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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: richardmgreen ()
Date: August 15, 2004 01:35AM

Jesus preached about love and peace. He said that "his was not a kingdom of this world", "don't lay up treasures for yourself in this world..." , "love your enemy as yourself" and he said "to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees".
However, as he didn't reappear immediately, and hasn't anyway, his teachings became the property of those who constructed a priesthood based on his teachings and the message of Christianity became political, social, and economic among other things. While on the surface his ideas seemed good, his teachings were distorted by self-interested groups and some of his doctrines were stood on their head.
"Love your enemy as yourself" became twisted and religious discrimination happened. His word became the very basis for much of Western Civilization and thus became very much a "kingdom of this world". People equated financial success with spiritual superiority and my belief is that many Christians have become like the Pharisees that Jesus warned about.
Based upon all of this, what really can be said about the leader if I'm to assume that "A good tree doesn't bear evil fruit?" One rabbi told me that all the blood spilled in his name would be "billed to his account". And many of the cults and destructive groups on this site are Bible based and Christian Bible based in nature.
Rick Ross once told me that my problems with Chabad were only a small part of the problems he deals with. I'm sure that Bible based groups are a big part of the problem outside of the Jewish world and I will comment on them extensively as the problem I've had being caught between the Christian and Jewish world can shed a lot of light on the subject.
Considering the current problems with the Moslem extremists in America, I wouldn't advise getting too smug about ones' future. The entire world order to my way of thinking seems to be shifting, not forward but back to the Crusades/Jihad scenario of the Middle Ages. I'd prefer to go forward in time and spirituality not backward, wouldn't your. Do you want to cry as your loved ones get their heads cut off or as our cities become destroyed or radioactive.
I don't just think I'm catastrophizing here, the WTC's demise cost something like 1/2 a trillion dollars just in direct economic damage. G-d only knows what's on the horizon.

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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: Lakefield ()
Date: September 03, 2004 04:41PM

I wonder if Jesus really didn't come back.. What if he did and it was just a quiet return and only those closest to him found about it?

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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: Toni ()
Date: September 04, 2004 11:23AM

Well, there are a number of groups that believe that to be the case. And if He did come back... would it make a difference to the rest of us at all anyway? I'm not up on my Bible studies, but don't most Judeo-Christian teachings talk about a coming Messiah? or the second coming?

The Mormons teach that Jesus came and taught on the North American continent. Sai Baba is supposedly an avatar, another incarnaton of God after Jesus, so is Miracle of Love's now deceased avatar, Gourasana. A number of other groups... many posted on this board... claim that their spiritual leader is either an incarnation of God/Jesus, or a spokesperson for same. I think the "Course in Miracles" was supposedly by Jesus, channeled through another, as is "The Urantia Book"

Wasn't there recently a popular song about same? "If God was one of us" or some such refrain.

If God came to Earth.. doesn't it seem that there would be honesty and integrity involved - not secrets, deception and manipulation as in a cult?

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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: Claire ()
Date: September 05, 2004 07:38AM

Richard, I just read a very interesting book entitled, "Secrets of the Koran." Orianna Fallaci, Bat Yeor and others support what you are saying. The Muslim birthrate and immigration will soon transform Europe into Eurabia. Even in the US, watch for the dhimmitization of our culture and government.

Another book, "The Soft Cage," details the history of surveillance, and extrapolates its future.

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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: Claire ()
Date: September 09, 2004 03:14AM

I have a suggestion for the mods here. It is somewhat annoying to get a reply message, and then follow the link and find nothing new there. Maybe if posts are held until they can be viewed first, maybe the message should not arrive until that post is viewable.

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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 09, 2004 09:21PM

There's a chance you can get a 'reply' message for a thread on which there are no new topics if someone has posted to that thread and the moderators decide the post was inappropriate choose not to let through.

I'll pass your query on.

