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dirtsider

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Cult in of itself isn't a bad word. It's the usage of it that causes the problem. We often used it in our studies at the University of Cape Town along with referring to religious beliefs as myths. Unfortunately not everyone understands this frame of reference.

lol - I was just thinking of Joseph Campbell when I was reading this thread. I believe he was the one who mentioned this. "If I believe it, it's a religion. If you believe it, it's a myth." So yeah, it's definitely all about references and usages.
 

Saint Fool

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Snickerdoodles? and whiskey? And discussion of comparative religious philosophy? Wny thank you, yes, I'll take a seat.

(Should this be a stickey also?)
 

ColoradoGuy

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I almost made this a subforum in Colorado Guy's Critical Theory room.


Upon further consideration, though, Critical Theory might arguably be better classified as a subforum in the religions area, actually...

Yes, I can see that. Since I'm not a card-carrying Critical Theorist, though, my hands are clean.
 

benbradley

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I almost made this a subforum in Colorado Guy's Critical Theory room.


Upon further consideration, though, Critical Theory might arguably be better classified as a subforum in the religions area, actually...
I can see it now, infinitely recursive subforums. "You're in a maze of twisty subforums, all alike."
Cult in of itself isn't a bad word. It's the usage of it that causes the problem. We often used it in our studies at the University of Cape Town along with referring to religious beliefs as myths. Unfortunately not everyone understands this frame of reference.
Cult once had no negative connotations, and meant (and still does for many academics) a subdivision/group of religious believers similar the word sect (there's differences between these two words in their original use/meanings, but I forget what it is). Some of the first uses as a negative term were in the first half of the 20th Century (there's an article at the link below that talks about how and when this happened, and give a reference to such use), but it appears the use of cult as a pejorative exploded in the '60's and '70's as some groups began recruiting on and getting large numbers of new members from college campuses. Hmm, am I approaching an area that's too specific and too touchy? (okay, I won't name names)

As one might presume, I have (what I consider to be) some experience in this area, and have done a lot of research since that experience. I just counted, I have about ten books with the word cult in the title (there are a few more I read from libraries I don't have copies of), and many more on the same general topic, as well as "source material" published by several of the groups in question (again, not naming names, but if you've seen some of my other posts over the last couple of years...).

Here's a resource I found about eight years ago and have gone back to quite often - it has descriptions of just about every religion, denomination, "sect" and "cult" I've ever heard of, but doesn't classify any as to whether it's a "cult" or not:
http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/
Go to the link at archive.org to read the thing - pages there can take a while to load, but it's quite interesting - you can read up on your childhood denomination(s) as well as your current one(s), and decide how accurate you think it is. It even covers what I think of as "secular" things, specifically multilevel marketing organizations (it calls them direct sales organizations). I've found it to be quite an impressive resource.
lol - I was just thinking of Joseph Campbell when I was reading this thread. I believe he was the one who mentioned this. "If I believe it, it's a religion. If you believe it, it's a myth." So yeah, it's definitely all about references and usages.
I've seen the video "The Power of Myth" where Campbell was interviewed by/discussed things with Bill Moyers, and I saw the word myth used innumerable times with no negative connotations that I could tell. He appeared to be celebrating the diversity of human beliefs. Maybe he said that in that video, but I don't remember it. I suspect he was "just saying" what many people say about others' beliefs. It's a several-hours-long video and he covered a lot of ground.

I wonder that I've just said as much as I reasonably can in this forum, but fortunately I brought lots of popcorn, so I'll just sit back and watch the show...
:popcorn:
 

Higgins

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Yes, I can see that. Since I'm not a card-carrying Critical Theorist, though, my hands are clean.

Perhaps I should have introduced myself. As a card-carrying critical theorist (in the sense that I think Martin Rudwick and Peter Galison are revealing new things about how to figure out how people figure things out)...I think religion is something about which an vast heap of unexamined assumptions are cirulating these days. This is true of most things (ie a vast heap of unexamined assumptions circulating these days), but it seems especially odd in the realm of religion where a lot of people have a lot of day-today experiences of a religious nature.

I'm off to introduce myself.