings of guilt, fear, and bitterness.
* Interpersonal difficulties - communication, expression, making new friends, organized activities, dating, emotional and physical intimacy, etc. Recent escapees are frequently mistrustful and suspicious of other people and groups.
So, how does one recover from the Jesus Cult, or any other cult? How does a person heal the wounds of religious abuse? Hopefully, within a caring and understanding new social setting.
This can be a family, a support or therapy group, or an organized community such as a secular club or humanist society. It should also be done with patience and the consideration that recovery will take time and effort. The following are some ideas for persons who have walked away from religious abuse and who are on the road to reclaiming their lives.
* Work towards trusting yourself and relying on your own abilities.
* Put your experience down in writing. This will help you to evaluate, understand, and cope with your past involvement in the abusive group.
* Get in touch with other people who have gone through similar experiences, either one-on-one or in a support group.
* Find a hobby or pastime to reinforce a positive sense of accomplishment.
* When floating occurs, firmly remind yourself that the episode was triggered by some stimulus. Remember also that it will pass. Identify the trigger, learn to make a new association, and repeat the new association until it overrides the old one. Talking it over with someone who understands can really help, too.
* Handle decisions, tasks, and relearning of interpersonal skills one step at a time. Don't rush yourself, talk and think things over, and don't be afraid if you make mistakes - we all do!
* Be more willing to help people as you go along. This builds up self-esteems and exercises your problem-solving skills.
* Take a breather from organized religion for about three to nine months, at least. Deal with your questions about religion, ethics, and philosophy in an honest and challenging manner.
Remember, you are no longer a victim but a survivor!
On Being Religious
An ignorant people is generally a religious people, and a religious people nearly always an immoral people.
People who claim to be religious usually aren't. They believe that following some doctrine, dogma or egotistical self-appointed "agent of God" makes them religious, when in fact following anything, like a brainless sheep, is the antithesis of true religion.
Not being able to think for yourself is not a mark of great religious piety but a sign of being cut off from creativity, which is the realm of the Creator Itself. No person blindly following the uncreative life prescribed by a religious doctrine is close to the Creator but is in reality deadened to the Creative Life Force, which is "God"; hence, he or she is unreligious.
Do Pompous Pride and Religiosity Go Together?
Those who profess to be religious usually do so with great pride and feeling of being good. They think that they are getting brownie points with some deity in the sky or some society creature. Others who hear their declarations of "I am a very religious person" nod their heads in tremendous approval, approval that the sheepish "religious" child desperately wants.
Oddly enough, the pride and ego-boosting that come along with such declarations are signs of irreligiousness, of insecurity and a definite separation from "God." By saying that you are religious, you are in effect implying that there is something about yourself that is superior to the person who does not make such a claim.
You are arrogantly setting yourself apart from other human beings simply because you can shamelessly obey the doctrine of institutions that have mindlessly and violently wreaked havoc upon this planet.
A Frank Discussion on Dealing with Christians
Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech
First I will say that I believe that every person on the planet has a right to believe in any religion, no matter how stupid it is. I also believe that every person has a right to free speech and a right to talk about stupid religions and why they are stupid, even if "people of faith" get offended.
Just because I respect your right to practice your stupid religion doesn't mean that I have any respect for it, not do I have to pretend your religion isn't stupid and/or isn't a dangerous and destructive cult. If you are offended by frank discussions of religions, you can leave now.
I find Christians particularly offensive. Everyone is going to burn in Hell except them. They have no respect for any other religion. In fact, most Christians hate most other Christians. The Pentecostals think the Catholics are all going to burn in Hell.
It's a very dishonest religion and has a holier than thou culture where they believe they are better than everyone else. They like to pose as persecuted, but more often than not they are the persecutors.
They tend to lie and steal a lot because they are "forgiven" and therefore can indulge in sin. The religion is theoretically based on the Bible which is, quite frankly, a stupid book, and certainly not written by a God. But Christians hardly follow their own teachings and are more likely to cheat and steal than your average person off the street.
A Religion Based on Fear and Judgment
The core of Christian belief is based on the idea that everyone has sinned, and because you have done anything wrong that God will punish you by burning you with fire, or otherwise torturing you forever.
If a 5 year old tells a lie and then dies, God will burn that kid in Hell forever.Out here in the real world, if someone behaved like God supposedly does, that person would be severely mentally deranged. We put people who behave like God in jail or mental institutions. In fact, many people are locked up every year for imitating the "Wrath of God".
If Jesus could see what Christianity has evolved into, he'd be spinning in his grave!
Then there's this Jesus guy who's supposed to be "God's Son", born of a virgin, because sex is something evil, and he's here to cut a deal to get you around his dad's wrath.
God has an anger problem you see, and so he has to sacrifice his own kid to appease himself so that he doesn't have to torture people he created forever in Hell.
So, Jesus has to die on the Cross for your sins, but then he's resurrected, so he's not really dead anymore. And now he's "paid the price" so those who "believe" in him will not fry in Hell like the rest of us.
