Onenessguy's Weblog

Question 125: About cults

Posted on: January 21, 2017

Question 125: What is a cult according to the Gospel of Oneness?

To put it simply, a cult is any religion that is dualistic in its philosophy and practice.  Under this definition the monotheistic religions that were started in the Middle East are cults, even if they are considered major religions. Most of the offshoots of these religions are also cults, such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and prosperity gospel preachers.

They are considered cults because they put their trust in an external savior, and they think God is out there somewhere as a separate being who created them, but  remains aloof and mysterious while still being loving, just, all wise and merciful.

Let’s take a look at what some cultists believe and how they act: Cults usually have a charismatic or dominating leader or authority figure. Cult members frown on people who leave the cult. Cults usually have a system of beliefs that are protected as “the Truth” and it is very difficult for members of the cult to question the beliefs. There is usually a threat of some kind of punishment or bad result for anyone who leaves the cult.

Let’s see how Islam measures up to this description of a cult.  Mohammed is the unquestioned authority figure in Islam. It is very difficult for any Muslim to criticize him in any way. It is also very difficult to criticize the Quran because they regard it as the very words of God, and how could God be wrong about anything? Islam is one of the hardest religions to leave. Family members and community members may ostracize anyone who dares leave the faith. So Islam fits the description of a cult. Islam takes a very dualistic view of life as it makes crucial distinctions between believers and non-believers, often in a black or white way with not many options to define one’s beliefs outside the context of its world view.

Let’s see how Christianity measures up: They have a strong leader in Jesus Christ, so strong that they have declared him to actually be God Himself in the form of the only begotten Son.  The belief in the Bible as the word of God, even the inerrant word of God, is strongly believed by many Christians, and it is difficult for Christians to question the authority of the Bible. Leaving Christianity is not as hard as it used to because so many have left already that a person who leaves can easily find others who have abandoned the Church. Jesus Christ does affirm the oneness of life, but his followers have made Christianity into a dualistic religion by making Jesus into an external savior and a role model that cannot possibly be emulated as he is regarded as God. They have made up a story that avers that Jesus died on the cross as a substitutional atonement for the sins of all mankind, past, present, and future.

The Jewish religion has been a dualistic religion from the beginning since they say they were a people chosen by God to live in a way set apart from the rest of humanity, as if all other tribes and nations were just extras in the story of God and His chosen people. In their view the whole history of the Earth and mankind centers around their story in which God blesses them or punishes them according to their faithfulness.

You can put any religious belief system to the test with this description of a cult. So is the Gospel of Oneness a cult?  You can judge it.  We don’t have a central or charismatic leader that we take as the main authority figure. Although we do honor the saints and sages of all religions who proclaim the oneness of all life, and many of them have come from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions. We don’t have a book that we say is the word of God because we don’t think the actual words of God can be put into a human language without the problems of translation and interpretation.  We do honor the inspirational writings from people of various backgrounds. You can believe in the Oneness of all Life or not. It’s up to you, there is no punishment if you don’t believe or quit believing. There is no external savior or doctrine that you need to believe in order to be saved. In fact there is no need to believe in a salvation concept.

The oneness of Life is something to be realized or at least mentally, emotionally and bodily accepted as the truth about life.  People who believe in or who have realized the oneness of all life have love and joy, peace, compassion, kindness, understanding and humility as dominant features in their lives. More and more wisdom is acquired with every day of consciously living in the awareness of the oneness of life. The concepts of God and whether He, She or It really exists can be endlessly debated over using our inadequate human languages.  Experiences that transcend our human languages and concepts are what we are into.

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