How To Know If You Are Living In A Cult

In this video I comment on a short video by John Cedars which is aimed at Jehovah’s Witnesses and ex-JWs. In it, he challenges the viewer to ask himself: how you would know if you were in a cult?

The application of this question is far broader than this. I suggest that we are all living in a cult, and by asking yourself the questions John raises you can quite easily verify that fact for yourself.
John Cedar’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-dA99lC2z4
John Cedar’s site: https://jwsurvey.org/

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Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLOUDAMw680

The God Protocol: Chapter 8: The People Of Shu’ayb

Here I read the draft of Chapter Eight of my forthcoming book The God Protocol.

This chapter deals with the prophet Shu’ayb and his mission of warning which preceded the destruction by an act of God of the people of Madyan (Midian).

Here is the playlist which will contain all readings moving forward: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHD1Tw5zDhGlQdM65YvIgVk0rsmZ9wu8z

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And to Madyan, their brother Shuʿayb:
He said: O my people: serve God.
You have no god but he.
There has come to you clear evidence from your lord
So fulfil the measure
And the balance
And deprive not men of their things
And work not corruption in the earth after its right ordering.
That is better for you if you be believers.
And lie not in wait on every road.
You threaten and divert from the path of God him who has believed in it, and you seek deviation therein.
And remember when you were few, how he multiplied you.
And see how was the final outcome of the workers of corruption.
And if a number among you believes in that wherewith I have been sent and a number believes not:
Be patient until God judges between us.
And he is the best of judges.
Said the eminent ones who were proud among his people:
We will turn thee, O Shuʿayb, and those who heed warning with thee out of our city if you return not to our creed.
He said: Even though we be unwilling?
We should have invented a lie about God if we returned to your creed after God has delivered us from it.
It is for us to return to it only if God our lord should will.
Our lord comprehends all things in knowledge.
In God have we placed our trust.
Our lord: decide thou between us and our people aright
For thou art the best of those who decide.
And said the eminent ones who were indifferent to warning among his people:
If you follow Shuʿayb you will then be the losers.
Then the earthquake seized them.
And morning found them lying prone in their dwelling
Those who rejected Shuʿayb
As though they had not lived therein.
Those who rejected Shuʿayb
It was they who were the losers.
Then he turned from them and said: O my people: I have conveyed to you the messages of my lord
And have been a sincere counsellor to you.
Then how should I grieve for a people who spurn guidance while claiming virtue? (7:85-93)

And to Madyan, their brother Shuʿayb:
He said: O my people: serve God.
You have no god but he.
Defraud not the measure and the balance.
I see you in affluence
And I fear for you the punishment of an encompassing day.
And: O my people:
Fulfil the measure and the balance with equity.
And deprive not men of their things.
And commit not evil in the earth, working corruption.
What remains from God is better for you if you be believers.
And I am not a custodian over you.
They said: O Shuʿayb: does thy duty command thee that we leave what our fathers served
Or that we do with our property what we will?
Thou art the forbearing, the right-minded!
He said: O my people: have you considered: if I am upon clear evidence from my lord and he provides me a goodly provision from him[…]?
And I desire not to oppose you unto that which I forbid you.
I desire only right ordering so far as I am able.
And my success is only through God.
In him have I placed my trust
And to him do I turn.
And: O my people:
Let not my dissension cause you to commit evil
That there befall you what befell the people of Nūḥ
Or the people of Hūd
Or the people of Ṣāliḥ
And the people of Lūṭ are not far from you.
And seek forgiveness of your lord
Then turn to him.
My lord is merciful, loving.
They said: O Shuʿayb:
We understand not much of what thou sayest
And we see thee among us as weak.
And were it not for thy family we would have stoned thee.
And thou art of no account to us[…]

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Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvD3SigV-zI

Those Who Divide The Qur’an Into Parts

No-one has done as much to break the Qur’an into parts as the Traditionalist; it is his stock-in-trade.

If one reads what he says the Qur’an means, one sees that the stories by means of which he ‘explains’ the Qur’an serve only to break it into disjointed parts and prevent the reader from engaging with it with any consistency or fluidity.

Added to this is his importation of a division of the chapters of the Qur’an into “Mekkan” and “Medinan””. Such a division has no basis in the Qur’an itself.

