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Another Christian Cult Survivor Speaks... - Printable Version

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Another Christian Cult Survivor Speaks... - ThawingOut - 09-03-2017

[attachment=1345]"Mark had been part of a Christian cult throughout his childhood and adolescence, so when he showed up as a freshman at Bob Jones University (BJU), he came face to face with a slightly larger slice of humanity. I emphasize “slightly” because BJU students’ beliefs and lifestyles still make up a minuscule percentage of Americans, and especially, of the world’s inhabitants.

Even at BJU, however, Mark discovered a few discrepancies between his beliefs and and those of most BJU faculty and students. We can’t both be right, he realized, but we’re both sure we’re right and we both have Bible verses to prove we’re right.


Suddenly, it dawned on him. If one of us are wrong, we could both be wrong. All of this — the Christian faith as a whole, and heck, even God’s existence — could be one big construction of our imaginations...

See http://www.thawingout.org/index.php/2017/09/02/why-im-still-alive-marks-story/


RE: Another Christian Cult Survivor Speaks... - Josh - 09-03-2017

This hits close to home. I eagerly await part two.


RE: Another Christian Cult Survivor Speaks... - Workin' Mama - 09-03-2017

Interesting. I'm looking forward to hearing part II. I hope your friend is doing better now.

I think it's very interesting, and very appropriate, that you call the group that Mark grew up in a "cult." I've heard some discussion recently on other survivor websites as to whether or not to call one's former church a cult.

The general thinking is that if you call someone's religious group a cult when they are still in the pre-contemplative or contemplative stages of leaving, it may turn them off so much that they will not listen to anything else you say. But calling one's own former religious group a cult, while it may be difficult at first, can eventually be very liberating and validating. I assume that Mark also considers his former group a cult.

Growing up in fundamentalist churches, many of us were trained to recognize cults by certain doctrines (or lack thereof). Yet there is a newer definition of a cult that defines it by how it treats its members. Spiritual abuse and authoritarian leadership are what define a cult, rather than a list of doctrines. Another way I've heard it described is "ethical heresy" rather than "doctrinal heresy". In my opinion, cults that practice ethical heresy (as in, spiritual abuse and authoritarianism) are also practicing doctrinal heresy, because they are setting up their leaders in place of God and mistreating his little ones. Their statement of faith may look OK on paper, but real life is the litmus test.


RE: Another Christian Cult Survivor Speaks... - Josh - 09-03-2017

(09-03-2017, 08:27 PM)Workin\ Mama Wrote: Growing up in fundamentalist churches, many of us were trained to recognize cults by certain doctrines (or lack thereof). Yet there is a newer definition of a cult that defines it by how it treats its members. Spiritual abuse and authoritarian leadership are what define a cult, rather than a list of doctrines. Another way I've heard it described is "ethical heresy" rather than "doctrinal heresy". In my opinion, cults that practice ethical heresy (as in, spiritual abuse and authoritarianism) are also practicing doctrinal heresy, because they are setting up their leaders in place of God and mistreating his little ones. Their statement of faith may look OK on paper, but real life is the litmus test.

Wow, the term "ethical heresy" is completely new to me, but it immediately falls into place as a perfect fit for what I experienced in the IFB, albeit in mild form and thus not with the severity that I assume Mark experienced. It was true for me that the IFB church I attended had all the basic doctrines right on paper (glossing over for the moment the issues of mandating extra-biblical standards, King James Onlyism, six day creationism, etc.), but the abusive authoritarianism pushed it to a degree toward the cult end of the spectrum. How the leadership functions and how they treat the congregants and people outside the church and especially people who've left the church is indeed the true test of culticness.