According to the American Heritage Dictionary Fourth Edition, 2001, a cult
is defined as:
1. A system of religious worship and ritual. 2. A religion or sect considered extremist or false. 3a. Obsessive devotion to a person or principle. b. The object of such devotion.
For many individuals, upon hearing the word 'cult' any variety of these
definitions immediately come to mind:
1. A religious group that claims a special understanding of the Bible that
no other group has, or that has a special connection with God that no other
group has. 2. A religious group that demands absurd and total devotion
from its members. 3. A religious group that makes persistent practice of
separating itself from the rest of society. 4. A religious group that abuses its
members mentally, psychologically, physically, and some groups even
sexually. 5. A religious group that tricks people into giving some or all of
their possessions and money to religious groups and leaders.
All of these definitions are true whether they come from the dictionary or mind of an individual. However, not all cult groups will suffer the extremes of these defining factors, and because of this not all individuals will recognize the signs and symptoms of their group being a cult.
Like many things within the social practices of humanity the practice of religion is not a bad thing. Religion helps many people to adhere to social rules and orders, to take better care of themselves and others, and to explore spirituality. Religion only becomes a bad thing when it is abused and used to control people.
Those who wish to follow Christianity have got to get it through their heads that not everyone wants to follow their religion, much less believe in their God. Likewise, these same Christians need to get a grip on the truth that people are quite capable of functioning well with each other, honoring law, treating one another with respect, and living wonderful, productive lives WITHOUT the monkey of Christianity/Religion breathing down their necks. People do this every single day. Every damn day. And they do it completely free from the delusion of the Holy Bible, and free from the minions of Christianity/Religion who preach the fables of the Holy Bible as truth.
Whenever there is any cult group that makes national or world news people are entranced by the horrible details, repeatedly asking themselves and others how the members of the group were suckered into believing
obvious lies, or worse yet, killing themselves or others.
Perhaps some of the more memorable cult tragedies that have occurred in the last one hundred years are the Heaven's Gate cult, the People's Temple cult, and the cult of the Branch Davidians specific to the leadership of one David Koresh.
On November 18, 1978, more than 900 people died a large mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. Congressman Leo Ryan became the first congressman assassinated in the line of duty in all of United States history when this happened.
On March 26, 1997, thirty-nine members of the
Heaven's Gate cult were discovered dead in a home
their lives, including twenty children, when the Branch
Davidian compound called Mount Carmel in Waco, Texas, was raided by the ATF and the FBI.
The bitter truth about these cults is no one had to die. No one had to go through insufferable circumstances in order to prove their belief. But, for some reason or other many of the individuals in these particular circumstances found it necessary to do just that. These individuals allowed themselves to be convinced of absurd religious claims, and some even allowed themselves to be manipulated into killing themselves or others.
What makes people believe the lunatic ravings of the spiritually diminished? Who knows? A majority of people simply would not fall for the craziness that many self-appointed messiahs spout. However, not all cults are easily spotted for not all cults operate on the level of obvious stupidity.
It is entirely possible for an individual to be a member of a religious cult
group and not even realize it. In the minds of many people if a religious
group does not build a weapons cache, does not demand that members
relinquish all of their assets, and does not demand that members live in a
commune type environment then it is not a cult. This is a mistake.
Some cult groups are far more subtle about the manner in which they gain control of group members. First things first, new members of such groups are smothered in kindness, fawned over, and made to feel very
special and very loved. When many people feel so loved and attended to their guard starts to break down.
Once a person's guard has been lowered mental seeds of religious superiority are sewn. People begin to believe that they are members of a
group that is closer to God, has better answers in all matters pertaining to
God, has been specially blessed by God Himself, and have a better and
more clear understanding and interpretation of the Holy Bible.
It gets better. As time goes by group members are informed that all individuals and dogmas and practices and beliefs that are contrary to their
own are poisonous and detrimental to their spiritual safety. Members are
told to stay away from people that believe and think differently, lest they
damage their relationship with God and Jesus.
For those individuals who choose to leave such groups the consequences can be quite severe emotionally speaking. Many are completely and totally cut off from communicating with members of the group they were once in. This can be devastating to people who spent years meeting with the group and who built their social circle around fellow group members.
If an individual desires to explore their spirituality by joining a religious group that is fine. What is not fine is being a member of a group that in the end analysis does more harm than it does good. For those who desire to
join a religious group and for those who already are members of a religious group keeping the following things in mind would be a very good idea:
1. Any religious group that tries to discourage individuality or that tries
to label individuality as a tool of Satan and 'The World' is a cult.
2. Any religious group that encourages, suggests, or demands that
members cut communication with people who believe or think differently is
3. Any religious group that teaches that it has the only 'truth' in matters
pertaining to God is a cult.
