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jkim78
01-19-2004, 03:25 AM
OK... this has to do with http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mcult.html this thing.

Now... the Roman Catholic Church [note the "church"] is defined as a 'church'. Right? But as an ex-member of the RCC, (ex- because i believe them, together with any other religious organised body, to be a bunch of fraudulent scammers) I'd say that 'churches' in general have exactly the attributes you state for it being a 'dangerous cult'.

Following is the definition of 'dangerous cult' with comments about how 'churches' apply exactly to those definitions.

a: preoccupation with bringing in new members and making money
- The Roman Catholic Church was one of the wealthiest, if not THE most wealthy organised body in the history of mankind for the most of the last 2000 years.
- Many Christian pastors and ministers are very wealthy, and (together with some priests on this account) take mistresses as opposed to their 'rants on goodie goodieness'.
- Many 'churches' including the roman catholic church - preach on bringing new members into the community. I remember a bishop ranting about how if you brang 3 new unbelievers into the ranks of the RCC and they become life devotees, then your place in heaven is guaranteed. What a crock of shit.

b: discouragement or punishment for any doubt or questioning of authority
- refer to the first of the 10 commandments -
- refer to MANY incidents in the bible.
- you CANNOT doubt the authority of GOD or 'his representatives'. Otherwise you end up a pillar of salt or get raped by watcher angels or some shit.

c: a polarized "us vs. them" mindset
- refer to the first of the 10 commandments -
- refer to bible - dont know where - cant be bothered to look it up.
- 'I am the one true GOD. All others are FAKE.' <- this thing.
- basically states that 'christianity', together with the 'christian' or 'jewish' (the one and the same in my point of view except for that jesus incident) GOD is the ONLY god and hence incites a us(with the CHRISTIAN GOD point of view) vs them(with a non-christian FAKE GOD) mindset.

d: leadership is not accountable to any authority, either financially or morally
- same deal as b. The RC church leader - the pope - got his own little country so that he's not accuntable to any authority. They do lots of immoral shit too... like erasing babies in pregnant nuns fathered by priests in unsafe environments and getting the nuns killed and covering these kinds of events up. Basically, THEY can murder(or manslaughter -> i'm SURE they didnt want to kill the nun and all, you know? [nb: sarcasm intended]) but YOU cant, cuz it's immoral and illegal.

e: belief that "the ends justify the means" and readiness to use unethical means to achieve their goals
- crusades ring a bell?

f: requiring members to socialize only with members of the cult
- all churches that i have seen so far 'recommend' this and frown if your spouse or children take a different religious view. It so goes as far as a couple had been unofficially evicted and excommunicated from a church because their children (after maturing at ages about mid 20s) rejected the church and elected to believe a different religion.

g: in more extreme cases, requiring members to cut ties completely with family or the outside community
- in the largest of the 'Churches', you got priests, nuns, brothers who are required to do this?

So... cult or church?

My standing on this issue is that 'all organised theological bodies' apart from academia are 'dangerous cults' and churches are just those cults with which they have official and publicly open buildings in which to perform their regular rituals in.

Skammer
01-19-2004, 11:28 AM
Welcome to the boards, jkim.

I don't feel like I can adequately respond to your post in this forum. Your characterization of the RCC specifically, and Christianity, Judaism and their scriptures in general strikes me as remarkably ill-informed. You also make a whole lot of statements that I would be surpised if you could back up with specific facts.

If you would like to discuss the issue with other Dopers who are familiar with cults, religious history, etc, I would encourage you to open a thread in the "Great Debates" forum titled "Is the Roman Catholic Church a cult?" You will get a lot more responses there than you will in this forum, even though your question is related to a Straight Dope article.

(as an afterthought, if you simply want to rant against the Catholic Church, take it to the BBQ Pit. You'll get plenty of responses there also).

Before doing so, I would helpfully suggest getting some facts and cites to back up some of your assertions.

Shodan
01-19-2004, 01:59 PM
I echo the welcome to the SDMB posted by Skammer.

May I suggest that you read a little here and there on the SDMB and get a feel for the place before you post new threads?

You will find, if you do even a superficial scan, that you are not likely to get away with statements like
I'd say that 'churches' in general have exactly the attributes you state for it being a 'dangerous cult'.
if you are also going to make statements like

- refer to bible - dont know where - cant be bothered to look it up.

And if you say things like -

g: in more extreme cases, requiring members to cut ties completely with family or the outside community
- in the largest of the 'Churches', you got priests, nuns, brothers who are required to do this?
you will run into people like me. I have not had my brother-in-law, the RC priest, mention that he was under any pressure to cut ties with me when we had him over to dinner for the holidays. (I am not a Roman Catholic. )

What I am asking is another little something you will encounter a lot on these boards. Cite?

Or, as Skammer mentioned, you may wish to post the same OP either in Great Debates, or the Pit. As he says, in either forum, you are likely to receive a warm welcome and an enthusiastic response. Very enthusiastic. And very, very warm.

