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Alternative or misinterpretation of religion?

(65 Posts)
GabriellaG54 Sun 13-Jan-19 23:27:38

I'm always interested in the BBC Storyville programmes and one I watched this evening was a particular eye-opener.
How people can be swept into the vortex of cult religions is something I really can't understand, least of all, travelling halfway around the world to hear a crackpot announcing that he is the Lamb of God.
Is it the perceived divine force of the speaker or the tangled unhappy paths trodden by the listeners, people who need a leader, need direction and will do anything, go anywhere, give up anyone, to reach the dangled carrot?
The programme: Waco...Madman or Messiah?
It's a sobering thought, that one person can bend (and destroy) the lives of so many.

RosieLeah Mon 28-Jan-19 06:45:32

Now that we have the internet and television, we are more aware of the true nature of many humans, and it's obvious that the majority of people are not free-thinkers. They look to others for guidance, they need someone to follow and emulate. The Christian religion reflects this. Jesus has been turned into a cult figure, someone to be worshipped and adored. I'm sure this is not what he intended, his purpose was to remind people of Gods laws, and instruct them on the right way to live.
This 'sheep' mentality is obvious in so many ways. Think of some of the ridiculous fashions there have been, yet people will wear something simply because someone else has decided that it should be the trend. Speech and expressions is another thing which is copied simply because 'its what everyone is doing'.
Politicians rely on this mentality, any free-thinkers are quickly slapped down and branded bigots, racists or whatever, because they dare to express an opinion which doesn't comply with Government policy.

Luckygirl Mon 28-Jan-19 09:07:14

Interesting. I think that the challenge is to know where to draw the line between a wacky cult and mainstream religions. It is a slightly hazy area.

GrumpyGran8 Mon 28-Jan-19 13:33:54

Jesus has been turned into a cult figure, someone to be worshipped and adored. I'm sure this is not what he intended, his purpose was to remind people of Gods laws, and instruct them on the right way to live.
Rosie That's pretty obvious when you read up on the history of that region. Under Roman occupation, there was a lot of turmoil, with rebel groups springing up. There were also a lot of wandering preachers going around and gathering followers (pretty much like today's televangelists!). Jesus was one of these, but his teachings (as recorded) followed Jewish law and tradition; as far as can be determined, he had no intention of starting a different religion - it was Paul who did that. Paul never knew Jesus but took over his flock, eventually deciding to rebrand this particular sect to make it more appealing to gentiles - no circumcision was required to join, for example.
I wouldn't call people 'sheep' though, for following something that seems crazy to us. They're looking for certainty, security and community, a 'family' that will lavish love on them. All too often, they fail to find any of that comfort on the "real world" that the rest of us inhabit.
You might well ask "Why do these people stay in a cult that is harming them?" That's largely down to the type of thinking known as the Sunk Cost Fallacy - you've already sunk a huge amount of time, money and emotional energy into something, so that you cling on in the hope of getting something back; in the case of cults, that's the hope of getting rewarded in the afterlife. Also you can't bear admitting to yourself that you've been wrong all this time. sad

MissAdventure Mon 28-Jan-19 13:37:12

I think some people are 'ripe' for the picking, be it religion, online dating or other scams.
People are lonely, marginalised; looking for something more to life.

Anniebach Mon 28-Jan-19 13:38:46

I am a Christian, it is not harming me, I live in the real world, and I am not wrong in believing in Christ

Anja Mon 28-Jan-19 14:32:28

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head MissA

People are looking for ‘something more’, for some meaning. There’s also an element of fear and looking to a higher being for protections (especially in primitive religions) and guidance and perhaps a security blanket.

Alexa Mon 28-Jan-19 14:58:17

RosieLeah, (first reply)You could not have said it better!

EllanVannin Mon 28-Jan-19 14:59:49

Religion is like a drug. You're either hooked on it or you can live quite happily without it.
I learned from a very early age that places of worship scared the shit out of me having traipsed through various churches, synagogues, cathedrals and mosques, with my father.
I just had a hatred of all things religious and although I attended Sunday school as a child that wasn't so bad because it was the church hall without the trappings of gargoyles and things attached to the building.

On my various travels abroad I forced myself to go inside orthodox churches monasteries and suchlike to view the architecture more than anything and have visited some wonderful places but in all honesty I couldn't say I felt comfortable--------I don't know why ? I just have this unexplicable aversion.

Yet, close to where I live there's a cemetery with a small Russian orthodox church in the grounds and the peace/ atmosphere inside that place is something else yet there are" illustrations " inside the place.

Doodle Mon 28-Jan-19 15:27:53

I am the only religious person in my family. No one ever forced me to attend church or tried to get me to believe in anything. My family are all good people. Kind, caring, considerate and loving. No great desire for religion ever made me attend church. Not running away from bad people or searching for love from an unknown source. I am surrounded by the love of my family. But I am a Christian. I became one of my own choice because of feelings inside me that are shared by many and not felt by many more. No cult as far as I’m concerned. I know there are many people who use religion (or what they term as religion) in order to force others down a path or to take their money from them but then there are good and bad in all walks of life just as in all religions too.