4. Any religious group that preaches that humanity cannot be salvaged
and that humanity is at its worst point ever is a cult.
5. Any religious group that teaches bullshit End Times theories is a cult.
6. Any religious group that teaches that its members will go to heaven
while all other people go to hell is a cult.
7. Any religious group that teaches hate on any level is a cult. This
includes hateful rhetoric aimed at gays, lesbians, atheists, and other faiths.
8. Any religious group that teaches its members to treat themselves or
other people poorly is a cult.
9. Any religious group that teaches that the Holy Bible or any other
religious text is the absolute and final authority is a cult.
10. Any religious group that teaches that it is the only path to God and all
things spiritual is a cult.
Renovating the American Prison System
By: God the Disciplinarian
I was very recently considering the current poor condition that the prison system in the United States is in. It is a prison system that is for all intents and purposes in shambles and in a condition that is very near to exploding into an all out emergency. I am shocked at the rate at which Americans are locking each other away, American youths in particular. Curious as to what the main issues causing this problem are I did a little investigating of my own.
I visited five maximum security prisons in each of the twenty most populated states within the United States. I recorded as much information as possible to include the age and ethnicity of the prisoners, the types of crimes that prisoners were serving time for, the types of prison foods served to prisoners, and even the various activities that filled a prisoner’s day. What I discovered to be the problem is nowhere near what I thought the trouble would be.
The problem, the reason why the prison system in the United States is in shambles is because it is run like it is a carnival. That is precisely the reason why the prisons in the United States are so crammed tight with criminals of every breed. Never mind that, though. I am now offering to you my solutions and recommendations for renovating the prison system in the United States.
First and foremost, absolutely no more weights or exercise equipment of any kind for criminals…period. No more baseball or softball teams. No more weight-lifting competitions, horse-shoe tournaments, or mini Olympics. The crimes these criminals committed earned them their prison sentences. The prison sentences are debts to be paid to society and not a membership to a health club where you have the opportunity to get into shape.
Criminals also need to learn that committing a crime and going to prison is not an acceptable option or opportunity to earn a college degree. For those criminal individuals who are too lazy to earn a college scholarship, take out grants and loans, or pay their own way through college the prison system should no longer exist as an alternative route by which to acquire higher education. No more college degrees, occupational or vocational classes or high school courses should be available to inmates. Instead, such programs and opportunities should be set aside for law abiding citizens who definitely desire higher education and could use the help.
The next necessary change is the design and occupation of the prison cells. Cells should no longer hold more than one inmate at a time. The buddy system within the prison system is over. Prisoners can now spend their closet-space spare time all on their lonesome. Each cell will have it’s own shower thus eliminating group shower time. The prisoner will have no control over the shower faucet, but rather the shower will turn on automatically at specific times. Shower curtains are also a no-go since history has shown that some prisoners can either escape or kill themselves with virtually anything.
All of the items that the current prison system allows criminals to keep in their cells are officially out. No more personal radios, televisions, books, magazines, photos, written correspondence, computers, or games. In addition, at no time whatsoever shall any inmate be visited by anyone or receive any type of package or letter. With the no package and no letter rule the prisons would be virtually free of any number of drugs that have in the past been regularly smuggled in.
Now as far as the food in the prison system goes, unless an inmate suffers from an actual disease or ailment that necessitates a special diet, all inmates will be served the same meals every day for every meal. All candies such as fruit chews, gummy candies, and licorice shall be served. The good, nutritious food should be saved for non-criminal members of society, especially those with children, who desperately need that kind of help. Since candy is far cheaper than foods with even the lowest nutritional value the daily costs for feeding prisoners will drop to less than a penny, thus saving the prison system a b-zillion dollars a year. Water is the only beverage that will be served.
In order to further cut the costs or prison operations the prison system will recycle every item possible, utilize earth friendly green products and machinery, and reduce electricity usage by utilizing solar panels. In a great way to create jobs for the public the license plate factories that operate out of prisons will be shut down at the prisons and reopened where regular, law abiding citizens deserve to have good paying jobs with good benefits.
Consider all the points and solutions I have stated here. Think about the purpose and intent of incarceration, what it was meant for in the first place. Confinement, prison, jail, whichever term you use is intended to punish. Providing prisoners with any number of creature comforts, fitness opportunities, and free education is nowhere near anything remotely similar to what punishment is supposed to be and should be. Stop treating and running the prison system as if it were a carnival where customers may come right on in and test all the rides, leave for a short while, and then return at their leisure.
The current prison system does such a poor job that more than half of the criminals released end up returning to prison. Institute the changes I recommend and the number of persons incarcerated will drop dramatically, and as an added gift a huge amount of pressure will be lifted from the American Justice System as a whole.