Regards,
Shodan

jkim78
01-20-2004, 01:48 AM
Not for any other reason than simply because it is in direct reply to the said definition of cult vs church(refer to link in original post). If you think I'm ill-informed, feel free to look up the information yourself. Here are my sources.

a.1: just open your history books.
a.2: go to your nearest prodestant or etc church (non RCC on this respect - because RCC ministers [priests] do not have the right of ownership) and observe in neutrality your own local minister. If your lucky, you might find a true holy boy. Hey, who's to say ALL nazis are evil?
a.3: from personal experience. you believe? you believe. if not? too bad.

b.1-3: bible

c.1: bible.
c.2: this comment was a direction to search for a clause similar to what was mentioned in c.3. May have caused confusion in the way i wrote it.
c.3: bible - lots of places: first place that comes to mind is the moses incident and that golden cow or whatever statue thingy incident.

d.1: Well... This was in the newspapers roughly 4 years ago. Article was about detailed documentation about how the RCC covered up such incidents in 27 nations around the world... consisting of multiple murder(they CALLED it manslaughter) incidents together with lots and lots of abortions. The actual existance of this documentation (which was what the article was about) proves that the RCC does see itself as above moral and law. Reliable news paper (The Age) source unlike gossipy news paper (Herald Sun etc). Cant remember exact date, just the contents - so if your interested in debunking me, you can look for it :) .

e.1: history books again. Lots of other incidents too, like the war of RCC vs England just cuz the guy wanted an heir... (oversimplification i know :) but hey...)

f.1: personal experience. but then i'm sure i'm not the only one...

g.1: Well... these people cant create their OWN family, can they? which was where i was going, not specifically on the point but I verymuch see it as related?

My post was not directed specifically at the RCC, but organised religion in general. The reason it may SEEM like it was directed at the RCC is because I have taken examples from the RCC because I know more about them than any other church.

Lots of simplifications and yadiyadiya, but you REALLY cant tell me those 'definitions' of a dangerous cult do NOT fit snuggly(maybe not a 100% fit, but close enuf...) to the definitions of any other church.

Give me a new definition of a cult and I may reconsider:|... who knows?

Horatio Hellpop
01-20-2004, 02:23 AM
jkim78, you might want to lurk a while and see what other people here do when asked to cite a source. Usually, they provide a URL so curious sorts can just click to it, but there's a difference between saying "Just look in any history book!" and saying "American Pageant, William Manchester, 1975, third edition, page 75." (No such book exists, but that's what a cite would look like.) Or "National Geographic, October 1986 issue, page 35, the article with the naked Brazilian woman entitled 'That Darn Church.' "

Bible quotes are even more specific. New American (Catholic) Bible, King James Version, Douay, Book of Mormon? Which Testament? Which book? Every chaper and line is numbered. There are numerous online versions of the KJV for reader convenience.

You have the germ of an argument, but the level for citations here is a little higher than you may suspect.

C K Dexter Haven
01-20-2004, 07:26 AM
jkim, it's true that your post is a response to a Staff Report. However, I think you'll find more debate in the other forum. You made a reasonable choice in your selection of forum, I'm just seeing the way this discussion might go, and thinking you'll find it more to your liking in the Great Debates forum.

In the forum for commenting on Staff Reports, you'll get people pecking at you for cites -- merely stating "the bible" or "any textbook" is insufficient, and implies strongly that you don't know what you're talking about.

Hence, I am moving this to Great Debates, where the absence of fact and strength of opinion will not necessarily be handicaps.

Brutus
01-20-2004, 08:02 AM
a.1: just open your history books.


Right! I have my copy of History of the World (Roberts) open. Anything in particular I should be looking for? Some stuff in here about 'Meso-Americans'. Sounds cultish...

The difference between a 'cult' and a 'church' lies entirely with the perception of the masses. Extreme behaviors (claiming to be Jesus, shooting up some ATF agents, publishing hilarious 'tracts', etc) do not lend themselves towards mainstream acceptance, thus: Cult. It's not 'fair', but that's life. A cult can become a church, but it takes time and mainstream acceptance.

tomndebb
01-20-2004, 08:33 AM
Feel free to excoriate the Catholic Church as much as you'd like, of course. However, in the context of your OP as a response to the use of words and their definitions, you have utterly failed to make your case.
a: preoccupation with bringing in new members and making money Note the word preoccupation. The RCC (as most Christian denominations) does consider itself to have an evangelical mission, but such an effort is nowhere near a preoccupation. The RCC invests far more resources into providing hospitals, schools, social services, and related charity work than it does in outreach and missionary activity. The RCC also has ongoing activities to solicit funds. However, you will generally find that those funds are immediately re-invested in the social activities (or in maintaining physical properties built many years ago) than in accumulating wealth for its own sake. (This is not to claim that there can be no legitimate criticism, only that your claim that that is their preoccupation has not been proved.)
b: discouragement or punishment for any doubt or questioning of authority You've obviously never been to a Catholic university (particularly one run by Jesuits). There has never been a time in which there was not constant debate within the Catholic Church. It is true that, following the Reformation, the RCC took a harder line against some theological speculation, but there has never been a point in which questions could not be asked. There are, certainly, examples of individuals who have been censored or excommunicated for going beyond some (sometimes arbitrary) limits, but there are many people who have engaged in disputes without any sanctions leveled against them.
c: a polarized "us vs. them" mindset Nope. There has been a ceratin amount of retrenchment in the last few years as various non-Catholic Christian denominations have explored the ordination of women, new attitudes toward homosexuality, and other issues, but the RCC is still a very strong advocate of ecumenism. Hardly a polarized position.
d: leadership is not accountable to any authority, either financially or morally Which explains why, when Cardinal Law was found to have violated the trust of the people of the Archdioces of Boston he was able to continue in his office indefinitely without being forced to resign. (And, of course, the RCC is subject to all the same laws as anyone else in any country in which it operates. When the Vatican Bank got itself in trouble a few years back, the Italian authorities were quite willing to go in and prosecute people for criminal activities.)
e: belief that "the ends justify the means" and readiness to use unethical means to achieve their goals Your appeal to a single set of events that ended 700 years ago, in which the church was very definitely entangled with the civil authority makes it look like you really don't understand what the phrase means.
f: requiring members to socialize only with members of the cult Excuse me? A policy of attempting to dissuade people from marrying outside their denomination (but then permitting it if they insist) is hardly the same thing as forbidding any socializing with people who are not members. This claim is simply ludicrous.
g: in more extreme cases, requiring members to cut ties completely with family or the outside community
- in the largest of the 'Churches', you got priests, nuns, brothers who are required to do this? Absolutely not. There are different orders in which the members choose a life separated from the world, but in no case are they prohibited from seeing family members. (And if u]some[/u] orders did prohibit family visits, that would hardly be the cult situation of prohibiting all members of the entire church from seeing their families or friends who were not members.)

