Cultism

As part of its mission Dialogue Ireland endeavours to add articles which help shed light on cultism. Dialogue Ireland are glad to receive suggestions from site visitors regarding additions to our archives, and welcomes any comments visitors wish to leave on the matter in forwarding this debate.

Generally Dialogue Ireland does not call any groups cults, but prefers the terms ‘cultism’ and ‘cultist’ to describe movements which are causing concern. Others feel that one should call a spade a spade – “CULT”. Dialogue Ireland sees the term as being on a continuum, and looks at attitudes and tendencies in religions, churches, movements, individuals, government, banks and corporations which are decidedly cultist. In order to get at this some use the term cultish, or cultic.

Need and Importance of Terminology

The Director of Dialogue Ireland, Mike Garde, explored the issue of using phrases such as ‘cult’ and ‘cultism’ in chapter two of his thesis. The following extract from that thesis serves as a useful basis for the present discussion:

What about Ireland? How is the terminological problem to be resolved? Louis Hughes makes an interesting suggestion. He proposes cultism as the best term to describe the cult phenomenon here in Ireland and in the English speaking world. Hughes later clarified his standpoint, since cultism is a defect that can enter into and poison the way any group – religious or non-religious – functions. Hughes shows the range his term addresses:

The cults we hear most about are new religious movements. While these are the main focus … it should be noted that there are also psychological, political, commercial, and New Age and science fiction cults that control their members’ lives no less ruthlessly. While concerns are most often expressed in connection with new religious movements, problems can also be found within groups claiming association with mainline religions.”

For Hughes the definitional point at issue is the abuse of authority, when boundaries are not respected and control is exercised. Used in this way the term is not intended to be offensive, but descriptive of the presence of a specific mentality within a group. It identifies a flaw that can enter into and poison the way any group – religious or non-religious – functions. The issues of cultism can be found anywhere at any time, even in one’s own affiliations. Hughes uses the term cult to designate any group, religious or otherwise, which subjects its members or would-be members to a potentially harmful degree of psychological pressure, intimidation, control, or deception.

Louis Hughes’ comments are taken from his essay ‘The Issue Of Cultist Mind Control In Some New Religious Movements’. Aside from the discussion of ‘cultism’, the essay is also a valuable insight into how Dialogue Ireland historically approached the subject as one of pastoral care. Today, Dialogue Ireland considers the issue to be one of human rights rather than a religious or theological issue.

The thesis also noted the view of Michael Langone who, while acknowledging the shortfalls of the term, noted that no other term thus present captures the essence of this topic (the full essay by Langone and Rosedale is “On using the term ‘Cult’“):

In the ICSA view, because it is so embedded in popular culture, the term cult has limited utility. Nevertheless those who are professionally engaged in helping people harmed by their involvement in a group cannot avoid using it.

Whatever the term’s limitations, it points us in a meaningful direction. And no other term relevant to group psychological manipulation (e.g., socio-psychological influence, coercive persuasion, undue influence, and exploitative manipulation) has ever been able to capture and sustain public interest, which is the sine qua non of public education. If, however, we cannot realistically avoid the term, let us at least strive to use it judiciously.

The Psychology of Mind Control & Undue Influence

Understanding how the human condition reacts to outside stimuli is the basis for understanding how undue influence over another can be cultivated, developed and expanded into forms of mind control. The examples of psychological processes given here are by no means exhaustive, and are intended to give a glimpse into how we are all potentially vulnerable to cultic techniques.

Asch Experiment: Conformity to the Group

The Asch experiment elegantly demonstrates the power of the group in shaping the opinion and perceptions of the individual. The internal psychological need to ‘fit in’ and to conform is something we all share, but not something we are all aware of. In the following video is an example of the experiment, which shows just how easily peer and group pressure to conform can override our better judgement.

Milgram Experiment: Obedience to Authority

The power an authority figure can have over an individual is much greater than one may think. Indeed this power appears to be of sufficient strength that it can cause individuals to act against their own personal sense of morality. The Milgram experiment is quite a shocking result for those who have never seen it before.

Stanford Prison Experiment: How situational pressures can corrupt

Originally scheduled to last for two weeks this experiment was terminated after only six days. There has been much criticism over how much the results from the Stanford Prison experiment can be generalised, but there remains little doubt that this provided a shocking glimpse into situational pressure can have a deeply corrupting influence. Viewers are advised that they may find portions of the following videos disturbing.

Lucifer effect: A Modern example of the corrupting influence of situational pressures

In this video Dr. Zimbardo, who conducted the Stanford Prison Experiment, talks about the lessons he learned and how those lessons apply to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

Warning: The following video contains photography from Abu Ghraib prison that portrays sadistic and disturbing images. Viewers are forewarned of the extreme and graphic nature of this content.

