Religions vs Cult

Many people are trying to label some groups as a cult, and some are called a religion, but somehow religious groups can be very extreme and scary, but no one will shut them down. Imagine people burning themselves on the street for their beliefs or making weird and scary sacrifices openly, like a parade with people hammering nails over the person’s body and into a wooden “post,” etc. What classifies a religion and a cult?  In this article, we will show you our Taoist point of view, so you can have another way to decide on your own.

The Heart

In Chinese, we call religion a Jung Gaau 宗教, and a cult is often called an “evil” religion 邪教. What is the difference between a religion and a cult? It is all based on the heart of who runs it, not the belief or system itself. There is no point in saying a gun is evil because it can kill people. After all, a gun is only a gun. Without the human being using it, the gun cannot fire. Any “good” religion out there can turn out evil because of the person running that temple/church/group etc. It is not news about how many scandals and sex trafficking were done in temples by those “leaders” already, some even got caught on video, and they also preach the “famous” religion. How is that justified to be not a cult?

To Taoists, our wisdom teaches us to see things without blaming the dead object or things; we need to look at the heart behind the object, which is the whole thing about evil vs good. It all starts from the heart.

Here is how we see it:

  • A good religion is to TEACH you things that can improve your quality and spirituality and give you a place to invest your faith so that your heart is settled and at peace. To TEACH people things, religion must be able to point out flaws and give new guidance and ways for people to correct themselves. You need to follow and obey the one teaching o, just like in school.
  • An evil religion (cult) doesn’t teach you anything; it is there to take advantage of you, milk your money or other things away, and purely just a blind life-sucking path. To achieve the goal of being such a black hole, the cult will use strategies such as mind control to keep their people obeying.

Most people think that anything that controls you is evil because they take away your freedom. I suggest these people take a look at their parents first. Who doesn’t get controlled by their parents when they are kids? Control or restrictions are also in the school, government, or even doctors controlling the patient’s diet and lifestyle by calling it “therapy.” Hence, you must follow the way of living or eating because “or else” these and that will happen to you (who knows, maybe it won’t happen). Controlling is not bad if needed because you must be controlled to correct and eliminate your bad habit.

Some say that cults will control how much you can sleep too. Wow, so look at the military and police, firefighters and even real estate agents; they are all in cults. Right?  From the Taoist’s perspective, sleeping too much or too little is no good, but sometimes you know things happen then you need to stay up and work or finish your things before you can sleep. I don’t see how this is a cult act to make people sleep less for training purposes. When I was teaching my disciple to fight in magic battles, they often ended up having just 2 hours or 3 hours of sleep too, but that’s what it takes to grind and make you a warrior who can withstand the real big cases later when we help people. You can’t be a sleeping beauty and take your time when you are fighting some lethal sorcery stuff.

Weakling vs Strong

Some people think that being obedient to a group or some rules is already a problem, and you have to be “strong” to be “yourself” and fight back against those “cults.” Try that in school next time and see how that works in reality.

So you have to go to school, study things the way teachers want, attend classes on time etc. However, you think that is controlling your lifestyle, forcing you to live how THEY wanted you to. Ok, snap and rebel. To Taoists, these are just weaklings who snap because they cannot take grindings and follow the rules to cooperate. Instead of saying they are “strong” to fight for their own “freedom,” why not say they are a virus in society? These people cannot commit to something; they snap at it. Just like people cannot wake up in the morning to go to work and arrive on time daily – they snap and decide the world should start working at 10. These are the real weaklings who want the world to make way for them and not for them to follow what everyone else is doing. Now imagine you run a company and have 50 employees, and 40 of them are like those who need you to bend your rules for them. How can your business operate properly with these viruses?

Follower is Weak

Being alike with the leader or what the group teaches is weak? I don’t see that. Like Taoism in China, many people go to WuDang and learn Taoism; they are all dressed the same, their hair tied up the same, and it’s called uniform, unifying, and unity. When you see them in a performance or a classroom environment, you feel unity, professionalism, and so on. Imagine you are going to a school in Japan or most Asia “high-class” schools; they all have uniforms too. Being united is not evil, and following the group or leader is not evil, it is a way to learn.