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Like as we sent down upon those who make division
Those who make the Qur’an into parts
By thy lord, we will question them all together
About what they did.
So declare thou what thou art commanded
And turn thou away from the idolaters. (15:90-94)
No-one has done as much to break the Qur’an into parts as the Traditionalist; it is his stock-in-trade. If one reads what he says the Qur’an means, one sees that the stories by means of which he ‘explains’ the Qur’an serve only to break it into disjointed parts and prevent the reader from engaging with it with any consistency or fluidity.

And by ascribing values to Qur’anic terms on a piecemeal basis in order to achieve predetermined goals – which is another characteristic of the Traditionalist’s method – he is, likewise, effectively breaking the Qur’an into parts.

For example, if one takes his values for salat and for zakat one finds in the case of salat that his value shifts and twists depending on what his objective is for the local context. He can make it mean anything from prayer as and abstract concept, to Prayer as a proper noun (and with a capital P), to blessings, to Jewish temple.

What he does not do is employ a system of pan-textual analysis: because his religion would not survive it.

IN the case of zakat, he imports a value from outside the corpus of the Qur’an and which contradicts the Qur’anic statement on giving.

They ask thee what they should spend.
Say thou: Whatever you spend of good:
For parents
And close relatives
And the fatherless
And the needy
And the wayfarer[…]
And whatever you do of good:
God knows it.

Yet another means by which the Traditionalist divides the Qur’an is by importing his assumptions take again from another literature regarding the location of the revelation.

Look at the surah list in any Arabic Quran: it clearly labels each surah:

مَكِّيَّة

مَدَنِيَّة

There is no basis for this division whatever in the Qur’an.

The Qur’an regards itself as one book; I treat it as one book. My processes of pan-textual analysis and the practice of looking to the Qur’an for its internal definitions as well as my presentation on the huroof muqatta’at (the mysterious letters – such as ALM which I will link to at the end of this) demonstrate this.

I refer to my own work only because that is what I know. But there are many other people out there doing diligent research on the basis of the Qur’an as a complete revelation.

Constantly, one is harangued with the retort: well how do you pray without the hadith.

Assumes that there is a “correct” way to pray; it also assumes that even within the highly spurious system of “isnad” there is a “sahiih” way of praying. That doesn’t exist – as honest Traditionalists will admit.

وَٱسْتَعِينُوا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ۚ

(2:45)

Tell me exactly how to have patience, and I will think about how to tell you exactly how to perform what you call salat.

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Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6pfzyaD5z4

Who Are Your Friends If You Believe In The Qur’an Alone?

So many people say that they find it hard to talk to their families – or their families have become estranged – now that they believe in the Qur’an alone and have done their research on what is happening in the world. In this talk I look at who your real friends are, and how you should regard those who do not meet the Qur’anic definition of friend.

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• How to treat your family
• Binge researched and now you want to “save” your family
• They think you’re crazy
• You need to understand how indoctrination works
• You cannot fight emotions with reason or facts
• Plus: if you’re over 40 and in the West, you’re dealing with the Baby Boomers: the most selfish, the most solipsistic, the most entitled and the most materialistic and immoral generation – probably ever
• And if you’re under 40 and in the West, you’re dealing with their children

O you who heed warning: among your spouses and your children are enemies to you.
So beware of them.
And if you pardon and overlook and forgive:
God is forgiving, merciful. (64:14)
• Often, people look to their families because they assume them to be their friends; but they are not your “friends”

O you who heed warning: take not those who spurn guidance while claiming virtue as allies instead of the believers.
(Would you give God a clear warrant against you?) (4:144)
• This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat them well, and give their rights of respect and patience and inheritance and so on; but they are not your friends in the Qur’anic sense.

O you who heed warning:
Take not those who make mockery and fun of your doctrine
Among those in possession of the law before you
And the atheists as allies.
And be in prudent fear of God if you be believers. (5:57)
• This makes it really difficult because to whom can we turn? If you believe in the Qur’an alone, it can feel as though you are between a rock and a hard place. Well this is the new hijra.
• Look at Ibrahim
• We want the rewards but we don’t want the battles which lead to the rewards

O you who heed warning: take not the Rabbinic Jews and the Nazarenes as allies.
They are allies of one another.
And whoso takes them as allies among you:
He is of them.
God guides not the wrongdoing people. (5:51)

• We are not to be unrighteous with such people:

God forbids you not with those who have neither fought you in doctrine nor expelled you from your homes
That you be virtuous with them or be equitable towards them.
God loves the equitable.
God but forbids you those who fight you in doctrine
And expel you from your homes
And assist in your expulsion
That you should take them as allies.
And whoso takes allies among them:
These are the wrongdoers. (60:8-9)

