Monday, October 19, 2015

Shunning--God-Directed or Cult-Directed?

Disconnected = Will Shun
According to propaganda from high-control religious groups, shunning is an acceptable action to take against any who hold to a different viewpoint. No allowance is granted for testing what is heard, as the scriptures direct Christians to do, and forming a different opinion. Those who do are branded apostates and shunned.

How would you view an adult who cut off all contact with you simply because you questioned or had a different point of view? You would view that one as acting arbitrarily, wouldn't you? You would rightly conclude that that person had a "my-way-or-the-highway" dogmatic, inflexible, intolerant mindset and was using punishment  to force you to adopt his/her view and was willing to punish you indefinitely for daring to disagree.

Loving Discipline
When cult leaders teach shunning and encourage their members to ostracize and sever ties with friends and family members, this abusive behavior is given another identity: "loving discipline," "Godly correction," (or whatever words they use to "smokescreen" it). Almost always a positive spin is put on harmful behavior.

"Get Out!"

Sacred Authority
Historically, whenever a person or group has wanted to sway opinion or win an argument, they've called on experts or authority figures to lend credibility to their contentions. In a master stroke, cults call on the highest authority, God, and can therefore teach whatever damaging doctrines they choose, claiming that these, in fact, come from and are God-directed.

Sacred Appointment
Additionally, cults often claim to be the one true church in modern times, and in line with this, leaders who encourage and enforce shunning, claim that they have been appointed to act as God's representatives--so listening to them is akin to listening to God, obeying them is akin to obeying God.

This is an effective tap dance because if you can make a case that shunning is 1) beneficial, 2) directed by God and 3) directed by those who are acting as God's representatives, this makes the practice appear legitimate.

Loyal To Whom?
The coupe de grace is the following: shunning is a demonstration of loyalty to God. The underlying message is that if you don't shun, you aren't loyal to God. This shunning/loyalty coupling is intentional. Cults who play the "loyalty card" know that it is far easier to convince people to cut ties with loved ones by making it out to be a question of loyalty to God, instead of what it actually is, loyalty to man-made teachings.
Judged and Shunned

Cult leaders teach that members show loyalty to God by shunning any who disagree with cult ideology. In actuality, the loyalty that is demanded is loyalty to the teachings of men.

Who is Doing the Actual Opposing?
Those who disagree with cult ideology are conveniently branded apostates, opposers, rebellious ones, mentally diseased, liars, etc. all in an attempt to discredit them, but in reality, the person who holds to a different viewpoint is the one who is subjected to opposition: loss of good reputation and standing in the congregation or church, marking, disfellowshipping and shunning, which spells loss of friends and family, loss of practical help and support, loss of inheritances. Many who have been shunned, end up dying alone, ignored by family members. They are considered dead already, so it is no stretch to see why their hospital rooms may be devoid of family in their final hours. The person is actively opposed en masse when he or she embarks on any course that differs from the one laid out by leaders who claim to champion religious freedom.

In sum: shunning is cult-directed but passed off as being God-directed.

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