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All articles in category Cults and other religions

October 2017
Articles > Cults and other religions

Roman Catholicism: then and now

The Council of Trent (1545-63) defined Rome’s response to the challenge of the Reformation. Three great problems stand out in the teachings of Trent: the doctrines of revelation and justification, and the church’s worship. Trent’s position on each of these demonstrates why the Reformation was necessary at the time. But it is often said that Rome has now changed so much that the Reformation should be undone. Is that true? Before answering, here is a brief reminder of Trent’s teaching on the three issues. Then: revelation, justification and worship Revelation The council says that the Word of God is found in two different forms, written...

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November 2016
Articles > Cults and other religions

The myth of Mother Teresa

On 4 September 2016, Pope Francis canonised Mother Teresa as a Catholic ‘saint’ at a Vatican ceremony. This article by Tim Challies was published online in November 2003 (http://www.challies.com/articles/the-myth-of-mother-teresa?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork). Mother Teresa (known also as Mother Teresa of Calcutta) was born in what is now called the Republic of Macedonia in 1910. Born to Albanian parents, she was at that time known as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. The labour for which she became renowned began on 6 January 1929, when she arrived in Calcutta, India, to work with the poor and needy. When she died in September 1997, she was the director of a worldwide missions organisation...

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June 2016
Articles > Cults and other religions

Lenin’s body

You might think that there is absolutely nothing to link the death of Jesus Christ with the death of Lenin in 1924. But there is just one thing: in both cases, the authorities of the day were troubled over their respective bodies. More than that, in both cases the question of the body has been a central issue ever since. When Lenin died in January 1924, most Soviet leaders opposed the idea of preserving his body beyond a temporary period of public display. He himself had asked to be buried. However, the bitterly cold Russian winter provided some protection for the corpse and, as the...

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July 2014
Articles > Cults and other religions

New atheism – new religion

Atheists tend to say their non-belief in God is something that does not need to be defended. Christopher Hitchens has said, ‘I don’t believe in God and I don’t need to justify this, just as I don’t need to give reasons for my non-belief in the tooth fairy’ (God is not great, Atlantic Books; p.5). Is atheism simply non-belief in the claim, ‘There is a god’? This seems to be the default mode of atheists when asked to give reasons or evidence for their position. Atheists need to recognise that their atheism is a worldview. Astonishingly, many of them deny this. Atheism is a community...

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June 2014
Articles > Cults and other religions

The new Mormon statement on Race and the Priesthood

In December 2013, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) published a statement on its website, entitled Race and the Priesthood, explicitly disavowing doctrines taught by Mormons in the past, that people of black ancestry were under a curse.   Although the statement was clearly intended to improve the LDS Church’s image, it has had the opposite effect, calling into question its central religious claims.       This ET article provides a brief summary of the issues raised by the new Mormon statement. For a full analysis, and a wealth of pages of documentation and other resources, see ‘Mormonism and Race’, on the Institute...

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Church membership – the importance of belonging
May 2014
Articles > Cults and other religions

Church membership – the importance of belonging

One of the greatest privileges of my life is to have been a member of a church and to be in fellowship with the same people over a period of time. We have seen one another’s children grow up with all the difficulties and joys that brings. We have seen one another in good days and on bad days. This develops a closeness and level of fellowship not otherwise obtainable. Trust Frankly, because I am strong-minded and driven, I need people who can tell me I’m wrong and, equally importantly, I need to know that the people telling me I am wrong, or just telling...

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April 2014
Articles > Cults and other religions

Esoteric evolution – an overview (2)

Barbara Marx Hubbard, a New Age leader, wrote prolifically on the evolution of a unified human consciousness and Carl Jung envisioned psychotherapy as a means of facilitating it. During the twentieth century, some sought this goal through altered states of consciousness achieved by meditation (contemplation), drugs or even contact with the spirit world. And, by the 1960s, with the advent of the Beatles rock group and their foray into eastern mysticism with their own private guru, the popular culture followed suit and begin to delve into altered states of consciousness. During this same time period, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow were seeking to recast psychology...

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February 2014
Articles > Cults and other religions

The third heaven

Paul once said that he went to the third heaven: ‘I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows’.   ‘And I know that this man was caught up into paradise — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows — and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my...

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