pictures. words (sometimes). blog nonsense.

“Growing Up Cult”

This week is “Fall at the Book” on campus. So far, my favorite reading has been Jayanti Tamm‘s, from her book “Cartwheels in a Sari” (a book I now plan to pick up as soon as I see it in my normal price range of five dollars or less. oh well).

I just saw this editorial she wrote for the Washington Post on the current 60s nostalgia and thought I’d recommend it. It’s perspective is certainly authentic, and yet not as unique as we might want to think: Cultural historians today portray the ’60s as a unique time. I hope they are right. That is, I hope that the cast of corrupt opportunists — gurus, prophets and messiahs — who profited from others’ naiive belief is indeed a unique ’60s phenomenon, safely encapsulated in those glossy anniversary books. Youch! Yeah, about that…

While I know people who have gotten involved in religious organizations that border all-too-close on cult-like tendencies, it would seem to be another thing altogether to be born believing that you’re the pre-ordained disciple of the avatar of God himself. (then again, Calvinists…?) Regardless, I am amazed at her story and those of other people who are taught one way to think their entire life and then choose another.

I am grateful that in my life, when I questioned things, my family (and often my community at large) was often right there questioning along with me…or at the least, encouraging my questions and not ever shoving blind faith/obedience on me.

7 responses

  1. j rhymes

    woe, why the stab at Calvinists? Last I checked they weren’t Mormon – believing they could become God…

    September 24, 2009 at 1:01 pm

  2. J,

    It was a tongue-in-cheek jibe at the fact they believe they’re pre-ordained to be special, just like this woman did. More than anything, it was meant as a wry admission to the outlandish claims of all religion, and not meant as a specific slam on Calvinism.


    September 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm

  3. allison

    I really wish I hadn’t missed this author, but I had class. I’m fascinated by cults, and definitely want to read this book.

    September 24, 2009 at 11:12 pm

  4. j rhymes

    Calvin did not come up with the word ‘elect’, that was actually the apostle Paul. Most religions do make outlandish claims, I agree, but Christianity’s ‘outlandish claims’ happen to be true – resurrection and such.
    I won’t argue predestination with you, but realize there is a formidable Biblical defense of the concept, its more than a claim.

    September 25, 2009 at 6:17 am

  5. Oi vey, Josh, now you’ve gone and ticked off a Calvinist… May God have mercy on your soul. By the way, usually I like poking fun at them too.

    September 25, 2009 at 6:41 am

  6. hehe.

    September 25, 2009 at 6:45 am

  7. paul

    I usually go the extra mile and poke them with material objects.

    September 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

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