My most recent post, which examined the thought control of AA based on Robert Lifton’s criteria from his study of totalism, started a pretty good dialog over whether AA is truly a cult or not. Some really good and interesting points were made, among them this once from Cuda:
“Rather than debate whether AA is a “Cult” or not let’s just ask, “What isn’t a “Cult?”
Most Religions fall under this umbrella joined by most, if not all, spiritual fellowships. AA is on this list. The Oxford Group is still around under a different name. What about The Masons? Knights of Columbus, etc… What about Fraternal Orginizations? Moose, Elks, Rotary? Ad infinitum!!
Who isn’t a “Cult” by these standards is the question. In fact, if that’s what a “Cult” is, I’ll take it. A lot of good comes from these “Cults” as you call them.
I believe if anyone has the desire to call AA a “Cult” in the same fashion that we would refer to The Branch Davidians, Peoples Temple, Heavens Gate, etc… you’re really scraping for fuel to keep your torch lit.”
I understand Cuda’s point, although I think comparing Rotary with a cult is like diagnosing someone a narcissist because they will on occasion perform a selfish act, or might be proud of his or herself for a particular accomplishment. A healthy ego does make person a narcissist, just as secret handshakes esoteric rituals does not make a group a cult. Continue reading BITE Model and Alcoholics Anonymous