In my experience, a disciple who wants to be following me makes me happy to teach them because they don’t resist and purely accept. That way, I can save all my energy into teaching him and not “fight” his restrictions.

No Questioning or Doubt

Oh yes, most people love to say that cults love to ban you from asking questions or having doubts. I agree, but isn’t religion the same even when good? If you have questions and doubts, your FAITH is gone, then why do you even stay in the group?

Having questions is fine, but it is very important to ask them right at the right time and know your role. For example, you are working in a company as a newbie, and you just entered the company – then you start to question why they do things this way and that way. Come on, how much do you know now? You don’t even know the basics yet. It would be best to ask questions when you are mature enough.

In Taoism, we also encourage people to ask questions – but not during my teaching time. Like the Tai Chi symbol, you are black now; you listen first. When I am done talking (white), we will change roles, and then you get to talk, and I listen. Please don’t start talking back when I am STILL teaching and passing on my knowledge to you.  I have had very stubborn disciples, and they will even scream and raise their voices to overpower me, saying, “Oh~~ SIFU, YOU DON’T KNOW!!!” and try to convince me that they are right; it is just I don’t understand – while being super disrespectful.

Agreeing to Belief

It is okay to say I don’t see it this way or believe this and leave the group. Like shopping, you can buy it here or there; no one is forcing you to buy anything. Religious belief is the same, and “cult” too. Not everyone has to be the same regarding beliefs and views in life. I won’t say everyone needs to be a Taoist, or else they are a loser or stupid.

Not everything fits in one religion; that is why we have many in the world. If you don’t like A, you can choose B, C, or D. However, the biggest issue in this society is those who have chosen B then go back to scream at A and say they are a cult (just because they don’t believe or agree with it). They, themselves, are worse than the cults.

Money Matters

Some people like to judge if it is a cult by looking at money. If the path makes you pay, it is a cult. Seriously? What are you getting in return when you pay?

As a religion, it gets money from its believers; then it will return them with the teachings, guidance, and the kind of care you should have from religion, etc.

As a cult, it gets money from the followers and takes it for their benefit; that’s it.

My gods taught me that being a Taoist master running a lineage is like being a good king; your people support and feed you, then you should give them what they need in return. Therefore, I work my butt off to build the lineage and provide them with the teachings, power, and care that religion can provide. When they are facing any problems related to spiritual issues, I am the first one to help and take care of the situation. The people build the country; the country protects the people back. That’s what I know and live by. Some people ask me why I don’t buy a big house or car etc.; my answer is very simple – because I don’t have the money and time for it.

Those who know me should know that I am a workaholic. I sleep at 10 pm, wake up at 3-4 am and start working until 10 pm. It’s daily working, no holiday or vacation or breaks time. What am I working on all day? Building the lineage, refining things and polishing content for the people below so that the lineage will be complete and polished before I die, and the next generation can chew on what I have left for them to continue onward.

So what’s wrong with charging money? You need to pay rent; I also do. You need to pay tax; I also do. If running a religion doesn’t make money, who pays the bills? It scares me how “charging money” becomes the judgment standard of whether something is “evil” or not. People don’t even look at how much food costs these days.  They are selfish people who only want the money in and not out while taking advantage of “religion”; they are the evils instead.  I had a very legendary “ex” disciple this year, and she was one of a kind. I can only use one word to describe her – a scammer. A scammer “client” who comes to take them then wants her money back. I have been so disgusted by these people, and she is the best example of what society should get rid of, scammer clients. These people can go to a restaurant and eat by paying it off the credit card, then later just charge back and get the money back, saying it was a fraud or something.

Virtues are so important, and I feel it so much this year because of how many bad disciples with bad virtue were witnessed with my own eyes. Everyone should take some time to learn VIRTUE from our blog. No. Whether or not you want to be my disciple, you can still improve yourself and be a better person. A human without virtues is a virus in society, spreading fast too. Don’t be one of these; polish your virtues!

Read up on the post on FATE and also GIVING BACK too!

Ordain to learn more and, most importantly, establish the connection with the Tao and celestial court soon. Are you interested in reading more? Read our My First Taoism Book” to understand more about Taoism!

Also, our book of VIRTUE - Tao Te Ching!