Cult literature confuses me… and that’s a good thing

So I’ve been wanting to write more about literature produced by cults and high control groups. The stuff that the insiders read, reinforcing their feelings of belonging. The arguments that convince them that they’re right and everyone else is wrong. 

When I was a teenager, I read books from Vision Forum about dutiful daughterhood and preparing to be a “biblical” mother. I devoured everything my A Beka Bible textbooks taught me, since they clearly knew how to interpret everything so that I was not ensnared by the lies of the world. I kept trying to hold onto these ideas throughout college, because questioning was scary. After all, we were told that the snake told Eve to question God’s wisdom in the garden, and who were we to question God?

It took years for me decide that if there is a God and if he created me, then he created me with questions. My questions are valid and I have the right to ask them.

So the other day, I found this little pamphlet in my mailbox.

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My first thought was “Oh dear, what church is doing this?”

I don’t believe that pamphlets are an effective way to get people on your team anymore. So many tracts that I passed out in high school are now being deconstructed by my friend Aaron on his blog. People care about how you treat them, not about little pieces of paper that you shove in their face.

So I opened up the booklet, eyerolling.

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Okay, so here’s the weird part.

The tract asks a question: “Can we really believe what the Bible says?” But the three answers provided are “Satan’s rulership is doomed,” “God has chosen Jesus Christ to rule the world” and “God cannot lie.”

At least back in my A Beka homschool curriculum, they’d actually try to provide evidence for the historical accuracy of the Bible instead of baffling tangents. My college logic class taught me that this kind of reasoning is a non-sequitur.

The syllogism would be like this:

Satan’s rulership is doomed.
God has chosen Jesus Christ to rule the world.
God cannot lie.
∴ We can believe what the Bible says.

But the problem is that I have to agree to all of the premises to accept the conclusion. I have to believe that Satan exists and that he is a powerful entity, I have to believe God exists, and I have to believe that God cannot lie. The Bible describes all of these entities, but listing teachings from the Bible as proof that I can believe the Bible is circular reasoning. It just doesn’t follow.

I’d need external proof that the Bible is accurate, not a restatement of ideas already in the Bible. I was annoyed and turned the pamphlet over.

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Another vague question. At this point, I’m just confused.

But I think that’s the point. The intent is probably to create more questions than answers, to pull people into attending their services and committing to the cause before they have full knowledge of what’s going on.

So I think it’s healthy that cult literature confuses me. If it didn’t, then I’d get sucked in. Sometimes confusion is good.

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One thought on “Cult literature confuses me… and that’s a good thing

  1. Alex Black says:

    That pamphlet has some of the most blatant circular reasoning I’ve ever seen. We can believe what the Bible says, because God cannot lie, because the Bible says God cannot lie. The only way I can think to make it any more blatant is to say that we can believe what the Bible says because the Bible says we can believe what the Bible says.

    I usually pick up pamphlets and stuff that people hand me because I think it might make amusing material for a blog post later, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything this eyeroll-worthy since I scored a pamphlet that told me I should stop worshipping Satan, because everyone who isn’t worshipping (their) God is worshipping Satan. I hadn’t even become a Satanist yet when I got that one! And I still don’t worship Satan. Or anything else. And it’s really quite tiring when people keep telling me that everyone worships something…

    This comment may have gone on a bit of a tangent at some point.

    Like

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