OnlySky, Religions, Cults, and the Crazies

  • The end of OnlySky;
  • What the difference between religions and cults is;
  • Items about the crazies: Hillary’s acid, executions, God’s law, and how vaxxed people are inhuman.


Alas, the end of OnlySky, which might have been called a safe space on the web for nonreligious people.

OnlySky, 7 Mar 2024: The end of OnlySky — an experiment in secular news and storytelling

Is it because there are so many fewer non-religious folks than religious folks? Well, no — polls say otherwise. It seems to be a general phenomenon of all media, in print and online, that depends on revenue to pay contributors.

After more than two years of sharing the perspectives of the nonreligious here at OnlySky, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop publication. The current landscape for online media, the turmoil of social media, and a difficult investment climate made it impossible to continue. We’re deeply appreciative of the time, support, and hard work of so many people who made OnlySky possible in the first place and helped bring this vision into reality.

It peeled off from a channel on Patheos, a multi-cultural, multi-religious site, that at some point decided that the mere existence of a non-religious (agnostic, atheist, whatever) channel offended too many of their other readers.

Several of OnlySky’s contributors have posted their own farewells, including the one I’ve cited the most, Adam Lee.

Adam Lee, OnlySky, 7 Mar 2024: A fond farewell to OnlySky

Today, I’m bringing sad news: OnlySky is shutting down. This will be my final post here.

OnlySky launched in 2022 with grand ambitions, seeking to blend secular storytelling with journalism, commentary, and humanist philosophy. We dreamed of being a home and a haven for the world’s rising nonreligious population. We wanted to give a voice to the secular perspective, which is important and valuable yet all too often overlooked in the marketplace of ideas.

Of course, Adam Lee, and the site’s other contributors, will find new homes.


On this same general theme, this. As usual, I have a notion of the answer before reading — that the answer to the headline is essentially yes, but as “cults” become mainstream they get so watered down by bureaucracy and the native thinking of new followers, that, ironically, members of traditional religions are less zealous (or dangerous) than those in so-called cults.

Big Think, Jonny Thomson, 15 Mar 2024: Are religions simply cults that have gone mainstream?, subtitled “Or are cults the religions we find distasteful?”

Key Takeaways
• The word “cult” often holds a negative connotation and is reserved for the unconventional religions we disapprove of. • Cults are defined by charismatic leaders, traditions of secrecy or exclusivity, and toxic relationships or behaviors. • Today’s religions maintain cult-like elements, but they are generally more open and try to minimize toxic behaviors.

A 2004 survey showed that people in Nebraska would feel uncomfortable about their neighbor joining a “cult” as opposed to their joining a new Christian church. So obviously the word “cult” has negative connotations. It’s what we call an illegitimate religion. The question is, “Were today’s religions once cults, and are they still?”

Bhaktivedanta Swami, Charles Manson, Jim Jones; Jesus; John Calvin, John Wesley, George Fox. Buddha, Mohammed, King David. And so on. The article ends:

The question becomes one of degree. Cults involve initiation rites that scar and punitive practices that maim. They often demand of their followers a wholesale and absolute psychological dependency. Cults brainwash and manipulate. Religious practices can also brainwash and manipulate individuals, but if we are to salvage the word cult at all, perhaps we must identify those behaviors as cult-like while maintaining that the religion itself is not.

Failing that, we might have to agree with George Melton. Cults are simply the religions we don’t like.

I would cut through this conundrum by observing, simply, as so few seem capable of doing, that no religion in the world has arisen via any kind of evidence of a supernatural realm, or evidence of an actual god. Why can so few people not see this? The religions are all inspired by the motivations of primitive human nature, and cultist leaders, which are part of it. Of the thousands of them, only a few, maybe half a dozen, have come to dominate the world’s population in the 21st century. But their etiology is all the same. And their supernatural claims are all equally false. At best….squinting to try to say something nice… religion appeals to the human condition, in which basic human nature, evolved in the ancestral environment, has come to be exposed to the bigger world, beyond the tribe, beyond the horizon, and had its mind blown; the religions try to assuage this alarm by telling calming stories, instead of dealing with a reality they prefer to deny.


About the Crazies:

Boing Boing, Carla Sinclair, 14 Mar 2024: Uh-oh. Donald Trump thinks Hillary Clinton used acid that “destroys everything within 10 miles” (with video). In this case, the crazy is Donald Trump.

Joe.My.God, 15 Mar 2024: QAnon Nominee Called For Executing Obama, Biden. Here the crazy is Michele Morrow, “a conservative activist who last week upset the incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction in North Carolina’s Republican primary,” who wants to execute lots of Democrats, not to mention Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates, on pay per view TV. She’s “a ‘Christian’ and former missionary who homeschools her own kids and glorifies violence.” Note yet again the alignment of certain themes…

Joe.My.God, 14 Mar 2024: OK Rep: Federal Regulations Are Against God’s Law. Here the crazy is Oklahoma state Sen. Dusty Deevers, who apparently has never taken a class in American civics.

Another about him: Right Wing Watch, 21 Feb 2024: Oklahoma State Sen. Dusty Deevers Is Taking His Christian Nationalism To Its Logical Conclusion

Joe.My.God, 14 Mar 2024: Cultist Declares Vaxxed People Aren’t Human Anymore. The crazy is a “Random cultist, in an interview with the prank group The Good Liars.” You can find a lot of such videos on Facebook, in which interviewers go to Trump rallies and get people to spout obvious nonsense that they seemingly truly believe.

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