Again, you can find much to criticize about the Catholic Church, but your particular claim that it meets the given definition for a malicious cult fails on every point.

Shodan
01-20-2004, 08:40 AM
So much garbage, so little bandwidth.

Not for any other reason than simply because it is in direct reply to the said definition of cult vs church(refer to link in original post). If you think I'm ill-informed, feel free to look up the information yourself.
Again I repeat that it would be best if you read more and posted less, especially at first. On the SDMB, one does not make assertions and then airily reply "look up the information yourself". Because yes, you are very ill-informed.

Nonetheless, the burden of proof remains with you. You, having made your assertions, are expected to present the basis for those assertions. Based only on my own experience, I can see immediately that at least some of your post is simple nonsense.

We have already seen that your assertion that Roman Catholic priests are expected to cut all ties with the outside world and non-Catholics is wrong. Would you care to defend it in some way, or do you accept that you are mistaken there?

go to your nearest prodestant or etc church (non RCC on this respect - because RCC ministers [priests] do not have the right of ownership) and observe in neutrality your own local minister. If your lucky, you might find a true holy boy. Hey, who's to say ALL nazis are evil? Your statement, besides Godwinizing, is unclear. Are you asserting that local ministers own their churches? Again, from personal experience you are incorrect. Or are you saying that Roman Catholic priests are not allowed to own anything? Also wrong.

Or what exactly are you saying?
d: leadership is not accountable to any authority, either financially or morallyAlso wrong. The leadership in my church is very much accountable to the congregation. Our annual meeting, as a matter of fact, is this Sunday, where the budget (proposed entirely by members of the congregation) will be voted on and approved/disapproved by the whole congregation. My wife is one of the church auditors, and accountable for all the financial disclosures managed by our church treasurer, who is a CPA.

They do lots of immoral shit too... like erasing babies in pregnant nuns fathered by priests in unsafe environments and getting the nuns killed and covering these kinds of events up... This was in the newspapers roughly 4 years ago. Article was about detailed documentation about how the RCC covered up such incidents in 27 nations around the world... consisting of multiple murder(they CALLED it manslaughter) incidents together with lots and lots of abortions. The actual existance of this documentation (which was what the article was about) proves that the RCC does see itself as above moral and law. Reliable news paper (The Age) source unlike gossipy news paper (Herald Sun etc). Cant remember exact date, just the contents - so if your interested in debunking me, you can look for it :) .
Really? What newspapers, where, and what did they say?

My method of debunking you is clearly not going to be to try and do your research for you. My method will be to assume that you made this whole thing up based on a movie you saw, some anti-Papist propaganda from the Middle Ages, (or maybe the voices in your head), and wait for you to produce documentation that
About four years ago, the Roman Catholic church was shown to have covered up multiple murders
That these murders were of nuns
That multiple abortions were performed on nuns
That the nuns were pregnant by priests
That the crimes were classed as manslaughter
That this occurred in 27 different nations
That this was a matter of policy by the Roman church, proving that they considered themselves above the law

All specific, detailed allegations, subject to factual proof. Got any?

My post was not directed specifically at the RCC, but organised religion in general. The reason it may SEEM like it was directed at the RCC is because I have taken examples from the RCC because I know more about them than any other church.
No, based on my experience, you know very little about the Roman Catholic church.

You have yet to provide proof for a single one of your assertions. Care to produce some, or shall we simply assume that you are unable to do so?

Regards,
Shodan

Aldebaran
01-20-2004, 09:37 AM
Salaam aleikum jkim78

Considering your OP, I have some remarks to post

a: preoccupation with bringing in new members and making money
- The Roman Catholic Church was one of the wealthiest, if not THE most wealthy organised body in the history of mankind for the most of the last 2000 years.

You happen to overlook the complete history of Islam and Islamic Empires.

Many Christian pastors and ministers are very wealthy, and (together with some priests on this account) take mistresses as opposed to their 'rants on goodie goodieness'.

I know one Catholic clergy who happened to be what you describe as "wealthy" for the simple reason that he was born in a wealthy family. Yet he does not live in other circumstances then other priests normally do.
I don't know any Catholic clergy who has a mistress.

Many 'churches' including the roman catholic church - preach on bringing new members into the community. I remember a bishop ranting about how if you brang 3 new unbelievers into the ranks of the RCC and they become life devotees, then your place in heaven is guaranteed.

I never heard of such a Bishop and I doubt if any Bishop would ever be that lunatical to declare himself having the authority to give people a free pass to heaven.

b: discouragement or punishment for any doubt or questioning of authority
- refer to the first of the 10 commandments -
- refer to MANY incidents in the bible.
- you CANNOT doubt the authority of GOD or 'his representatives'. Otherwise you end up a pillar of salt or get raped by watcher angels or some

- The first commandment is not about "authority". It is about belief in One God.
You can choose not to believe, or can't you?
- The Bible is also about belief. You believe what is in it or you don't. Nobody tells you you can't believe the Bible.
Further you need to read the stories in their context and with their exegeses.
- You surely can doubt God or His prophets if you want to, or is someone forcing you to bleieve in God? For the Bible interpretation, see above.

c: a polarized "us vs. them" mindset
- refer to the first of the 10 commandments -
- refer to bible - dont know where - cant be bothered to look it up.
- 'I am the one true GOD. All others are FAKE.' <- this thing.
- basically states that 'christianity', together with the 'christian' or 'jewish' (the one and the same in my point of view except for that jesus incident) GOD is the ONLY god and hence incites a us(with the CHRISTIAN GOD point of view) vs them(with a non-christian FAKE GOD) mindset.