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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: Claire ()
Date: September 10, 2004 01:26AM

I think what may happen is that when a person replies, the subscriber gets a reply email before the post is approved? I guess you must have had trouble, because previously once a poster had been around a bit and was approved, that person's posts were not moderated.

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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: YellowBeard ()
Date: September 13, 2004 12:47AM

Cult recovery and establishing psychological health is much more serious business than simply replacing unconventional religious beliefs with mainstream beliefs. A dangerous cult can just as easily use the widely accepted and firmly grounded religion of the particular culture that they're setting up shop in, and wreak just as much havoc.

This thread asks the question if Christianity (and religion in general) has inherent problems that drives destructive behavior such as cult involvement? It's certainly not politically correct to deeply inquire into this issue, but I feel reaching genuine psychological health (which prevents one from being drawn into cults in the first place) is more important than trying to appease the masses' fragile belief systems. So I'm going to offer an unwatered down version of my views on this issue since it's such an important one for the cult recovery community to address.

It's generally believed that people need religion (or that it's at least helpful) at times in their life to help cope with high stress situations (such as recovering from involvement in a destructive cult). This is the popular view, but most don't really bother to think the reasoning through -- people generally except consensus thinking as truth. There is no evidence to show that anyone benefits from clinging to religious beliefs anymore than children benefit from having the story of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny feed to them. Children not brought up with these or similar beliefs manage to cope with all the difficulties of life just as well. Believing in illusions has never helped anyone. If we want to deal with life most effectively, we need to deal with it as it actually is, and not with mental constructs that we attach to reality instead.

Substituting mainstream religious views in the place of eccentric cult-shaped views is what tends to take place in the cult recovery process. I don't feel that this is a good idea. We cannot say that 'Mother Goose' is more real than 'Rumpelstiltskin' because they are both equally fairy tales -- they are both equally not real events. And the fact of the matter is, all religions are mythologies. The religions of past cultures, we recognize as mythologies because we have not been indoctrinated in them. So we're able to look at the belief systems in an objective fashion. In Western culture, Judeo-Christianity is generally the mythology of choice. But there is nothing to establish the reality of this story anymore than there is to support the story of Santa Claus. I'm very sorry, but people do not walk on water, turn water into wine, or rise from the dead anymore than they ride on slays pulled by reindeer through the sky.

Part of cult recovery is the development of emotional maturity. Believing in magic is not conducive to this process. Becoming emotionally mature is the process of dealing with reality as directly as possible, and not through a screen of wild superstitious fantasies. The more we learn to deal with reality as it actually is, the healthier we become psychologically.

Was Jesus a cult leader? I say yes because I've read the entire Bible and not just selected verses that we're lead to by religious leaders. 95% of the Bible is filled with the most horrific, twisted imaginings the human mind has ever conceived. After a brief quote, we'll take a quick look into the Bible to see what kind of person Jesus really was.

“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.” -- Isaac Asimov

But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me. (Luke 19:27).

It looks as though Jesus may have been put to death for a little more than simply challenging the mainstream religious views of the time as we're lead to believe. It looks as though that he and his cult were quite violent.

Below we'll see the Jesus cult in action extorting money from a couple in a way that makes the Mafia seem like the Boy Scouts. The couple made a legal real-estate transaction and failed to give *all* the money to the Jesus cult. They gave the cult a large percentage as 'protection money', but that was not enough! Read it for yourself:

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much." And she said, "Yes, for so much." But Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. (Acts 5:1-11)

Unfortunately the cult survived under Peter who we can clearly see was a quite a piece of work. Today the cult spreads using guilt induction (as seen in Mel Gibson's "The Passion") and other basic thought reform techniques. The most effective cult in a society becomes the religion of the society. I'd like to say here, "God help us". But that won't do. We have to take responsibility and help ourselves. These are the first steps on the path of developing emotional maturity.

