Religions vs Cult

Many people are trying to label some groups a cult, and some are called a religion, but somehow the religious group can be very extreme and scary but no one will shut them down. Imagine people burning themselves on the street for their belief or doing weird and scary sacrifices openly like a parade with people hammering nails over the person’s body and into a wooden “post” etc. What actually classifies between a religion and a cult?  In this article, we will show you what our Taoist point of view is, 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 is running it, and not the belief or system itself. There is no point in saying that 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 that is 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 lead to improvements in your quality, spirituality, and also give you a place to invest your faith so that your heart is settled and at peace. To TEACH people things, the religion must be able to point out flaws and give new guidance and ways for people to correct themselves. You do need to follow and obey the one teaching too, just like how it is 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 and such to keep their people obeying.

Most people think that anything that controls you is bad and evil because they take away your freedom. These people, I suggest them 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 system, government system, or even doctors controlling the patient’s diet and lifestyle by calling it a “therapy” so you have to 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 a bad thing if needed, because you need to be controlled to be corrected and get rid of your bad habit.

Some say that cult 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 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 end 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 those “cults”. Seriously, 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 wanted, and go to classes on time etc. However, you think that is controlling your lifestyle and they are forcing you to live the way 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, then they snap on it. Just like people cannot wake up in the morning to go to work and arrive on time daily – they snap and decided 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? Don’t see that. Just like Taoism in China, a lot of people go to Wudang and learn Taoism, they are all dressed the same, hair all 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, 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 just purely accept. That way I can save all my energy into teaching him and not to “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 doubt. I agree with this too, but isn’t religion the same even when good? If you have questions and doubt, your FAITH is gone, then why do you even stay in the group?

Having questions is fine, but at the right time, asking it the right way, and knowing your role is very important. For example, you are working in a company as a newbie, and you just entered the company – then you started to question the way 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. You should be asking questions when you are ready to and mature enough to.

In Taoism, we also encourage people to ask question – but not during the time I am teaching. Just 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. Don’t start talking back when I am STILL teaching and passing on my knowledge to you.  I have had disciples who are very stubborn and they will even scream and raise their voice 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 agree or believe this and leave the group. Just like shopping, you can buy it here or buy it there, no one is forcing you to buy anything. Religious belief is the same, and “cult” too. Not everyone has to be the same in terms of belief and their view in life. Just like I won’t say everyone needs to be a Taoist or else they are a loser or stupid.

Not everything fits to be in one religion, that is why we have many in the world. If you don’t like A, you can choose B or C or D. However, 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) is the biggest issue in this society. 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 their believers, then they will return them with the teachings, guidance, and also the kind of care that you should have from a religion etc.

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

Personally, I was taught by my gods 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, provide them with the teachings, the power, and the care that religion can provide. When they are facing any problems that have to do with 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 what I 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 kind of a workaholic. I go to sleep at 10 pm, wake up at 3-4 am and start working until 10 pm again. 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 is going to 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 just scares me how the idea of “charging money” becomes the judgement standard of if something is “evil” or not. People don’t even look at how much food costs these days.  A bunch of 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, 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 am feeling it so much this year because of how many bad disciples with bad virtue were witnessed with my own eyes. I think everyone should take some time to learn VIRTUE from our blog. No matter you want to be my disciple or not, you still can improve yourself and be a better person in society. A human without virtues is a virus in society, and it spread out 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. Interested in reading more? Read our My First Taoism Book” to understand more about Taoism!

Also, our book of VIRTUE - Tao Te Ching!