-With"us" versus "them", you can have a point if you refer to the amount of people who follow this mindset. Yet there are many who don't.
- The first commandment is about believing or not believing. You place such in the context "us" versus "them". In my opinion that is a false debate since nobody forces you to believe in God.
- If you don't believe in One True God, then why bother about those who do saying that all others are "fake"?
- You once again forget Islam. Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews. Yet that doesn't prevent you from choosing not to, or from believing there is an other God, does it?

d: leadership is not accountable to any authority, either financially or morally

In any case, everyone who believes in God is considered to be held accountable for his/her actions by God.

- same deal as b. The RC church leader - the pope - got his own little country so that he's not accuntable to any authority. They do lots of immoral shit too... like erasing babies in pregnant nuns fathered by priests in unsafe environments and getting the nuns killed and covering these kinds of events up. Basically, THEY can murder(or manslaughter -> i'm SURE they didnt want to kill the nun and all, you know? [nb: sarcasm intended]) but YOU cant, cuz it's immoral and illegal.

If the Vatican wouldn't take notice of "other authorities" it would seize to exist in no time. And I would like to see some evidence of your horror stories.

e: belief that "the ends justify the means" and readiness to use unethical means to achieve their goals

I think you mix up the USA policy here with the Vatican.

- crusades ring a bell?

To me it does :). Yet to state that these events only happened "because of religion" is nothing more then giving in to the falsified and/or incomplete popular "history" writing. I suggest you try to find out what was going on in reality = behind the surface of the societies involved.

f: requiring members to socialize only with members of the cult
- all churches that i have seen so far 'recommend' this and frown if your spouse or children take a different religious view. It so goes as far as a couple had been unofficially evicted and excommunicated from a church because their children (after maturing at ages about mid 20s) rejected the church and elected to believe a different religion.

Really? Then how come my Catholic mother married my Muslim father? How come she ever looked at me while I was raised in good old Islamic religion and tradition?
How come I have Catholic relatives who don't stop asking me when I shall visit them again?
How come I have many Catholic friends?
How come I ever got my enrollment at a Catholic university, let be that I have diplomes with the name of that institution on it? (By the way: I studied Islam and its history there... And more then one of the professors are Catholic clergymen).

Oh God, I must contact the Pope to excommunicate all of them.

g: in more extreme cases, requiring members to cut ties completely with family or the outside community
- in the largest of the 'Churches', you got priests, nuns, brothers who are required to do this?

Really? I thought those brothers and nuns who do this, choose to do that out of free will when entering their specific convent. I also thought to know that they are not "forced" to do this and that they are given an amount of time to be there as novice, before taking such a vow/decission.


Salaam. A

DeaganTheWolf
01-20-2004, 12:46 PM
Well from an anthropological standpoint, ALL religions are cults. We only bother to make the distinction between "Churches" and "cults" as a way to distinguish dangerous sects from relatively harmless sects. All religions are considered irrational activity, some more than others. Specifically, Christianity like many of the world's faiths, is a Death Cult. What that term refers to is the fixation on the reward in the afterlife. Because it and it's many sects happen to be a dominant religion in the West it is referred to as a religion rather than a cult. From a scientific standpoint, Atheism, or perhaps also agnosticism are the only rational choice for faith. SO is Christianity a cult? Yes. Is it a dangerous cult? It certainly CAN be. According to my textbook it scores, overall, a respectable 74% out of 100 on a scale for danger. Roman Catholocism Scored a slightly lower 68% Lowest of the Christian sects with the exception of Greek orthodox which scored a 66%. Highest were small protestant sects which often got into the mid 80's.

To be considered a dangerous cult, a group must score a 65% or better on this scale. To give balance The Heaven's Gate cult scored a perfect 100%. The Moonies got a very respectable 97%. This is only an INDICATOR that a set of beliefs can be dangerous. While Christianity and it's various sects certainly can be cultish, most of it's large modern incarnations are under enough scrutiny that it doesn't degenerate into such activities.

In the past I'd say that Catholicsm and Christianity in general CERTAINLY were full blown cults at times. Today I'd pass most of the sects.

Just for fun, here's how a few of the others stacked up: Islam: 72% Judaism: 58% Buddhism: 50% Hindu/Sikhism: 60% Taoism: 48% Confucianism: 50% Shinto: 62% Wicca (gardenarian): 65% Wicca(neo/modern) : 62% Asatru: 70%

Cheers!

Aldebaran
01-20-2004, 01:11 PM
If you start reasoning like that then every single belief or every single behaviour that people practice is a cult because each on its own shows characteristics that are inherent to religion.

To name some:

Atheism
Patriotism
Tribalism
Nationalism
Racism


Whatever is said "in your (nameles?) book" can be said about the above.

Salaam. A

TonyJ
01-20-2004, 03:06 PM
If you start reasoning like that then every single belief or every single behaviour that people practice is a cult because each on its own shows characteristics that are inherent to religion.
Not totally, but you have a point there. On the other hand, this reasoning sounds fine by me.

But I'd like to know how these scores are calculated... :dubious:

Lilairen
01-20-2004, 04:10 PM
Well from an anthropological standpoint, ALL religions are cults. We only bother to make the distinction between "Churches" and "cults" as a way to distinguish dangerous sects from relatively harmless sects.

