Is it a “cult” if the group is socially accepted? I’m not sure. I’m inclined to think not. “Cult” has an almost automatic, socially negative connotation. So, if society accepts the group as normal, can it be a cult? I don’t think so. But I did grow up within a community that had all the markings of a cult, except one. The community into which I was born did not center around a single charismatic leader worshipped and obeyed by a dead eyed herd of disciples. But it did have the other markings of a cult. It was cult-esque.
First, the group into which I was born stubbornly and proudly declares itself separate and special from the rest of humanity. It looks down upon the rest of the world with contempt. It holds that the rest of the world as worthy of complete destruction (except themselves of course) and anticipates the death and torture of the rest of humanity with a pathological joy. But God had chosen and separated them from the rest of us. We are all beneath them. They have covered this outlandish arrogance with a sickeningly false humility. “I don’t hate you. But God hates everything you do.” How convenient. Every cult that I know of holds the rest of the world in contempt and considers themselves special. The community I grew up in is no different.
Second, like every cult in known history, they feverishly hold onto their superstitions even when confronted with obvious evidence to the contrary. This is a classic hallmark of cult behavior. When the prophesy doesn’t occur, the glassy eyed followers concoct every irrational excuse conceivable to explain why the end of the world didn’t occur on the date they so adamantly declared was divine fact. When the healer fails to heal, it’s never that the healer is a liar or deranged, it’s that the afflicted didn’t have enough faith. When the aliens didn’t come to Earth and destroy it as predicted… well, it turns out that mitochlorinthals in the spirit atoms that form the psychic ozone shield around the earth were aligned through the astral projections of the Masters and blocked the aliens from entering our atmosphere. Well, the group I grew up in was no different, but they are accepted socially as “normal” so their mindless superstitions aren’t considered “cultish”. Like every cult, they maintain a stubborn refusal to acknowledge fact to maintain their superstitions and their feeling of entitled superiority. It’s the same mentality as any cult. Not “like”, but rather “exactly”. It is cultish whether we wish to recognize it as such or not.
Third, the children born into this cult-esque society are separated from the rest of society, forced with physical violence to endlessly repeat superstitions they don’t understand, until those superstitions have permantly branded themselves onto the child’s psyche. It takes years of education to undo the damage. Freedom of thought is not only discouraged, in some cases (my case) it is punished. In most cases, it is punished through social pressure or mental abuse but in some cases, it is punished violently. The children are forced to repeat prayers endlessly. Divine powers inform them what music is acceptable, what clothing is acceptable, what friends are acceptable, what books are acceptable, what games are acceptable, what TV shows are acceptable, and what words are acceptable. Of course, every parent must parent their children. We all act as a guiding force for our children. But this community micromanages their children’s lives according to arbitrary superstitions and blatant lies. And abusively punishes dissent or any pushback. In other words, the third cultish mark this community holds, is that it brainwashes children as ruthlessly and efficiently as any recognized cult or totalitarian communism. I mean every word of what I just wrote and understand perfectly the gravity of the charge.
Fourth, like every cult this group preys off the weak and vulnerable. People with a good education, self-confidence, prospects in life, healthy relationships, rarely get involved in cults. Cults avoid those people. They go after lonely people, poor people, addicts, single mothers, people with economic problems, mental handicaps, and other people that feel that something has gone terribly wrong with their lives. They fill them up with superstitions meant to make them feel special and different from the rest of the world. Of course, the primary way this group grows is through birthrate. They do have a lot of babies. But when it proselytizes, it goes after the vulnerable.
This blog will be dedicated to addressing the abuses of this group and my own personal struggles in trying to remove the stain from my psyche. This is a large, influential group with shocking and troubling attributes that mainstream America may be largely unaware of. This community with several marks of cultist behavior has wormed its way throughout American life and must be removed completely from discourse or it will erode civil morality. It has already done untold damage. They are dangerous and ignoring them or laughing at them is not an option. I have seen this group destroy lives, rob the elderly, sexually abuse women and children, violently abuse women and children, peddle in racism and bigotry, and do all this with the tacit, passive consent of American society.
Who is this group with cultish tendencies that destroys lives, preys on the vulnerable, and harbors overt intentions of imposing their superstitions on the whole of American society? Muslim? Nope. We are not in danger of “creeping Sharia law”. Scientology? Nope. UFO cults? Nope.
I’ll be writing exclusively about my experience with Conservative Evangelical America along with other thoughts that apply obliquely. My goal will be to convince those still on the fence that Conservative Evangelicalism in its American form is not just annoying and deserving of eye rolls, but it’s dangerous, abusive, and needs to be driven from free society. It has destroyed a generation of Americans.
In my next blog, I will define my terms. I assure you that I am not anti-religious. This isn’t going to be a free-for-all Christianity bashing blog. There are many of those and too many of them are bludgeoning tools trying to do delicate surgery. I do not hate Christianity in general. There are many Christians in America who are a force for good. We secularists need their help. Religion is not what is destroying us.
Conservative Evangelicalism is.