Dr. Robert J. Lifton’s Criteria for Thought Reform

The following material is an extract from the book ‘Thought Reform And The Psychology of Totalism’. While the book was derived using evidence from the Korean War and from Chinese citizens who fled Maoist China, the book itself is not about China or Korea but rather about universal issues of mind control and psychological manipulation. As the book states, these are “eight psychological themes against which any environment may be judged. In combination, they create an atmosphere which may temporarily energize or exhilarate, but which at the same time pose the gravest of human threats.

MILIEU CONTROL

  • The most basic feature is the control of human communication within an environment
  • If the control is extremely intense, it becomes internalized control — an attempt to manage an individual’s inner communication
  • Control over all a person sees, hears, reads, writes (information control) creates conflicts in respect to individual autonomy
  • Groups express this in several ways: Group process, isolation from other people, psychological pressure, geographical distance or unavailable transportation, sometimes physical pressure
  • Often a sequence of events, such as seminars, lectures, group encounters, which become increasingly intense and increasingly isolated, making it extremely difficult– both physically and psychologically–for one to leave
  • Sets up a sense of antagonism with the outside world; it’s “us against them”
  • Closely connected to the process of individual change (of personality)

MYSTICAL MANIPULATION (Planned spontaneity)

  • Extensive personal manipulation
  • Seeks to promote specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such a way that it appears to have arisen spontaneously from within the environment, while it actually has been orchestrated
  • Totalist leaders claim to be agents chosen by God, history, or some supernatural force, to carry out the mystical imperative
  • The “principles” (God-centered or otherwise) can be put forcibly and claimed exclusively, so that the cult and its beliefs become the only true path to salvation (or enlightenment)
  • The individual then develops the psychology of the pawn, and participates actively in the manipulation of others
  • The leader who becomes the center of the mystical manipulation (or the person in whose name it is done) can be sometimes more real than an abstract god and therefore attractive to cult members
  • Legitimizes the deception used to recruit new members and/or raise funds, and the deception used on the “outside world”

THE DEMAND FOR PURITY

  • The world becomes sharply divided into the pure and the impure, the absolutely good (the group/ideology) and the absolutely evil (everything outside the group)
  • One must continually change or conform to the group “norm”
  • Tendencies towards guilt and shame are used as emotional levers for the group’s controlling and manipulative influences
  • Once a person has experienced the totalist polarization of good/evil (black/white thinking), he has great difficulty in regaining a more balanced inner sensitivity to the complexities of human morality
  • The radical separation of pure/impure is both within the environment (the group) and the individual
  • Ties in with the process of confession — one must confess when one is not conforming

CONFESSION

  • Cultic confession is carried beyond its ordinary religious, legal and therapeutic expressions to the point of becoming a cult in itself
  • Sessions in which one confesses to one’s sin are accompanied by patterns of criticism and self-criticism, generally transpiring within small groups with an active and dynamic thrust toward personal change
  • Is an act of symbolic self-surrender
  • Makes it virtually impossible to attain a reasonable balance between worth and humility
  • A person confessing to various sins of pre-cultic existence can both believe in those sins and be covering over other ideas and feelings that s/he is either unaware of or reluctant to discuss
  • Often a person will confess to lesser sins while holding on to other secrets (often criticisms/questions/doubts about the group/leaders that may cause them not to advance to a leadership position)
  • “The more I accuse myself, the more I have a right to judge you”

SACRED SCIENCE

  • The totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic doctrine or ideology, holding it as an ultimate moral vision for the ordering of human existence
  • Questioning or criticizing those basic assumptions is prohibited
  • A reverence is demanded for the ideology/doctrine, the originators of the ideology/doctrine, the present bearers of the ideology/doctrine
  • Offers considerable security to young people because it greatly simplifies the world and answers a contemporary need to combine a sacred set of dogmatic principles with a claim to a science embodying the truth about human behavior and human psychology

LOADING THE LANGUAGE

  • The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliche (thought-stoppers)
  • Repetitiously centered on all-encompassing jargon
  • “The language of non-thought”
  • Words are given new meanings — the outside world does not use the words or phrases in the same way — it becomes a “group” word or phrase

DOCTRINE OVER PERSON

  • Every issue in one’s life can be reduced to a single set of principles that have an inner coherence to the point that one can claim the experience of truth and feel it
  • The pattern of doctrine over person occurs when there is a conflict between what one feels oneself experiencing and what the doctrine or ideology says one should experience
  • If one questions the beliefs of the group or the leaders of the group, one is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to even question — it is always “turned around” on them and the questioner/criticizer is questioned rather than the questions answered directly
  • The underlying assumption is that doctrine/ideology is ultimately more valid, true and real than any aspect of actual human character or human experience and one must subject one’s experience to that “truth”
  • The experience of contradiction can be immediately associated with guilt
  • One is made to feel that doubts are reflections of one’s own evil
  • When doubt arises, conflicts become intense

DISPENSING OF EXISTENCE

  • Since the group has an absolute or totalist vision of truth, those who are not in the group are bound up in evil, are not enlightened, are not saved, and do not have the right to exist
  • “Being verses nothingness”
  • Impediments to legitimate being must be pushed away or destroyed
  • One outside the group may always receive their right of existence by joining the group
  • Fear manipulation — if one leaves this group, one leaves God or loses their transformation, for something bad will happen to them
  • The group is the “elite”, outsiders are “of the world”, “evil”, “unenlightened”, etc.

