Monday, December 15, 2008

Same-Old Same-Old

There is a conventional separation in the academic study of religion between the anti-cult movement and the counter-cult movement.

The anti-cult movement qualifies what they call "cult" through certain behavior, to the point they have been accused of "medicalizing" religious beliefs.

The counter-cult movement mostly sees as "cults" those new religious movement that depart from key religious beliefs of their own, namely, that JC died on the cross for our sins.

The anti-cult and counter-cult movement are natural allies against so-called cults, though at times things haven't been so rosy. This was for example the case when Conway and Siegelman started to adapt their "Snapping" paradigm to religious fundamentalists in their follow up book, entitled "Holy Terror: The Fundamentalist War on America's Freedoms in Religion, Politics, and Our Private Lives".

While the anti-cult movement can be a danger to society when the natural outcome of its "mind-control" theory is not tamed, it at least points to a concrete phenomenon best described, in my opinion, by the word "indoctrination".

The counter-cult movement, OTOH, offers no such rationale, other than the fact it "identifies" all the "false prophets" who dare to depart from the sacro-saint miracle of the Good News of JC's advent and who supposedly seek to deceive the elects away from salvation.

That this, by itself, is itself cultish should be obvious for reasonable onlookers, and I must say I fully agree with Monica Pignotti's recent blog post about it.

Not surprisingly, her position gets mis-characterized as "hating Christians", just as anti-cultists call "cult apologists" those who question their absolute certainties, just as the CoS refers as "SPs" those who dare challenge Scientology's grandiose proclaiments, just as fanatical right-wing activists accuse those objecting to a senseless war based on lies as "anti-patriotic".

Same-Old Same-Old.

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