CULT-PROOFING YOU KIDS by Dr. Paul R. Martin
CULT-PROOFING YOU KIDS
by Dr. Paul R. Martin
As discussed by Occult Whistleblower, Pierre S. Freeman
CHAPTER 1 WHAT IS A CULT?
SEPARATING THE SHEEP FROM THE GOATS
In respect of the definition of a cult as a group opposed to the historic traditions of the Christian Church, which are supported by the Apostles’ Creed, it is true that, to an extent, Dr. Martin admits that evangelical Christians of this definition, could also, by virtue of their practices, be a cult as well. So, his identification of a cult also includes groups that include certain practices that effect damage to a member’s psychological well-being, their family and their profession. In these practices, he makes mention of various definitions of cults which include deceptive and/or manipulative recruiting techniques, that destructively use their member’ energies, cultivating mind control or hypnotic techniques to enhance suggestibility, information management- all of which is fully in conformity to the definitions found in other anti-cult literature.
So, let’s look at the categories of cults he presents with the understanding that in listing these groups, he states that “Although the groups catalogued below may exhibit some characteristics of cults, they are not all cultic in the psychological sense, nor are all necessarily abusive to their adherents.” From my reading of this disclaimer, I infer that some of these cults are only religious and not necessarily abusive, but still cults. I will, therefore, make a few comments about his choices, seeing how they reflect on his question, “What is a cult?”
When he talks about “Eastern Mystical Groups,” he speaks of them as being pantheistic and their idea of “truth” being “far more a matter of personal experience than of absolute unchanging reality.” In his cataloging of these groups, he mixes whole scale religious traditions like Zen Buddhism with specific groups like the Hari Krishnas (whose roots are in Hinduism) or the Divine Light Mission (which is more eclectic but whose practices can be compared to some of the Sikh gurus). Since there are many Zen Buddhist groups, it is like comparing the Catholic Church with one Christian parish in Boise, Idaho. He does this in other categories, too. Further, many religious philosophies, like Vedanta, a form of Hinduism, appear to me to definitively postulate absolute, unchanging realties. Also, the word ‘pantheistic,’ although often used as a catchall to define a religion that defines God as identical with the universe or non-anthropromorphic, I regard Dr. Martin’s observations in this category as rather a crude way of trying to pigeon-hole Eastern religions that are comprised of literally thousands and thousands of groups with widely varying philosophies and very varied expectations of spiritual experience by their followers.
In his “Aberrant Christian Groups,” he certainly includes some that are commonly identified as cults by others – like the Alamo Christian Foundation and the formerly labeled Children of God but states that most of these would not be considered heretical and not, I suppose, automatically a cult just because of a deviation of doctrine.
In his Psychospiritual or Self-Improvement Groups, he states they are high-priced and based on Eastern-mystical philosophy. I would categorically deny that the Forum (an outgrowth of EST) or Scientology were simply based on Eastern-mystical philosophy. Both of these are Western eclectic systems that have Western occult and scientific influences and, to some degree, had distinctively original twists to “self-improvement” and spiritual development.
In his “Eclectic/Syncretistic Groups,” he says “these groups usually combine strands from several religious traditions into a new “hybrid” religion. Again, one of these components is Sufism. Yes, there are some modern eclectic forms of Sufism, but Sufism historically and traditionally is a Islamic form of mysticism and is composed, like Zen Buddhism, in its traditional forms, of a multitude of groups.
In his “Psychic/Occult/Astral Groups,” he throws Astrology in with Edgar Cayce’s group, the Association for Research and Enlightenment, and the Aetheris Society. Astrology is not a group or cult at all but generally a practice of divination or prognostication using birth charts.
In “Established Cults,” he includes those that “claim to be based on the Bible in whole or in part and deny or distort core doctrines of the Bible. Here he includes the Mormons, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unity School of Christianity. This shouldn’t be of concern to any of their members because he has also included a good many religious organizations of every faith everywhere in the world.
Dr. Martin also mentions “Extremist Political/Social Movements” that he thinks are purely psychological or socially cultic like the Aryan Nation or the KKK. Again, when you speak of the KKK, you are speaking probably of a multitude of groups, some of which probably do consider themselves religious, in some sense.
The bottom line is that Dr. Martin has his own special way of categorizing cults, a methodology which is somewhat at odds with most anti-cult writers but also includes some peculiar admixtures of large-scale religious movements and specific groups.
Very interesting, indeed.