In conclusion

The topic of ‘cultism’ is highly complex, but it is Dialogue Ireland’s hope that the material on this page (and on our website at large) will help equip members of the public to better recognise cultist tendencies and attitudes. Such tendencies and attitudes can creep into any almost any group or organisation – even our own. Dialogue Ireland’s mission is one of public education, and though such education the minimisation of the occurrence of harms through such cultic tendencies.

(Dialogue Ireland wish to thank users chrisanon and Consensus of the Whyweprotest forums who first assembled the collection of videos featured in this article.)

40 Responses

  1. i was for a while studying within the Tibetan Buddhism, but i realized that was a brutal cult. organized religion, and very hypocritical. song women especially are being manipulated to “follow” the Lamas and donating money, volunteer at teachings and centers giving so much of their own time-all for nothing, but what angers me the most is the mental manipulation-if you question anything they make you feel stupid for not understanding or not being “spiritual” enough, many of the main leaders of tibetan buddhism call them self feminists, when they are the exact opposite. I feel this is a very dangerous and evil cult. they talk about karma-and i think of their situation in China and i think that if there is anything like karma that is what the lamaism has brought on them. i hope they suffer more than the victims of lamaism ever has.

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  2. This fascination with occultism is the fault of the Roman Catholick church itself. They are and have been for centuries the Biggest and worst case of “Cultism” since Christ ascended. They ( the R.C.C.) have taken away the authority of scripture and place themselves ( individual leaders ) above it. They alone are the arbiters of what is God’s word and what is Christianity to millions upon millions of confused, ignorant, wannabes who will ever be trying to learn but never coming to certain knowledge of the Truth.

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  3. Portia and Jim McGowan

    I think you both should be careful about all the hate that comes from your comments, otherwise you both will be no different than what you claim to hate. Don’t keep your minds imprisioned as to what you profess. Try to open your minds to the possibility that all in not black and white. If you do research on some of the saints, like St. Francis of Assisi, St. Padre Pio, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John Bosco, St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Edith Stein (the last two who died in the Holocaust), and many more, you just might find goodness and kindness will always win. We don’t live in paradise.

    Maximillia

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  4. It’s too tedious to have to do so.

    It is very easy to throw out assertions concerning this website and its purpose, but it is much harder to substantiate them – particularly when many of your misconceptions are rather blatant and simple to highlight. Bring a point, have it addressed, bring up another point and repeat. It is not substantive, not credible and, frankly, does a disservice to what is a quite serious topic which affects a number of people quite deeply.

    However, I have witnessed first hand the ‘hack job’ you’ve done on Two by Twos, so I do question the value of the site on the whole.

    I fail to see how this website has performed a ‘hack job’. Perhaps it is your desire that no criticism of the group be permitted in an open forum, but that is no basis for declaring this website’s handling of the issue as a ‘hack job’.

    Let’s consider what this website has actually done shall we? We were approached by an ex-member who wanted to share their experiences with the wider public, which we were happy to do. As part of that exercise we have provided a comment thread where all people, regardless of their position on the issue, can share and debate their views and to offer their own experiences. We have extended the very same platform to ‘a worker’ that we had extended to the ex-member, and in doing so granted a full right-of-reply. We have also granted the same platform to a commenter currently within the movement.

    In light of the above, I reject entirely and in the strongest possible terms that Dialogue Ireland’s actions and conduct in this matter in any way shape or form constituted a ‘hack job’. The only conclusion I can reach is that having the audacity to post any criticisms or give any platform to critical views and/or critical ex-members is sufficient for you to declare ‘hack job’.

    I know almost nothing about Scientology.

    I would want to obtain a balanced perspective on this group if I wanted to know more about them.

    This mistaken appeal to ‘balance’ and ‘neutrality’ has already been thoroughly addressed in a previous post, and I yet again direct you to it. It also strikes me as odd that you do not see the implicit problem of admitting ignorance regarding the Scientology organisation while simultaneously trying to form any such opinion regarding how this website has covered such. It also misses the very central point – is the information contained on this website accurate or not?

    Given that I am the one most responsible for the Scientology-related content on this website, I would be grateful if you could highlight any errors in what I have presented. My description of the Scientology beliefs system (Scientology: A very clear exposition of its Belief system), for example, would benefit from having any mistakes rectified.