Is religion itself part of the problem of the cult phenomenon? I say yes. I feel those of us in the cult recovery field that are psychologically mature enough to abandon religious mythologies, should speak out even though we will face much opposition. Without depending on religion to provide the answers to life's problems, people have to start thinking things through for themselves. And when people start thinking for themselves, how are cults going to be empowered? From my perspective, I see questioning religion and challenging cults go hand in hand.

“As the astronomer rejoices in new knowledge which compels him to give up the dignity of our globe as the centre, the pride, and even the final cause of the universe, so do those who have escaped from the Christian mythology enjoy their release from the superstition which fails to make them happy, fails to make them good, fails to make them wise, and has become as great an obstacle in the way of progress as the prior mythologies which it took the place of two thousand years ago.” -- Harriet Martineau (1802-76)

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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: Claire ()
Date: September 13, 2004 03:54AM

Hello Yellowbreard,

I've noticed that often the response of a cult victim is to turn to atheism, an angry, militant form of atheism. I'm assuming that the victim assumes that they are safe from the gurus of religion. Yet many cults are not religious, and the anti-god groups are quite cultic in themselves, even as they mock the unenlightened.

In any case, it appears you are taking bible verses out of context, as you accuse others of doing. Sorry this is long, if you look at the entire passage, it is easier to understand. There are many commentaries that explain the culture and language further, and I recommend "Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah," by Alfred Edersheim. That is, if a person truely desires to understand.

And going in, He passed through Jericho. (Luk 19:1)

And behold, there was a man named Zaccheus, who was a chief tax-collector. And he was rich. (Luk 19:2)

And he sought to see Jesus, to see who He was. And he could not because of the press, because he was little in stature. (Luk 19:3)

And he ran in front and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him. For He was to pass through that way. (Luk 19:4)

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him. And He said to him, Zaccheus! Hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house. (Luk 19:5)

And hurrying he came down, and received Him joyfully. (Luk 19:6)

And seeing, they all murmured, saying, He has gone in to stay with a sinful man. (Luk 19:7)

And Zaccheus stood and said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor. And in anything I accused anyone falsely, I restore it fourfold. (Luk 19:8)

And Jesus said to him, This day salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. (Luk 19:9)

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luk 19:10)

And as they heard these things, He added and spoke a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God was about to appear immediately. (Luk 19:11)

Therefore He said, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom for himself, and to return. (Luk 19:12)

And He called his ten servants and delivered ten minas, and said to them, Trade until I come back. (Luk 19:13)

But his citizens hated him. And they sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this one to reign over us. (Luk 19:14)

And when he had received his kingdom and had returned, then it happened that he commanded these servants to be called to him; the ones to whom he had given the silver; so that he might know what each had gained by trading. (Luk 19:15)

And came the first, saying, Lord, your mina has gained ten minas. (Luk 19:16)

And he said to him, Well done, good servant, because you have been faithful in a least thing, have authority over ten cities. (Luk 19:17)

And the second came, saying, Lord, your mina has made five minas. (Luk 19:18)

And he said the same to him, You be over five cities. (Luk 19:19)

And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is your mina, which I have kept in a handkerchief. (Luk 19:20)

For I feared you, because you are a harsh man. You take up what you did not lay down, and you reap what you did not sow. (Luk 19:21)

And he said to him, I will judge you out of your own mouth, wicked servant! You knew that I was a harsh man, taking up what I had not laid down and reaping what I did not sow. (Luk 19:22)

And why did you not give my silver on the bank table, and coming I might have exacted it with interest? (Luk 19:23)

And he said to those who stood by, Take the mina from him and give it to him who has ten minas. (Luk 19:24)

And they said to him, Lord, he has ten minas. (Luk 19:25)

For I say to you that to everyone who has, more will be given. And from him who has not, even that which he has will be taken from him. (Luk 19:26)

But those who are my enemies, who did not desire that I should reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me. (Luk 19:27)

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Christianity and religion in general's inherent problems
Posted by: Claire ()
Date: September 13, 2004 04:05AM

Annanias and Sephira:

It is very clear that Annanias and Sephira were free to do what they wished with their property. To keep it or sell it. And they were free to keep all the money if sold. Their offense was deception.

