There is nothing in the word CULT that connotes positivity. Or in the word evangelical. It might have originally meant a zealous faith and promotion in a set of beliefs, but to the agnostic or skeptic, it can only mean one thing; brainwashing.
Over the past week Scientology and a group called Agape Ministries have come under fire. And over the past year (or longer) the Catholic Church has been paddled on the bum for the array of cover-ups and instances that they turned a blind eye to sexual abuse.
I see a connection.
Secretive group with a uniting and firm belief in one ideal (religious, or otherwise). Secluded from society or a natural life or choosing an alternate path(ie priesthood, a life of solitude, estrangement from normal daily life), these members often stray quite obviously from their path.
Sexual abuse of children, cover-ups and illegal weaponry or activities.
And the cover-up is justified how? To preserve their faith in positive light to the rest of the world.
Rationalised how? It's what (god, higher being, the saviour) would want/do/think/say/forgive.
Does it make it okay?
I've never really understood what South Australian Senator Nick Xenaphon stood for (except anti-gambling) but he sure understands what I'm on about.
I don't think religious belief is necessarily a bad or dangerous thing, just that when it comes to holding power, distorting the natural way of life (with, say, abstinence or living in a place secluded from the eye of anyone outside of that belief).
My Melbourne Mum once said to me, 'Everything in moderation.'
It applies to almost everything, drinking, eating crappy food, going out for dinner, pulling all nighters or spending time on the computer.
Perhaps religion needs to take a leaf out of her book and realise that the power they wield over people can corrupt (however unintentionally).
I'm not so much saying faith in moderation, but take a chance to take of the robe, hat, cross, whatever and reflect on what you are doing.
Because we know that evangelicals isolate people, rather than encourage them to stay and chat.
The bearded man on a crate yelling, the bible booth, the lone monk handing out 3 inch thick books, the activist asking me if I like puppies or the environment. They all make it very difficult to want to actually hear what they are on about.
Maybe I'll get a crate and yell 'MODERATION' a few times in the middle of Federation Square.
It should get it out of my system...