    I also saw a bit on the “aahmadiyya muslim”, and I have heard good and bad about them. I wouldn’t really trust anything I read here based on 1 or 2 threads that I saw posted up.

    We haven’t actually covered them. They feature in two articles on this website, one being a human rights report about them being discriminated against and the other about how MPAC were inciting hatred against them. Given that we have not published any material directly relating to them, I don’t understand why you think there is material about them to be or not be trusted??

    But it does not strike me as “authoritative” but one with an agenda.

    Why do you believe that ‘having an agenda’ and ‘being authoritative’ are somehow mutually exclusive? Moreover, why does this website only ‘strike’ you as having an ‘agenda’ given that we flat-out state what that ‘agenda’ is in our mission statement?

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  5. Once again, I’m not interested in correcting some of your misunderstandings of what I said. It’s too tedious to have to do so.
    Certainly there is a great deal of good in having a site that exposes the harms of various groups. However, I have witnessed first hand the ‘hack job’ you’ve done on Two by Twos, so I do question the value of the site on the whole.
    As far as “equal time” let’s take an example. I know almost nothing about Scientology. I know enough about what’s happened to two people of casual acquaintance to be concerned. But I wouldn’t read here to learn more about them because this strikes me as a site that is on the attack. I would want to obtain a balanced perspective on this group if I wanted to know more about them.
    I also saw a bit on the “aahmadiyya muslim”, and I have heard good and bad about them. I wouldn’t really trust anything I read here based on 1 or 2 threads that I saw posted up.
    Maybe there are some good things on this site, and I haven’t spent enough time here. But it does not strike me as “authoritative” but one with an agenda.

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  6. 1) I don’t see ‘religious movement’ as an alternate term for ‘cult’ at all.

    Incidentally, I don’t follow the “unfounded implication” of the term.

    By proposing it as an alternative term for the word ‘cult’ it is implying that ‘new religious movements’ are somehow suspect.

    My objections run deeper than just the term, but have to do with the objective of your site. If your site served to educate the public about various little known religious movements…

    And here is a good example where you yourself are, inadvertently, reinforcing the same unfounded implication.

    Also – why do you believe that we are concerned with ‘ little known religious movements’??? We have probably close to a hundred posts concerning the abuse scandal in this country – hardly little. Below I list some of the cases we have covered that have nothing to do with religion.

    … using neutral language…

    The premise underpinning this was challenged in my previous post – would you care to address it please?

    see ‘religioustolerance.org’ as an example of this

    Really? One of the essays they host on this topic is titled “CULTS a.k.a. New Religious Movements”. You said earlier that you do not see this term as an alternative for ‘cult’, and yet this is precisely what the religioustolerance website argues for…

    But I think it’s simply misguided to even have a site that is on a “mission” to inform the public about harmful groups.

    Would you care to offer some argumentation in support of that?

    Strawman
    I do not understand why you seem to think it is improper to bring harms to the public attention. I do not understand why you seem to think it is improper to provide a platform where victims of such harms can share their stories with the public. I do not understand why you seem to think that keeping the occurrence of harms secret is in the interest of either the public of the group in question. I do not understand why you seem to think that helping victims form support groups is ‘misguided’.
    /Strawman

    The above is certainly strawmanning, but given that the concepts they embody are central to the Dialogue Ireland mission I don’t think they can be so easily ignored with a misplaced accusation of being ‘misguided’.

    Maybe an analogy will help illustrate the point in a different way. Suppose this website was devoted to consumer rights. Suppose further that we offered a platform to those who had been the victims of scams to speak about their experiences. Suppose we collected and published media articles that detailed the occurrence of some scams. Would such a website be ‘misguided’?

    So good or benevolent groups should get equal time with harmful groups, and good and bad should be balanced out.

    Why would we be interested in non-harmful groups??? To continue the scam analogy from earlier, would you expect such a website to have equal time devoted to non-scams or would the absence of such be ‘misguided’?

    Some of the issues we have covered are completely devoid of religion – Landmark, MyShoppingGenie, Roebuck, Mike Meegan, etc. – and were covered because of the presence of cultist themes. Given this, and given that you and the religioustolerance website are committing the fallacy of confusing cultism with aspects of religion, what alternative ‘good’ group to say MyShoppingGenie should we be giving equal time to and how would such be properly covered?

    You comment on what we do thusly: “It becomes much too complicated to be a very useful endeavour.” To further continue the scam analogy – how much more complicated would your equal time criteria be, not to mention completely confusing to the public, than simply warming about scams?

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  7. Just to add to that last sentence. The endeavour is only valid if you focus on say, religious movements, or subcultures, and endeavour to show the good with the bad. So good or benevolent groups should get equal time with harmful groups, and good and bad should be balanced out.

