Is Positive Thinking a Religious Cult?

Picture by Bryan Derksen.

Recently someone found this blog by typing this question into a search engine. Today I thought I’d answer it with another question :

How do they respond to hard times?

That is, imagine telling someone you know who believes in positive thinking that you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, are a victim of abuse or have been laid off.  How would they react?

If they blame you in any way for what happened or infer that you can prevent it from happening again if you think the right thoughts, run! This is not an emotionally healthy response to suffering and their lack of critical thinking may be a sign that this individual is involved in a cult or a cult-like organization.

If they offer practical assistance or comfort you, relax.

The bottom line is that it depends what one means when we talk about positive thinking. I know people who use this term in place of words like optimism or hope. They believe that our outlooks on life influence what happens to us (and I agree with them that a good attitude is vital) but acknowledge that not every bad experience can be avoided.

Other people treat positive thinking as a magical talisman against misfortune and blame the victim when an act of nature or the horrible decision of another human being harms them. These people may or may not be involved in a cult but they should be avoided at all costs.

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One Response to Is Positive Thinking a Religious Cult?

  1. Majical thinking was at the core of the church I left. Superstition was cloaked in “biblical” beliefs. Mental gymnastics were needed to steer one through life’s realities. After seeing first hand the results of such nonsense I could no longer stomach such BS. Run
    for your own sanity from those who use such tactics indeed.

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