In summary:
• If you can live peaceably with your family, do so
• Do not expect them to understand you – if they could, they would believe what you do
• Understand that other believers are your true allies – seek them out and work with them
• Get over this New Age delusion which has it that everything should be easy; that if it’s tough work, it means something is wrong

If you think that you will enter the garden when there has not come to you the like of those who came and went before you:
Affliction and adversity touched them
And they were shaken until the messenger and those who heeded warning with him said: When is the help of God?
In truth: the help of God is near. (2:214)

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Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixWoTalLzws

This Life Is A War – Even Though It May Not Look Like One Yet Where You Are

The first step in responding appropriately to attack is realising that you are under attack. Failure in this first point means you are doomed to lose no matter what else you might do. In this talk, I summarise that believers (of whatever stripe – but focused mainly on believers in the Qur’an alone) need to understand that this life is a war.

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O you who heed warning: seek help in patience and duty
(God is with the patient)
And say not of those killed for the cause of God: They are dead.
The truth is: they are living but you perceive not.
And we will try you with something of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and lives and fruits.
And bear thou glad tidings to the patient
Those who when misfortune befalls them say: We belong to God and to him are we returning.
Upon these are duties and mercy from their lord.
And these are the rightly guided. (2:153-157)

O mankind:
The promise of God is true
So let not the life of this world deceive you.
And let not the Deceiver deceive you about God.
The shayṭān is an enemy to you
So take him as an enemy.
He but calls his party that they might be among the companions of the inferno.
Those who are indifferent to warning
They have a severe punishment.
And those who heed warning and do deeds of righteousness
They have forgiveness and a great reward. (35:5-7)

And we have created you.
Then have we fashioned you.
Then said we to the angels: Submit to Ādam.
And they submitted save Iblīs.
He was not of those who submit.
He said: What hinders thee that thou dost not submit when I command thee?
Said he: I am better than he
Thou createdst me of fire and thou createdst him of clay.
He said: Get thee down therefrom
It is not for thee to be proud therein:
Go thou forth
Thou art of those brought low.
Said he: Grant thou me respite until the day they are raised up.
He said: Thou art of those granted respite.
Said he: Because thou hast sent me astray I will lie in wait for them on thy straight path
Then will I come at them from before them
And from behind them
And from their right hand
And from their left hand.
And thou wilt not find most of them grateful.
He said: Go thou forth therefrom condemned, banished.
Whoso follows thee from among them, I will fill Hell with you all together. (7:11-18)

And oh that among the generations before you there had but been a remnant forbidding corruption in the earth
Save a few whom we saved among them!
And those who did wrong followed what they had been given therein of opulence
And were evildoers
(And thy lord destroyed not the cities in injustice
When their people were those who do right.
And had thy lord willed he would have made mankind one community.
But they will cease not to differ
Save he upon whom thy lord has mercy.)
And for that did he create them
And the word of thy lord is fulfilled:
I will fill Hell with jinn and mankind all together.
And all we relate to thee among the reports of the messengers is that we might make firm thy heart thereby.
And there has come to thee in this the truth
And an exhortation
And a reminder for the believers.
And say thou to those who do not believe:
Work according to your power.
I am working.
And wait.
We are waiting.
And to God belongs the unseen of the heavens and the earth.
And to him will be returned the whole matter.
So serve thou him
And place thou thy trust in him.
And thy lord is not unmindful of what you do. (11:16-123)

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Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ecx-BuSmOOs

Real Believers Prefer Other Believers

The talking shops of so-called Quran-alone Islam abound, but people largely seem to be engaged in a parlour game: endlessly discussing what they think the Quran means.

But in real life, all too often people are choosing not to do business or make friends with other believers.

In this talk, I share my thoughts on this situation.

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O you who heed warning:
Take not your fathers and your brethren as allies if they prefer denial to faith.
And whoso among you takes them as allies:
These are the wrongdoers.
Say thou:
If your fathers
And your sons
And your brethren
And your wives
And your kindred
And the wealth you have acquired
And trade wherein you fear a decline
And dwellings with which you are pleased
Be dearer to you than God and his messenger and striving in his way
Then wait until God brings his command.
And God guides not the wantonly perfidious people.
(9:23-24)

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Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7AZFNjmcL8