Are all religions, just global cults?

If we are going by this definition;

cult kŭlt

  • n. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.

  • n. The followers of such a religion or sect.

Wouldn’t that apply to pretty much every major religion on the planet.

If so, surely it stands the reason, that the same negative social stigmas that portain to cults, should also be applied to Christianity, Mormonism, Islam, Jeovahs witnesses ect…

I’d be interested to hear your opinions on this

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Imo major religions generally do not met the criteria for a cult.

Unfounded, sweeping generalisations are not conducive to reasoned discussion.

I wouldn’t call it unfounded, that was a copy and pasted definition :scream_cat:

But I see what you’re saying.

What would you personally say the difference between a cult and a religion is?

I mean, going by the above definition, blind faith, could be considered relatively extreme, depending on a person’s perspective. Then there’s living in an unconventional manner, most religions influence what you can and can’t do, they ask you to change the way you live.

Christianity has a leader, it doesn’t say the leader has to be alive, so Jesus for Christianity, Mohammed for Islam.

You see where my reasoning leads me to this conclusion, granted it’s loose reasoning, but it certainly points in a certain direction. :eyes:

The simplest way to recognise as sect, imo, is to look at the relationships of sect members with their family . They have no contact with family. That relationship is taken over by the leader of the sect and sect members . In a sect, members may not leave.

Whether a sect is also a cult or not is sometimes hard to work out without a LOT of information. Many have sect-like qualities.

The most prominent sect which is a cult {at least] imo is Scientology. Have a look at them. See link below for a start.

A well known sect which does not seem to me to be a cult is the Amish ,although it has cult like qualities…

If you really want to learn about cults, learn about any sects you think qualify. There’s a lot of stuff on YouTuber.

For more studied information, I recommend the excellent “New Heaven Ne Earth” by Kenelm Burridge. It’s still in print. A decent library should have a copy.


When I was studying this, emphasis was placed on “charismatic leader” ( David Koresh, Jim Jones, Shoko Asahara, Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret, Marshall Applewhite… and the like.

The Pope does not qualify. He is an elected official and as popular as he is, he is considered a CEO of a company and not a Charismatic Cult Leader.

Many religions are called “Cults” after the fact. Basically, cults are completely legal and cause no legal issues until they come to the attention of the government for some reason. It is only at that point that they are called or labeled cults. It seems all religions begin with some charismatic leader with a message starts his or her own faith based superstition. If it gets big enough, it becomes a religion, just like Mormonism or Scientology, which were started by the cult leaders Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard respectively.

Too broad really, I think they cease to be considered a cult when they achieve popular mainstream support.

Though the point that there is little else to discern mainstream religion from religious cults is well made, and you’re certainly not the first to point it out on here.

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There is a difference between religions. You have some moderate, fairly “follow you conscious” types. You have some controlling types and then highly controlling. The B.I.T.E. model can help in assessing the level of a group.

Cults are NOT just religious. They exist in business and politics. Any idea can spring forth a cult.

B - Behaviour Control
I - Information control
T - Thought Control
E - Emotional Control


There is a theory that the whole Christian movement was a movement away from the Charismatic Theistic leadership to officially recognized institutions. This is the origins of Pauline Christianity. Jesus and his followers were the cult on which the Catholic Church was based.


No ,not necessarily :thinking: I know that many cults will try to separate you from your family and from the outside world and also many cults are sometimes dangerous .Cult leaders love to use fear to control the cult’s members and also the cult leader is always ‘‘right’’ and members must never question the cult leader that is how cults control their members .I highly recommend the Deadly Cults book

And here is wikihow articles about cults

Here is a video about dangerous cults

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Lets say for example you had sex, the girl gets pregnant and killed the baby.
even if the baby didn’t die, who is gonna pay for his mental suffering ?
you did know inside you that fornication is bad before you did it,
and you did it, even after killing the baby, you keep doing it,
each and everytime you know that it’s bad, and each time you feel pangs of remorse
until your mind give up on you, and you know that religions’s message say it’s forbidden.
if god exists and you went to him what are you expecting to happen ?
do you think that he is not gonna come after you for killing his little creature ?
are you gonna start arguing that there was no soul in it ? what do you know about souls ?
you didn’t believe in god and suddenly you know about souls ?
or are you gonna say i didn’t have an evidance that god did exist ?
it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you heard the message/warning,
believing in god is an other level of the road,
you only get judged according to what you believe wich is “fornication is forbidden”

The question is does it worth the risk gambling on god’s existance ?
if god doesn’t exist all the criminals win, and all the innocents lose.
and if god does exist all the innocents win and all the criminals lose.
which one do you want to believe ?

