Cultish Behavior in the 21st Century

Wednesday, September 01, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

40 years ago as a young minister, the Lord allowed me to deal with low-level cults and cultish religious leaders up close. Also helped people get out of cultish movements and mindsets. Today, I see some of the same behavior and mindsets.

"For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah [deliverer, savior, anointed one].’ They will deceive many." (Matt. 24:5 NLT) 

Here are some cultish characteristics:
1. Conflate God’s kingdom with anti-church movements and political affiliation
2. Replace empirical evidence, objective truth, natural science, and facts with mere opinions
3. Overzealous and unquestioning commitment to an immoral leader.
4. Heavily influenced by confirmation bias (interpret new information as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories).
5. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are condemned.
6. Morality is subjective and adaptive. Hedonism is rampant.
7. The leader dictates how members should think, act, and feel.
8. Elitist culture, claiming special knowledge and exalted status for itself.
9. The group has an “us-versus-them” culture.
10. “Outside” information is replaced by “inside” information.
11. The leader is neither accountable nor operating under authority.
12. The group teaches or implies that its ends justify whatever means it deems necessary.
13. The leader induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members.
14. Oppose individual critical thinking and respect for scientific methods.
15. Emphasize special doctrines apart from Scripture, by taking Scripture out of context.
16. Manipulative tactics used to pull people into things to which they have not agreed.
17. People are subtly positioned, or position themselves, on the same level as Jesus Christ.

(In all of this, don't think about others before looking at yourself.)

Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”