1. Does the organization (Fira’s religion) require that you attend meetings regularily? Is the individual encouraged to be “active” even at the detriment of other social gatherings not fostered by the organization?
No. No one is “required” to go to Church.
Your refutation breaks down the very minute one feels the tug of obligation to go… or to do or be anything or any ideal connected to one’s organization.
Consider many theists simply cannot just quit going to their church. Why is that? For many, there is an unhealthy attachment borne out of guilt and fear that if they quit their religion, an awful doom, as prescribed by the cult, awaits them.
2. Does the organization require that you perform regular and consistant work or duties on a gratis basis? Is there guilt induced from authority if any of this gratis work is not performed?
No. No one is “required” to perform regular or consistant word duties.
The requirement is subtle. I have not been successful in showing many christians how they are being manipulated into performing gratis work duties.
By and large they fail to see it because they are “alive in christ” and accordingly, they feel no pressure to do or behave in any way… they want to do the things they feel their cult persona would have them do.
But. Consider the beckoning call of the flame of this Jesus persona’s will and spirit. If you truly are a christian… and I mean to the core… you cannot deny that you are required to do certain activities for this ideal. Your bible even talks about you as a “faithful and discreet slave” for the Jesus figure… and this figure head is also repeatedly described as your master, and you as the disciple.
The core Christian has a passion to emulate his master. Read your bible, there are many admonishments to “do” and to follow, and take up your cross, and bear the yoke, and be ye therefore perfect. You might say these are suggestions. But if you truly are committed to perfecting your faith, they are commands you cannot ignore.
3. Does the organization require that you be tithed or donate monies to it? Is there a witholding of benefit of any degree observed if the individual declines to donate money? Is there any threat, specifically tied to an afterlife doom scenario, if money is not donated?
No. No one is “required” to donate, otherwise it would be a fee and not a donation.
see above. Many religions strongly encourage giving to the church. There are even more than a few that inform new recruits that if they do not give an awful doom of burning in the afterlife awaits them. If you are involved with mainstream liberal christianity, you might only be exposed to watch the plate pass around on sunday. In this scenario, no the pressure to give is not all that great. I concede that.
But the minute one feels a duty to step up a notch in one’s devotion to the ideals held in his religion and therefore feels a pressure to give money in order to satisfy this devotion…. there you go.
4. Is there any degree at all of withholding of any type of benefits of any kind whatsoever occurring if the individual does not meet a certain performance par held up by the organization?
what, what? It’s quite simple, really. In some religions, one cannot marry unless they meet par in giving of ones time, talents and money. In other religion, one cannot enter sacred buildings unless they declare a level of performance and the others can see an outward sign of devotion. Classic cult The Moonies actually promote underling recruits up to higher levels of responsibility only when the underling demonstrates his commitment to the ideal way of life prescribed by the cult.
Most religions far and wide have the process of excommunication and/or disfellowshipment. One can easily get oneself kicked out of a church for minimal behaviors.
5. Does the organization encourage the individual to only read organization-approved materials?
No. They just provide organization-approved materials that people can read freely.
Of course they do. There are many christian based religions that discourage their members from reading “damaging” historicity or non faith promoting literature as such material might very well jeopardize the testimony (and subsequently the level of performance withing the cult). I know this is true in Jehovah’s Witnesses, 7th day adventists, Mormons, and many pentecostal churches forbid it.
In short, all religions have an agenda to protect the fragile faith of their flock. It is bad for business… and the coffers… not to.
6. Does the organization warn against close affiliations with others that do not share the same views held highly by the organization?
see above. The more stringent and controlling the cult (i.e. the more obvious or extreme the cult is) the higher this facet of cultdom makes itself manifest. Many cults now recognize this and are becoming more mainstream and accepting of other ideologies. This item alone so obviously rings out the cult alarms that cults are forced to reckon with it. But still, we can observe many cults refusing to back down and the Us vs Them mentality flourishes and is even proudly broadcasted.
7. Does the organization have dogmatic tenets of doctrine that cannot be supported, proven or substantiated and does the organization require the individual to believe in these tenets without question?
No. Everyone is free to make their own choice. Nothing is “required”.
Now this is downright laughable. The very minute a human aligns himself with any religion, thus begins his journey to perfect his faith, and his actions stemming from this faith following along the tenets prescribed by his chosen religion.
One cannot be a very devout Christian and worship Satan. Nor can they be a practicing, aligned Buddhist and believe that Jesus died for them and provided the way to eternal life. Oh I guess they could, but they would fall into the category of rogue or confused quickly enough.
8. Is the individual threatened in any way, especially by any sort of afterlife doom, if that individual decides to no longer be a member?
No. People who are no longer members usually have a personal reason (illness, family, change of residence). That doesn’t affect friendship or beliefs.
If you decide to quit Christianity, the general idea along with that disalignment of ideas is that, as a non christian who has rejected that faith, you will burn in hell forever.
This idea alone keeps many believers in check. It is a classic cult characteristic. Reigning its flock in with unproven dogmatic tenets of faith and doctrine.
9. Is there guilt and pennance involved for deeds considered “wrong” by the organization but otherwise the rest of the world sees no error?
What would my organization find wrong that no one else in the world sees any error in?
homosexuality for starters. Generally, the growing trend of tolerance for other lifestyle and preferences not found in traditional church going minds is extremely disturbing to most church goers.
Many religions also forbid the devotees to see R rated movies, read bawdy romance novels, watch soap operas, drink coca cola, drink coffee, smoke, chew tobacco, take drugs… even medicinal drugs like anti depressants or cholesteral drugs, donate blood even if their child is dying, profane the name of god… the list is quite long.
You are in a cult.