Cults, “real religion” and lunatics
May 23, 2010 by Bill
Crack-pot ideas spewed out of the George W. Bush White House so fast it was almost impossible to keep up with them. The “faith-based” circus that totally destroys the line between church and state must be one of the most insane. Even the Director that Bush chose to run the program had quit. We need that authentic Republican conservative, Barry Goldwater, around today like never before. He would have told Bush he was going straight to hell. This is what Goldwater said to those with like constipated mentalities just before he died: “Anyone who tries to make politics out of God ought to go to hell.”
One national Republican leader said it well: “Goldwater was always so straight forward it just took your breath away.”
The “faith-based” comedy started when Pat Robertson and others of like mentality started screaming, “you can’t give money to cults, but only to ‘real’ religion, like us.” Many people started asking me this question: “what is a cult and how can you tell the difference between a ‘cult’ and a ‘real’ religion?” Hey, easy question. No problem.
- A CULT: Believes in heavenly signs such as comets and gateways to heaven and other mentally deranged ideas.
- A REAL RELIGION: Believes in heavenly signs such as stars in the East at their leader’s birth, and the “sun standing still” for an entire day (Joshua 10:12) and other mentally deranged ideas.
- A CULT: Believes they have found the truth while all others are deceived.
- A REAL RELIGION: Believes they have found the truth while all others are deceived: “Salvation is only through Jesus.”
- A CULT: The leader says, “believe me and you will go to Heaven.”
- A REAL RELIGION: The leader says “believe me and you will go to Heaven…don’t believe me and you will go to someplace called “hell.”
- A CULT: Has leaders, mostly men, often wearing fancy robes and promising you salvation and heaven if you will give them your money and property.
- A REAL RELIGION: Has leaders, mostly men, often wearing fancy robes and promising you salvation and heaven if you will give them your money and property.
- A CULT: Claims their leader is led by God, and God speaks to him and tells him what to do. Their leader talks to God.
- A REAL RELIGION: Claims their leader is led by God, and God speaks to him and tells him what to do. Their leader talks to God.
- A CULT: Makes miraculous claims about the importance of their leader.
- A REAL RELIGION: Makes miraculous claims about the importance of their leader…that he was born of a virgin…could walk on water…could turn water into wine and feed thousands with two fish.
- A CULT: Thinks women are subservient to men and the male leader and should take orders from them, including sexual bondage.
- A REAL RELIGION: Thinks women are subservient to men: “Let the women keep silent for it is not permitted for them to speak, they are commanded to be under obedience.” (1Cor. 14:34) “Man was not created for woman, but woman was created for man.” (1Cor 11:13) “Let woman learn silence in all subjection. No woman shall have authority over a man.” (1 Timothy 2:11)
See how easy it is to tell a cult from a real religion. No problem.
LUNATICS…Barry Goldwater often aimed his sharpest arrows at the religious and political right, calling them “lunatics” and “religious charlatans.” Pat Robertson and his Christian Coalition, James Dobson and his “Focus on the Family” organization. Falwell and all the others. And so he said to them, “Anyone who tries to make politics out of God ought to go to hell. I am sick and tired of political preachers telling me that if I want to be a moral, or patriotic, person, I must believe them and what they say. Just who in the hell do they think they are?” “Gays and lesbians are a part of every American family. They should not be short-changed in their efforts to lead their lives. This is not a liberal cause. It is democracy. Our problem is that the radical right and extremists want to destroy everybody who does not agree with them. They are betrayers of the fundamental principles of conservatism. So-called conservatives today don’t even know what the word means.”
I was invited to speak a number of years ago to a state convention of Lutheran ministers in Tacoma, WA. I asked them this question: “how many of you actually believe that you are speaking for a God of the universe when you are in the pulpit on Sunday morning?” About three fourths of them held up their hand. I then said to them, “not a one of you can explain a light bulb to me, or a radio, and yet you fantasize that you are speaking for the power behind the universe. That on this little cosmic speck called Earth you are speaking for the power behind a million galaxies. That to me is closing in on insanity.” They never again invited me back to speak. I think you can see why.
A grisly cartoon a number of years ago in the “Seattle Times” said it all. There was a figure, a skeleton, clothed in a white sheet, bent down almost to his knees, marching. It is clutching in its hand a sign that says, “JONES SAVES.” I am sure you have not forgotten that horrible event, led by the fundamentalist minister in Central America a number of years back. Jones was a strong savior figure…fatherly…dominant…charismatic…authoritarian…paranoid…who came forth speaking for God. And the hundreds following him all died.
Concepts of a “savior” figure are appalling to Taoist, Buddhist, Zen Buddhist and other similar traditions. The pathology that goes with speaking for God is only present with people of the “book” (bible): Judaism, Christianity and Muslim.
There is a very, very fine line between the Jim Jones’ of the world and the Billy Grahams’ or Pat Robertsons’ or any preacher who stands up in a pulpit and says, “I am speaking for God. Listen to me. I have the ‘saving’ words for you that are going to lead you into heaven. Help me lead people to heaven…just send checks or cash or a financial pledge to help…it takes money to lead people to heaven.”
Robert Ingersoll offers us a humorous final image.
“Can anyone really believe that God created the universe simply for the purpose of raising orthodox Christians? And that finally he is going to turn heaven into a religious museum filled with Baptist barnacles…Petrified Presbyterians…and Methodist mummies…”
Do not miss this final word. There is a vast chasm between orthodox, institutionalized religion and spirituality. A human being can be profoundly spiritual without any attachment to doctrinal man-made systems. It is these very systems that stand as a great wall, blocking an individual’s quest for the Mystery.