The Cult of Christianity: 8 Reasons Christianity’s Not A Cult
It’s a horrifying thing when the same friend I used to have a good time with, call to smoke the occasional blunt with, and even go out for a wild night on the town with is now spending most of his time prancing around with these Christian folk. They are saying stuff like “look man, stop stressing about her, it’s in God’s hands.” When he clearly knows all I want to do is keep talking crap in that very moment. He will do stuff like bail on me for night church. NIGHT CHURCH! What?! What do you even do in church at night?! It’s go to be a cult thing. Or at least some sort of brainwashing.
This was my clear cut thought process as my friends one by one began dropping the charade of living for the weekend to pursue a life of meaning. Slowly but surely I saw an actual change in them. My blood started to boil since I wasn’t having any of that Christian crap! But the truth is that real Christianity is as far from a Cult as you can be. I mean think about it, when’s the last time you saw a Christian lie, cheat, kill and steal to defend Jesus? And if you can name a few times…it’s kind of an outlier isn’t it?
Let’s look at the criteria of a cult and what Jesus says. I took this from a cult 101 checklist and spared nothing. Juxtaposing it with the mindset of scriptural belief.
(I’ve gathered some that are debatable in order to keep it concise.)
The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
This debate would have to resort to the age old question of whether or not Jesus was the messiah. And even more in depth, whether God is the God of Abraham. This is one we can’t dispel in a blog. But what we can say is that a cult, by wester cultural definition is one that deviates from the standard of Judeo-Christian religion and into their own practices made up either expanding on or creating something separate from Jesus. This means Jesus is the standard. This also means cults will always copy Christianity, because we are their idol, their example, we do it best.
2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
If you’ve ever been to a bible study, you know that doubt is very much welcome; free thinking-encouraged. They are the very thing that establishes a mature believer. To believe in something simply because it is told to you is the absence of a self-sustained relationship with God. To punish doubt is to smack the Grace of God in the face and spit on the cross.
3. The group is preoccupied with making money.
What the American Church today has said about money and God as compared to the bible holds no comparison. God isn’t interested in 10% of your check. He isn’t interested in a Jet or a nice car, a fancy suit or a good fundraiser. God is interested in your whole life. Beginning to end. Yes, this includes but is not limited to your wallet. However, some have taken this and made it seem like the church is out for your dollar. The church is out to restore lives. But just like bars and night clubs, we gotta pay rent.
4. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, or marry; leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
It is of course leaderships job to teach the truth’s of scripture. But part of God’s truth is personal responsibility. Taking control over your own life. Jesus himself taught that you should steward the blessings God gives you properly and not take them for granted. Expanding on them yourself. If that’s so then that is contradicting a cult-like mentality that leadership must make the decisions of your life. Leadership is by biblical standards there to serve you, to help you, to help us get through this crazy thing we call life! Not to control us.
5. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
The gospel has given Christianity one overall mission. To help unite the world around the author of love. Jesus himself said he didn’t come to condemn world but save it. He also told the people who follow him to go and tell everyone else about eternity, about the divinity of heaven, about God. Jesus wanted nothing more than to bring everyone together. Scripture says God wants no one to perish, and that’s a claim no cult or religion can make except Christianity. Whereas in all other religions you have to do something to get to God, in Christianity, God comes to you.
6. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
This one is good because many Christians get this wrong. Some Christians think that if they start feeling shamed or guilty during a church service then God is doing something in their hearts. But there is a gigantic difference between shame and holy conviction.
Shame will drive you away from God, lead you to feel bad about what your doing and disgusted with yourself. Lowering your self image and make you unable to get up from your sin.
Conviction will drive you into the arms of God. It will show you how gracious God really is. How much he can really forgive and it will put you in a mindset of repentance. Repentance is not a shameful act but a change of mind which indicated that you’ve made a decision to change the way you live from now on.
7. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
I feel like this is a big one for a lot of people. In a cult, people are not allowed to see each other. They are cut-off, forced to move, ripped apart from their families, it’s horrifying. I’ve never understood the comparison to Christianity. Maybe I haven’t seen some ugly things, but I will say that I’ve heard of doctrinally ridiculous things out there in some churches which will force people to marry, force people to cut off family and not because it’s right but because it’s religiously convenient.
This is what I like to call religious cultism. Hidden inside the scope of some christian circles are some ugly things but that doesn’t mean God isn’t real. That also doesn’t discredit the whole church! All this means is those must be addressed. The Christian church as a whole is a place where families and friendships are restored, made closer than ever. If you’ve ever lost a friend to Christianity odds are it was because you judged their lifestyle before they got a chance to explain it to you. Not the other way around. Remember, I never forget where I came from. It’s called my testimony. And I would never judge someone else for living where I was living when God found me.