Tag Archives: Religion

Why Cults are So Believable and Hard to Leave

Why are cults so believable and hard to leave or get out of? This question is loaded with many different perspectives, lenses, and opinions. I am exploring this through the perspective of a current non-denominational Christian.

First, we need to know what a cult is. Many often associate cults in a negative perspective. A cult by definition is ” a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous”. You may find definitions worded a bit differently, but they all have the same general meaning. It is basically a group of people or a club in which people become a little too obsessed with the thing in which they are devoted to. It’s not always religious. Though in modern times, cults are often formed in religions because they take an idea too far or too literally. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the church or religion make certain ideas or rules the object of worship which inadvertently is the slippery slope into a cult that uses mind control on its members to keep them.

So we must ask ourselves, at what point does a group or club become a cult? Are all churches cults? What is the difference between a cult and a good church?

Let’s be honest, when the average person thinks of a cult, they may often think of a certain church or religion, and honestly that’s where a majority of cults are at. This is not to say that church is bad. Or that religion is bad. I think it really has alot to do with each individual church. What are they teaching you? Does it apply to modern day age? Is it backed by historical text (The Bible)? Is the church gaslighting you in a negative way? (I’ll explain later). Is the church growing? These, and more, are all factors to consider when figuring out if you’re going to a healthy church versus if you’re a part of a cult. Like many already know, sometimes it’s hard to know the difference. Let me help by explaining the many subtle differences between what goes on in a cult versus what goes on in a genuinely good and healthy church.

1. A cult gaslights you and keeps you in a cycle.

If a church gaslighting you sounds crazy, you may want to think again about what exactly they’re telling you. Are they telling you you’re worthy? For women- that you’re beautiful inside and out? For men- that you’re strong and courageous, etc. That you’re made in God’s image, capable of great things like following your dreams or starting that business? That you’re worthy both as a single person and as a married person?

Or, are they like businesses that create consumers by hypothetically creating the problem? (Like almost half of companies that exist) Similarly, in a church that operates like a cult, they might try to convince you or directly tell you “you’re a sinner” (contrary to telling you you’re worthy), and then they treat this word like it’s a disease. Next they explain how to “cure” this disease. They create the problem and then offer the solution. But wait, you can’t get the cure all at once, no no, you need to come back again and again, at least once a week – for the rest of your life. I’m not saying that going to church every week is bad. What I’m saying is that if that’s you’re mindset for going to church every week (to get rid of your sin “disease”), then you are going to church for all the wrong reasons. You’ve been bamboozled into a very convincing and false cycle of lies. Let me explain this further.

First off, the church should not continually be calling you a sinner. Though it is hard to wrap our minds around, even if we do sin, we are not sinners because Jesus already successfully did his part to remove that chain and identity from us. When I say “us,” I am referencing those who beleive Jesus is the savior. We call Jesus the Savior, not the ultimate guilt trip, yet for some reason why do some churches often feel like that? The church will tell you that you’re a sinner and then tell you not to sin. That doesn’t even logically make sense. Its like telling a dog they’re a dog but not to do dog things. The church instead needs to tell you you’re not a sinner. That you’re worthy and wise and spiritually competent to take on life. So, what does your church do? Does it give sound and true uplifting words of truth into your life for you to be the best version of yourself & the best citizen of society? Or does it make you take a guilt trip almost every time and create a cycle of repentance from the “church”?, like a business that just received a customer and uses ethos pathos and logos to keep them coming back for the product. Furthermore, the church might even try to convince you that your salvation is dependent on going to that church, when in reality, once a person receives God into their life, salvation and God are within us and not a far-away object needed to be continually obtained our entire life. The purpose of church is for the holy spirit to be present, fellowship, worship and teaching. The church facilitates salvation but it itself is not salvation. So if you’re having a hard time figuring out if you go to a good church or if you’re unknowingly part of a cult, the first step is to simply examine the verbiage used. What are they telling you about you? Are they creating a hypothetical problem within you, telling you you’re such a rascal and you need to repent every time you sin? Or, are they giving uplifting words of encouragement or truth to elevate your spiritual grounding and wellbeing?