And a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. (Act 5:1)

And he kept back part of the price, his wife also knowing, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. (Act 5:2)

But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart for you to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? (Act 5:3)

While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own authority? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God. (Act 5:4)

And hearing these words, Ananias fell down and expired. And great fear came on all those who heard these things. (Act 5:5)

And the younger ones arose, wound him up, and carrying him out, they buried him. (Act 5:6)

And it was about the space of three hours afterward, when his wife (not knowing what was done) came in. (Act 5:7)

And Peter answered her, Tell me whether you sold the land for so much? And she said, Yes, for so much. (Act 5:8)

Then Peter said to her, How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door and they will carry you out. (Act 5:9)

Then at once she fell down at his feet and expired. And the younger ones found her dead, and, carrying her out, buried her beside her husband. (Act 5:10)

And great fear came on all the church and on as many as heard these things. (Act 5:11)

And many miracles and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch. (Act 5:12)

The story of Annanias and Sephira ends here, but the rest of the chapter, and chapter divisions are a modern invention, keeps the story in context. :P

And of the rest no one dared to join himself to them, but the people magnified them; (Act 5:13)

and more believing ones were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women; (Act 5:14)

So as to carry out the sick into the streets and place them on cots and mattresses, so that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. (Act 5:15)

And also a multitude came from the cities around Jerusalem, bringing sick ones, and those being tormented by unclean spirits, who were all healed. (Act 5:16)

And rising up, the high priest, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees) were filled with anger, (Act 5:17)

And laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the public custody. (Act 5:18)

But the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors by night and brought them out, and said, (Act 5:19)

Go! Stand and speak all the words of this Life to the people in the temple. (Act 5:20)

And hearing, they went into the temple about dawn, and taught. But the high priest came, and those with him. And they called the sanhedrin together, and all the elderhood of the sons of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. (Act 5:21)

But having come near, the officers did not find them in the prison. And returning, reported, (Act 5:22)

saying, We indeed found the prison shut with all safety, and the keepers standing outside in front of the doors. But having opened it, we found no one inside. (Act 5:23)

And when the high priest and the temple commander and the chief priests heard these things, they were bewildered about them, what this might be. (Act 5:24)

But one came, reporting to them, saying, Behold, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people. (Act 5:25)

Then the commander went with the officers and brought them, not with force, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. (Act 5:26)

And bringing them, they stood in the sanhedrin. And the high priest asked them, (Act 5:27)

saying, Did we not strictly command you that you not teach in this name? And behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and intend to bring this man's blood on us. (Act 5:28)

And Peter and the apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Act 5:29)

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you killed and hanged on a tree. (Act 5:30)

This One God has exalted to be a Ruler and Savior to His right hand in order to give repentance and remission of sins to Israel. (Act 5:31)

And we are His witnesses of these things. And so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him. (Act 5:32)

But those hearing were cut to the heart, and they took counsel to kill them. (Act 5:33)

Then there stood up one in the sanhedrin, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a doctor of the Law honored among all the people. And he commanded the apostles to be put outside a little space. (Act 5:34)

And he said to them, Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. (Act 5:35)

For before these days Theudas rose up, boasting himself to be somebody; a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves to him; who was slain. And all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered and brought to nothing. (Act 5:36)

After this one, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the Registration, and drew away considerable people after him. Yet that one perished; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered. (Act 5:37)

And now I say to you, Withdraw from these men and let them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will come to nothing. (Act 5:38)

But if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God. (Act 5:39)

And they obeyed him. And calling the apostles, beating them, they commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. (Act 5:40)

Then indeed they departed from the presence of the sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be shamed for His name. (Act 5:41)

And every day in the temple, and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching the gospel: Jesus Christ. (Act 5:42)

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