Monday, 11 July 2016

Is a cult a suitable pace to deposit public funds?


  1. The definition of a cult is unclear, sensitive and controversial.

    Does anyone know how the UK Charity Commission or the UK Government defines a cult in writing?


    1. I have never seen the Charity Commission using the word "cult" or defining it. It has at least three meanings, so you have to guess from the context what meaning is intended.

    2. Thanks Ian

      'At least three meanings', perhaps that's why I felt it was unclear. Is it possible to give the three meanings simply?

      I was also wondering if the Judiciary / Law Society give a definition


    3. Three meanings of “Cult”.

      1. One meaning that dates from the early 17th Century, and was revived mid-19th Century is simply “worship” as in “the cult of Osiris.” This was derived from the French “culte”, which means exactly the same. That meaning does not imply anything sinister or deviant.
      2. The theological meaning: a sect that departs from orthodox dogma, a religious or social group with socially deviant or novel beliefs and practices, as in “a cult of Christianity.” The word is used in this sense by Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge (1996) in their book “A Theory of Religion” published by Rutgers University Press, p. 124.
      3. The sociological meaning, as defined by Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry and quoted below by Anonymous of 12 July 2016 at 08:39. Many authors have composed definitions similar to this.

      Because of the ambiguity of the term, most sociologists avoid using it.

      Hales Exclusive Brethrenism is a cult in all three senses. It is a form of worship, it is based on novel, heretical beliefs and practices, and it is marked by all or nearly all of the characteristics listed below by Anonymous of 12 July 2016 at 08:39.

  2. Certainly not! Public funds should be for the good of the public, not a separatist, self-serving group ( cult or whatever) who regard those who maintain them as beyond the pale!

    Cyril Chutney

  3. A cult. A religion that restricts or prohibits free thought among its congregation. A cult is a religion that is run by one man. A cult is a religion where people have no secrets and even their businesses are laid bare to their leader. A cult is a 'church' where the leader has his fingers in everything including the ownership of the assembly halls that were paid for by local congregations. A cult is a 'church' which pretends to be Christian. A cult is a religion where the leader gives himself names like 'Man of God' and 'Son of God' and the 'Elect vessel' and 'Paul' and 'Great man' and "Our Beloved'. Is that enough of a clue for you? A cult is a church were money always seems to be of more importance than the gospel.

  4. Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry have a practical definition.

    Here are just the social ones:

    Social aspects of cult-like behavior
    For a group to be a cult in the social sense, many of the following characteristics would have to be present. For a group to be a cult in the doctrinal sense, essentials (in this case of the Christian faith) would have to be violated. Some of the characteristics are listed below.

    Complete, almost unquestioned trust in the leadership.
    Leaders are often seen as prophets, apostles, or special individuals with unusual connections to God. This helps a person give themselves over psychologically to trusting someone else for their spiritual welfare.
    Increased submission to the leadership is rewarded with additional responsibilities and/or roles, and/or praises, increasing the importance of the person within the group.
    Their group is the only true religious system, or one of the few true remnants of God's people.
    Persecution complex
    Us against them mentality. Therefore, when someone (inside or outside of the group) corrects the group in doctrine and/or behavior, it is interpreted as persecution, which then is interpreted as validation.
    Control of members' actions and thinking through repeated indoctrination and/or threats of loss of salvation, or a place to live, or receiving curses from God, etc.
    Minimizing contact of church members with those outside the group. This facilitates a further control over the thinking and practices of the members by the leadership.
    Love Bombing
    Showing great attention and love to a person in the group by others in the group, to help transfer emotional dependence to the group.
    Special Knowledge
    Instructions and/or knowledge are sometimes said to be received by a leader(s) from God. This leader then informs the members.
    The Special Knowledge can be received through visions, dreams, or new interpretations of sacred scriptures such as the Bible.
    The teachings of the group are repeatedly drilled into the members, but the indoctrination usually occurs around Special Knowledge.
    Salvation from the judgment of God is maintained through association and/or submission with the group, its authority, and/or its Special Knowledge.
    Group Think
    The group's coherence is maintained by the observance to policies handed down from those in authority.
    There is an internal enforcement of policies by members who reward "proper" behavior, and those who perform properly are rewarded with further inclusion and acceptance by the group.
    Cognitive Dissonance
    Avoidance of critical thinking and/or maintaining logically impossible beliefs and/or beliefs that are inconsistent with other beliefs held by the group.
    Avoidance of and/or denial of any facts that might contradict the group's belief system.
    Those who do not keep in step with group policies are shunned and/or expelled.
    Gender Roles
    Control of gender roles and definitions.
    Severe control of gender roles sometimes leads to sexual exploitation.
    Appearance Standards
    Often a common appearance is required and maintained. For instance, women might wear prairie dresses, and/or their hair in buns, and/or no makeup, and/or the men might all wear white short-sleeved shirts, and/or without beards, or all wear beards.

    Read the webpage for doctrinal aspects.

  5. The Exclusive Brethren (PBCC) satisfy these requirements. They are, without question, a cult.


  6. A cult may be morally wrong, however, I think I'm right in saying -
    It is not illegal to run a cult or to be in a cult
    Also a cult could have charitable status, and may be public funding

    If it was firmly established by recognized authority (Parliament / UK CC / The Courts) 3 things would be clear;-

    1) EB members hopefully in numbers would sit up and think and not like the stigma
    2) In a child access or child custody case, a Judge would be very irresponsible if he left children without much access / influence outside the cult, indeed a Judge should order a wide sphere of social life
    3) A cult is not a Church, and I suggest not Christian, therefore the EB would have to drop the Christian Church title / claim on notice boards, trusts, websites etc