Christian Cults

Where Fellowship and Camaraderie lives: that place where the CPS membership values fun and good fellowship as the cement of the community
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gospeldj
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Post by gospeldj » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:59 am

Onyx wrote:
gospeldj wrote:Onyx, I'm just glad you're out of that mess. I'll keep you in my prayers.

By the way, I would never...ever...belong to a church, cult, club, group, fraternity, coffee klatch or any organization that had a list of "banned books" that I was forbidden to read.

Mike
Thanks for that.

Would you be a proud citizen of a country that had a list of banned books?
Nope.

Mike
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Post by Dug » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:14 am

Onyx wrote:
Dug wrote:
coco wrote:
Onyx wrote:those who monitor the web specifically for traffic regarding the group.
8O 8O 8O
+ 8O
Yeah, me too.

But by the way, how sure are you that the Roman Catholic church does not have people engaged in watching what's being posted on the web? I'm not suggesting that they're interested in small beer stuff at CPS... but don't you think that they watch trends, blogs and moves for and against the church on the web? Don't you think that they have their eye on a handful of potentially influential types? Have a think about that. I imagine they want to know what's going on. Maybe they have a virtual ear to the ground also.

Or maybe I'm just hung-over from re-watching the Bourne trilogy.
If only. While it's hard to generalize about what "the Roman Catholic Church does" given her 1+ billion members, the Vatican itself has been very slow in coming up to cyber-speed. In fact, a failure to keep an electronic ear to the ground (and general e-cluelessnes) contributed to Rome's failure to appreciate the severity of -- and to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to -- the US sexual abuse scandal(s) in 2002. There's a good, detailed description of the dynamic in George Weigel's "The Courage to Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform ("As odd as it must seem, given the conventional wisdom that the Vatican is a wealthy and efficient bureaucracy, the Vatican is in fact way off the roadside of the information superhighway."). In terms of content, indexing, and display, the Holy See's own website is still behind the curve. And notwithstanding media caricatures about an "authoritarian" Church, CDF disciplinary proceedings regarding Catholic theologians teaching anti-Catholic doctrine are actually rare, slow, and measured (too rare and slow for some people's tastes; then again, there wouldn't much disciplining for CDF to do if local Bishops were more courageous in doing their jobs).

While there is a robust and engaged Catholic blogosphere and a lot of Web presence, much -- if not most -- of that is undertaken by Catholic laity.

The observations of your original post had some genuine insights that resonated with me. I grew up in a nondenominational evangelical congregation that began as a home meeting in someone's living room and ended up a local "megachurch" of two or three thousand people. Although it wasn't nearly as abusive as your former situation sounds, it was interesting -- and ultimately problematic -- to see how large certain personalities loomed, and the kinds of peer pressure and group dynamics that created. As someone with a lot of initial prejudices against liturgical traditions and a ministerial priesthood, it surprised me to discover that the consecrated office of priests made their particular personalities comparatively less important, and I have found Catholicism to be far less susceptible to those sorts of "cult of personality" dynamics.

Though it certainly is not completely immune, as underscored by the recent, dismal case of the Regnum Christi movement and its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel. That group had a lot of internal rules meant to enforce secrecy and curtail criticism of their leadership and -- surprise, surprise -- it turns out that the unrepentant founder was leading a secret, double life that involved multiple illegitimate children, numerous alleged (and apparently credible) cases of sex abuse, apparent plagiarism of parts of his key written "works", etc. A lot of well-intentioned and otherwise pious Catholic Christians have been terribly damaged by the duplicity, scandal, and fallout. And those who had tried to blow the whistle early on (before the Vatican got around to investigating and Pope Benedict disciplined the founder) faced terrible retribution, ostracization, and smear campaigns.

