Judaism, Islam, and fundamentalist Christianity’s characteristics.
Posted: 06 March 2008 06:06 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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These broad categories seem to generally encompass cults. This cultic behavior appears to be an extension of the true characteristics of the Torah and Koran. The problem in my view is that the Islamic, Judaic, and Christian scriptures fundamentally define and establish cults. There are numerous checklists available that purport to define cults. Most of these lists are quite similar in their definitions. A representative example follows the core of my post.

The cries of anti-Semitism and the overreaction of some Christians and Muslims to criticism reflect the following cult characteristics.

OVERREACTION TO CRITISISM / LITIGIOUSNESS

31. Do the group or its members react overly severe to criticism?
32. Do they start campaigns against self help groups or media who inform the public?
33. Does the cult try to stigmatize critics through slander and insult?
34. Does it not defend itself through factual arguments but through attacks?

The attempt to stigmatize is evident on this and other forums and by the smear campaigns waged against the likes of Silberman, Finkelstein, Mearsheimer, Walt, and Jimmy Carter no less. 

CLAIM TO POWER

20. Is it possible to derive a distinct claim to power from the group ideology or doctrine of salvation, which goes beyond religious purposes?
21. Does the group claim a clear leadership role?
22. Is the religious purpose indirectly linked to worldly claims?

This is directly evident in the establishment of the State of Israel, driving the Palestinians from their homelands, and the frequently disproportionate military responses to attacks.

ENEMIES / THREATS / PERSECUTION

38. Does the group feel excluded, unfairly treated or threatened by cult experts, authorities, journalists, etc.?
39. Do they believe in a concerted campaign by their enemies?
40. Does the group interpret even mild criticism as a frontal attack?
41. Do group members develop persecution phobias?

In short claiming anti-Semitism on such a frequent basis only weakens rather than strengthens Judaism’s position. The same applies for claims of persecution cast up by Christians and Muslims. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam do not have all of the 45 characteristics in the following list. However, they do have a significant number which varies from sect to sect. The cult-like aspects of the Koran and Torah (Old Testament) are numerous and should be readily apparent to those familiar with these texts.

CULT CHARACTERISTICS

Swiss journalist and cult expert Hugo Stamm lists 45 questions to determine whether a group is a totalitarian cult.

“The danger of a group can be determined by the number of charateristics that apply, and the extent to which they do.”

GURU / MESSIAH / PROPHET / FOUNDER

1. Is the leader dominant and recognized as absolute religious or spiritual authority?
2. Do the followers attribute paranormal or divine gifts to the leader?
3. Is the founder strongly venerated or considered as bringer of salvation?

ABSOLUTE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION / SAVING PRINCIPLE

4. Are the followers promised absolute spiritual or religious salvation?
5. Do the followers believe that their doctrine of salvation is the only true one?

ELITISM

6. Are the followers convinced they belong to a chosen elite that can bring salvation to mankind?
7. Do they believe they have to save humanity because of a divine commission or some ideology?

PEER PRESSURE / MEMBER CONTROL

8. Does the group apply strong pressure on its members?
9. Are the followers disciplined through moral pressure or by overloading them with work?
10. Is there some form of behaviour control?

ISOLATION

11. Do members change their way of life?
12. Do they give up dear habits?
13. Is contact with family, friends and acquaintances reduced?
14. Are hobbies neglected or clubs left?
15. Is their hardly any time left besides group work?

MISSION / EXPANSION

16. Are group members involved in missionary work?
17. Do they distribute leaflets or sell group literature?
18. Do they invite family and friends to group lectures or missionary events?
19. Do they only visit friends to share “great” group experiences and arouse their curiosity?

CLAIM TO POWER

20. Is it possible to derive a distinct claim to power from the group ideology or doctrine of salvation, which goes beyond religious purposes?
21. Does the group claim a clear leadership role?
22. Is the religious purpose indirectly linked to worldly claims?

MONEY / ECONOMIC POWER

23. How rich is the group?
24. Are members pushed to donate money?
25. Does the brokarage of salvation involve costs?
26. Are the members required to beg or raise donations?
27. Do they have to confer their wealth upon joining?

CULT LANGUAGE / ARTIFICIAL IDEAS

28. Do the members use some kind of cult language?
29. Do they use unknown terms to explain their doctrine of salvation?
30. Can the “secret knowlegde” only be known through artificial words coined by the founders?

OVERREACTION TO CRITISISM / LITIGIOUSNESS

31. Do the group or its members react overly severe to criticism?
32. Do they start campaigns against self help groups or media who inform the public?
33. Does the cult try to stigmatize critics through slander and insult?
34. Does it not defend itself through factual arguments but through attacks?
35. Is the threshold to sue critics low?

DISCREPANCY BETWEEN INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL IMAGE

36. Is the group’s self image radically different from the image it portrays to the outside world?
37. Do the followers feel misunderstood by the outside world?

ENEMIES / THREATS / PERSECUTION

38. Does the group feel excluded, unfairly treated or threatened by cult experts, authorities, journalists, etc.?
39. Do they believe in a concerted campaign by their enemies?
40. Does the group interpret even mild criticism as a frontal attack?
41. Do group members develop persecution phobias?

FRONT ORGANIZATIONS

42. Has the group founded subdivisions which are little known to the public?
43. Do they organize meetings through these subdivisions?
44. Does the group hide behind such front organizations in case of trouble?
45. Does it use an alias when proselyting?

(Stamm, Hugo, 1996. Sekten. Im Bann von Sucht und Macht. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag.)

Those unfamiliar with the Torah/Old Testament and the Koran will find a very readable list of destructive and cult-like doctrines here: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

The following list also provides a few of the factors that make the Torah (Old Testament) an elitist/cult-like text.

Zechariah 14

9 And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.

11 . . . Jerusalem will dwell in security.

12 Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.

13 It will come about in that day that a great panic from the LORD will fall on them; and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another.

14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance.

15 So also like this plague will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey and all the cattle that will be in those camps.

Isaiah

24:1 Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.

24:6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

60:12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

Psalm

The children of Israel praying for the destruction of the “wicked.”

59:13 Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah.

God’s supposed answer to the genocidal prayer in 59:13

101:8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

See also:

Psalm

109:6-14
135:8, 10
139:19-20
140:10

Here are a few references where the god of Judaism commands the murder of all non-believers.

Deuteronomy

13:12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,

13:13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

13:14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;

13:15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

13:16 And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

13:17 And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

Deuteronomy

17:2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,

17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;

17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:

17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

17:7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.

References for other acts of genocide against those who are not “Jewish”.

Numbers

21:3, 34-35
31:1-54
33:50-52

Deuteronomy

2:25, 33-36
4:3
6:15
7:2, 16, 20-23
12:30
13:6-10
25:19
31:3
32:21-26

Joshua

6:21
8:22-26
10:10-11; 28-32
11:6-17

Judges

1:17, 19
3:28-29
11:21

A full discourse on the moral shortcomings of the Torah and Koran would fill volumes.

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“Most of the Israelites did not come from outside Canaan - they emerged from within it. There was no mass Exodus from Egypt…no violent conquest of Canaan. The early Israelites were - irony of ironies - themselves originally Canaanites!

The conquest of Canaan by Joshua could not have happened [as] described in the Bible. Most of the towns…either weren’t inhabited, didn’t exist or were conquered at wildly different times.” —Finkelstein and Silberman

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