M0nica Mon 28-Jan-19 15:39:27

Cults are very good psychologists they know how to recognise those who are vulnerable enough to be attracted to their organisation. They play with the minds of their aspirants, once in, they tangle you in their web, so that it is very difficult to get free. They also break the links between you and your family and friends. In fact once attracted in, cults act like a psychologically abusing partner

If you do leave you are left like an unshorn lamb on a Yorkshire moor in winter, absolutely alone, none of your fellow adherents will acknowledge you or speak to you. You will have no money, no home, no non-cult friends left, possibly even your family may have moved.

Once in, leaving is very scary. Cult leaders are usually psychopathic and cults are all about the leader, not the belief system.belief system.

Anniebach Mon 28-Jan-19 17:29:25

With you Doodle and I have given little to the Church but received so much

varian Mon 28-Jan-19 18:53:13

Religion is fine as long as religous folk don't attempt to impose their views on others.

M0nica Mon 28-Jan-19 19:21:04

That applies to anyone. Politicians, Doctors, even next door neighbours.

Doodle Mon 28-Jan-19 19:24:38

What like non religious people varian? * Gabriella* has voiced her opinions on Jesus and religious folk on many GN threads in a mannner likely to (or designed to) offend those of faith.

Anniebach Mon 28-Jan-19 20:31:46

I have never criticised atheists yet I find critcism of Christians on every thread related to faith / spirituality.

Faith in God is the same as believing in the tooth fairy.

Sheep mentality

They are looking for certainty, security, community

PECS Mon 28-Jan-19 21:04:03

I was raised in a 1950s gently religious home and attended a place of worship each week. I was used to meeting people of different denominations and faiths amongst my parents' friends and family. As a young teen I went to the mass meeting of the evangelist Billy Graham and went to accept Jesus. I was a regular at church youth clubs, was confirmed as a member of the C/E at 15. Culturally I was a C/E Christian but with a keen awareness of the Coptic and Greek Orthodox Christian churches, Liberal Judaism and Sunni Islam due to close family friends and relatives. I chose to study A level RE. However at 17 I went to seek the help of my priest . I was in love with a boy who was not part of the church community that was so much a part of me. I was in teenage turmoil. The advice I got: leave the boy or leave the church. I left the church.

varian Mon 28-Jan-19 21:05:46

I have never crticicsied your faith or any faith Annie.We only ask that you do not impose it on others.

Anniebach Mon 28-Jan-19 21:15:43

varian I never have, I do remember you telling me * I hope you didn’t sent your children to a faith school* it was none of your business was it ? If I had said ‘ I hope your sent your children to a faith school’ you would have said ?

MissAdventure Mon 28-Jan-19 21:40:39

Everyone is looking for love, acceptance, support, and for some it is Christianity which fulfils all of that and more.
Its just that some get drawn into cults.
Nothing at all wrong with people who have faith.

Anniebach Mon 28-Jan-19 21:46:56

I wasn’t looking for love, acceptance or support when I made the choice , I was surrounded by them,

Cults are different , I have never had any involvement in one but it seems it is the cult leader who is worshipped

PECS Mon 28-Jan-19 22:06:30

I think cult leaders have, or use charisma to influence key followers who then go out and recruit the next lot.

I have been to some religious services which use strong 'advertising' type approaches to engage the congregation: images, stirring music and manipulation of the congregation through emotive language and call and response. I find that approach quite cult like.

Doodle Mon 28-Jan-19 22:09:26

PECS I’m sorry you had to leave your church. There are some strange priests/vicars around. As I mentioned, none of my family are religious. A fact known at the church I attend. I have never been made to feel unwelcome. There are many others in the same situation.
I hope I don’t impose my faith on others (reading your post varian gave me a mental picture of bashing people on the head with a bible grin) but I do say sometimes that I will pray for people on GN. I usually only say so to those I know are believers or those who ask for people to pray for them or their families. I will pray at other times for people whose stories or troubles touch my heart but who won’t necessarily know that I do so.

PECS Thu 31-Jan-19 22:27:48

Doodle my brother has a very strong faith.. since he chose to be baptised at 17. It is an integral part of his being and I totally respect that. He lives his faith every day but is respectful of my choices too. We share almost identical values.. only dividing when it comes to belief in a deity.

As it happens the boy I left the church for all those years ago is sitting on the sofa opposite me. I made the right choice.

Doodle Fri 01-Feb-19 19:22:12

My ‘boy’ who doesn’t believe is with me too PECS. Aren’t we lucky. I didn’t have to make any choices. Sorry you did.