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Latin CVLTVS, cultus, "care, labor; cultivation, culture; worship, reverence," from colere, "to cultivate"

"Et non fuit qui insultaret populo isti, nisi quando recessit a cultu Domini Dei sui."

"And there was no one who could attack this people, except when they withdrew from the worship of the Lord their God." -Judith 5:17

In modern times the word cult has a decidedly negative implication, but originally the word simply meant "worship." When studying older writings, you will encounter the word used in its positive sense: worship. 

A cult is objective (positive) when it is a group of awakened people (initiates) who cultivate and share an esoteric knowledge, based on all the ethics of the awakened consciousness: humility, chastity, generosity, patience, kindness, diligence, happiness for others, non-attachment, respect for others beliefs, and respect for others will, etc. An objective cult makes no effort to control anyone, manipulate anyone, or convince anyone.

A cult is subjective when it relies on the five senses, beliefs, and theories, and is incapable of verifying the reality through scientific, spiritual methods. This leads to errors mistakes, assumptions, and fanaticism. Many people blindly follow their chosen theories and beliefs, and have no way of verifying whether they are true. They have many theories that they enthrone in their minds, refuse to consider any other point of view, and emphatically  reject anything that contradicts their theories. This is easy to observe in many areas of modern society: politics, science, and religion: any belief can become a cult, extremist or false when interpreted by subjective reasoning (based on the five senses). 

Modern culture is taking on many of the qualities of a negative cult: if you do not go along with modern ideas and beliefs, whether in politics, sexuality, gender, religion, or other areas, you risk being attacked, losing your job, ostracized, mocked, etc. Society is increasingly polarized into opposing camps of fanatical believers and their charismatic leaders. None recognize their own cult-like behaviors, but are quick to accuse others of "being in a cult."

How to Recognize a Negative Cult

  • A negative cult pressures people to conform to their beliefs and join their group.
  • A negative cult condemnds critical thinking. You either agree with their views, or you are out. 
  • A negative cult intensely rejects any evidence that contradicts their views. Investigation is not welcomed or encouraged.
  • A negative cult provides no means of verifying whether their views are true or not. 
  • A negative cult claims to have the only authentic masters, to be the only real group, and are the only ones with access to the real teachings. 
  • A negative cult usually has one or more charismatic leaders who are obeyed without question. 
  • A negative cult has a closed levels of membership with a veil of secrecy that they exploit to pressure potential members. Entering closed groups is very difficult and has extremely challenging requirements, such as perfect attendance to classes and groups, monetary commitments, no memberships in any other organizations, etc.
  • They use deceptive methods to convince people to join them, such as claiming anyone who is not with them is on the wrong path or is doomed. 
  • They brainwash members in the same way, and threaten that those who leave go straight to hell, etc. 
  • They exploit people financially, psychologically, and in other ways. 
  • They accuse other groups of being traitors, false, degenerates, etc., spread gossip and rumors, etc. all in an effort to emphasize that other groups are dangerous, while theirs is the only good one. 
  • A negative cult radiates pride, dishonesty, vengefulness, lust, and other defective qualities.