Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cult of Christ

Christianity vs cult... Sometimes I'm forced to ask, "Is there a difference?"
Dear Rev. Graham: My wife has joined a religious group that’s really changed her. Now she says she has to divorce me because I’m not a member. What’s gotten into her? I don’t know anything about cults, but do you think this might be one? -- B.L.
What's the biggest difference between a cult and a religion?
The number of members.

Sadly, this is something that is far more common than some people realize. Someone joins a new church and has to get their friends to join as well, or cut ties. Or sometimes the problem comes when a child leaves that church for another, and the parents are forced to dissociate with them unless they return to the fold.
Rev. Graham: Yes, from what you say, your wife probably has become involved with a religious cult and one that demands total and absolute obedience from its members.
While I agree that this religious group does sound like a cult. It also sounds a lot like plenty of religions. So how are they even any different?
Not all cults are this extreme, but some are, convincing their members to take actions that are clearly contrary to God’s will. 
But are they? These religious sects will often point to Bible passages to justify their beliefs and teachings. The Bible features a few passages of Jesus saying to hate your own family, so it could be that this church takes that to be, 'hate your spouse if they are not a believer (member of that church)'. The real problem here is that the Bible can be used to justify just about everything, even mutually contradictory positions.
The Bible warns against false teachers who “follow deceiving spirits and forbid people to marry” (1 Timothy 4:1,3).
Like churches that refuse to marry same-sex couples? And who's to say which church is the one following 'false teachers'?
What can you do? Frankly, it may be difficult to reason with your wife;
You don't say! One thing I've found in my debates is that reason is something of a rarity from the theological side of the argument.
cults often convince their members that they alone are right, and everyone else is wrong.
Just like most religions and churches...
 Logic alone, therefore, may not reach her;
Yeah, we already established that. In fact, logic doesn't seem to reach Billy either!
she even may have been warned not to listen to anyone who disagrees with the cult’s beliefs.
Just like most religions and churches... 
Cults also are often led by a strong leader who insists on total obedience, and won’t tolerate any disagreement.
Just like most religions and churches...  Noticing a pattern here?
What you can do, however, is assure your wife of your deep love for her, and that you are praying she won’t be misled into ending your marriage.
The problem here is that love doesn't usually stop Mormons from turning from their children. Also, she likely feels that he is the one being misled. Reassuring her of his love can't hurt, but telling her she's misled when she is this invested is more likely to make matters worse, than make them better.
God gave marriage to us,
Billy says this a lot, but he's wrong. Marriage has been around far longer than his religion has ever existed.
and it is His will for your wife to listen to Him instead of this group’s leader.
But what if this church also teaches the Christian god? If so, that will get you nowhere. And if they aren't, the argument here is, 'don't follow that leader, follow this leader'. Not exactly a compelling argument...
Urge her to follow Jesus’ words concerning marriage. “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9).
Believe me, if you've read the Bible, you don't want to follow it's every word on marriage! Subservient, silent wives... Having to marry your dead husband's brother if you didn't have a son... Him being able to divorce her if he finds his wife 'displeasing'... Girls sold into marriage, multiple wives, concubines... Marriage in the Bible is nothing like what most Christians think it is.

-Brain Hulk

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