PHOTO: Many new religions provide community life and a sense of purpose for followers. (Getty: Maciej Toporowicz, NYC)
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If you've ever dismissed a new religious group as a cult because they believe in alien lords, you may want to think again.
The core tenets of many religious beliefs - including those that have been around for thousands of years - are just as incompatible with science, argues Carole Cusack, an expert in religious studies at the University of Sydney.
"There is nothing inherently crazier in believing in an alien messiah than in believing in the virgin birth, which is a core doctrine of Christianity," Professor Cusack told RN's God Forbid.
[Ron: Esu Immanuel's birth mother, Mary, was not Jewish (Judean), she was a Galilean. Galileans were descendents of the Sumarians, having migrated from Sumar to Galilee. This great lie that both Mary and Immanuel were Jewish (Judean, Hebrew) was perpetrated some 2,000 years ago by the Hebrew Elders of that time and has been continued by their ancestors until this very day.
Archangel Gabriel was Esu Immanuel's birth-father. He was/is a distant descendant of the Sons of Heaven, Rasiel, who was the guardian angel of the secret. According to Divine Plan, Gabriel secretly inseminated Mary with his own seed, thus becoming Immanuel's birth-father. Esu Immanuel, was therefore, both Galilean (a descendent of the Sumarians) from his mother Mary, and the Son of a distant descendant of the Sons of Heaven, from his birth-father Gabriel. Gabriel watched over Immanuel from above and gave assistance for his safety, as required, throughout his childhood. Immanuel, therefore, was NOT "Son of God" nor was he "King of the Jews".
Joseph became the spouse of Mary, adopted Immanuel, and became his earthly father. "Joseph of Jakob, was a distant descendant of David, who was a distant descendant of Abraham, whose lineage goes back to Adam, the father of man of the Earth, who was begot by Semjasa, the leader of the Sons of Heaven who were the guardian angels of God, the great ruler of those who traveled from afar."
Esu Immanuel's name set to right:
The great teacher of which the New Testament and Christianity were founded upon has been called by many names: CHRISTOS, CHRIST, JESUS, JESUS CHRIST, ISA, IISA, EISA, YESHUA, etc.
His true, full name was Esu Jmmanuel (Immanuel) of the House of Joseph. "Jmmanuel" is a Sanskrit word which translates into English as "God with us" or "God among us". In modern literature, the "J" was replaced with an "I", thus the spelling "Immanuel".
The true meaning of the word "Christos" or "Christ" is NOT a for a name for a person, it is a term for one who has attained a highly spiritually evolved state of being. Thus, three examples for the correct usage for this term are: Immanuel, "the Christos", Immanuel, "the Christ", or Immanuel "the Christed teacher".
The word "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" were NOT the man's name. It was Paul (Saul of Tarsus) who, in his false teachings, called Immanuel "the anointed", causing the Greeks to refer to Immanuel as "Jesus Christ" which means "the anointed". It was also through Paul's false teachings that the name "Jesus" was falsely attributed to Immanuel.
It was foretold two thousand years ago by Esu Immanuel that He, Immanuel, would return bearing a new title. That new title is "Sananda". The word "Sananda" is also a Sanskrit word which translates into English as "One with God".
See Phoenix Journal #2, 'AND THEY CALLED HIS NAME, IMMANUEL --- I AM SANANDA' http://fourwinds10.com/journals/pdf/J002.pdf
See also: ESU IMMANUEL, THE CHRIST, WAS NOT A JEW - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Phoenix_Journals_61/ESU_IMMANUEL_THE_CHRIST_WAS_NOT_A_JEW_4237.shtml
She's talking about the Raelian movement, who say on their website that "life on earth was created by extraterrestrials who were mistaken for gods by our primitive ancestors".
PHOTO: Carole Cusack says most new religions are "entirely harmless". (Supplied: CMC)
While some new religious movements take advantage of their members and leave them feeling isolated, Dr Cusack says "most of them are entirely harmless".
She says that when new religions break the law they should be subject to punishment - but the same rules should apply to established religions.
And she believes the word "cult" is a derogatory term that we may regret using in the future, because it's unlikely people will stop forming new communities around new religions.
"I like to call them baby religions," says Susan Jean Palmer, a researcher at McGill University in Canada who studies new religions.
