Tag: Cults

Julian Walker is a yoga instructor, writer, and co-host of the podcast Conspirituality. He and Bridget discuss the growing overlap between new age spirituality and conspiracy theory culture in the last few years, how QAnon-influenced ideas started to take hold in the yoga space, the growing trend of anti-intellectualism and shying away from science, the difference between freshman skepticism and healthy skepticism, and why he’s committed to the principle that politics should be boring. Julian talks about growing up in South Africa amid the dismantling of apartheid and the perspective it gave him about reality bubbles, authoritarianism, propaganda, and what a charismatic candidate that arouses a passionate response in their followers means in a society. They talk empathy, morality, purity, cults, gurus, political stability, and why we should give people the benefit of the doubt in conversation rather than going from zero to calling them a Nazi in two seconds.

Book Review: ‘Strange Rites – New Religions for a Godless World’

 

Poll after poll demonstrates declines in religious observance in the United States today, especially in the Millennial age cohort. Some faiths and denominations are declining more quickly than others, with a few holding steady. Are people ceasing to believe any higher powers, or is something else at work? Tara Isabella Burton examines this issue in her new book, Strange Rites – New Religions for a Godless World, just out within the last week. Ms. Burton makes the argument that while adherence to traditionally recognized faiths (particularly Christianity) has declined precipitously, human beings still have a need to believe that the world is “enchanted” and human beings still need the community that shared rituals can offer. So even as adherence to particular faiths is declining, new religions are emerging to fill spiritual longings. Ms. Burton terms this the “Fourth Great Awakening.”

However, these new spiritual practices are at once radically different from anything that gone before, and yet radically American in their forms and ethos. They are also radically self-centered. Her basic thesis is this: the internet provides access to information on practically anything imaginable, and quickly connects like-minded people over any niche interest, allowing us to pick and choose our friends beyond the limited physical circles we have been limited to in the past, but this also allows us to concentrate ourselves, our interests, and our desires, creating a world of information and practice uniquely tuned to ourselves. In short, we can each pick and choose our own practices, rituals, and relationships, creating “remixed” faiths, and it is the “Remixed” whose worlds Ms. Burton illuminates.

This book is, in large part, about charlatans. It’s about capitalism and corporations and the new cutthroat Silicon Valley of spirituality. It’s about people who want to sell us meaning, brand our purpose, custom-product community, tailor-make rituals, and commodify our very humanity. It’s about how the Internet and consumer capitalism alike have produced experientially satiating substitutes – many, though not all of them, poor – for well-developed ethical, moral, and metaphysical systems. It’s about the denatured selfishness of self-care, and the way in which “call-out-culture,” at its worst, serves as the psychic methadone, providing us with a brief and illusory hit of moral belonging…

Social Justice?

 

For evidence of the social justice movement’s moral bankruptcy, look no further than its own language.

All it sees are causes for complaint. All it offers is etiquette for protests. Take orders from people of colorAcknowledge your privilegeCall out implicit bias! Its vision of a just society, insofar as it has one, is hazy and surreal, like the Christian vision of heaven or the world after Christ’s return. It lacks a goal; it has no endgame beyond uniting all people in mutual hatred of systemic oppression.

It Is A Cult, After All

 

Can’t believe I couldn’t find a trending post on the climate change craze. I’ll have to do this myself.

We all casually observe the organized CAGW1 scam. C’mon, all of us, right? It starts at elite (and corrupt, if I may repeat myself) levels of the academy. We know the predilection of governments for conclusions that require their involvement, and we understand the funding needs of the intermediate tier of researchers and journals. This much is normal corruption.

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A recent article in The Federalist addressed the dangers of cults as demonstrated by the Jonestown Massacre; we’ve had two fine articles on that topic on Ricochet, so I won’t revisit the specifics. I was alarmed, however, to speculate on the nature of cults in our current society, and realized that our culture may be […]

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  At San Diego Comic-Con (an event that used to be a convention for comic book fans that has mutated into Hollywood’s most bombastic marketing tool) last night, FX revealed the title for its seventh installment of its American Horror Story anthology series – American Horror Story: Cult. For months, the interwebs have been rife […]

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Cult Politics vs. Democratic Politics

 

Call it The Naked Leftist, Part Deux, the “Deux” standing for leftist farcicalities that exploded across the land during the second week of the Trump administration after its announcement of a vetting policy that was several measures less draconian than the ones enacted by the Carter and Clinton administrations. The first week was bad enough—a tempest of marches, protests, boycotts, a threat to burn the White House, Brobdingnagian displays of female genitalia swaggering on city streets, and the usual monotonous references to Hitler, apparently detected by some part of the female anatomy that doesn’t have to be censored to be cited.

The second week flowed seamlessly from the first, bursting with more screeches of outrage, legislative boycotts, passionate sermons about American values—as if the speakers had the slightest idea what those are—at least one sobbing Senator, and a partridge in a pear tree. Mel Brooks would have a field day with material like this—the title Blazing Protests! comes to mind. Still, The Naked Leftist label exudes the genius of Zucker, Zucker, and Abraham of Airplane! fame. Just don’t call them Shirley.

What do we call them, then? Here, the discussion about the Democrats’ erupting craniums turns more serious, because lurking beneath familiar accusations of leftist hypocrisy and hyperbole is a condition more sinister, which cannot be reduced simply to another “derangement syndrome.” That is, leftism today exudes many traits associated with a cult, and that is very dangerous for the health and perpetuation of American democracy. Normal democratic politics, which at the least is based on shared values, bargaining, compromise, and respectful consideration of opposing views, cannot survive in a political environment dominated by an opposition party that rejects all those values in favor of cultists’ pathological worldview.

Member Post

 

Do you think we are witnessing the rise of a cult of personality around Obama? From Wikipedia: A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and at times, worshipful image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise…  Preview Open

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