I think there's also another form of distinction to be made, anthropologically speaking. As in, there are cultic religious paths and religious paths that are not cultic. Many of the ancient paganisms (some of which are still extant or are being reconstructed) are termed "cultic", by which is meant that they were focused on the rituals and celebrations (especially of the city's patron god or gods) rather than some form of divine revelation or scriptural basis, as is common with the modern monotheisms.

More familiar (at least to those people who aren't in cultic religions themselves) would be the various cults of the saints or the Blessed Virgin, in which the practitioner cultivates the favor of a particular entity through rituals and acts and celebrations specific to that entity.

DeaganTheWolf
01-20-2004, 04:41 PM
I think there's also another form of distinction to be made, anthropologically speaking. As in, there are cultic religious paths and religious paths that are not cultic. Many of the ancient paganisms (some of which are still extant or are being reconstructed) are termed "cultic", by which is meant that they were focused on the rituals and celebrations (especially of the city's patron god or gods) rather than some form of divine revelation or scriptural basis, as is common with the modern monotheisms.

More familiar (at least to those people who aren't in cultic religions themselves) would be the various cults of the saints or the Blessed Virgin, in which the practitioner cultivates the favor of a particular entity through rituals and acts and celebrations specific to that entity.


Exactly. Cite: Religions in Practice: An Approach to the Anthropology of Religion
John Richard Bowen

Across the Boundries of Belief : Contemporary Issues in the Anthropology of Religion (99 Edition)
Morton / Weisgrau, Maxine (ed.) Klass

Scores were calculated against a general list of attributes that what modern anthropologists and civil authorities consider all cults have. There was a small score discrepancy (no more than 5 pts) between the authors so I took the median number. There are 100 specific characteristics scored at 1 point each. All religions and the majority of moral philosophies will score a 40 or better. It's not meant to be insulting. A 65% merely indicates the POTENTIAL for a group belief to become hazardous to the mental or physical health of the adhearents or others. It's commonly used by civil authorities to evaluate small fanatical groups that may be involved in illegal cultic activities. I'll try and search around to see if I can find a copy of it online if you insist on more cites. :)

Zigarre
01-21-2004, 04:26 AM
DTW
Is it a dangerous cult? It certainly CAN be. According to my textbook it scores, overall, a respectable 74% out of 100 on a scale for danger.

Would you be so kind as to offer a citation for this finding.
Thank you

Zig

JRDelirious
01-21-2004, 09:26 AM
Scores were calculated against a general list of attributes that what modern anthropologists and civil authorities consider all cults have. There was a small score discrepancy (no more than 5 pts) between the authors so I took the median number. There are 100 specific characteristics scored at 1 point each. All religions and the majority of moral philosophies will score a 40 or better. It's not meant to be insulting. A 65% merely indicates the POTENTIAL for a group belief to become hazardous to the mental or physical health of the adhearents or others. It's commonly used by civil authorities to evaluate small fanatical groups that may be involved in illegal cultic activities. I'll try and search around to see if I can find a copy of it online if you insist on more cites. :)

Hey, that would be a nice bonus -- it would find it interesting to see which are the 100 items and to be able to see how the "weighting" goes of the factors; as you pointed out, each book is slightly different so that would probably trigger a whole different debate. Which is an important one, if each "factor" is considered to be equally worth 1% (To take one extreme hypothetical: I would not give the same number of % points to "encourages avoiding 'unclean' foods" as to "currently sponsors witch-burnings" )

It does however seem to imply that the modern definition of of "cult" involves a value judgement of the civil authorities (or the behavioral scientists, or the social consensus) as to what religious behaviors are hazardous to public safety (or health, or social order). This does mean that a sect within an otherwise respectable religion CAN be a cult, and so can, as Aldebaran wisely pointed out, secular ideologies and theories. The "step up" from cult to religion often can be seen as a matter of the sect or group either becoming mainstreamed -- either by de-radicalization or by actually effecting a change in the values of society.



BTW, jkim78 does warn us that he's an "ex-member" of the RCC who broke off because he concluded they were a scam. So it's reasonable he'd be predisposed to look for and find a series of real instances of corruption in the modern church (and sadly, the nun sexual-exploitation scandal (http://www.sexcriminals.com/news-archive/info-11017.html) was real), and recorded instances of corruption in the institution's history that reinforce his position; BUT -- and here is his big mistake -- he then throws in some common misunderstandings about doctrine (e.g. abandonment of your family, the meaning of Commandment I, etc.). These were probably inculcated by the very teachers of the faith doing their job badly: this is a consistent problem I see in Catholic child/youth schooling -- unless you bother to go to primary sources or take advanced religion courses, you risk your cathechesis to be ridiculously limited and serious confusions left uncleared beyond "because We Said So". So yes, at that level, depending on context, it DOES look like it shares "cult" traits. But so can any movement that contains people who are unquestioning True Believers and have suspended their common sense -- be it Catholicism, Islam, Nationalism, Animal Rights, whatever.

DeaganTheWolf
01-21-2004, 05:13 PM
Hey, that would be a nice bonus -- it would find it interesting to see which are the 100 items and to be able to see how the "weighting" goes of the factors; as you pointed out, each book is slightly different so that would probably trigger a whole different debate. Which is an important one, if each "factor" is considered to be equally worth 1% (To take one extreme hypothetical: I would not give the same number of % points to "encourages avoiding 'unclean' foods" as to "currently sponsors witch-burnings" )

Ask and ye shall recieve! You can find the whole list at the bottom of this page. Most of the points can be argued into oblivion if you want. A lot of it is semantics and perception. Please ignore the commentary by the writer of the page as it's not relevant to this issue.


http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult_q8.html

The test is the same one as cited in my texts. I'm not sure how the questions were weighted. I was given to understand that they all counted one point each. The discrepency seemed to be nothing more than a difference of opinion on the part of the authors. We spent a while on this in a few Anthro/religion classes I took in college.