Even though God created the universe and created billions of us, and he's all powerful and all knowing, he seems to have an identity problem and is so insecure that he needs us to worship him. Kind of like a kid shaking his fist over and ant colony demanding to be worshiped and obeyed, but on a much larger scale.
God loves us, but needs to punish us, unless we worship him. It's like God is some southern hick child abuser or something.
Maybe we should call family services on God for child abuse? Anyhow, Christians believe God has a God sized ego problem and needs us to worship him or he throws fits like destroying the world and such.
God doesn't seem to have much control over his behavior and often is controlled by his own strong emotions.
God doesn't seem to really care much about what you do, but in what you believe in. It's "faith" not "works" that impress God. So, a mass murder who gets "saved" during his lethal injection will go to Heaven, but the Dalai Lama is going to burn in Hell.
So, you can be bad all your life and change at the last minute and get into Heaven. Christians obviously think God is pretty stupid and will fall for something like that. Actually, they don't "think" that because you're not supposed to think. you got to "have faith" to believe something that stupid. Faith is the belief in something that has no basis in logic or reason.
The bottom line is, Christianity is about the fear of going to Hell. They say it's about "love" to, but hey, people who love you don't torture you in Hell forever, so I'm not buying the "he loves you" crap. And even though God created the universe, he's just not very good with money, and he needs you to give him your cash.
God was a lot more out there in ancient times than he is today. God likes to work behind the screens, being the invisible guy in the sky, and let the churches do his work. He doesn't talk directly, so he need babbling nut cases to speak for him, (in tongues), with another nut case interpreting it.
God is rather impotent these days and is authority seems to be limited to getting even with you after you're dead. So God needs his army of Christian Soldiers to do his work for him.
The Chosen Few
God isn't powerful enough to save everyone, so only the "chosen few" make it in. The Jehovah's Witnesses have set the number at 144,000 people, and that's it.
Only Christians get in, and then it's limited to only "True Christians". A True Christian is your personal flavor of Christianity and most all other Christians are not really Christians, but are really working for the Devil.
Satan seems to have more influence here than God does. Satan is some fallen angle who somehow suckered God way back when and got power. I guess someone stupid enough to believe a death bed conversion can fall for anything, and isn't very bright. So Satan is misleading all but the chosen few who are True Christians and are going to Heaven.
This creates a dilemma. With all the flavors of Christianity out there, how does a person find the True Christians? I guess you're supposed to "know it in your heart" but there are a lot of Christians out there who are listening to God speak to their heart and getting a lot of conflicting information.
God is having a hard time getting his story consistent it would seem, or, you have Satan out there pretending to be God and if you are fooled, God is going to punish you. Remember, God is one seriously pissed off dude and has no room for error!
So, unlike other religions, like Jews and Bhudists, Christians believe that Gods has chosen them and therefore they are better than everyone. And because of that, they have no respect for anything other than their own limited and narrow perception of the world as their particular flavor of Christianity sees it.
Self Righteousness, Moral Superiority, and Mutual Ego stroking.
Christianity is as much based on culture as it is on dogma. Christian culture is rooted in the belief that you're better than everyone else. That because Christians are forgiven, they are "washed in the blood of the lamb".
They are chosen, going to Heaven, while the rest of us are going to burn in Hell. Christians are "morally superior" to the rest of us because "God is on their side" and the rest of us are "tools of Satan" we are "unclean" and we are "evil" while they are "clean" and "good".
They believe the bottom line is, "we're good, they're evil" and therefore the rest of us are below subhuman heathens. And they will tell you this to your face. And it's OK if they do it, but is someone says that "Christianity is a cult for weak minded people" My God! You're persecuting Christ!
Since Christians are the chosen ones and they speak for God, then what they believe defines what it "moral" and what is "immoral". This having little to do with actual ethics, but there is some overlap. Murder is generally considered a bad thing in all cultures.
Atheists and Realists agree with that. But sex is considered immoral outside the context of Christian marriage, an in the case of Catholics, outside the context of reproduction.
Sex is not a form of amusement to Catholics and is look upon as a necessary evil to repopulate the planet. Birth control is also considered a sin to many Christian cults. Christian fail to realize that if sex were limited to the context of Christianity, the human race would have become extinct, which would however eliminate sin and keep God from getting pissed off.
Christian go to church mostly for the purpose of reinforcing their beliefs in their own self-righteousness and moral superiority. There they can show off their "faith" in front of their fellow worshipers and participate in cult membership rituals so that they can feel secure that they are an accepted member of their tribe.
It allows them to reaffirm their beliefs through mutual ego masturbation, where members reaffirm to each other that they are God's chosen few. People speak in gibberish (tongues) and tell stories of miracles that never happen.
It's pretty scary stuff when you realize that these people a really sharing a mass mental illness ritual that is further separating them from the real world and causing them to believe things and behave in ways that have no basis in reality whatsoever.
From Bill Donahue of Hidden Meanings
Remember Jacob in the Bible.
He struggled with a man. His thigh was put out which means he overcame the desire of the physical and with that he became IS RA EL.
