Cult or Religion Essay

1520 Words7 Pages
TBA “A cult is just a religion I don’t like.” “All religions are cults.” “Religion is just the search for truth.” We may have heard someone use one of these three statements to explain cult and religion. Yet, are the statements accurate? Though cult and religion do share some characteristics, they are set apart by their leadership, the amount of authority over their members, and the rigidity of their boundaries. Many people use the term “zealot” synonymously with “cult leader.” Cult leaders are charismatic individuals who profess to have unmatched wisdom. They typically claim to be gods or God’s special messengers. They may claim to have been born with perfection rather than imperfection. They may profess having special…show more content…
Even if a member did want to leave his cult, few cults allow members the simple freedom to walk away (Porterfield 9). Leaving a cult is not an easy task. Why are cults so difficult to escape? They have very rigid boundaries. In an attempt to persuade his followers to obey his rules, the leader does all in his power to instill deep fears of non-cultists and members of other cults. Even though they may suffer starvation or beatings, cultists are wholly convinced that they are specially chosen people and that all others who do not commit to their cultish methods are undeserving inferiors. A leader may even require his members to live as recluses completely isolated from the outside. This rigid, shut-off lifestyle facilitate the cultists’ to succumbing the leader’s teachings (Porterfield 11). Without exposure to any ideas other than those of the cult leader, the members are, in effect, brainwashed. What about religion? Because there are so many different religious beliefs, there are many different religious leaders. Pastor, rabbi, and reverend are a few of the known religious titles. Some religious leaders wear elaborate robes and expensive jewelry to emphasize their status, while other leaders may wear a simple suit and tie. Though some leaders may claim to be God’s messengers, they themselves do not claim to be God. Rather, they point a omnipotent being or higher power that is
Open Document