2. A cult uses black and white language or thinking, often with little to no explanation.

Black and white language fits well with cults because they like to portray things as an extreme. For example, if you grew up going to church, you may have been told in a sermon that “sex is bad.” (Just an example of many of a plethora of topics). Here’s the thing, sure maybe premarital sex is not okay. But even more so, I do not know of one friend who had a pastor explain the why behind this. As if teenagers are supposed to know why it’s bad. I think the church should be more open about those topics. Like, instead of saying a black and white blanket statement like “sex is bad”, “the devil makes you lust,” or “if you sin youre going to hell if you dont repent” which invoke guilt, how about explaining it a bit better, in a more human way rather than in a religious way. Like – wait till marriage to have sex because physical touch or intimacy creates chemistry, which can mess up and dramatically alter one’s perspective of their partner. It can deceive you to think that someone who obviously isn’t the one for you, is the one for you, because the physical touch (the feel good feelings) messes up your ability to really see them for who they are. When a church uses such vague blanket statements as the one’s previously stated as examples, without explaining them, they leave a big gap for false teaching and is a red flag for being a cult.

3. A cult tries to make their imagination your reality.

So what do we mean by making someone else’s imagination a reality? In a church this can often be seen when a preacher talks about a dream, or if there is a prophetic word in prayer. Let’s explore these in more detail. When a preacher talks about a personal dream, they are explaining their own subconscious world. It is one thing to talk about a dream, which is totally fine. However it is another thing to say that one’s dream represents what is happening or will happen to the church. Sure, dreams may have been predictions in biblical times. However, today we cannot rely on dreams to tell someone else or a group of people their future. Dreams are not from God, they are simply programming’s of each person’s inner world. We should not be projecting our dreams onto others. The second one is when there is a prophetic word during a prayer. Members of churches often take these very seriously, yet often times we do not even know if the person saying them has been reading the word and in prayer. What if they just had an impulse to say what is on their heart? That is not from God, that is simply a word from that person – yet people think that they are hearing from God. If a preacher’s dreams are being interpreted as the future of the church or the world, or if prophetic words are being told from someone who was not prepared, you may want to rethink if you’re in a healthy church or in a cult.

Again, it really all comes down to the verbiage used and the lack of explanation of things in cultish churches. This is because if you feel you’re on the good side of the spectrum, members of the cult often feel very entitled or holier than thou, wanting to stay in that mindset. This is the sign that it’s too extreme. Nobody can be perfect. So the next time you visit a new church or even just at your own church, at least take note and examine these three things, 1. Does the church gaslight you and make you feel like you’re in a constant cycle? 2. Does the church use black and white language with often little to no explanation? 3. Does the church try to make an individual imagination everyone’s reality? Life is too short to get trapped in a mind game of lies within a cult. My hope in sharing this is that you take the time to find a genuinely good church that stays clear of all of those previously noted points, and instead uses God’s word to encourage you be the best version of yourself and the best citizen within society by looking towards Jesus.

New Show “Upload” Lacks Truth

Let’s face it, most of us have an interest when it comes to a series or a movie predicting the afterlife. Humans are curious creatures in regard to the unknowns of life after death, and this is no secret to pop culture. Pop culture takes this idea by the horns and runs, using it to influence our modern world and plant counterfeit ideas. Using a spiritual truth lens, let’s take a deep dive into a new popular show airing called “Upload.”

Upload is an original show broadcast on Amazon Prime, created by the same producers as a popular hit TV show, “The Office.” Thus, obviously the show is good in a technical sense – the breathtaking views, great locations and actors, and an interesting scheme to capture the viewer’s attention. There’s no doubt about it – it is visually appealing and well put-together. However, just like anything, just because something looks nice, doesn’t mean it’s values or message is truthful. The show Upload is full of a plethora of anti-Christian ideas.

