Pray with Caution: 10 Red Flags Your Church May Actually Be a Cult

Christopher Jacob
7 min readMay 6, 2023

The phenomenon of cults has long fascinated scholars and researchers alike, who have attempted to unravel the complex dynamics of these secretive organizations.

It is no secret that religion can have a powerful influence on people’s lives. It can offer advice, comfort, and a feeling of belonging. Religious organizations, however, are built on different foundations and purposes, yet they still use the same doctrines.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Are not all religions cults?

Yes.

Are not all cults dangerous?

No.

The term “cult” has become a pejorative term for mainstream culture because of its connotation with violence and exploitation.

But if that is true, what is the difference between traditional religious beliefs and practices and the churches whose members unknowingly participate in a religious cult that has ulterior intentions? It can be challenging to distinguish between a guileless religious congregation and a cult.

Photo by Jeppe Hove Jensen on Unsplash

Cults often operate using manipulation and coercion tactics to direct their members and preserve their power. The church cult may appear normal to the common church member, but the red flags seem to converge with members' preconceived notions of their religion of choice, idealism, and blind faith.

And what do cults want most from their members?

Blind faith.

They do not want members thinking for themselves because that is not blind faith, is it? Blind faith creates the most ignorance, which begets violence and exploitation, and extortion. In a world where conformity reigns supreme, critical thinking is often discouraged in favor of blind faith. But what happens when blindly following the beliefs of others leads to ignorance, violence, and exploitation? Is it, not our responsibility to challenge the status quo and think for ourselves, even if it means going against the norm?

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Christopher Jacob

Come as you are. Doused in Mud, Soaked in Bleach. Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology, and Business. Two-time International Award-Winning Writer and Editor.