If you think that “religious faith” is a danger to freedom, you’re not considering the concept von Mises called “human action”. All states and new religious movements and small religious groups, have members called “human beings”.
ALL organizations are “cults” in the sense we’re talking about. ALL of them.
And all institutions are built, congealed, formed, around some organizing principle or another, by definition. And in conversation, lambasting say “religion”, when did you ever believe anything that you thought was wrong? I’ve noticed that leftists and anti-God ranters generally no longer use that “Be open-minded” slogan. No doubt it’s because it’s become so obvious how closed-minded they themselves are.
The cult of the state IS the same thing as a cult of a “church”. The ONLY difference is that the “cult of the state” wants to be the ONLY “cult”, under which all other “cults” as you call them are subject. “Cult” is just a four letter word that says more about your thinking than it does about the object of your disdain.
Obedient Conformist-minded thinking is the enemy of truth.
It requires that ALL other institutions, groups, clubs, or “cults” become subservient to them over their geopolitical turf. The tendency is to take over and dictate accepted norms of thought, the first of which is to obey the powers that be, meaning, the institution that controls its geography by force.
There are only two kinds of political thought, really, and neither has to do with religious belief except as they fall into one or the other of these two categories. One believes in the libertarian non-aggression principle, the other believes in violating it to one degree or another.
That divides both atheists and believers in any religion. Those who practice the non-aggression principle are no threat to you. Therefore, claiming that “religion” is evil is to show that you do not understand the non-aggression principle, and in matters of your treatment of the “religious” your thinking is susceptible to accepting violations of the non-aggression principle against the religious, even thinking in a twisted way that it is not coercion on your part. Kind of like Bush’s “preventive war”. Beware of such temptation.
I thank God for agnostics like Murray Rothbard, and atheists like Walter Block, who are intellectually honest with themselves and not only see the distinction but are able to see that some of the greatest thinkers of history, especially in matters of individual freedom, have been Christians. Most “Christians” don’t realize it either, but the reason is that Jesus Christ made more obviously explicit the individual as the center of God’s attention. And made helping others (as in the Good Samaritan) a part of evangelism.
Faith in God, the God of the Bible, in its essence, practices the first to the extent it is allowed. All hypocrites who do not hold to that principle do not count as believers in the God of the Bible. Believers walk the talk, practice what they preach, and “By their fruits ye shall know them”.
Then there are atheists who are hypocrites that hate religion and claim it is because of all the bad things that some religious people have done in its name. But this logic has a giant backfire, because the biggest and most massive and brutal atrocities of force have been committed in the name of atheist regimes.
In my blog and elsewhere find copious examples, on the other hand, of how the incremental growth in the ideas of liberty and knowledge were advanced by Christians. St. Patrick’s campaign against slavery, and later on, with William Wilberforce in England and the abolitionists in the United States. The Magna Carta’s invocation of God, the Declaration of Independence claiming divine authority to defy the secular authority of the king (who by the way was also the “religious” authority). Martin Luther against the tyranny of penance payments, and Martin Luther King against the oppressive laws and practices of the states and State.
And now, the rapidly growing ranks of libertarian and freedom-minded Christians beginning to see that there is no chance of getting “The State” to respect them, with the exception of the Established Christian Media, compromised with “the state” as most media is, including most atheist-minded and secular voices are.