Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why Does a Person Enter a Cult?

"Father, my child has become a cult member." Laments of this kind are common, says a priest authority on cults, writing in the Kyeongyang magazine on the new religions and their dangers. How to deal with the new religions is no easy task. Numbers of those  involved in the new religions is well beyond what we imagine.

Catholicism has no counter measures in response. We hear often the Church is the  breeding grounds for the  new religions, meaning that members often come from Catholicism. We don't think it deserves our attention, consequently, lack of interest. However, when we meet those who have been involved in cults, we realize it should be a concern, for it shows our failures to be a loving community of faith. Our true character as a community appears, and serious problems in the way we have instructed our Christians.

When he receives a request for counseling his first thoughts are a feeling of helplessness in dealing with the 'new world' they have entered. Parents often get angry but this is of little value. Once the person has been brained washed the chances of success in convincing  them of the error of their ways is far from certain. Much better is preventing them from getting involved with cults.

Those who have become cult members, more than the teachings they are captivated by the community they have entered: the upright life of the members, zeal, they are impressed with the community they have joined,  and moved to give assent to what they are taught. They respond to their cult leader like the apostles followed Jesus; they remember with great happiness the days of instruction. There is a type of addiction and love-sickness response to their attachment.

Many of those who become involved in a cult have a history of problems in family life: lack of self-esteem,  confidence, and looked forward to a future with gloom and alienation. Joining the cult they find themselves, and gain confidence for the future. They find new meaning in the virtual world they have entered. Even when one leaves the cult there remains the problem of identity.

The cults tell us a lot about ourselves. We are not on fire as Christians or believe what we say we do. We live our faith life without passion, and mission. Pope Francis mentions that we have a worldly spirituality. Those who have accepted the cults have usually not been members of their parent's religious community growing up. It was easy for them to give up their faith for it meant little to them. We will continue to have many of our Christians living their faith by habit. Which means we will continue to see large numbers leaving the church. We have to be more concerned in the way our Catholics are educated. There is a need to draw up a new way of instruction that will meet the needs of the world they will enter. We all have to take an interest in making our communities vehicles that will instruct the members in what it means to be followers of Jesus.

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