55. Appendix C: Cults
At the beginning of the Bible is the story of Adam, Eve, and their relationship with God. Their bliss abruptly ends with temptation followed by rebellion. They wanted to be like God and know everything, (Genesis 2:17 and 3:5). The story tells how they ate of the fruit of knowledge and were expelled from fellowship with God.
A major point illustrated here is the human need to know everything. Many people study diligently to learn all that can be known. Those who outrun others in collecting and remembering information eagerly display their knowledge. Because knowledge often precedes wisdom, many assume those two are the same. Wisdom is our proper use of knowledge, and not simply displaying it.
Alongside the hunger for knowledge, is Pride, a universal human flaw. Pride causes people to imagine they really are the most important and wisest, in any opinion contest. The less one knows about the vastness of human thinking and experience, the more likely he or she is to believe they have found indisputable truths and final answers.
Pride and ignorance lead the cult mind to base its religion on what it knows, instead of on who it knows. Discussion and debate of beliefs replaces praise, worship and fellowship with God. Ignorant of experiences contradicting their "true and final answer," cultists harden their beliefs and tighten their religious system. Their pride and ignorance shut them off from further inquiry. Blinded to their flaws, they are convinced they are superior people, God's truly chosen.
Articulate and attractive leaders expound their peculiar beliefs and draw more followers to their cause. Where there was once only one "true believer, " now there are two. Two expands to four, and four to six. Soon there is a large body of "believers." Proselytizing, hostility, harassment, and turmoil easily follow. Rigidly holding on to their beliefs, cultists are blind to evidence that contradicts them.
True religion depends on your relationship with God; who you know, not what you know. You receive God's grace because of His perfect love, not because of perfect theology or superior knowledge. False prophets reverse God's program and require you to accept their beliefs as the only "true" way to God. It is as if they are saying, "Our way is the only way."
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