"They start with an individual having a mystical experience, or revelation, and then he or she manages to communicate this to family and followers. And then it starts to grow."
'Falling in love' part of conversion
One of the religions Professor Palmer has studied is the Twelve Tribes, which started in Tennessee in 1972 and is now active around the world, including in NSW.
It has faced criticism in the past from former members who said they were cut off from family and friends while living in the religious community.
The community's aim is to create a perfect group "where everybody learns to love and help each other", she says.
The group sees itself becoming "the bride of Yahshua", the Hebrew name for Jesus that they've adopted.
PHOTO: A ceremonial dance takes place during a Twelve Tribes wedding. (Wikipedia Commons: B. Gibson Barkley)
During her recent work in Australia, Professor Palmer interviewed members of the Twelve Tribes in the Blue Mountains town of Katoomba.
She says some members were attracted to the group by "the community life, this close social life, the bonding between the members and cooperation" - rather than a religious zeal.
Some initially told her they "wished people would stop talking about the Bible and stop talking about God," she says.
"Eventually they got used to it and learned to understand that was the glue which kept the group together."
Members of the Twelve Tribes have been criticised for the way children are disciplined by being spanked with a thin rod as a form of religious observance.
Professor Palmer says the children she encountered in her research "are not abused, but well-cared for and happy".
The ABC approached the Twelve Tribes communities in NSW, but they did not respond by deadline.
PHOTO: Susan Jean Palmer says community life is what attracts some Twelve Tribes members. (Supplied: Susan Jean Palmer)
Religion can provide something beyond a way of explaining how the world works: the promise of a better future with a like-minded community.
"Emotional connection - falling in love - is a huge part of religious conversion to any kind of group," says Professor Cusack.
But while this connection links charismatic leaders to their followers, Professor Palmer says it's not right to call all new religious leaders crazed.
"We don't really know what goes on in the brains of these talented people. I see them rather like creative artists who inspire other people," she says.
"It's sort of like saying, 'All concert pianists are crazy.' They have very different personalities. And they create these little cultures, and some of them take root and grow up to be major civilisations."
People 'should be allowed to choose' a new religion
There are many accounts of new religions discouraging contact with outside family and friends, and members facing difficulty when they leave.
Both academics agree that new religions should be subject to the law, but that ultimately, people will choose to join out of their own free will.
"When there are actual breaches of the law, obviously it is correct to intervene, because the modern secular state relies on the rule of law," Professor Cusack says.
"But if there aren't [legal breaches], and people choose, then they should be allowed to choose."
Listen to the episode
The God Forbid panel investigates how much truth there is to the old adage cult + time = religion.
When it comes to the sensitive matter of children being born into a religion or community, Professor Cusack says there are parallels to life outside religion.
"Children don't ask to be born into abusive families either. It's a problem that secular society has as much as any religious group," she says.
"It's not right to see this issue as something exclusively pertaining to religious organisations."
Both academics want to find an alternative to "the c-word" to describe modern religious groups.
"We could stop using the word cult, though actually the word NRM ['new religious movement'] doesn't have quite the same bang," Professor Palmer says.
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Phoenix Journal #2, 'AND THEY CALLED HIS NAME, IMMANUEL --- I AM SANANDA' http://fourwinds10.com/journals/pdf/J002.pdf
ESU IMMANUEL, THE CHRIST, WAS NOT A JEW - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Phoenix_Journals_61/ESU_IMMANUEL_THE_CHRIST_WAS_NOT_A_JEW_4237.shtml
Judaism and Christianity - Two Thousand Years of Lies - 60 Years of State Terrorism - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Judaism-and-Christianity---Two-Thousand-Years-of-Lies---60-Years-of-State-Terrorism.shtml
The Holy Hook: Yahweh’s Trojan Horse into the Gentile City - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Other_Spiritual_Pieces_68/The-Holy-Hook-Yahweh-s-Trojan-Horse-into-the-Gentile-City.shtml
Chuck the Old Testament? An Early Christian Who May Have Had a Good Idea - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Chuck-the-Old-Testament-An-Early-Christian-Who-May-Have-Had-a-Good-Idea.shtml
CREATOR GOD ATON/HATONN: THE TORAH vs. THE TALMUD - http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/CREATOR-GOD-ATON-HATONN-THE-TORAH-vs-THE-TALMUD.shtml