I appreciate the wisdom of John Paul II's statement in his encyclical Redemptoris Missio (Mission of the Redeemer):
On her part, the Church addresses people with full respect for their freedom. Her mission does not restrict freedom but rather promotes it. The Church proposes; she imposes nothing. She respects individuals and cultures, and she honors the sanctuary of conscience. To those who for various reasons oppose missionary activity, the Church repeats: Open the doors to Christ!
I get wary when people tell me not to think about something, or to completely ignore the call of conscience.

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Post by Thunktank » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:41 pm

Dug wrote: As someone with a lot of initial prejudices against liturgical traditions and a ministerial priesthood, it surprised me to discover that the consecrated office of priests made their particular personalities comparatively less important, and I have found Catholicism to be far less susceptible to those sorts of "cult of personality" dynamics.
That is an excellent observation. The "office" of the clergy is much more important than the man in these sorts of set ups. Also the man can do far less outside the normal behavior of acceptable. Additionally, people have a recourse available to them if the man fails his job miserably. But regardless, the most important stuff the man does is not determined by his personal prowess or failures at all.

I also belonged to a mega church for a short time immediately following my decision to be a Christian after my agnosticism. The pastor was very charismatic and his church grew every year. It turned out that he was having an affair with is secretary. Now certainly, this could happen in any place but he was the sole leader for hundreds of young seekers. Many left never to speak of Christ positively again. As for me, I started looking high for Christ's will of a church.
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Onyx
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Post by Onyx » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:16 pm

gospeldj wrote:
Onyx wrote:
gospeldj wrote:Onyx, I'm just glad you're out of that mess. I'll keep you in my prayers.

By the way, I would never...ever...belong to a church, cult, club, group, fraternity, coffee klatch or any organization that had a list of "banned books" that I was forbidden to read.

Mike
Thanks for that.

Would you be a proud citizen of a country that had a list of banned books?
Nope.

Mike
I believe that the USA government no longer bans any books (although it has in the past). The banning of books in the USA now is more the hobby of smaller community groups.

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Del
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Post by Del » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:19 pm

Onyx wrote:
gospeldj wrote:
Onyx wrote:
gospeldj wrote:Onyx, I'm just glad you're out of that mess. I'll keep you in my prayers.

By the way, I would never...ever...belong to a church, cult, club, group, fraternity, coffee klatch or any organization that had a list of "banned books" that I was forbidden to read.

Mike
Thanks for that.

Would you be a proud citizen of a country that had a list of banned books?
Nope.

Mike
I believe that the USA government no longer bans any books (although it has in the past). The banning of books in the USA now is more the hobby of smaller community groups.
The US Government used to deal in Truth... and possessed some moral authority to say that certain books were lying and false.

Our current Congress and POTUS no longer believe in Truth, and wouldn't know how to tell which books are worth banning. Even if we asked them to.
"Utter frogshit from start to finish." - Onyx

"I shall not wear a crown of gold where my Master wore a crown of thorns." - Godfrey de Bouillon

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Onyx
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Post by Onyx » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:55 pm

Del wrote:Our current Congress and POTUS no longer believe in Truth, and wouldn't know how to tell which books are worth banning. Even if we asked them to.
You're very fortunate to have such a government. It's the ones that act as though they are the custodians of Truth which you really need to worry about.

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Del
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Post by Del » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:27 pm

Onyx wrote:
Del wrote:Our current Congress and POTUS no longer believe in Truth, and wouldn't know how to tell which books are worth banning. Even if we asked them to.
You're very fortunate to have such a government. It's the ones that act as though they are the custodians of Truth which you really need to worry about.
Well.... I actually believe there is a solid sort of Truth -- one that is the same for everybody -- and I wish our government would respect it a little bit.

- We used to know that innocent people deserve protection from those who would harm them.
- We used to know that the weak and helpless deserve special protection.
- We used to have the will to go the extra mile to protect those who need it.