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  8. 1) I don’t see ‘religious movement’ as an alternate term for ‘cult’ at all. I see it as a term for religious movements, cult or not. Incidentally, I don’t follow the “unfounded implication” of the term. Perhaps you could elaborate.
    2) The primary argument I have against the term “cult” is in its use to insult. So that objection does not apply in your case, or in the case of anyone using the term in a more objective ‘sociological sense’.
    3) Nonetheless, I still have reservations about the term in the ‘sociological sense’ you advocate, and I know we won’t agree.
    4) My objections run deeper than just the term, but have to do with the objective of your site. If your site served to educate the public about various little known religious movements using neutral language, I would be all for it (see ‘religioustolerance.org’ as an example of this). You could even develop an objective classification scheme based on the kinds of harm exhibited and I would agree with that also and find it useful. Perhaps at the far end of the scale you’d label some of these groups “cult”, and I would agree with that. But I think it’s simply misguided to even have a site that is on a “mission” to inform the public about harmful groups. It becomes much too complicated to be a very useful endeavour.

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  9. Have you ever considered the role of your site in legitimizing outright attacks by the likes of ‘Former Ahmadi’ above.

    I don’t see this. If anything, by arguing for an objective (and relevantly useful) use of the terms within the framework of cultism such attacks are in fact delegitimized due to their premises being challenged.

    Whether or not this site uses the term will make not an iota of difference in how some people will misuse the term as a means of attack. Surely it is better to argue, as Rosedale and Langone do, for the judicious use of the term while presenting the platform and argumentation mandating such. Bringing understanding to this issue, and to the terms, will do far more to help challenge this problem than simply dropping the term.

    I believe that ‘cultural theory’ has a lot to offer in terms of insight into culture and subculture, and have been trying to think of how it might offer a more neutral language.

    I think you have a quite mistaken premise here. When discussing cultism, and in particular the associated harms that such can lead to, it is only right and proper that the terminology being used be capable of capturing the concept of these harms. If we are reduced to using terms that are not capable of capturing the essence of these harms, and thus incurring a certain amount of ‘negativity’ in their meaning, then what is the point? To be reduced to such terms would render us incapable of articulating the key concepts of the subject.

    The quest for ‘neutral language’ cannot be the goal as it would render a mockery of the subject per the above. The quest for language that allows for proper communication of the ideas, language which is devoid of the common misunderstandings that our existing language falls foul of, is noble – but I’ve yet to see any alternative nomenclature that even captures, much less allows for the communication of, the core concepts at the heart of the cultism phenomenon.

    Would Mr. FormerAhmadi act as he does on a site which objectively assessed religious movements?

    Provided he wasn’t banned, yes. I don’t understand why you would think otherwise, nor the implication that this website isn’t objective in what it does.

    Incidentally, your posts touches on another difficulty in proposing alternate language. The term ‘new religious movement’ has been the most championed alternate term for the word ‘cult’. Yet, rather ironically, that term is making an unfounded implication regarding ‘new religious movements’ which is completely undeserved and, imo, quite insulting to such groups. In your own comment you have, inadvertently, made the same implication.

    As for free speech, I think the following rather pithy phrase gets right to the heart of the matter: “The answer to bad speech is more speech.” And I think this applies just as forcefully for when it comes to the use of terminology.

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  10. LOL. I think that didn’t work. If you wanted to leave me with the last word, you’ll have to not reply to this one.

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  11. You seem to have a need to have the last word, so will leave you with it!

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  12. You seem to be conflating the issue of free speech with that of the implications of speech. You’re certainly not the first to do so. Just because I say that your policies and approach have negative implications does not mean that I advocate censorship on your site. The point is that even though you are providing an objective legitimate definition for ‘cult’, you are enabling those individuals who wish to use ‘cult’ as an attack word. Would Mr. FormerAhmadi act as he does on a site which objectively assessed religious movements? In which he was not censored, but at least censured for so doing?
    In any case, not a big deal, but your post begged further clarification on my part.

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  13. I think we are clear that we will just have to disagree then!

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  14. We view our role as allowing people to express different opinions. We neither endorse nor do we censor them. We absolutely reject your claim that our site by hosting these conflicted views legitimises outright attacks by the likes of ‘Former Ahmadi’ above. We are well aware of the person behind this and their objectives. We will give the Ahmaddiyas the full right to post any refutation of these attacks. A librarian by holding a copy of Mien Kampf respects the right of people to read material. They do not endorse the views contained by holding such. It is better than the Nazis who burn books they do not like.

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  15. Have you ever considered the role of your site in legitimizing outright attacks by the likes of ‘Former Ahmadi’ above.

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  16. And to be fair, you look at the negative effects of these groups, without looking at how these groups are often persecuted and misrepresented by the predominating background culture.

