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Romans and Christianity: Cult?:

So... this is for a Sociology project, and this is the "creatively apply what we've learned about cults" section.

I'm just going to reuse my characters of Akiko and Mikami (with minor, erm, changes, to make them school-appropriate [read: removing the lesbian aspect and the personal kinks of mine that show up]}, so that part shouldn't be hard at all. Hell, even their backstories are easily modified for this.

It's the cult aspect that's tripping me up. We studied six cults in some detail: the Heaven's Gate cult, MOVE, the Yoga Cult (seriously, it exists...), the Branch Davidians, and two others that I don't remember. But I don't really want to use any of the ones that we studied, and the only ideas for a cult I can think of aren't serious, but outright ridiculous (a cult where the members dress in pink rabbit suits, serve the leader in a harem, and bathe in butterscotch pudding, for example)...

Serious would fit the characters better, but all I can think of are silly things...

Got any suggestions for me on ideas for a cult? (And I already know what the defining characteristics of cults are, I just can't come up with any that aren't based off of the ones we studied.)
 
 2 Leradny, Thu, 8th Dec '11 7:07:00 PM from Alameda, CA
Is there any reason you cannot use cults you have studied in class, besides personal preference?

Have you tried a search engine?

If you have not exhausted those, we're going to need more of a reason to help you with your homework.

No, there's not, but a lot of my classmates' work (which is poetry, by the way) is very...well, it's generic.

I have, yes, but I'll do the search engine again anyway.

Something horror-based would work well, I think.

edited 8th Dec '11 7:27:53 PM by punkreader

 
 4 Leradny, Thu, 8th Dec '11 7:31:24 PM from Alameda, CA
I feel that "putting a sincerely well-thought-out spin on class material" is enough of a reason to use class material, and it's a bit more timely than asking around on the internet.

Also, it sounds as if you think the reason your classmates' work is derivative is because they're using class material, when in all likelihood it's actually just them not putting in the level of detail you would personally use.

[up] After some consideration, I agree with you, and I'm definitely going to use at least some class material, even if I don't use one of the specific cults we studied.

A little bit, yes, you're right. I've gotten some more ideas for this thing. I'm officially going to start writing now. When I'm done (or stuck), I'll post what I've got.

Note to self: Cult revolves around human experiments, and the leader convinces the members that the experiments are downright necessary for bringing about a social revolution/furthering evolution to "save everyone else".
 
It's easy, mmkay?
A while ago, I came up with an idea for a cult in a story where the members all wear black-and-white striped clothing, so that they can act in large groups and blend into each other. They use this to kill (or to kidnap for brainwashing) outsiders who are in a crowd - their group enters the crowd and surrounds the victim. They practice total collectivism, and though they're able to distinguish between individuals for practical purposes, they do not have a sense of personal identity, considering the cult to be one organism. Their leader has a giant red die instead of a head, and it's ambiguous whether this is simply a mask or a sign that he's a Humanoid Abomination (if going with the latter interpretation, then which numbers are on which sides of his head change every time you look at him). Even the leader lacks a sense of personal identity, though he does put himself at a higher priority than other members because he is the leader and thus his death would have more drastic consequences for the cult.
At first I didn't realize I needed all this stuff...
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Wait, you're cribbing concepts and characters from one of your pre-existing stories, and you're calling the other students' work derivative?
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 8 USAF713, Mon, 12th Dec '11 1:45:53 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
...all the cults of history and you can't find one that's appealing?

I mean, cults tend to share some basic characteristics. A single, charismatic-yet-crazy-as-shit leader who preys on the easily-manipulated and those with low self-esteem, so the leader can get a nearly-unshakeable grip on them. This usually is followed by physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, which is used to bind people to the group.

I dunno, it's not easy to come up with an original cult. They're basically cliche. I suggest finding a real life one, but...
I am now known as Flyboy.
"No, there's not, but a lot of my classmates' work (which is poetry, by the way) is very...well, it's generic."

As there are few things more original than American teenagers using Japanese names for their characters, I'm sure you will put them all to shame.

edited 12th Dec '11 8:22:43 PM by kashchei

And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
read
During the roman time, most people assumed the christians were a cult. I don't know if that would bring anything to the table, but I thought it might be an interesting tidbit.
oddly
During the Roman time, everyone and their mother was in a cult. It was the normal form of organized religion. What they meant by the word was completely different from what we mean by it, and Christians were frowned upon because they were upsetting the stability of the Empire because of their loyalty lying with God rather than the physical nation.

