A June 18 article published in The Atlantic — “The Seven Signs You’re in a Cult” — helps to illustrate symptoms of cult behavior. It is well-written and accurately portrays the codependency and progressive extremism of cults.
Here are eight reasons why I think this article is worth your time:
- It portrays well the narcissism and control of cult leaders.
- It helps show “what’s in it” for the cult follower: counterfeit significance, security, and love
- It explains why it is hard for a member to leave a cult, even when they have doubts and misgivings about the leader.
- It highlights the insularity and elitism of cult members.
- It exposes the most common demographic of people who first get involved in cults: college-aged and young career adults.
- It shows the danger of unbalanced preoccupation with spiritual warfare and prophecy.
- It illustrates why fear of “the world” is a trap which leads to legalism, judgmentalism, and paranoia.
- It reminds us that no human being can mediate between God and people, except Jesus Christ.
I love your consistent public Voice for those captive to cults and cultish thinking. Thank you for doing what you do.
Thanks for your encouragement!
Thanks for sharing this article. I agree with what the author is saying here: “In other words, our group’s biggest crime wasn’t an excess of zeal—it was not being zealous enough.” From my own experience, extreme Charismatic interpretations of the Bible are enough fertile soil to sprout a cult. There must be a belief premise that can establish a possibility for the cult leader to have a secret and special relationship with God. But I can’t go “John McCarthur” and condemn all of Charismatic Christianity.
Well said. If we hold a premise which grants certain people special access to God, we set ourselves up as vulnerable to spiritually abusive leaders who promise us salvation through their interpretation of scripture and their mediation with God. But the New Testament says we are a kingdom of priests. We all have access to the Father =)
The bigger question: Is conservative, traditional Christianity itself a cult?