JRDelirious
01-21-2004, 08:05 PM
Ask and ye shall recieve! You can find the whole list at the bottom of this page. Most of the points can be argued into oblivion if you want. A lot of it is semantics and perception.

Boy, and aren't you right about that! (And, thanks a lot! :cool: ) Fer instance, "Trance-inducing practices" -- meditation, peyote, gospel music or sleep deprivation?

But I do see some "weighting" in the form of reiteration of criteria -- for instance:
95 (actual) Threats to apostates + 96 (actual) Threats to critics. Narrowing it down as it were -- one sect may be unfriendly to dissenters but not actually do anything to hurt them them, so they don't score as high. And yes, you are right, w/o the contextual comments, on a straight y/n vote, it would make a lot of religions and philosophies sound "cultier" than expected.

Zigarre
01-21-2004, 10:57 PM
DTW
I thought you were quoting a textbook as your authority regarding the dangers of modern religion. When you mentioned the work of Dr. Bowen, (a textbook) I expected to see a well researched, fully documented work as your authority

In response to the many request for a cite to the source of the information you posted, you've come through with a web page. As a citation, this ridicules your position and destroys the creditability of your argument.

Before I waste any more time with this, it might be of interest to see what Google returned in response to your authority (the writer at the web site)

THE ORANGE PAPERS One Man's Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous An Online
Book by Secret Agent Orange. "There is a principle which is ..

Lastly, The textbook you quoted is available at Amazon. With little effort, I had accessed the table of contents. Apparently there was an oversight when they created the this table of contents as it is incomplete. You wouldn't happen to know where they put the part about harm and danger would you?

I am leery of "one book" authorities to say the least. I initially thought you might be a one book authority, but, I see that this was not the case.

With step one over and no dazzled apparent,proceed to step two, and bring forth the baffle.

A lot of it is semantics and perception. Please ignore the commentary by the writer of the page as it's not relevant to this issue .

DeaganTheWolf
01-22-2004, 12:13 AM
DTW
I thought you were quoting a textbook as your authority regarding the dangers of modern religion. When you mentioned the work of Dr. Bowen, (a textbook) I expected to see a well researched, fully documented work as your authority

In response to the many request for a cite to the source of the information you posted, you've come through with a web page. As a citation, this ridicules your position and destroys the creditability of your argument.

Before I waste any more time with this, it might be of interest to see what Google returned in response to your authority (the writer at the web site)

THE ORANGE PAPERS One Man's Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous An Online
Book by Secret Agent Orange. "There is a principle which is ..

Lastly, The textbook you quoted is available at Amazon. With little effort, I had accessed the table of contents. Apparently there was an oversight when they created the this table of contents as it is incomplete. You wouldn't happen to know where they put the part about harm and danger would you?

I am leery of "one book" authorities to say the least. I initially thought you might be a one book authority, but, I see that this was not the case.

With step one over and no dazzled apparent,proceed to step two, and bring forth the baffle.

.Hmm well let's see here.

1. I provided citations from the two goddamn books that were sitting on my shelf.
2. I provided a link which listed the criteria put forth in the text. That idiot web-page was the first one I found with the complete series. I don't spend all F-ing day in front of the computer and don't feel like playing search around the web for a more pleasant site.
3. I told readers to disregard the author and focus on the questions only.( this being the "disregard the author of the web-page")
4. I'm terribly sorry if your perusing of the table of contents didn't pull up a direct link for you.
5. I provided the material as a comparative "step-back" from the issue. Most people do not realize the general cult-like aspects of their faith due to defensive reactions.
6. I'm not going to bother sitting here nit-picking over pissant points any longer. I provided that information as anecdotal AND provided a Cite for it. The first one being the books, the second a web page that included the full test. I've got better things to do than quibble over this. I was provided that information in a University class taught by Dr. Keith Atkins at The University of North Florida. I do not believe that he is currently in residence there. A cursory search of his name and anthropology ought to get you a hit or two to assure you that he's not made up.
Your rebuttal failed to read my replies, and ignored the instructions that I provided with that weblink.

Roland Saul
01-22-2004, 12:36 AM
Perhaps you could have said "The RCC has historically been rich as hell and rife with hypocritical corruption" or something else that's acknowledged as being common knowledge. Of course, even common knowledge gets occasionally subverted here in the endless game of citing sources. Watch that a good debate doesn't get hung up in cites and refutations of cites. :eek:

Zigarre
01-22-2004, 02:07 AM
DTW, You made a few alarming statements regarding members of modern religious groups being subject to mental and and/or physical harm by their association with those groups. (your post #11 in this thread) . You credited Dr Bowen (post #11, this thread) as the source of your material.

I was unable to find a reference in the table of contents of Dr. Bowen’s book. You dismissed this fact as insignificant. I disagree. On two occasions I have asked you to support your statement (made in item #11 this thread) with a cite to the source of this information. You respond by offering a web site, than , instead of enhancing your credibility, destroys it. Your failure to furnish the other information has destroyed whatever veracity it originally had. The criterial that was used to assign the mathematical values you have stated, is certainly not part present on that web site.

DTW
I provided that information as anecdotal AND provided a Cite for it. The first one being the books, the second a web page that included the full test.

I see, so you were joking, and of course, you have properly and adequately identified your authorities. …a web page rant about the AA 12 step program.

I would ask again, but you have made it abundently clear that what I have ask for does not exist.

It has been educational.
Zig.

Roland, by your leave sir, my work is done here.

chorpler
01-22-2004, 03:14 AM
You respond by offering a web site, than , instead of enhancing your credibility, destroys it.

