Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Anyone Else Get This Particular Cultish Vibe?

I've read pretty much all of The Brick Testament to date. It's kind of creepy to see some bits of the Bible, especially the bloodshed that tends to get just briefly mentioned.

Anyway, sometimes it gets creepy with Jesus, and reminds me of stuff I've seen about cults:

Here's a collection of passages talking about the family conflicts he came to cause, including a bit about requiring his followers to hate pretty much everyone associated with them as well as themselves. I'm not an expert on cult recruitment tactics, but one familiar theme that comes with cults is that new members are given reason to separate from their family and friends, the people who'd be most interested in talking them out of it. As for self-hate, it pretty much goes along with one of the typical cult lines of "let go of yourself/your ego/etcetera."

Extending the internal house conflicts to their natural extension, Jesus wants the world to burn. Lot of obligatory doom talk.

The self-mutilation bit is a bit creepy even if you take it "metaphorically." Glad I haven't met anyone who takes it literally, yet. Suspect they'd have a hard time typing, though.

Everyone knows cult leaders like to have the followers share all their money. Hence the later bit about "Accept Communism or Die."

There's the whole "Hell" thing, generally used as a threat against those who would dare to question the faith.

There's a fair bit of love mentioned there, like other cults, but actions don't seem to match up to words.

There's also something else I noticed: It seems like the whole thing was set up as a resistance movement against then-mainstream Judaism, depicting themselves as persecuted throughout history or something. Always need to generate the impression of being persecuted in order to attract contrary thinkers, it seems.

Of course, I realize that there's not much separating "cult" from "religion" except popularity. But anyway, anyone else get the impression I do: That Jesus was just a leader of a typical doom cult that got popular?


TabAtkins said...

That's definitely the most reasonable explanation to me, especially when you start learning about all the *other* messiahs that were bouncing around the middle east and Mediterranean at the time. Like Apollonius of Tyrea, for example. Dude did all sorts of miracles, including walking through walls, communicating through dreams, healing people, and eventually dying and coming back to life three days later. His cult showed up sometime around the century of Jesus, it was apparently just a bit too different from mainstream Judaism to be successful.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was now generally accepted that Jesus was closely involved with the Essenes?

Tom Foss said...

Essenes? I prefer Ensixtyfour myself.