I am becoming very afraid for anyone who is ill, handicapped, aged, or pre-born. It is no longer safe for such people, especially if they are poor.
"Utter frogshit from start to finish." - Onyx

"I shall not wear a crown of gold where my Master wore a crown of thorns." - Godfrey de Bouillon

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Onyx
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Post by Onyx » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:47 pm

Del wrote:
Onyx wrote:
Del wrote:Our current Congress and POTUS no longer believe in Truth, and wouldn't know how to tell which books are worth banning. Even if we asked them to.
You're very fortunate to have such a government. It's the ones that act as though they are the custodians of Truth which you really need to worry about.
Well.... I actually believe there is a solid sort of Truth -- one that is the same for everybody -- and I wish our government would respect it a little bit.
Del, I think that there's still plenty of that sentiment. But the scope within which governments get involved has narrowed in some areas because it serves a population which does not agree on many standards. I know... that's pretty much your point. But I for one prefer that. I want governments to ensure our freedom rather than prescribe the way we must live.
Del wrote:- We used to know that innocent people deserve protection from those who would harm them.
And we still know this. But we also learned that allowing people to take their own unrestrained vengeance is a dangerous course. We learned that a cold, dispassionate judgment has advantages for justice. If you've ever been falsely accused then you may have experienced this.
Del wrote:- We used to know that the weak and helpless deserve special protection
And we still know this, but sometimes the weak and helpless get missed, and sometimes the lazy take advantage, so we try to plug loop-holes and respond to needs, and then deal with our system which as become overblown and flawed. We tweak, then reform, then tweak some more. It's a human effort.
Del wrote: - We used to have the will to go the extra mile to protect those who need it.
And we still know this, but we have found that it can be hard to define who "needs it" and who has the strength to offer that protection.
Del wrote:I am becoming very afraid for anyone who is ill, handicapped, aged, or pre-born. It is no longer safe for such people, especially if they are poor.
Yet the ill today have better prospects than at any time in human history. Life expectancy is longer than ever, provision for the seriously handicapped is more widespread and comprehensive than for any previous generation, human safety now reaches standards that no previous era could have imagined, and poverty is now defined at levels which were once called opulence!

I agree with you on the matter of abortion which I think is an awful abomination. Laws in that area need fixing. But I think your overall perspective could afford some acceptance of just how good life has become for so many under the current form of government.

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Post by Del » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:59 pm

Thanks Onyx.

But just this week, the Montana District Court issued a ruling that negates a law prohibiting "assisted suicide."

Ever more, we are convincing ourselves that death is a grand solution to many of life's problems.

We are a short step from seeing "useless eaters" (the chronically and emotionally ill, the handicapped, etc.) as a problem deserving early death. It's cheaper that way. Less carbon footprint, and all that.

Hitler did the same thing 75 years ago.... we have not advanced much.
"Utter frogshit from start to finish." - Onyx

"I shall not wear a crown of gold where my Master wore a crown of thorns." - Godfrey de Bouillon

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Post by AFRS » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:19 pm

Del wrote:
Onyx wrote:
gospeldj wrote:
Onyx wrote:
gospeldj wrote:Onyx, I'm just glad you're out of that mess. I'll keep you in my prayers.

By the way, I would never...ever...belong to a church, cult, club, group, fraternity, coffee klatch or any organization that had a list of "banned books" that I was forbidden to read.

Mike
Thanks for that.

Would you be a proud citizen of a country that had a list of banned books?
Nope.

Mike
I believe that the USA government no longer bans any books (although it has in the past). The banning of books in the USA now is more the hobby of smaller community groups.
The US Government used to deal in Truth... and possessed some moral authority to say that certain books were lying and false.

Our current Congress and POTUS no longer believe in Truth, and wouldn't know how to tell which books are worth banning. Even if we asked them to.
Au contraire! They'll be banning the Bible in short order under the guise of 'hate literature'.

