Photo credit: Katy Grannan for the Observer
By Shahesta Shaitly
Megan Phelps-Roper, 30, a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church
My first memories are of picketing ex-servicemen’s funerals and telling t […]
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Q: What’s the difference between a Cult and a Religion?
She is one of the smart ones; she got out. All power to her for that alone, and more for having the courage to speak about it.
“In a cult, there’s a person at the top who knows its a scam. In a religion, that person is dead.” – Dusty
I suspect there are people very much alive at the very top of most religions who know perfectly well it’s a scam, who don’t actually believe a word of their own holy books but can’t ever admit it. Imams, priests, maybe even pope Frank himself. You never know.
I’ve always thought the giveaway sign that something is a cult is when anyone trying to leave it is shunned. When anything is based on lies then it can’t stand any dissent. Of course in my opinion all religions are also based on lies but my only direct experience of religion is the C of E which is about as mild and easy going as religion ever gets. I’m sure the vicar in the little village where my grandparents lived and worshipped would have liked everyone in the village to attend his services but there were no hissy fits towards any of the non faithful. I can just about cope with that sort of religion but the catholic church is far worse, islam worse still and then you have the ones like Scientology where you know it’s all about the money, barely even a pretence that the core message contains any truth.
I lost my faith a very very long time ago. I did, however, continue to go through the motions and linger. I’d hit church with the family on Easter or Christmas… The initial losing of my faith was celebratory. I felt free… smart….. alive….
But, cutting the cord completely and really being separate from my family was anxiety ridden and hard. I still will do the sign of the cross and sit respectfully if someone wants to “say grace”.
I can only imagine the mental strength that upheaval like this entails. this is a strong young woman and I respect her greatly. However, right is right and any thinking person should eventually see that hate is the wrong way to accomplish anything.
Robin Williams has a great line in Popeye,” Wrong is wrong, even if it helps you”. It hangs in my classroom.
@OHooligan, post #2
I’d have said “Size and Age”.
There are obscure, ancient cults still around (but they’re small).
On the other hand, Scientology and the Moonies are big but are clearly cults (being that they’re new)
So, if it’s big and old, it’s a religion.
If it’s small or new, it’s still a cult.
All religions were cults once. And some cults around today will graduate to becoming religions.
(Mormons can probably be considered recent graduates of this transition. Lineball on both size and age.)
Cult : Religion :: bar : pub
Cult : Religion :: bloke : dude
Cult : Religion :: ______ : ______ (your turn — it’s kinda fun)