What is a cult? The New Age encyclopedia defines a cult as, "a system of associated belief and ritual practice in a particular region, with special reference to the perceptible, or ritual, aspect of the religion." It also says that, "cult has taken on an extension of meaning, as devotion to a secular individual or subject." Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary confirms this definition. With this insight, we must consider that we are probably all cultists in one manner or another. Let's address the issue of religious cults. If I were to ask you to name some, you could probably give me a list of at least five. Some of you could name some that I've never even heard of I'm sure. The average religious American has participated in at least one, in one way or another. How do people get involved in cult religions? Most persons who become involved with cult religions do not even realize that they are in a cult. Those that do choose it as their specific preference for religious observance. For some it is a way of life, they have grown up in it and know no other way to practice religion. Some countries do not allow certain types of religion, and some do not allow religion at all. It is very easy to get involved. I would think that the number one way to get involved in a cult religion is by visitation. In contrast to Christianity, it is my experience that cult religions visit people more often than Christians do. They continuously have training meetings and teachings on how to present the word of God, in a manner that can be understood. (Their understanding of course.) They assign different volunteers to serve on visitation committees and set up programs to seek out, (what they consider to be,) the lost. Now let's understand something right here. People who do not know God have an empty place inside them. They continuously search for a means to fill this void with whatever they can find that is appealing to them. (Usually God is last on their list.) As Christians we know that the word of God is life, and fills the void within us. If the word works for us, it will do the same for anyone else. Timing, presentation, and perception, are key factors in any sales pitch. Always remember that the cultists number one goal is to get people to join their organization. If the timing is right, (here's where perception begins,) then you have got to have your presentation prepared and polished. Many of you can present the gospel in an effective manner. However, the key to a prepared presentation is not what you know, but what the person you are presenting it to doesn't know. This is where cultists are most effective. Unlike most Christians that I know, they have an answer for any and every question that should arise during their visit. They will quote scripture from their Bible, or turn to it and read it. If you have asked a difficult question, they will give you an answer based upon their beliefs. Then, while one of your visitors tries to get you focused on something that they know about, the other will search their Bible for the answer to your previous question. In most cases the search will end in a scriptural answer. Leaving you no room to have to just take their word for it. Not all cultists visit in pairs, but this is the case with most of the more widespread cults. It is also the case with most Christian denominations. With all of this in mind it is no wonder that cult religions are growing at an alarming rate. Usually effort produces results. This is proven to be true by the staggering amount of people that belong to cults today. How should we act towards them? We should conduct ourselves as we would towards anyone. You should not slam the door in their face or run them off. I'm not saying that you should invite them into your home either. Some cultists believe that Christians are not saved, and that we are lost. If we conduct ourselves in such an unfriendly manner, then we've only confirmed to them what they have already been taught. Suppose a door of opportunity were to open to witness to them sometime after your rude encounter. Do you think that they would listen to what you have to say about anything? How would you feel if someone treated you that way? Do you bash them? Let me begin by saying that people, who are not religious, (so to speak,) bash every type of religion. Whether it's considered to be a cult or not. This has been my experience in dealing with them. I have also discovered that denominations bash one another to the same level of intensity. I have seen members of the same church bash one another Talking about others, or putting them down for whatever reason has never caused anything but strife. I believe in educating others on the beliefs of cult religions, but I do not agree with putting them down. Let me explain. If I go around putting down a form of religious practice, I not only condemn the organization, but also it's members. Are cultists bad? Every type of religion in the world has its share of bad members, whether cultist or not. For the most part, people are people. There are a lot of cult organizations that do a lot of good things. And even though cult beliefs differ from your own, some teach the word of God in accordance with your own beliefs. The difference comes in when they add to the word or leave something out. Another difference is when they incorporate church, or mans doctrine into their teachings as divine law. Personally I don't believe that all the people belonging to cults are bad people. I believe that some are possibly misguided, some unlearned, and some unknowing that they even belong to a cult. And it stands to reason that some are bad. But then if I'm looking for bad people I don't have to look far, cause you can find them anywhere and everywhere. How do I know if I'm in a cult? This is a very good question. My advice would be to compare your beliefs with others. Find out what they are about. Don't be rude if they touch on something that you do not agree with, but take it into consideration. If you will consider the things that you know you don't agree with, and find out why they believe it, or where it came from, then you will find yourself on the path to understanding. Also you can ask someone if they think that your religious preference is a cult. You probably shouldn't ask someone from your own church though, as they will probably lead you to believe that you are right where you should be. Especially if they are perfectly content themselves. The library is another good source of information that will enable you to do a research on cults, and the background of your own religious preference. There are plenty of other resources as well, too many to list here. I'll leave you with this thought from the Bible.
May God continuously bless you.
2 Tim. 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.