If you ask experts on cults what makes a cult a cult, one of the things they'll tell you is that cults demand separation from family, friends and society.

Which raises an interesting question. Positing (for the sake of argument) that there was a historical Jesus, would he qualify (by modern standards) as a cult leader?

Here's a little piece of scripture that suggests "yes".

Matthew 8:18-22

18When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19Then a teacher of the law
came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."

20Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

21Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

22But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."

Okay, in this passage of scripture, what can we say other than Jesus is Fuc$#@ng nuts! He's putting on a high-pressure sales tactic here -- he won't even wait for someone to go and bury his father. He's urging the disciple to abandon his family during a time of need and go follow him. The scripture doesn't say what happened next, but let's hope the disciple had the good sense to walk away and get the help of a qualified deprogrammer.

Some Christians will go out of their way to spin this passage so it doesn't sound so egregious. They'll try to say that perhaps the man's father was just elderly and not yet dead so "let me go and bury my father," was sort of metaphorical ("let me be with Dad until the end"). Some other Christians offer the explanation that there was an initial form of ancient Hebrew burial that took a year, which was followed by exhumation of the body and re-interment in a different place, and that perhaps the disciple was asking to wait for a whole year which would have, of course, been just too onerous.

What amazes me is how Christians will bend over backwards to explain this sort of passage, contextualizing it, etc. -- but will often refuse to contextualize other passages (such as the creation story).

Everything about scripture is supposed to be taken literally except for the theology!

Applying Occam's Razor to this filthy beard of faith, I think we can find that the simplest explanation is that Jesus really did ask the guy to abandon his dad's funeral. He was just that fanatical!

Let's hope that passages like these (and, oh, there are lots more where that came from) will put a stop to musings that Jesus was a "good moral teacher" or anything like that. He did have a few (unoriginal) ethical insights, but the more I get to know him, the more he creeps me out.

The historical Jesus (if there is one) is just the start of a continuum that ends with Jonestown.

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Comment by suzanne Buzz on July 13, 2010 at 7:29pm
Unfortunately their are many people today who will even leave their underage children to worship an imaginary God in the sky. A guy I know has hardly seen his kids in over ten years so basically he left his family and doesn't see them anymore so he could 100 percent serve his imaginary special friend.
Comment by Tom Pandelaere on June 30, 2010 at 9:37am
Well, the early church was by all means a cult. Communities cowered away in catacombs and lived in a prallel society. Eventually, the Christians took over power in the Roman Empire by converting Constantine. I daresay a cult can hardly be more successful than that.
Comment by lOS`AMIGOS on June 30, 2010 at 8:51am
Most religions are cults anyway .

From dictionary:Cult: particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.

However an abusive cult is one that splits and devides family and teaches the followers to disown them .Often using manipulation and fear tactics etc.

Yes id say christianity began as an abusive cult full of manipulation and mind control with use of fear under the direction of a charismatic leader, and quite often it really hasnt even gotten much better today.

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