My God is Better

Here is my preemptive strike on Justice Sunday II:

Let me start off by saying – I was born in a cult. Oh – is that ever a conversation starter! Just to see the faces on people as they inch away from me at parties – it’s priceless!

The cult that I was born in is pretty well known. We left when I was very young, in case you’re curious.

“So how does that make you feel about religion, Tina?”

Like I always say: One man’s rapture is another man’s 70 virgins in paradise.

I like science. I like numbers. I like the great mysteries of the universe. I like not having all the answers. It makes me feel – small, right sized – you know HUMAN.

I will offer this: there are 6 billion people on this planet. We are a very, very, very successful species. And out of that 6 billion there are only a billion certified atheists. So in a democratic kind of way (if the world population were voting on the issue) – there probably is a God. And also in a democratic kind of way (if the world population were voting on the issue) – the God that there probably is – probably ISN’T yours.

There is a difference between a religious country and a country that is free to worship. In religious countries people are brought into the fold via gun point. That’s quite a religious experience. Now I ask you, what kind of country do you REALLY want to live in?

13 Comments My God is Better

  1. Vector

    Yeah, you are probably right. In a democratic kind of way, if the world population were voting on it, the winner would probably not be the one of the religion I belong to. Unless of course people were voting with Diebold Voting Machines.

    I would say that as long as you keep the state and the church separated, things should go along pretty smoothly. But this is of course only how I feel based on the experiences I have had in the countries I have lived in (2).

  2. Tina D.

    You would think that – but the religious right is – ironically pushing for that ‘religious country’ status. If they can’t save the entire US – they want to start their own country in South Carolina.

  3. Dr. Forbush

    The whole idea of calling a religion a cult is strange. If you think about it, Abraham started his own cult way back when. The Christians that left Judaism started there own cult. Each or the different forms of Christianity as they broke off in small pieces were cults. LDS was a cult little more than a century ago.

    Who’s to say that today’s cult doesn’t become tomorrows mainstream religion.

    If David Koresh or Jim Jones had stuck it out they could have gone mainstream.

    If you think of people like D. James Kennedy or Pat Robertson they talk like cult leaders, but the only difference is the number of people who listen to them.

  4. Dr. Forbush

    And, what is the difference? A cult is a set of ideas promoted to spread those ideas. A religion is a set of ideas promoted to spread those ideas. The only thing that separates them is acceptance by the larger community. In a religiously intolerant society all religions are “cults” unless sanctioned by the government. In a more tolerant society some religions are accepted and others are shunned by social stigma. When you have 12 people following a guy around along a river while he tells us how we should live our lives our society calls that a cult. 2000 years ago they had another name for it I’m sure, but it wasn’t a mainstream religion.

    Some cults become religions and the number of followers is usually the defining difference.

  5. Tina D.

    There are tons of websites that define what a cult is. Even more books out there. If you’re curious – I will tell you my personal experience – but if you have already decided that you are correct without researching the subject – I will not get into a debate with you. Especially not a debate over semantics.

    You bring the indepth knowledge on the subject and I’ll bring the coffee and we’ll make a day of it.

  6. Erika

    I grew up baptist. If that isn’t a cult it sure should be. I guess it was when it started. Monday night-youth group, Wednesday Evening-church. Thursday-Choir, Saturday-Visitation, SUnday morning-church, Sunday evening-church. This in companion with baptist church school. All this accomplished was making me a an agnostic. I’d love to be an atheist, but just can’t quite manage it. I do have hopes, though.

  7. cooper

    I can see your point and having jumped off the fence some time ago I can’t say organized religion is something I am fond of.
    However , taking Chile as an example, only because I have spent some time there. They are one of the most religious countries in the world possible more catholic than Italy. I don’t believe anyone currently is being brought into the world via gunpoint. They are also one of the most edcuated countreis in the world and that may be the key here.

  8. Dr. Forbush

    Tina,

    I found an interesting site that goes through the argument:

    http://www.spiritwatch.org/cultdef.htm

    However, they come to the conclusion that there are seven ways to distinguish whether a religion is a cult.

    7 ELEMENTS OF A CULTIC GROUP

    1) A centralized form of leadership that rules with unquestioned authority

    2) A body of convictions, beliefs, and practices set forth boldly as “the truth”

    3) A compelling presentation of the group vision to prospects that is inviting and challenging

    4) A series of manipulative socializing sessions to instill psychological dependence on the group

    5) A definable process of group dynamics used to unethically control and manipulate members

    6) A history of abuses of authority by group leaders freely using deception and fear tactics

    7) A history of psychological and spiritual abuses of group members that destroy lives.

    Under these elements it certainly would be easy to say nearly all fundamentalist religions are cults. Of course each element has certain degrees in reality, and what constitutes abuse of authority etc. If priests take advantage of children is that a sign of authority abusing the followers?

  9. Tina D.

    Coop, When did you go to Chile? I’m jealous. Did you write about it? I would still consider Chile a country that is free to worship because the judiciary is independent. I was hinting more along the lines of the Taliban.

    Forbush, it’s not ‘easy’ to say ANYTHING is a cult anymore because the definition has been muddied by you’re argument that the 12 Apostles could have been in a cult. It spins a truly awful social phenomenon into a quirky ice cream social. And ironically, that same argument has been used by many cult leaders – including Charles Manson.

    http://www.spiritwatch.org/cultmyths.htm
    Your argument is number 4.

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