I am a cult survivor. I was raised from the age of three in a fundamentalist religious cult. At about the age of 19 I made a full exit from the religion that I will refer to in this blog as The Cult, not to be confused with the band, which I absolutely adore. It took me a little time to side step out the back door, but I did, successfully, and have not ever regretted it. I credit my rebellious nature for helping me to hasten my exit. I always felt miserable and suffocated by The Cult and its oppressive rules about what to wear, how to speak, whom to socialize with, and the like. In true cult fashion, the punishment for breaking these myriad soul sucking rules is excommunication or shunning by all family and friends in The Cult. Though I was careful to make my exit on the sly, and not get caught doing all the sinning I was doing (oh so much sinning) I exited alone and without the one family member who was inside with me. Though I am not officially marked by The Cult for shunning, my close family member still practices a modified form towards me by attempting to emotionally blackmail me to reform my sinful ways and return to The Cult.
Well, it ain't gonna fucking happen.
I am gloriously free of the oppressive control of the elitist group of men who deem themselves (and only them) to be speaking for God. I won't ever give that up for anything. This feeling might be difficult to understand for someone who has never been in the clutches of a high control cult. To this day, I bristle at anyone who takes an air of authority and attempts to tell people what is true, whether they hide behind religion or science while they are doing it.
|No amount of smirking or magic tricks can hide the fact that you're a nihilist in an atheist dress, Penn.|
No, you arrogant motherfucker, this life, and my beliefs or lack of is for me to figure out - it's not up to you to tell me what is true or what to think. This is of course entirely different from someone teaching people how to think by giving them practical tools. But we have among us those that say they are doing one while doing the other, much like the leaders of The Cult have been doing for decades. I don't like people's controlling bullshit and dogmatic teachings, and I would think that my comrades who also grew up alongside me in The Cult would be on the same wavelength as me here.
Sad to say, I see some of them not just gravitating towards, but enthusiastically embracing the celebrity pundits of what is known as New Atheism, which is really just nihilism in sheep's clothing. Nihilism, on a spectrum of belief and non-belief is at the opposite end of theism, but it is still belief. In between rest the agnostics and atheists like me who lack belief. From my vantage point, the two ends of the spectrum give me the same uneasy feeling bordering on total revulsion at times, depending on who is doing the speaking.
The thing about being and becoming a non-believer is I didn't need any guidance from the 'atheist community' to get where I am. I left the cult and I concentrated on living my own life! I gave myself a much needed break from even thinking about religion. The last thing I wanted to do was to join a club where all they do is talk about fucking religion, and more than half of them can't even articulate to me what the religion I escaped from believes with any type of accuracy! Why the fuck would I want to learn about other religions from these asshats when they can't even accurately describe the beliefs and practices of the cult I left?
This is why for the life of me, I can't understand why anyone, let alone someone making a cult exit would slobber and fawn all over guys like Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris. They're dicks! All they're doing is feeding you another set of beliefs - they aren't helping you to become a critical thinker, they aren't helping you to learn science, and the kicker is you don't need them. No one on this planet holds any special truths that you aren't able to find for yourself. Always remember that.
It is depressing to see friends from The Cult trading one set of men bearing beliefs for another set of men bearing beliefs. It feels to me like they haven't truly broken free of their indoctrination, and that in wanting to do so in their vulnerable state they have embraced another belief system pretending to be atheism or science-based with promises of truth, rationality and critical thinking being made by these poseurs.
My friends from The Cult aren't the only people to buy into this belief set masquerading as science and atheism, the so-called New Atheists have a fairly large following. My hope is that people will question their beliefs - no matter what end of the spectrum they happen to land on - and learn to recognize both the high control groups out there, and the groups pretending their nihilist religion is atheism in order to have real freedom of mind.