What religions/organizations aren't a cult?
So we've already established that most religions can be classified as high control groups, we can name the WBTS, Church of Scientology, LDS, etc. the list goes on and on. But are there any religions or organizations that aren't classified as a high control group or aren't as bad as the ones I've just mentioned? Are ALL organized religions classified as cults? Would a religion have to lack organization to avoid being classified as a cult?
So we've already established that most religions can be classified as high control groups
I can't say I agree with your premise.
I think most denominations of christianity probably don't qualify as being a cult in my mind - even though all use some of the same methods of control as cults do. You'd be well served by thinking of cult more as a spectrum - some groups are more or less culty but all are at least a little culty.
I think you'd be hard pressed to find any group that doesn't exert some form of control that's similar to methods used by a cult. Because cults use an amplified version of social influence to control people, you'd expect to find diluted versions of those methods in any social interaction. So, yes, literally every religion (and bridge club or book club or workplace or political party) will have some elements of cult influence, but in most cases these do not go to the point of becoming what we would usually identify as a cult because their influence hasn't gotten extreme. Maybe if you leave your book club you won't talk to those people as often, but they won't shun you completely. Maybe members of a political party discourage spending too much time investigating alternative ideologies, but they won't kick you out if you do and come back with new ideas for discussion.
Edit: it might be worth adding that I say this as an atheist: just because all religions are factually wrong, doesn't mean they're a cult.
Cult + Time = Religion. Thus say some religious scholars.
Not all cults are bad, say others.
Political parties are cults. We can easily see how the rabid base of the GOP will follow their dear leader no matter what.
What religions/organizations aren't a cult?
The term cult is problematic because it has no precise, generally agreed upon meaning. There is definitely a spectrum of benign to malignant, dangerous groups.
Not all religions are cults, and not all cults are religious.
You might find this FAQ from the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) informative:
It contains brief answers to the following questions:
- What is a cult?
- Is “X” a cult?
- Why do people leave cults?
- How can I get my kid out of a cult?
- Where can people get help for cult-related problems?
- Why do people join cults?
- How can cults harm people?
- What needs have people born/raised in cultic groups?
- What is the relationship of law, government, and cults?
- What scientific research is relevant to cults?
Any that do not require exclusive devotion to them. Any that leave you free to come and go as you please, ask questions, raise doubts and leave you alone to lead your own life and make your own decisions. Plenty more common sense stuff to look out for but any that squash freedom of thought is a big red cult flag.
I don't agree that most religions are cults. Cults use deception, control the time of their believers, claim to be the sole source of salvation, use fear and intimidation and do many other things that most mainstream religions do not do.
If you are looking for a specific religion that is as far from a cult as a religion can be, I was favorably impressed with United Church of Christ. I attend occasionally as my in laws belong. They are a very welcoming group that doesn't espouse any particular doctrine, it's more about mutual support and charitable works, sort of religion light, they have great music also. I considered joining, as they were even OK with my being an Atheist, but after thinking about it I decided not to, it ultimately seemed pointless.
I personally stay away from all religions. After seeing the Australian Royal Commission's stats on 65% of child sexual abuse being found in faith-based institutions, I think it's really a risk to attend any religious institution.
Tara Isabella Burton "Cults,generally speaking are a lot like pornography: you know them when you see them".