Please understand this elimination of desire has nothing to do with wanting money, or a house, or a car, or fun or a vacation. It does not mean that when it talks about desire.
It is talking about the desire to be part of them.
To be afraid to step out of line because of them. To be afraid to think in terms of light and cosmos because of them.
There is this need or desire to remain a part of the cult, the family, the tradition, and until you are ready to shut down everything that they believe and instead find that light you are carried down into the depths by Pluto or Hades and you feel like hell.
THE PLATONIC PERSONALITY
The Platonic personality is the personality that ties its spiritual nature to the habits, and viewpoints of the cults and systems of the world. The matrix.
The wise Sailor always looks for a lighthouse to guide him safely to port.
The lighthouse is a metaphor for the spine with the pineal gland on top, the candlestick in the bible. it is your beacon, calling you to enter within, so that you may arrive at the great port of the enlightened mind, and join the great men and women that have entered before you.
Shining brightly through the dense fog of religious superstition, the lighthouse forever shines it's beacon.
Your body and mind are the ships sailing upon the waters of life, with a compass that has gone south, due to religious superstitions.
A good Captain always knows to keep an eye out for the lighthouse, so that he may arrive at his port of destination.
Sailing The Seven Seas Of Life, which are your SEVEN chakras.
When we arrive into this world, we enter as a ship that is navigated by the forces of nature and propelled by the power in the invisible auras of Spirit. It takes a few years for us to launch our ship with a self-propelled, man-made motor.
During this process we are taken to many shipyards for a refit to our intellects knowingness. We are trained by man-made ideologies and our natural awareness starts to go down deep inside the "Davy Jones locker" within us.
We are taught to accept a new identity that will become the captain of our ship. We have to pass many tests of approval by our Admiralty of misguided intellects. Once we believe we are qualified to be our own pilot and navigator we set out to chart our voyage of a lifetime.
As we sail along on the seas of life's journey we stop at many ports of call to pick up passengers and cargo. Some of these passengers become permanent guests in our lives.
Some come for a short trip as they were sent to us to fill a need. Our thoughts advertised we were in need of advice and guidance so they came along for that part of our journey, for they knew the waters we were sailing. They steered us clear of dangers and helped us weather passing storms.
Then they went on there way. Some died of a sickness or old age but their souls stay with us for guidance, as long as we know where they are located in our inner sanctuary. These were the angels that we asked to help steer our course. We still have our trusted physical crew all around our ship and we have to be aware that we need to treat them with love and respect or else we may encounter a mutiny.
We should always be on guard, for there are dangerous sharks and pirates in these waters. Many are after our cargo of money and treasures, whilst a few wish to take the joy out of our lives. The stock market is a vast ocean of scurvy forces that lie in wait to ambush us when we have lost our direction.
There are many other hazardous ships we will encounter on our travels and many fly the flag of friendship from a distance but when we get up close they hoist the skull and crossbones. Our lookout fell asleep and we were attacked because our vigilance was penetrated by impostors.
Enemies posing as friendly sailing vessels in the seas of turbulent cross currents of information. And so we battle the storm and survive but each battle leaves its scars on our vessel.
Once we journey beyond our half way mark, we suddenly get the feeling we might be heading in the wrong direction. We start to understand the real enemy is within our own ship and the pilot we have so much faith in is an impostor.
It is the same impostor that we have been battling in the other pirate ships only this foe has been planted in our thoughts for many years and has grown in stature and strength. So much so it thinks it can control the ship in heavy raging emotional seas within, even when it knows the ship is aging and does not have the power it once had.
When it realizes it does not have any real power, it wants to abandon the ship as it begins to sink. It wants to forsake the vessel and allow it to crash on the rocks of worry and anxiety.
The captain of our ship is a wimp. A false-hearted scalawag with no care for anything except its own importance. It is a stowaway that dresses up in a captains uniform recognized by societies elite and panders to their whims.
That is why we believed it to be so real, for we have all been flying the wrong flags, because our captains are nothing but sophisticated, adulterated, decoys. The real captain is still on board but held captive in the deep recesses of our vessel. Captain Ego needs to retire and become a quite member of the crew.
The time has come to unlock the chains of imprisonment and allow our trusted captain to gain mastery of the controls of our ship. To escort us to safe waters where we can float on a tide of supreme bliss. Each day we will set out to achieve new goals and visit places beyond distant horizons.
We will still encounter many storms along our cruises but with a steadfast captain at the helm we will never fear any assault on our peace and tranquility.
We have a twenty-four hour watch in the crows nest. Our finely tuned awareness is enjoying the true order of command. We have turned off the old worn out motor and we are sailing into the sunset with Spirits forces supervising our sail.
Within our life span everyone will sail the seven seas. We come into this world as a newborn baby and some of us leave within a day or two. We have still sailed the seven seas, only we did it in a pure vessel and in super fast time. Others may sail for over one hundred years. The time scale is not important. The quality and value of time spent joyfully is important.
The seas are the same for everyone. Only the time frame is a little longer for some. In cosmic terms there is little difference in a second or a hundred years. The first taste is the banquet. The first sail is the experience of a lifetime.