An Insight on Cults: Reflection 1/28

When one thinks of cults, they often imagine a group of strange and misguided people flocking around a narcissistic and manipulative person. [A] cult is characteristically a loose associations of persons with a private, eclectic religiosity” (McGuire). This week’s readings made me realize that cults are more common than I could have ever imagined. In fact, I have unknowingly taken part in cultic practices (as have many people in the class). “Because of [the] pluralistic tolerance among historical cults, the [cultic] groups coexisted, indeed flourished, alongside [Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox] churches” (McGuire 153). I remember being a child and being told to pray to certain saints for guidance. It never occurred to me that the practice was a result of the Catholic Church absorbing cultic practices. In addition, it made me wonder if Jesus Christ’s following could have been considered a cult early in his teachings. He had a small group of apostles following him and living like he did. Likewise, people who were not followers of Christ were very critical of his message. I think that people need to remember that Christianity was not always a huge religion with millions of followers, it started out with Jesus and just a few eclectic believers. Early Christianity could possibly be defined as a cult in today’s times, which is an idea that many are uncomfortable imagining. It is important that we remember that cults are not always groups of crazy people. They could be religions that are not as developed or religions that do not fit into a more well known category. It is our duty to respect religions that respect others and cause no harm, even if that is a cult.