The show is set in a futuristic age where technology has advanced to let people “upload” their consciousness to an accessible VR (virtual reality) dimension after they die. The main character, Nathan, dies in a complex accident and his girlfriend uploads him into this virtual reality afterlife dimension named Lakeview. However, a viewer will notice how he slowly starts falling out of love with her and instead falls in love with his “angel,” who is really a regular day-job worker working as his assigned customer support aid, having access to his consciousness and avatar features. The plot is obviously good, but let’s explore the flaws in portraying truth. I’d like to emphasize that this is in regards to the first season of the show. There may be several interpretations, especially as the show progresses into the second season, but this is just one interpretation.

1. The whole premise of the show emphasizes technology, despite it’s glitches, as the savior – not Jesus.

2. The uploading of consciousness implies that humans are nothing more than that – mere consciousness. There is no acknowledgment of a human’s soul.

3. There is no mention of God and even no appearance of a god-like figure, ruler, or King in the perceived uploaded afterlife.

4. In order to live in luxury, a person has to essentially store up treasures on earth (money), in order to have wealth or the best upgrades in the digitized after life – which portrays the complete opposite of what scripture tells us

5. The idea of humans uploading other humans’ consciousnesses to a digital afterlife creates the doubt that there is no afterlife

In conclusion, we can see that Upload may just be the ideal afterlife for the modern anti-religious person. What’s more concerning though is what kinds of seeds pop culture is trying to plant in the minds of kids and teens who make up a large portion of viewership of the latest shows. This show essentially sends the message that heaven is not real, and our only hope is in technology to save us. Of course it is just a show, however creating these kinds of shows sets up a precedent and influence on young generations to give up on an imagination or faith in something far more greater and powerful than humanity itself.

A belief in God offers more than faith in a higher power; it allows us to believe that the confines of human achievement are only a fraction of what exists in the universe.

Libby Emmons

God is Within Us, Literally in our DNA

The other day the preacher said that sometimes people nowadays think that people “need to be freed from the bondage of God/religion” its funny because usually those same people are in bondage to a certain sin or misunderstood God with all the religious fog. Having a relationship with God is not a binding obligation, but rather a liberating relationship that gives us True freedom from the enemy’s deceptive lies.

Whatever God really is, we may never know. But we can know for a fact that that perfect high power does exist. 🙌🏼  He’s behind every good thing inside of us, outside of us, and even in the details of our every day lives- from the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the scenery at the top of a hike, the science behind the soothing lotion we put on, the chapstick that helps releive a coldsore, the advanced technology of our computers and cars, the way a crisp cake is baked, the cinematic effects of a movie, etc, etc. God is the superbrain of knowledge & Truth, without God we wouldn’t have all these modern technological advances, we wouldn’t have music, we wouldn’t have the people we love, we wouldn’t have anything. So before secular people assume God is just an unreachable celestial grandpma just watching us in the heavens, know first that God is far from that and cannot be put in a box.

God is literally in the DNA of the people he uses for worldly design AND heavenly kingdom (and alot of those people are probably unbeleivers, which are used for worldly design/civilization but not heavenly kingdom if they don’t choose God). There’s a theory that those that have God’s DNA are a purebred and those that don’t are hybrid human (the false image of God, or Satan’s genetics and DNA, have infiltrated them and will predictably be mostly involved with secular endeavors) and the purebred know deep down that God is within them (literally, in their DNA, 🧬 and they will be mostly involved in The Kingdom of God realm whilst living on earth in the true Image of God).

