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New Religions At A Dangerous Crossroads by Good Citizen

Letter to a fellow academic heretic.
For those who are indoctrinated into a ‘cult’ for example, or who hold a set of beliefs that deviate from the vast majority of demographics within a social body we often put all those beliefs outside some established box filled with socially acceptable norms and hence the designation of ‘cult’ or ‘cult member’. This deviation from the social norms usually results in a social cost to pay for the individual and need not be limited simply to one’s beliefs.
Today we have all manner of new methods of being ‘influenced’ by information that mold our beliefs, whether technological or decentralized, or distributed. What perhaps they used to call the ‘global village’, we are interconnected through technology beyond our local influences. These are now the dominant sources of information distribution and consumption and are centrally controlled by ever-smaller concentrations of power. I have called these technologies ‘herding systems’, that seek to control, manipulate and funnel the masses in the same direction, reinforcing ideas and beliefs through a kind of digital hive mind.
It seems self-evident then that if one declares themselves not part of something, even if others point to what they claim is scientific evidence, they are denying the tenets of whatever it is that group of people believes and are a ‘non-believer’. The more significant those tenets are in shaping that group’s world the stronger they adhere to them, and the more of an outsider the non-believer becomes. If it is their (the group) entire raison d’etre then the more of a threat that outsider becomes, especially if their views are ever expressed that challenge or expose that groups’ beliefs in a way that reveals them to be worthy of greater scrutiny.

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