Are you not paying attention? The web site has nothing to do with his credibility. He said to disregard the content of the site, other than the list itself. That site just happened to be the first one he found that included the complete list of 100 characteristics that could indicate dangerousness in a belief system. Just because this list is used on a crackpot's web site doesn't mean that it isn't a genuine anthropoligical tool. Crackpots like incorporating real stuff into their rants to make them look better. And just because you couldn't find the list in the table of contents of the book on Amazon doesn't mean it isn't in there. Only one of the books he mentioned had the table of contents available. The other one didn't -- perhaps that is the book that has this list of cult characteristics in it?

Just in case anybody cares, the Amazon links for the two books DeaganTheWolf mentioned are:

Religions in Practice: An Approach to the Anthropology of Religion (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0205200117/qid=1074758721/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-8495781-6967929?v=glance&s=books#product-details) (the book without the "search inside" feature)

Across the Boundaries of Belief: Contemporary Issues in the Anthropology of Religion (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0813326958/qid=1074758847/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-8495781-6967929?v=glance&s=books) (the book with the "search inside" feature, but only includes table of contents, index, front and back covers, and copyright page)

jkim78
01-26-2004, 08:59 PM
I wasn't asking for a debate, nor other people's opinion.

So much garbage, so little bandwidth.
Just because you dont know the facts I present doesnt make it garbage. So I'd ask you to watch your mouth.

Again I repeat that it would be best if you read more and posted less, especially at first. On the SDMB, one does not make assertions and then airily reply "look up the information yourself". Because yes, you are very ill-informed.
As I said in the previous paragraph... just because YOU dont know anything that goes on around you makes ME ill-informed? Please get a clue? I dont go around memorising the exact date, paragraph etc of everything i read. Nor do I keep around 3-4 year old newspapers just to prove YOU a point. Do you? And because my reply was in direct reply to a Staff Report, and I assumed the staff who'd respond would be aware of, or atlease be able to find the sources of the statements that I made pretty easily seeing as they find other information so well... (and I wasnt prepared to go around searching for 3 year old newspapers either.)

Nonetheless, the burden of proof remains with you. You, having made your assertions, are expected to present the basis for those assertions. Based only on my own experience, I can see immediately that at least some of your post is simple nonsense.
Refer above paragraph again... and I dont know the extent of YOUR experience either, so I cant say whether your experience means much at all... can I? I'll play mister Shodan and ask for proof and citations on your experience... care to present?

However, I can say that I have studied the history of the RCC more than ordinary parishioners have, and my studies in the church ended 7 years ago whence I concluded that they were a scam and unofficially cut ties with the church. Unofficially only because officially cutting the tie would then give their rituals a sense of power. Since then and afterwards, the extent of my newly gained knowledge comes from personal experience and newspapers only.

We have already seen that your assertion that Roman Catholic priests are expected to cut all ties with the outside world and non-Catholics is wrong. Would you care to defend it in some way, or do you accept that you are mistaken there?
Have we seen that what I said is wrong? I'll play YOU and ask for YOUR reference on this. If you want a historical reference for a strong example of this, you can do a search for Church of England vs Roman Catholic Church in Ireland and evaluate the credibility of the information yourself.

Your statement, besides Godwinizing, is unclear. Are you asserting that local ministers own their churches? Again, from personal experience you are incorrect. Or are you saying that Roman Catholic priests are not allowed to own anything? Also wrong.
Roman Catholic Priests do not have the right of ownership of church equipment nor gains made through the church. They are given temporary usage rights from the church with a living allowance. On the other hand, ministers DO have the right of ownership. Ministers CAN (not neccesarily DO) own their own church, CAN keep the collection money, CAN keep other gains made through the church, etc. I know of a guy who has become a minister in order to earn money. Understand now? And mistresses and little boys... hmm... just rumors? or rumors based on facts? I'll tell you one thing... my school teacher 16 years ago, was a catholic brother. He was arrested 14 years ago for child molestation and sexual child abuse. Was it just him? You cant say. Neither can I. However, the newspaper article I referred to would strongly suggest that the church would cover up such matters and protect their clergymen in favor of their victims, be they parishioner or not.

Also wrong. The leadership in my church is very much accountable to the congregation. Our annual meeting, as a matter of fact, is this Sunday, where the budget (proposed entirely by members of the congregation) will be voted on and approved/disapproved by the whole congregation. My wife is one of the church auditors, and accountable for all the financial disclosures managed by our church treasurer, who is a CPA.
Yes... I'm wrong... right... and your right... so present citations and proof of this... ok? Note: sarcasm WAS intended. I'll ask again who are YOU to say I'm wrong? So who's the leader in your church? Does he become an unpriest if your congregation goes 'piss off'? How about further up... does your bishop of your dioces get replaced by your local priest just because your cogregation wants him to? And that's why the pope is voted in (for life) by a secret ballot of cardinals only... and not parishioners... huh? Church clergymen are protected from local authorities by the church as far as they adhere to, or in many cases - even if they dont, church laws and governings. Yes, there is a limit to their influence and they cant protect all their clergymen, but if they did, then it'd be too obvious that they were scammers, wouldnt it?

And I'd say you give CPAs too much credit. If they were so perfect, then all the nonsense bubble stocks in keiretsu form enterprises and corporations would never have happened. If they were so perfect, then the Enron incident wouldnt have happened. There are a 1001 ways and probably more to pass an accountants audit after doing dodgy shit. BUT that's beside the point. The thing with the RCC vs other Christian churches is that the local priest is very much UNLIKELY to do dodgy shit with money gained through the church because he has nothing to profit from it.

Really? What newspapers, where, and what did they say?

