Long ago, I decided to avoid using the word “cult” because I could not think of a non-indexical way of distinguishing between cults and “real” religions, and as I am benignly tolerant of real religions that mind their own business, I extended the tolerance outward to encompass all sorts of things, just to avoid difficult questions of definition. I’ve even found myself more tolerant than I would otherwise be toward all sorts of things, once some opponent of them calls them a cult.

But I’ve since had a thought. How can you tell the difference between a religion and a cult? Religions own hospitals. Cults don’t.

I’m serious.


One comment on “Criterion

  1. Pliny the Elder says:

    While it is not quite the same thing, once Jerry Falwell’s daughter became a thoraxic surgeon (while apparently retaining much of her faith), it became harder to completely dismiss him.

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