You can be an athiest with an argument but you can’t be a criminal with an argument.
your atheism arguments will be seen and probably you’ll be exempted,
but i don’t know about your crimes, the more people lean away from believing in god
the more their concept of morals is lacking, which leave the person driven only by desires,
the desires are selfish, and selfish hate others, who hate others hate good for them,
who harms people other than those who hate good for others ? the more you have nobody
to fear the more you don’t care. believing in god is what give’s
people the reason to have morals, and give them the motive to change them selves.
and by the way not every religious person is a good person, actually those are the people
who make it look bad.

I think religion is underestimated, it is not based on superstition but the message has been abused,
fabricated upon, and mixed with human desire, to enslave people, and to drive their emotions !!!

The what is it based on?

it’s based on what i just said before “the message”

That is a ‘word salad’.
Religion is not based on that.
That is a story you used to push a viewpoint. Not the evidenced basis for anything.

Unless you are saying that all religion is made up based on a story?

the message is “fornication is forbidden” for the case of that guy who had sex

So, let me get this straight: you are asserting that all religion is based on the premise that fornication is forbidden?

Do you understand the subtle difference between ‘sex’ and ‘fornication’?

If this happens due to abortion, there is no baby . There was a foetus, not a human being. Even the bible recognises that a foetus is not a human being until it has drawn its first breath. (Genesis)

Pascal’s wager? Really?

Being an atheist is not a choice for this atheist. Rather it was an inevitable conclusion to a search which lasted two decades. Consequently, it cannot be a gamble for me.

Say I went through the motions of believing ‘just in case’. Is your god so stupid that he wouldn’t see through that in a nano second?. Besides, Francis, the incumbent geriatric in the Vatican has said that an atheist can go yo heaven if he lives a moral life, according to conscience.

I am not an atheist with an argument [about my atheism] I am simply unable to believe but make no claims. It is the believer who makes the claims about god. To him falls the burden of proving the existence of his god(s) It is not my responsibility to disprove anything.

If anything, imo religion has been grossly underestimated for the harm it has done and continues to do to the human race.

Religion is based of faith, not reason or facts. ‘Faith’ is defined as ‘belief in that not seen’. It’s blind. Another term for blind faith is superstition.

No less an authority than Jesus himself is recorded as urging his disciples to believe blindly:

John .20:29 “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (JKV)

PS it’s ‘existence’ and ‘atheist’


Pascal’s wager is an argument in philosophy presented by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, theologian, mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662).[1] It posits that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or does not.

Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).[2]'s_wager#:~:text=Pascal's%20wager%20is%20an%20argument,either%20exists%20or%20does%20not.


Hi :wave:

There’s a lot to unwrap so particularly I quoted just these two.

A long time ago - thousands of years, there was a tribe where the husband could take his wife to a priest (god work through the priest). If he thought she was pregnant with another man’s baby, the priest preformed the abortion. God was fine with that.

So which god is going to be mad :rage:

I need to know - there are so many


HUH!!! WTF are are you on about? You feel remorse for fornicating? Well FUCK ME! (“It rubs the lotion on its skin, else it gets the hose again. It puts the lotion in the basket.”)

An allusion to Pascal’s Wager - We are now leaving planet earth for the magical land of “IFATHIS IFATHAT.” In this magic land you get to talk directly to God, an all powerful creator of the universe, Souls automatically exist and there no evidence required to demonstrate this. In fact anything you assume is automatically true. This is a world where all criminals are forgiven, they have accepted Jesus into their hearts and when they get to heaven the people they have murdered, raped, stolen from, kidnapped, enslaved, and treated in horrible ways, all welcome them with open arms because that is what forgiving people do.

Everyone knows you have to believe in God to assert that the rest of the word, the non-believing populations or those populations believing in the wrong gods, HAVE NO MORALS. That they are all merely driven by desires. Selfish desires of wanting to get into their version of heaven and avoid their version of hell. Or selfish desires of the heathen reincarnation and a better life. It is only the desire for the true heaven and a relationship with the true god that is not selfish. It is not selfish to want to share the love I personally have with the all powerful creator of the universe. I am not special or selfish because I am willing to share with the amoral pieces of shit that are moving in the wrong direction, away from God.

“It puts the lotion on the skin. It puts the lotion on the skin else it gets the hose again!!!”


Not as though it’s any of your business…but, I don’t have a criminal record. Now some may…they may have paid their “debt to society”. Some may be currently doing “time”. Some get away with it.

A truly frightening creation, terrific acting from Ted Levine. Also like the smarmy Dr Chilton.

One of my favourite horror films. One of the few times I’ve agreed about the person chosen for best actor. Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector is mesmerising.

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