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  17. Hello DI, I do *plan* to read it, but I have a large reading pile at the moment. I understand how you are trying to reload the existing cult/cultist terminology in a more objective way. But then I read the kind of spitting match on the Two by Twos, and above with the Ahmadis, so I have reservations about how well your approach is going to work. I believe that ‘cultural theory’ has a lot to offer in terms of insight into culture and subculture, and have been trying to think of how it might offer a more neutral language. Cultural theory has been concerned with marginalization based on race or sexual orientation. Some of the same effects apply in terms of religion, although it’s not strictly analogous, and less has been written. I would offer the term ‘subculture’ to describe the kinds of groups you are investigating.

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  18. I did send you a copy of my thesis which addressed this issue in Ch 2. Unfortunately, you were too busy to read it, but are continuing to raise this issue.
    Perhaps you could respond to me when you have read it. I would concur with the THE MADHAIR that the term is unfortunately necessary.

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  19. I have always found the argument that, because some misuse a word, that word should no longer be used. I particularly find it unconvincing when there is no suitable alternative word and nomenclature that properly capture, and thus help in the articulation of, the dynamics and concepts at the heart of the cultism debate.

    This quotation is from an essay by Herbert Rosedale and Michael Langone titled ‘On Using the Term “Cult”’, and I think it strongly elucidates the need for this term:

    Even though the term “cult” has limited utility, it is so embedded in popular culture that those of us concerned about helping people harmed by group involvements or preventing people from being so harmed cannot avoid using it. Whatever the term’s limitations, it points us in a meaningful direction. And no other term relevant to group psychological manipulation (e.g., sociopsychological influence, coercive persuasion, undue influence, exploitative manipulation) has ever been able to capture and sustain public interest, which is the sine qua non of public education. If, however, we cannot realistically avoid the term, let us at least strive to use it judiciously.

    I do note a lack of examples of where this website has either misused the term or done so in a manner that did not help articulate the topic.

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  20. The dialogue here between ‘former Ahmadi’ and ‘yusuf’ is an object lesson in the pointlessness of the word ‘cult’. I would suggest that the propietors of this site retire its use, as you’re inadvertently providing justification for mindless rhetoric and inhibiting real dialogue. Similar conversations are going on between ‘subcultures’ and ‘cultures’ all over the world, and what’s really needed is more light on specific dysfunctional behaviours within cultures and subcultures.

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  21. To Yusuf, My wife and I had the privilege of attending one of the World Religions Conferences sponsored by your group. Keep up the good work; it was quite interesting and well received by the atttendees (I am a universalist Christian).

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  22. Typo above – ‘interacts with other cultures’, not ‘our cultures’.

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  23. I think what you’re really concerned with is not ‘cultism’ but subcultures. (A subculture works within the context and in constant interaction with a dominant culture, whereas ‘culture’ is dominant within a nation or country, but still interacts with our cultures.) The negative behaviours of subcultures are often similar to those of cultures (as clearly articulated by the post of ‘Jim McGowan’ above) in that there are always problems at the margins. The problems at the margins occur when individuals encounter their “other” which can lead to fear and antagonism and its various products. All cultures and subcultures exhibit these negative tendencies at the margins, and there is much confusion in the public mind and in academia in trying to determine whether a given group is engaging in systemically criminal behaviour, egregiously self-protective and harmful behaviour, or normal individual dysfunction. The term ‘cultist’, and even moreso, ‘cult’, is extremely vague, and a site like this would be better to just report on ‘subcultures’, and then report accurately those behaviours which are criminal or simply negative.

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  24. We challenge you to Check their money sources, their tax, their premises and you’ll find things.
    No better man!

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  25. I’m glad ‘Yusuf’ from the Ahmadis has written because he has proven my point. You’ll notice there was no response to the accusations just an attack against me and an attempt to link me to ‘wahabism’ as if that is supposed to negate my concerns. Dialogue Ireland will of course be aware of the fact that those are classic tactics of all cults. Hopefully now, through Mr Yusuf’s unwitting response all can see the signs of a classic cult mind.

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  26. Hi there,

    I am an Irish Ahmadi Muslim. The above mail which you have received if from a wahabbi “Muslim”. Wahabbis deplore and detest any interpretation of Islam which is outside of their narrow, literalist and violent narrative.

    We, the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam have been the unfortunate recipients of their hatful rhetoric. And also many times in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and other countries we have paid the ultimate price for their hateful propaganda; http://thepersecution.org/.

    The person who has posted the above false statement is an extremist who has for many years hounded not just Irish Ahmadis but Shias and Sufis also. Please do visit his hate sight here; http://eiremuslim.com/ and you will realize what type of human being this person is.

    Also may I add that he is posing as a former Ahmadi Muslim in order to slander this peaceful and progressive community.

    Masha Allah we Ahmadis are an open book. Please do visit my blogsite at; http://eireislam.blogspot.com/

    God bless you.