” Satan’s goal is to alter the DNA of mankind so that a false government leader plus a false religious leader can be produced to join Satan as an unholy trinity. “

If you haven’t cultivated a relationship with Jesus yet/been saved, anytime is a great time but now especially is the best time. 💫💜The enemy is quite literally right in front of us! The DNA of satan, or “the false image of God”, has totally infiltrated humankind, the exact reason why God sent the great flood to wipe out humanity and its wicked ways because satan interfered and ruined the real image of God. This is the prime time to be the salt of the earth and help save people from the enemy’s lies.🌏💫✨🧂

My Thoughts on Jesus and Easter

When it comes to Easter, I believe many think that this is only a holiday for religious people. I think people should put all these “Churchy,” “religious” and “Jesus-freak” labels aside and actually explore God’s nature without society’s influence of domesticating it or without compartmentalizing God towards religion. So in a podcast I was listening to, someone said “affirming the trinity in the modern world is like crazy

talk,” and I kind of did that fast exhale, kind of when you see a funny meme on facebook, mostly because that seems to be true. It also mentioned “If we believe in the trinity, then shouldn’t we be called “Godtians” and not just “Christians?” While a bit humorous, it is also thought-provoking because it made me think, why don’t we call ourselves Godtians? Then the lecture brought out a good point though, we aren’t striving to be fully divine like God, we are striving to be fully human as Christ was. Some think Jesus was this perfect person, when in reality he was human just like the rest of us– he probably also clipped his toe nails and had inside jokes with the apostles.

Furthermore, in the podcast I was listening to, I really liked how he defined Omnipotence. When mentioning this word, I’ve always thought of God having all kinds of powers, or perhaps holding a lightning bolt. However, the way he said it made all the more sense to me, “Omnipotence is not a power over people, it is more of an empowerment from God and others.” Through Jesus, I can definitely see Him reflecting God’s omnipotence. Additionally, when he mentioned miracles, I often thought that miracles are only physical, yet he mentioned, “Miracles are God’s intervention in our lives,” meaning they can both be physical and spiritual. All in all, Jesus’ life not only showed what it means to live a meaningful and joyous life, but it also reflected God’s spirit and Omnipotence. Though this is a hard concept to grasp that God is both fully

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human and fully divine, the podcast had a great analogy when he said, “Like the strands of a rope that, twisted around each other, provide a strong cord, these two perspectives compose the strands of the theological tightrope of Christology: the affirmation that Jesus is truly God and truly human.”

But, who is this God or Jesus we speak of? Just like many today, I also used to imagine God to be a loving wise elderly man. I’m not sure if that is my original thought, or if I got inspired from movies/media like Bruce Almighty or The Giver. Similarly, when I think of Jesus, I often think that he looked like Mel Gibson from The Passion. It is interesting though, I had found out from one of my college classes that Jesus most likely looked more Mediterranean, (just like in the picture below)

and not so much the European look we have gregariously applied to Jesus. I think it’s safe to say that external influences have distorted the image of Jesus. Nonetheless, perhaps this just goes to show that we should not look to random sources for discovering who or what God is, (His looks are irrelevant to his godly spiritual characteristics and actions anyway) but rather go right to the source and God will reveal Godself.

And now, since today is Easter, I often keep the golden nuggets of insight to myself but I thought I’d share one today. Here is a wonderful quote that beautifully epitomizes the nature of God in today’s world:

“Now yes, yes, creation sometimes screams a confusing message—fear, pain, grief. Fire burns, rivers flood, winds go hurricane, the earth shudders so hard it levels cities. But you must remember—this was not so in Eden. Mankind fell, surrendering this earth to the evil one. St. Paul says that creation groans for the day of its restoration (see Rom. 8:18–22), making it clear that everything is not as it was meant to be. People come to terrible conclusions when they assume this world is exactly as God intended. (An assumption that has wrought havoc in the sciences.) The earth is broken.
Which only makes the beauty that does flow so generously that much more astounding. And reassuring.”

How blessed are we to have a God who still intervenes in our fallen world?! How blessed are we that this God sacrificed himself to give us the perfect example of what it means to be human?! Happy Easter Folks!!