edited 12th Dec '11 8:49:20 PM by kashchei

And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
read
But they disliked Christianity for the reasons we are put off from cults. They completely refused to accept anyone else's gods (since Romans were very religious, but in the 'all the gods you believe in are just reinterpretations of our gods, everyone wins') as well as being superstitious (in a way that was different to the Romans), encouraging converted Christians to not associate with non-christians, and the rumors of them being incestuous and drinking blood, which came from calling each other "brother" and the whole wine thing.
oddly
Most Romans didn't really give a fuck about Christians. The persecutions are overplayed. Compare the treatment of Jews in Medieval Europe: they were attacked when the masses were disaffected and the authorities needed a scapegoat (although the Jews had it much, much worse, by all accounts).

edited 12th Dec '11 8:54:28 PM by kashchei

And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
read
I don't recall mentioning persecutions, just that christianity was perceived to be outside of the Roman's realm of normality and so on.
oddly
Right; so was any religion that didn't comprise some permutation of Greco-Roman deities populating the universe through hieros gamos. That doesn't mean that early Christianity is comparable to the status and stigma of cults today.
And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
 16 USAF713, Mon, 12th Dec '11 9:02:57 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Well, as I understand it, refusing to do animal sacrifices was the equivalent of burning the American flag in the US, but the Romans didn't have any good sense of individual liberty in that regard. That and, due to multiple misunderstandings, they thought Christians were cannibals and baby eaters who had incestual relationships with all their family members...
I am now known as Flyboy.
read
Kash: I am sure there are other minor * religions that also had issues, but that does not change how they were perceived, which USAF kindly restated for me.

If I knew the names of the other religions that were given problems, I am sure I would have mentioned them as well.

edited 12th Dec '11 9:14:45 PM by AtticusFinch

oddly
That isn't how they were perceived by and large is my point. These accounts persist because they were exactly the kind of propaganda pieces one would use to inflame prejudice against the early Christians. Those who saw them in a more realistic light would hardly have bothered speaking of them at any great length.

edited 12th Dec '11 9:15:03 PM by kashchei

And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
 19 Exelixi, Mon, 12th Dec '11 9:18:28 PM from Alchemist's workshop Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Lesbarian
Loving how quickly this thread went to hell.
Mura: -flips the bird to veterinary science with one hand and Euclidean geometry with the other-
Yes, yes; I'm a big, bad hypocrite. Ooh, shame! Look, I already wrote the damn thing, and I did make up a cult for the purposes of the story.

Also: Everything is derivative. Every work of fiction derives from something else. On this wiki especially, that should be apparent.

At least those names are appropriate for the setting, Kaschei, considering that the work is set in Japan.

Exe: As do I. How about we ask a mod to rename this thread? "Romans and Christianity: Cult?"

EDIT: I've Hollered this post, asking the mods for a rename.

edited 13th Dec '11 5:01:13 AM by punkreader

 
"At least those names are appropriate for the setting, Kaschei, considering that the work is set in Japan."

Have you ever been to Japan? Are you familiar with its history and culture beyond what is depicted in anime? Do the setting and the plot play off of each other or are they completely incidental to one another? Is Japan any more than an exotic background you've tacked onto the story?
And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
Yes, I am. No, I haven't travelled there, but I've made myself very familiar with the culture, the time period, and attitudes. Hell, just look at the bottom of OneTrackMind page. I've listed my sources. And I have more I need to add.

The plot and background play off of each other heavily.

Anymore questions, Kaschei, or shall I just send you all of my notes later on?
 
Sorry, you're using an InuYasha fanfiction for a school assignment on cults? What?

edited 13th Dec '11 7:43:24 AM by kashchei

And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
No, that's not it at all. I'm using two of the characters I made for it, and they were heavily modified for the assignment. I just used their basic concepts and voices. Not the characters themselves.
 
 25 Noir Grimoir, Tue, 13th Dec '11 12:56:13 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
Hah, Heaven's Gate cult that happened where I live. (It's kind of horrible, but I find the fact that people put on nike shoes and killed themselves because they thought they'd ride on Haley's comet to like paradise or something to be sort of hilarious.)

Anyway like a previous poster said, all cults are kind of the same, one charismatic and zealous person who convinces a lot of people to follow them, many of them disenfranchised or desperate or just easily manipulated. Just think of a waked out concept that makes no sense, and add in some crazy rituals and you're there.

Also, the regular Roman person probably wasn't much concerned with Christians, but the government certainly was. There are records of Roman Governors writing tot he capital complaining about Christians and talking about executions and ways to get rid of them. The big problems were they refused to worship the emperor (same reason the Romans didn't like Jews, either), all the various misunderstandings mentioned (they thought people were literally eating people and drinking their blood during communion), also economic reasons (many Christians wouldn't buy sacrificial meat, which was where most people got their meat, and were putting tons of places out of business), and worse than this, it was spreading. Also Christians were persecuted, not say to the extent of Jews during Holocaust (though I mean, what else was?), but still badly. Many Christians were executed.
SPATULA, Supporters of Page Altering To Urgently Lead to Amelioration (supports not going through TRS for tweaks and minor improvements.)
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