    Like

  27. I was a member of the Galway Ahmadiyya group for a year, and I also know what a cult is but this group seems to be accepted because they preach a message against Islam. That seems odd to me, like you said – a cult is a cult.

    The Ahmadis love bomb you and raise your status if you’re Irish – being white and native has a special appeal for them. They won’t allow you to marry outside their circle and you must give your money over to the group. Everything you read, watch and do is monitored. You are not allowed to have friends unless they are Ahmadi and all your correspondance is checked so that the ‘non-muslim’ devils don’t mess with your mind. As for their mantra, ‘love for all, hate for none’ I can only tell you it’s a lie. I’ve heard their leaders refer to some Muslims in Ireland using the foulest terms and they even conspired to concoct a story that would make one particular Muslim look very bad – they did this and giggled like kids at the trouble it would cause. So rather than using this cult to slam Muslims, I challenge you to investigate the Galway Ahmadis. Check their money sources, their tax, their premises and you’ll find things.

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  28. Jesus Christ said
    ” As you would that men would do to you, do you also to them in like manner. “and
    “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
    If history reveals people, men, women, priests, nuns, cults, ,crusaders soldiers etc who acted contrary to Jesus’s teaching then they were not followers of His.” By their fruits you will know them”
    Christians do and did a tremendous amount of good work in the World. Remember not all people calling themselves christian are true deciples

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  29. “Pope Adrian IV asked King Henry to conquer Ireland as Ireland was a well known centre of teaching and learning with well educated scholars
    and the Vatican wanted to be the centre of the religious world therefore Ireland had to be ruled and not be aloud to flourish. This later led to the selling of Irish people as slaves as England tried to take Ireland for its self and use Ireland as a food basket to feed its own people.
    This is fact and is documented in Vatican papers. ”
    So, the pope loved us learned irish so much that he gave our land and peoples as SLAVES to the British crown.History tells us, we did not join this Roman church willingly but rather we were enslaved into it. This was written out of history lest we remember. The memory is in the DNA of every irish man woman and child. The memory of the murder, pillage and rape of women and children at the hands of this Roman church is in our bones waiting to be set free.
    The Roman church version of spirituality is not something new. It was copied from the Goddess /PriestessTemples – even down to the priests wearing the same robes and dresses the women wore. The bread and wine was part of the Goddess ritual too. if Paganism was so evil , why did the Roman church build its churches on the very same sites after killing off the Druids?

    +1

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  30. Hello Cathrine
    I simply meant ”fear’ in a biblical sense. As in respect to revere God. Not in the misuse of it through the church age. I’m not going to comment on Ireland as a nation or any church in particular. Instead I’ll try my best to make my humble walk with God count, one step at a time and let God do the rest because even though we are individual we should be on the same path walking towards the same place.
    Blessings
    Cary

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  31. I just got my garda records under data protection, which states I am a member of some cult or other. It is an arrestable offence apparently.All based on a HSE social worker.

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  32. Cary, you may find that Jesus had nothing to do with the Roman Catholic church.

    http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/murderers.htm

    Many people simply never research, but blindly believe what the Bible says.

    No, not all christians are on the same path. Each human soul is on their own individual path- not a sheep in a herd.

    Cary, why would we fear “God”? if the programming states he is a loving God?

    Eire never feared “God” in the past. She knew the truth from Tara. She knew the gnosis and the memory is in all Irish people still through our DNA. We simply need to go inside- with no outward interference from so called men of God”. Their time is over.

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  33. If I’m to look at the isms of cults then I have to avoid targeting one religion over any other as worse or better than any other. I have an aversion to ecumenism which in itself is an ism. My reasoning is based on my belief that the bible is the inspired word of God 2 Timothy 3:16. Isms come about when people stray from the word of God. So in the case of Catholicism the people have replaced Jesus as the head with a man and in other cases they put ideologies in His place. I think there are real born again Christians in catholic and other churches and I wouldn’t presume to judge why they are there. We Christians are all on a journey hopefully on the same narrow path so if we find one of our brothers or sisters have strayed should we not speak out and warn them? I realize historically, there has been so much distortion of the Christian faith it may be hard to see the wood for the trees but that is why we have the legacy of God’s word and the Holy Spirit to guide us. I hope and pray that the net result of the influence of Dialogue Ireland is not just to expose cult like practices in Ireland but to bring God’s truth in such a loving way as to break it’s painful past once for all so it can flourish as a God fearing country can do.

