About McPherson's Rant


McPherson’s Rant is an old Scots Folk Song about a Robin Hood Type Character who was hanged.

There is no connection, unless you count the “rant” part.  The world’s a strange place and sometimes a “rant” at absurdity and unfairness is just what’s required.

Here you can expect to find examples of stupidity, irony and idiocy , especially relating to Hong Kong, and with particular attention to the SCMP, and its’ letters page. A common problem with many blogs is their failure to find something new to say, I find the SCMP, and it’s letters page, provides plenty of ammunition on a daily basis and will reference them frequently. If you have your own letter not getting published, put it on our comments section.





Sects, Cults and religion

Last week in the Sunday Morning Post, there was a letter from the Asia area public affairs office of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – a religion that just rolls off the tongue. The writer was pointing out that his church had nothing to do with Warren Steed Jeffs a polygamist leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,  - another punchy name for a religion, who was recently jailed for sexually assaulting two young girls he had taken for wires.  The writer was keen to point out that there is no such thing as: “A Mormon fundamentalist, or radical Mormon, nor are there Mormon sects.”  Now I think he is being obtuse, but then thats what church leaders do.

Oh well, if this is not the work of radicals or fundamentalists, then perhaps I have the wrong definition: Lafferty Case Still Haunts

But in truth, I don’t really care, it’s self evident that Mormons are strange, they believe in a guy who  said an Angel directed him to the word of God, in the 1820′s, he was this charlatan!

I am more interested in fact in what defines a sect or cult from a religion.  I did post it on my Facebook as a question, a few of the more amusing answers were: “When enough idiots believe,” or “immediately,” or more thought provoking: ” When it stops killing it’s own members and starts killing non-members.

Not enough for me, so I went to the web, and here are the answers from the wisdom of the crowd.  Enjoy!

Generally a “cult” is based upon a single charismatic leader with direct access to God. When that leader dies, there are crises of faith and succession. If the cult survives, it may be transformed into a “sect”, where beliefs and leadership are in flux. Access to God is widespread. A “religion” has established dogma and leadership. Access to God is restricted to trained specialists.

David Dreaming Bear, Horsethief Canyon, California USA

A cult becomes a religion when it burns its first heretic.

Peter Brooke, Kinmuck Scotland

‘A religion is a cult with an army and a navy’ (to borrow from Max Weinreich writing on language and dialect). Consider the role of the state in the demise of the Roman religion and the rise of Christianity; the Crusades; persecution of the Jews; the battles between Catholicism and Protestantism; the fate of the Bah’ai in Iran; amongst many other examples.  Keith Mason, London UK

A Cult becomes a religion once it is viewed by outsiders as having a degree of moral authority. It’s a nominal distinction subjectively made.  Andrew Johnson-Green, Leeds West Yorks

As soon as you have to part with cash to join, it’s a cult. As soon as there are more than 10000 of you, it’s a religion. So, the Reader’s Digest is a cult, and London is a religion.  Tom Attah, Farnborough UK

Is this not one of the plural irregular verbs? We are a religion, you are a community, they are a cult.  Geoff Cohn, Sydney Australia

A cult is a religion without any political power.  Big Bill Robinson, Slough England

A cult becomes a religion when its members become so numerous that they require recognition by a governing authority. Witness the evolution of the Mormon religion in the US. Initially it was identified as a “cult” (and you can look this up in various almanacs), but eventually, it had so many adherents that it was recognized by the US government as a religion.  Nancy Thomas, Las Vegas, USA


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