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Introducing Cultism dialogue

In recent decades the world have been experiencing the presence of so called “New Religious Movements” (NRMs), sometimes referred to by others as “cults” or (in some continental countries) “sects”. The term NRM can be understood to include spiritual as well as religious movements properly so-called. “New” may refer to movements that do not belong to mainstream religion, that have been founded mainly over the past fifty years, although older movements are sometimes included. However, the term also includes centuries-old movements that are considered “new” to the rest of the western world as a result of events or activities that brought about a more recent awareness about them.

The term cult or derivatives thereof – cultic, cultist are viewed as pejorative terms and is understood to refer to the presence of destructive processes or dynamics occurring in a particular created environment.  The term “sect” is not suitable in this particular context either because of its general meaning that refers to a breakaway faction from another religion that do so in order to restore doctrines that have been neglected by the mother religion. The generally accepted term New Religious Movements (NRM) have unfortunately been over expanded in an attempt to be politically correct and less offensive thus becoming an umbrella term that includes harmful and benign groups. In order to steer away from labelling the term cultism is appropriate for the following reasons; (1) it refers to the study of the phenomenon of excessive psychological influence that may be present in some religious, spiritual or secular groups that may be destructive, or creating an unhealthy control over persons to the detriment of their well being, (2) is not a study with the aim to classify any group as a cult but focuses on gathering information on such processes in order to inform society and to assist victims.The term “sect” is not suitable in this particular context because of its general meaning that refers to a breakaway faction from another religion that do so in order to restore doctrines that have been neglected by the mother religion. The term New Religious Movements (NRM) have unfortunately been over expanded in an attempt to be politically correct and less offensive thus becoming an umbrella term that includes harmful and benign groups. In order to steer away from labelling the term cultism is appropriate aiming at exploring techniques that may be present in different groups.

Over time, many young people and their families who had become involved with some of these groups turned to the churches or other professionals for guidance and support because of the harmful nature of the underlying practices and culture of these groups.

Cultism-dialogue aims at creating an awareness, understanding of the psychological processes that occur in some new religious movements through research and study in order to provide balanced information to the general public, churches, victims and family of victims.

We acknowledge that “cultist” tendencies, i.e., psychological and spiritual abuses, can creep into any organization, including movements associated with our own churches.  Involvement in cultist situations can be very painful for the people involved. Some have compared it to the death of a loved one without the funeral. Fortunately, the experiences of most people joining such groups are much less dramatic than this.  It is important to address such cases calmly not allowing emotions or the lack of information to arrive at hasty conclusions labeling a group as a “cult”.

The role of cultism-dialogue is:

• To work for contact and dialogue among people with different beliefs and philosophies; recognizing the vast differences that exist among these groups.
• To point out and intervene where allegations of violation of other rights are made within particular groups where cultic processes are believed to occur
• To promote the study and understanding of World Religions as the context for understanding cultism.
• To provide pastoral support to members and former members of groups where cultic tendencies were present and their families according to their needs.
• To provide information on such groups for clergy, teachers, the medical profession and the media.
• To provide information and educational service to schools, vocational groups and other establishments. Rather than warn or raise fears, our strategy is to inform and empower young people.

Mission statement:

Motivated by the inalienable right to religious freedom, inspired by Christian values, Cultism-dialogue is an independent organization that seeks to promote people’s freedom to make informed choices about religious, spiritual and philosophical beliefs.

Scope & Personnel:

We work from our Auckland, New Zealand. Because of harassment in the past this no names are listed, but any information is available to genuine inquirers through the contact information below
Contact Cultism-Dialogue:
Email address: rightsdialogue@gmail.com
Website: http://www.cultismdialogue.org

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