A Scientologist told me the dictionary definition of a "cult" means that every religion is a "cult."

A Scientologist told me the dictionary definition of a "cult" means that every religion is a "cult." I was told all Catholics, Jews, Christians, Mormons, Buddists, etc. would also be the same a "cult."

What is the opinion on this? is this true?

31 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Your Scientologistis correct in saying that "according to the dictionary," all religions are cults. There is, however, something crucial that seperates the Church of Scientology from other mainstream faiths-which causes poeple to view it as a "cult" in the typical sense of the word (a religious group which exercises undue coercion or control over its members).

    In order to advance within the Church of Scientology, members pay large amounts for Dianetics treatment-$200,000-$400,000 total is not uncommon. Many people are suspicious of a church which requires its members to pay such high fees for spiritual services.

    The feeling is that, although Catholics are expected to tithe and Muslims make alms to the poor, no one is denied access to the inner teachings of their church because they are unable to pay for enlightenment.

  • 1 decade ago

    Don't know how anyone could conclude that from looking at the definition of cult in a good dictionary.

    Seems to me you are just trying to stir up some upset

    by calling all religions "cults" and then assigning the blame to some one else so they get a bad rap instead of you.

    However if you really want to know if that's right, maybe you should actually just look up the word yourself instead of asking for some one else's opinion of some else's interpretation.

    That's what dictionaries are for.

    Yahoo R&S is not a substitute for a dictionary.

    Also dictionaries don't have opinions about words..... just correct definitions.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, it's true. Cult, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is

    "1 : formal religious veneration : WORSHIP

    2 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents

    3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents

    4 : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator <health cults>

    5 a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : the object of such devotion c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion"

    Even if you look at the origin of the word it comes from the Latin 'colere' which means to cultivate. All religions have an evangelical sect or direction where followers are asked to recruit more people to the following. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Scientologists, and every ethos can fall into this definition.

    To lump every follower of a major or minor religion, following, or spiritual thought as a "cult member" would be a bit hasty. It's all about the level of your devotion and whether you let it rule your life instead of letting it guide you along with your own sense of morals and ethics.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Generally, the definition used to define a cult revolves around three things - an inculcated 'us vs. them' mentality, in which those who are not of the faith are considered evil; techniques of controlling the lives of the cult members that includes (often subtle) brainwashing techniques; and the exaltation of a charismatic leader who is given greater power over the lives of the followers.

    Using these definitions, there are definitely sects of other religions that could be considered cults, particularily certain Evangelical congregations.

    However, I don't see how pointing out that other groups are also cults in any way excuses Scientologists from their own cult techniques.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, all religions could be considered a cult if we go by the defintion of the word.

    However, do some research on Scientology. In fact, if this person really is your friend and a Scientologist, I HIGHLY suggest you do some research on it. As a person who thinks there is wisdom and beauty to be had in almost all religions, I don't like Scientology very much.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Depending on what definition of a cult you use. Some say a cult needs a living leader. Others say a cult is any group that places dogma above the well being of its members.

    I say any group that preaches a dogmatic line o thought is a cult, so almost all religions apply.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is true, a definition of cult is a group of people that worship a higher being(s) and perform rituals. So in essence, you can call any religion a cult and not technically be wrong. Its just the word cult has a negative connotation so people only typically use it to describe something bad (or as I have seen a lot, something they don't understand).

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That happens to be true. Did anyone go to a dictionary to look it up? The strict definition of the word describes every organized religion perfectly. "Cult" is one of those words, like "liberal" for example, that has gained a negative connotation, mostly from people who don't know what the word actually means.

  • 1 decade ago

    Ohh that was me!

    I told you that one definition in the dictionary applies to all religions. But there are other definitions. It depends on the definition you are using.

    The word cult ussually means "bad religion". A religion is good or bad depending of your point of view. That's all, just a point of view.

  • 1 decade ago

    While you can argue that most religions are cult-like in some ways, Scientology is most definitely a cult in a major way. He was trying to distract you.

    What is Scientology? Are outsiders allowed to do research on what it is? Nope, because its core beliefs are secret and available only to members who spend years taking expensive courses and pseudo-scientific 'readings' using a glorified volt-meter. All religious material is copyrighted and you can't publish it without being sued by their hordes of lawyers.

    Think about it, who has more lawyers, the huge Catholic Church or the relatively small Church of Scientology? Isn't that a bit weird?

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