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Old 12-21-2008, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Oregon
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WHY? What is it about human beings that makes them believe, support and follow some charismatic leader instead of thinking and rationizing for themselves ?
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Old 12-21-2008, 05:01 PM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
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I've often wondered the same thing and the sad part about it as that it's often an entire family that joins and the children are innocent victims because their parents can't see what they're doing. I do think it would take a certain personality type to become involved in a cult and it would require someone to essentially let someone else run their lives and do their thinking for them. I don't believe most people would allow that, I know I wouldn't. I also think it might appeal to someone who's having difficulty succeeding in a modern complex society and the concept of having someone else structure their lives with the promise of a safe sanctuary probably helps to persuade them that it's a good decision.
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Old 12-21-2008, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Swamps of Florida
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I believe it's all based on fear.
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ShepsMom View Post
I believe it's all based on fear.
... and carrots. You need both to complete a good "sale".
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:21 PM
 
Location: In the North Idaho woods, still surrounded by terriers
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Probably more to do with co-dependency or low self-esteem...or maybe some sort of lonliness. Cults seem to draw in people who are searching for something, are unsure of themselves or their place in things. I think people who are happy with their lives, content in who they are and have good self-esteem are less likely to be swept up in the cult tides. But...just my opinion.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:10 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
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Following orders simplifies live; this way you don't have to take responsibilities for your own actions.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Brussels, Belgium
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It might have to do with our evolution as a culture. Quite a bit has been written about the way beliefs evolve and compete just like species do. I'm not a specialist on the subject, but you might want to check the meme page on Wikipedia. I can also recommend The Science of Discworld II.
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by esselcue View Post
Probably more to do with co-dependency or low self-esteem...or maybe some sort of lonliness. Cults seem to draw in people who are searching for something, are unsure of themselves or their place in things. I think people who are happy with their lives, content in who they are and have good self-esteem are less likely to be swept up in the cult tides. But...just my opinion.
No, co-dependency and low self-esteem have nothing to do with it. Dr. Margaret Singer, who wrote the book, Cults in Our Midst, says it can happen to anyone, that all they had to do is get their foot in your door. But basically she is saying that healthy, normal people join. She was a psychologist that studied cults for over 50 years in Berkeley, CA.

Here is an exerpt from her book:

Most of us defensively and haughtily proclaim, "Only crazy, stupid, needy people join cults. No one could even getg me to commit suicide or beat my kids or give my wife over to a cult leader. No one could ever talk me into anything like that." As I hear people say that, I silently ask, "You want to bet?" ...There is an almost universal aversion to accepting thte idea that we ourselves are vulnerable to persuasion...Neither education, age, nor social class protects a person from this false sense of invulnerability...everyone is susceptible to the lure of these master manipulators."
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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Fear and Ignorance but mostly to me it is about needing to fit in. Cults offer a "safe" environment , a place where you are embraced into the fold and made to feel like everyone else.
For some people who do find it difficult to socialise and externalise things I think having an instant "family" is very appealing.

I also believe the appeal lies in NOT having to think at all. Thinking makes things more difficult for humans. As we understand more , we feel a duty to act on things and become more active. Being logical and using common sense can be really hard work, emotionally and intellectually. It requires action and forces us to face ourselves and our own demons. That is often too difficult for people who cannot face who they truly are and do not feel able to change for the better.

Being in a cult is easy. You conform and you reap the rewards. All humans need to conform, we are herd animals and when our own natural herd rejects us then we look for another one ready to accept us.

We all need to be loved and accepted and cults offer on the surface a close knit, exclusive environment when being oneself is not necessary.

For kids born into a cult, I suppose brainwashing is just too strong to resist for most.

All Religions are to a degree a "cult" . They encourage conformity rather than individuality and that is IMO extremely dangerous.

I see our main goal as Humans to grow and develop our "self" by rational thinking and making our own minds up. Anything which interferes with that and stifles individual intellectual development is not a great positive.
We will always be influenced by our environment but that environment should be hopefully open to new thoughts, intellectual discourses, science, the arts, literature, new discoveries and adventures.



Religion does IMO suffocate individuality. It is its very essence in a way. I believe a relationship with God should be a deeply introspective, personal one not one where human intermediaries have anything to do with. If God does exist ( and I do not believe that) than as one of his Children you have a direct link to him and need no go betweens.
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:31 AM
 
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Moderator cut: orphaned quote


Yeah - and they have done this without instilling fear of eternal fires of hell or eternal heavenly rewards! Something must be wrong with these atheists - why can't they believe the religion they were born into - like most people do.
Ironically, people tending towards cults are also - at least partly- attracted by the risk-reward scenarios promised to them.

Last edited by june 7th; 12-22-2008 at 12:25 PM..
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