Aug 16, 2019

CultNEWS101 Articles: 8/16/2019

Pentecostalism, Grace Road, Legal, Religious Research, Podcast

"Johanna Bard Richlin, an assistant professor at the University of Oregon, did her research among Brazilians who had moved to the environs of Washington, DC. Many had been middle-class in Brazil but emigrated after some personal or macro-economic disaster. They found manual or domestic work but were homesick and had a feeling of being trapped. The United States seemed cold and atomised compared with home.

For such people, evangelical churches, including charismatic ones, offered a sense that they mattered as individuals, which was absent elsewhere in their lives. They formed a personal bond with pastors, who were usually compatriots, and were urged to feel a personal relationship with God. The dignity which they had lost by emigrating was restored to them as they dressed up for Sunday worship and were given tasks in the religious community. Many described the church as a "hospital" and God as a "consoler", as Ms Richlin writes in the journal Current Anthropology.

Rafael Cazarin, a scholar at the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, looked at African Pentecostal communities both in his home town in Spain, and in Johannesburg. The scenes in the two cities were quite similar: pastors from Nigeria or Congo ministered to economic migrants from their native countries, offering a connection with home in a familiar style. The fact that the pastors themselves had made difficult journeys across several countries made them credible as purveyors of "spiritual power".

The pastors "played successfully with ambivalence" as they delivered messages that were designed to restore self-understanding and self-respect, Mr Cazarin says. They encouraged a sense of pride in being African, and in African notions of gender and family; but they also stressed the advent of a "new Africa", which renounced witchcraft and superstition. Especially in Spain, the faithful were also warned against the decadent secularism of the modern West. Congregations were separated, for part of the time, by generation, sex and marital status, and each group got instructions as to how to behave at their age and stage. Structures were imposed on an otherwise chaotic social reality, as Mr Cazarin describes in the journal Religions.

Pentecostalism's appeal to the transient and insecure is also portrayed in a study of a little-known micro-community: Brazilians of Japanese descent who move to Japan (ie, the land their forebears left a few generations back) to work in the car industry. Speaking Portuguese better than Japanese, and feeling economically and socially insecure, such people found comfort in the warmth, dignity and inclusiveness of Latino-style Pentecostalism, says Suma Ikeuchi of the Art Institute of Chicago, writing in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. She has set out her conclusions in a book called "Jesus Loves Japan"."

"The jailing of a South Korean cult leader for imprisoning hundreds of followers in Fiji is unlikely to end their plight.

The leader of Grace Road Church, Shin Ok-ju, was jailed for six years last week.

To her followers, Fiji was the promised land, and hundreds moved to endure ritual beatings and forced labour at Grace Road's network of businesses in Fiji.

An expert in Korean cults, Ji-il Tark from Busan University, said those businesses had extensive links with the Fiji government.

He said with the group ostracised in South Korea, the remaining followers will likely be keen to stay in Fiji."

Pew Research Center: Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe
"Roughly a quarter of a century after the fall of the Iron Curtain and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, a major new Pew Research Center survey finds that religion has reasserted itself as an important part of individual and national identity in many of the Central and Eastern European countries where communist regimes once repressed religious worship and promoted atheism.

Today, solid majorities of adults across much of the region say they believe in God, and most identify with a religion. Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism are the most prevalent religious affiliations, much as they were more than 100 years ago in the twilight years of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires.

In many Central and Eastern European countries, religion and national identity are closely entwined. This is true in former communist states, such as the Russian Federation and Poland, where majorities say that being Orthodox or Catholic is important to being "truly Russian" or "truly Polish." It is also the case in Greece, where the church played a central role in Greece's successful struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire and where today three-quarters of the public (76%) says that being Orthodox is important to being "truly Greek."

Many people in the region embrace religion as an element of national belonging even though they are not highly observant. Relatively few Orthodox or Catholic adults in Central and Eastern Europe say they regularly attend worship services, pray often or consider religion central to their lives. For example, a median of just 10% of Orthodox Christians across the region say they go to church on a weekly basis.

Indeed, compared with many populations Pew Research Center previously has surveyed – from the United States to Latin America to sub-Saharan Africa to Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa – Central and Eastern Europeans display relatively low levels of religious observance."

What is a cult, and what makes people join them? Are there any unifying traits amongst people who join cults? What about in cult leaders?

This week, we have Cult Interventionist & Exit Counselor Joseph Szimhart to answer all of those questions and more, even shedding light on the fact that there are a LOT more cults in this world than you'd realize. After the interview, Justin tells his firsthand account of accidentally joining a Los Angeles rape cult for actors.

1:33 - Intro & Welcome.

3:53 - Interview with Cult Interventionist Joseph Szimhart.

41:52 - Justin Xavier explains his cult experience using the terms & themes Joseph Szimhart explained in his interview.

News, Education, Intervention, Recovery to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement. assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice. news, links, resources. resources about cults, cultic groups, abusive relationships, movements, religions, political organizations and related topics.

Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

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