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Post by UncleBob » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:22 pm

AFRS wrote:
Au contraire! They'll be banning the Bible in short order under the guise of 'hate literature'.
If that were true, it would only make more people want to read it.
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Post by Thunktank » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:34 pm

UncleBob wrote:
AFRS wrote:
Au contraire! They'll be banning the Bible in short order under the guise of 'hate literature'.
If that were true, it would only make more people want to read it.
Then imagine all the cults that would follow as a result of every outlaw with an idea starting his/her own denomination. It would be the reform of the reform of the reform. . .

Oh never mind, I'll go back to what I was doing. Carry on!
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Yoda

“I grew up in a church with Ned Flanders. Down to the mustache. But so did a bunch of people I assume, which makes it so fun-diddly-unny.” -tuttle

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Post by gospeldj » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:45 am

I personally do not think there are any books "worthy of being banned." As far as I know, I still have the freedom to read any book I choose, or ignore those I don't want to read. Or, to read and dismiss as not worthy any books I so deem.

The whole "guardian of the truth" thing rings of totalitarianism, and I want no part of it. This of course does not mean that parents don't have the right, authority, and obligation to be such guardians for their children.

Mention was made of Hitler... I believe he was a believer in book banning, if I'm not mistaken.

Mike
Last edited by gospeldj on Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by wosbald » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:30 am

+JMJ+
gospeldj wrote:Mention was made of Hitler... I believe he was a believer in book banning, if I'm not mistaken.
And Robespierre was a believer in "Liberty".
"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph." - Our Lady of Fatima

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Post by gospeldj » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:47 am

wosbald wrote:+JMJ+
gospeldj wrote:Mention was made of Hitler... I believe he was a believer in book banning, if I'm not mistaken.
And Robespierre was a believer in "Liberty".
Not sure where you're going with this (pardon me for being slow!) but from what little I know about Robespierre and French history, I would say he and Hitler are about on par: both came to power during extremely troubled times, both considered themselves arbiters of the truth, both had a vision, and both were willing to kill many people to see that vision realized.

Mike
I'm not coming down out of this tree until you say you'll play football for the Methodists.

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Post by wosbald » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:16 pm

+JMJ+
gospeldj wrote:
wosbald wrote:
gospeldj wrote:Mention was made of Hitler... I believe he was a believer in book banning, if I'm not mistaken.
And Robespierre was a believer in "Liberty".
Not sure where you're going with this (pardon me for being slow!) but from what little I know about Robespierre and French history, I would say he and Hitler are about on par: both came to power during extremely troubled times, both considered themselves arbiters of the truth, both had a vision, and both were willing to kill many people to see that vision realized.
Robespierre's illegitmate use of Liberty does not diminish the concept of Liberty. Just as Hitler's illegitimate use of Authority in banning books does not thereby diminish the concept that some books, ideas, beliefs, etc... should be authoritatively banned.
"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph." - Our Lady of Fatima

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Post by gospeldj » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:45 pm

I would say, then, that is where we would differ.

Mike
I'm not coming down out of this tree until you say you'll play football for the Methodists.

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Post by wosbald » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:50 pm

+JMJ+
gospeldj wrote:I would say, then, that is where we would differ.
T'would appear so.
"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph." - Our Lady of Fatima

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Post by SonicBrewmeister » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:50 pm

wosbald wrote:+JMJ+
gospeldj wrote:I would say, then, that is where we would differ.
T'would appear so.
T'would, indeed.

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Onyx
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Post by Onyx » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:11 am

I have observed that some people are happy in cults, because they do not desire the freedom to think for themselves so much as the comfort of pre-packaged answers which give the illusion of certainty in life within the cult.

Many of those people out-grow this phase, and eventually want to regain the initiative in their lives. The two options to out-grow this dependence are to leave the cult, or to attain a leadership position within the cult so that they in turn exercise control over others. But others people are happy to spend their days in the comfortable certainty of having all the major answers to Bible interpretation and application handed down to them by leaders they can revere.

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