    Like

  34. “Pope Adrian IV asked King Henry to conquer Ireland as Ireland was a well known centre of teaching and learning with well educated scholars
    and the Vatican wanted to be the centre of the religious world therefore Ireland had to be ruled and not be aloud to flourish. This later led to the selling of Irish people as slaves as England tried to take Ireland for its self and use Ireland as a food basket to feed its own people.
    This is fact and is documented in Vatican papers. ”
    So, the pope loved us learned irish so much that he gave our land and peoples as SLAVES to the British crown.History tells us, we did not join this Roman church willingly but rather we were enslaved into it. This was written out of history lest we remember. The memory is in the DNA of every irish man woman and child. The memory of the murder, pillage and rape of women and children at the hands of this Roman church is in our bones waiting to be set free.
    The Roman church version of spirituality is not something new. It was copied from the Goddess /PriestessTemples – even down to the priests wearing the same robes and dresses the women wore. The bread and wine was part of the Goddess ritual too. if Paganism was so evil , why did the Roman church build its churches on the very same sites after killing off the Druids?

    Like

  35. Jim . I totally agree with you. Anyone who reads the hisstory of the Roman Catholic church learns that it has nothing to do with Iosa, that it came to our Eire and murdered our people who followed the Book Of Love and repalced it with a bible written by men in dresses.
    As a survivor of the Catholic cult brainwashing and the deadly exorcism as a child.I have to say all religions are cults going by the definition. Children are baptised against their will into the Catholic church, most schools do not allow children in unless they are baptised – that is control.

    I have in my possession where HSE deem all other religions to be cults and that children are not allowed by court order to associate with non catholics- no freedom there.

    In truth all patriarchal religions are created on purpose to divide and conquer the Earth family.

    The leaders of these religions sit and laugh at the idiot memebrs who kill each other in the name of their God. it is no different to the Inquisition.

    All of the religions are hierarchial , another warning sign with men in dresses claiming to hear the voice of god.

    Yet, if anyone else hears voices they are locked away pretty quickly.

    I have been researching since my escape in 1995.

    Religions are all about keeping the sheep inside the pens and under control. if a sheep dares to escape and shudder the thought, think for him/her self, the other sheep will reel him/her in swiftly.

    In psychology it is herd thinking.

    As for the Catholic religion , there is a man in a dress sitting on a throne in red shoes making decisions for all. He dcides on women’s issues, though he is never going to be pregnant or give birth. He is not married, so has no knowledge of this. He has all his bills paid for, is the richest man on Earth, while millions of his flock starve to death. is that a caring father?

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  36. https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2009/07/23/clonskeagh-corner-and-archive-of-the-muslim-brotherhood-in-ireland/
    WE ARE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT ISLAM, THAT IS A ROLE FOR THEOLOGIANS AND RELIGION EXPERTS- WE ARE ONLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE CULTIST FORM –

    ISLAMISM….ISM… ISM

    We especially want to feature the work of Dr Mark Dooley who has been the pioneer in this field in Ireland. We will also point to articles which show support for cultist attitudes in relation to Israel and Palestine. We will not provide a forum here in relation to that dispute, but make people aware of the growing anti-Semitism and any attitudes which shows contempt for the right of the state of Israel to exist . We will resist those who want the Jews to take a move west and jump into the sea. Also we support the right of Palestinians to find a place in the sun. We are opposed to Zionism as a “cultist ” expression and Islamist and secular ideologies which have robbed their people of dignity. Just as in N. Korea we have an ideological cult controlling the people, so until the people can escape the Hamas and Fatah cult of death the mutual recognition that is required for the two states to live together will be still born. To quote Gandhi, “An eye for an eye and the whole world is blind.”

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  37. Jim McGowan: Am I in error in thinking that you consider Islam to be a peaceful religion?

    Like

  38. Dangerous Cults? Surely the Most dangerous was/is that Cult that murdered millions upon millions of people during the Dark Ages, The Crusades, The Inquisitions, The post-modern ethnic cleansing wars in Africa and beyond. Bishop Agostio of Rwanda was a member. Hitler was a member. Cortez was a member, et al. All Catholic! The Catholic Church is the deadliest Cult in history. It confiscated/confiscates property, assets, money, land and resources from the weak and infirm. I suggest you enlighten people to this foul cult responsible for stealing, killing and destroying the lives of millions since it was created in in 177AD as part of the Roman Army Militant. I suggest you read wikipedia Dark Age, Crusades, Inquisitions, World War I, II, Rwanda, etc. This cult of 123+orders, cardinals, bishops, arch bishops and so on is the deadliest cult the world has ever had to contend with. It is evil beyond evil!

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  39. Good to hear from you Eddie. Do feel free to expand your thoughts into a post and we will publish it?
    Have you read Paul Lennon’s book?

    Like

  40. I was a member of The Legion of Christ for nearly ten years, so I know what a cult is. It is any organisation/movement/belief system that tries to manipulate the mind, body and soul of its members to the point where they recognise no truth but that of the manipulator. How the manipilation is done is irrevelant, every movement uses the initial “seeking after meaning” that brought the candidate to them in the first place.

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