I have a serious problem with religions; but then I also have problems with governments, or any form of Oligarchy that expects me to blindly believe they act in my best interests. Intelligence is best demonstrated when authority is questioned. Blindly following religious philosophy results in cult membership. When atrocities are committed in the name of religion, cults such as ISIS thrive.
The definition of a cult is: ‘A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.’ Does this define your religious belief?
Today’s world is ruled by cults. Cults are more destructive than any man-made force on earth. When questions are not asked; when doubt is not present, individuality disappears and cult leaders control follower’s minds through lies, extremism and deception. Promises of glory in the afterlife are crucial to cult leaders and their ability to use mind control over their devotees.
All organizations describing themselves as a religion are by definition Oligarchies. An Oligarchy is a small group of individuals who control a government or organization through wealth and power.
I was raised as a Catholic. The reason I have not participated in the Church for more than 45 years is the result of unanswered questions. I refused to believe every doctrine professed by my pastor without question. I found the idea that a single individual who lived in a palace in Rome could be infallible when he spoke of faith and morals. If I chose to believe everything the Pope and his priests I was a good Catholic, and therefore a member of what I personally felt was a cult; I chose to be a free-thinking man, and retain my own independence and spirituality.
Throughout history followers of one religion labeled other religions as cults, denying their own fanaticism. The truth is that within Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism, and the Islamic faith, there are individuals who question parts of their faith’s doctrine. Most followers believe that their religion is a moral guide and provides a closer connection to their God. When fanaticism invades a religion, deplorable action is the result, and that religion unfairly becomes the object of distrust, misunderstanding and hatred.
When ISIS claims that it is a Muslim group whose purpose is to create an Islamic State, nothing could be farther from the truth. They are a cult which uses religious extremism to recruit followers. I doubt that a single leader of this terrorist organization has ever read the Quran. The doctrine they claim to represent is filled with peace and respect, not violence and hatred.
Because of the brutal execution of a Jordanian pilot, those who follow the true teachings of Muhammad have joined together to condemn the blasphemers. There is no difference between the leaders of ISIS and Jim Jones in Guyana, or David Koresh in Waco, Texas; they demand unwavering belief in a single cause. ISIS leaders promise those they have brainwashed that theirs is a just effort, and that they will be rewarded in the afterlife.
The weak-minded join cults. Previous to joining an extremist group, they were unable to be productive members of society. They lacked the ability to reason independently, and expressed a need to receive guidance by someone in authority. Mindlessly following a singular goal gives their lives purpose, which was previously non-existent.
If you choose to follow a religion, I support you. In a world filled with ugliness, religious belief can give an individual peace and hope. But never cease to ask questions; never accept everything you are told by a single man, woman, or a group of religious leaders. Having doubts insures that you will retain your individuality.
Commentary by James Turnage