Super valid point. I cannot imagine the grief, frustration, fear, loneliness, and host of other complicated emotions that folks experience when they leave a religion that’s so… cultish.
It seems that poor epistemology is at play in so many of these homes / communities / countries — do you know what I mean? That is to say, the epistemology (the study or understanding of how we come to know or believe things to be true) in large swaths of religious groups often boils down to merely blind “faith;” holding fast even in the shadow of doubt; ignoring evidence against our worldview; or simply ignoring the fact that evidence as an enterprise exists to begin with. I think you’d agree that if any person or group should hold to a particular belief or paradigm so strongly that they’re willing to cast out or, worse, assault dissenters or skeptics within their own ranks, the way at which they arrived at the conclusion of the truth at the heart of their worldview better be rock solid. And I think you’d also agree that, sadly, most simply don’t.
Critical thinking, using tools like logic and reason, are only coming under further attack in our post-modern world, so I fear this may not get better.
But perhaps the unasked question here is whether any of the classically held world religions — western and eastern alike — are adopted by their adherents through good epistemology: sound reasoning, examining of evidence, drawing factual conclusions. If the evidence pointed to one being true, it seems it ought not be lumped in with all the others. Even if some who claim to be its members or believers are kooks, crazies, cultish, it wouldn’t change the facts at the heart of that worldview. What do you think, Joe? Do you think a comparative study of the world religions and the epistemology behind them could prove a fruitful endeavor for anyone, including (and perhaps especially) those considering a life-altering and possibly-dangerous departure from the religion/cult under whose authority they now find themselves?