My method of debunking you is clearly not going to be to try and do your research for you. My method will be to assume that you made this whole thing up based on a movie you saw, some anti-Papist propaganda from the Middle Ages, (or maybe the voices in your head), and wait for you to produce documentation that
About four years ago, the Roman Catholic church was shown to have covered up multiple murders
That these murders were of nuns
That multiple abortions were performed on nuns
That the nuns were pregnant by priests
That the crimes were classed as manslaughter
That this occurred in 27 different nations
That this was a matter of policy by the Roman church, proving that they considered themselves above the law

All specific, detailed allegations, subject to factual proof. Got any?

You really are an idiot. Just because YOU are ignorant and refuse to believe (or more likely just refuse to see) what's going on around you, does NOT make ME a mad man with voices in his head. I've already mentioned the paper 'I READ' in the original post (credible paper - "The Age")... and I've already mentioned the content of the article/s. But then... I guess many a bright individuals were claimed to be mad by the ignorant. (I guess you want examples and references/citations for this statement too? Go fish.)

No, based on my experience, you know very little about the Roman Catholic church.

You have yet to provide proof for a single one of your assertions. Care to produce some, or shall we simply assume that you are unable to do so?

Regards,
Shodan

And based on my experiences and studies, you are a regular ignorant parishioner sheep and show the regular reactions of one. I really dislike ignorant people like you who make personal insults to one just because they know more than yourself... continue to ignore the rest of the world and live in that fishbowl of yours. Or... try opening your eyes and reading newspapers, watching evening news on tv, going outside and see what's going on, etc once in a while?

Regards, jkim78

Shodan
01-27-2004, 10:44 AM
I wasn't asking for a debate, nor other people's opinion. Then why did you ask the question in the title?

Just because you dont know the facts I present doesnt make it garbage. So I'd ask you to watch your mouth.
No, the fact that you made assertions and decline to support them makes it "garbage".

As I said in the previous paragraph... just because YOU dont know anything that goes on around you makes ME ill-informed? Please get a clue? I dont go around memorising the exact date, paragraph etc of everything i read. Nor do I keep around 3-4 year old newspapers just to prove YOU a point. Do you? And because my reply was in direct reply to a Staff Report, and I assumed the staff who'd respond would be aware of, or atlease be able to find the sources of the statements that I made pretty easily seeing as they find other information so well... (and I wasnt prepared to go around searching for 3 year old newspapers either.)
I repeat, you need to read around a good deal more and get an idea as to how we do things before you start threads. If you make an assertion, you are required to demonstrate the basis for the assertion. Which you have not done.

And therefore, your post is "garbage".
Yes... I'm wrong... right... and your right... so present citations and proof of this... ok? Note: sarcasm WAS intended. I'll ask again who are YOU to say I'm wrong? So who's the leader in your church? Does he become an unpriest if your congregation goes 'piss off'? How about further up... does your bishop of your dioces get replaced by your local priest just because your cogregation wants him to? And that's why the pope is voted in (for life) by a secret ballot of cardinals only... and not parishioners... huh?
I am not a Roman Catholic, as I mentioned earlier in the thread. Perhaps you could read before you react, instead of after.


But then... I guess many a bright individuals were claimed to be mad by the ignorant. (I guess you want examples and references/citations for this statement too? Go fish.)
No, I will give you a cite for free.
They laughed at Einstein. They laughed at Galileo. Of course, they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. - Carl Sagan


You really are an idiot....YOU are ignorant and refuse to believe (or more likely just refuse to see) what's going on around you...you are a regular ignorant parishioner sheep and show the regular reactions of one. I really dislike ignorant people like you who make personal insults...
M'kay, then.

Bye bye!

Regards,
Shodan

Gaudere
01-27-2004, 11:23 AM
jkim78

You really are an idiot

[Moderatot Hat ON]

jkim78, it is NOT appropriate to call someone an "idiot" in this forum.

[Moderatot Hat OFF]

Horatio Hellpop
01-28-2004, 09:22 AM
I wasn't asking for a debate, nor other people's opinion.


Um... Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board! Debates and other people's opinions are the whole reason for being here. Doubt me if you want, but virtually every thread on this board bears me out.

As I said in the previous paragraph... just because YOU dont know anything that goes on around you makes ME ill-informed? Please get a clue? I dont go around memorising the exact date, paragraph etc of everything i read. Nor do I keep around 3-4 year old newspapers just to prove YOU a point. Do you? And because my reply was in direct reply to a Staff Report, and I assumed the staff who'd respond would be aware of, or atlease be able to find the sources of the statements that I made pretty easily seeing as they find other information so well... (and I wasnt prepared to go around searching for 3 year old newspapers either.)

No one expects you to remember every newspaper article you've ever read in your life (which would be alarming), or save it in your apartment (which would pose a fire hazard at the least). But you have access to the Internet, which is the most comprehensive research tool in history. If something was ever a major news story, it's either archived on the web or some mention of where to research it in greater depth can be found there.

If your point is that some con men and pedophiles have obtained positions in the Roman Catholic Church-- you're right. Some have also infiltrated the United States Government, the National Broadcasting Company and every other large organization that offers access to money or small children. If your point is that scoring gobs of cash, swag and underage tail is the Roman Catholic Church's main purpose and that this is a well-documented fact, this is what we call an "extraordinary claim," and anyone asserting it needs to back it up with "extraordinary proof." You haven't done this yet. You're asserting facts that thousands of journalists over several centuries have sought, so far in vain.

You're swimming with sharks here, sir, and "I read something somewhere once" just doesn't cut it anymore.

scotandrsn
01-30-2004, 03:34 PM
Tom Wolfe put it best over 20 years ago.

"A cult is a religion with no political power."

My two cents.