How can you spot a false religion or a cult? Simple, they ask you to not ask questions. Cults do not allow their people to engage others who are disagreeing with their doctrine, dogma or opinions. They frown upon their people asking critical, logical or penetrating, probing questions about the truthfulness of their books, teachers or dogmas. They all about brainwashing their people to believe without thinking. Some call it blind faith others call it foolishness. Of course there are exceptions. But over all this is the clue you cannot afford to ignore. David Korseh and Jim Jones are unforgettable examples of false religious leaders whose ideas lead to the deaths of hundreds of people including children (not to mention the spiritual implications as well). Don’t let people get away with telling you “it does not matter what you believe,” lives (and souls) are on the line.
[Are you interested in what the difference between a cult and a religion is? Let me know (respond below) and I will consider posting on this in the near future.]
Clifford Willians wrote the Ethics of Belief in 1877. (Originally published in Contemporary Review) :
If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it — the life of that man is one long sin against mankind…. “But,” says one, “I am a busy man; I have no time for the long course of study which would be necessary to make me in any degree a competent judge of certain questions, or even able to understand the nature of the arguments.” Then he should have no time to believe.
Now, I know there are things in life that are true that one cannot prove. But the advice Williams gives is wise and is not to be ignored, except by those who love their opinions and beliefs more than they do the truth. A true philosopher, or a lover of wisdom is one who seeks truth. In Plato’s Republic, book V, Socrates is asked:
Who then are the true philosophers?
Those, I said, who are lovers of the vision of truth.
Are you a lover of truth? If so, you are one who would be difficult to fool with a false religion or a cult. But even the very elect can be fooled! (Matthew 24:24) We have to learn to beware and never stop asking the critical “truth” questions.
Also, forcing one’s beliefs on another, as ISIS is currently doing in Iraq, (More politically incorrect analysis here) is not only foolish as it defeats the purpose of having genuine convictions that make a difference and create significance in life.
What do you think? Are there other ways to spot a cult or false religion?
PS Now, if you are a Jehovah Witness consider this. Your feedback, all feedback, is most welcome.