16 Modern-Day Obsessions That Are Borderline Cultish

In a world where passions run high, and loyalties are fierce, certain interests and practices have taken on a near-religious fervor.

Let’s explore these 16 modern-day ‘religions’, offering a unique perspective on how everyday obsessions can shape our lives in profound ways.

1. K-pop Fandoms

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“some fans are genuinely so delusional that they claim to know everything about their favorite idol when we all know that the idol is just displaying a persona, and god forbid you dare criticize their favorite idol in any way. Lets not even talk about how fans act when their fave idols get in relationships, when I tell you some have full on psychotic breakdowns I’m not joking.”

K-pop fandoms, such as Blinks (fans of BLACKPINK) and Army’s (fans of BTS), exhibit a devotion that rivals religious fervor. Their dedication is so intense that they often engage in heated debates with rival fandoms, like Onces (fans of TWICE), over supremacy in the K-pop world.

This passionate loyalty highlights the power of music and celebrity in forming strong communal bonds and identities.

2. Football

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“ESPECIALLY college football. For some reason, people are ridiculously toxic fans of school teams that they didn’t go to the school they represent”

In the southern United States, football is not just a sport; it’s a way of life. The fervent support for local teams, the ritualistic gatherings on game days, and the deep-seated rivalries resemble the communal and passionate nature of religious congregations.

This phenomenon showcases the unifying power of sports in regional culture.

3. Alcoholics Anonymous

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“Don’t get me wrong, they do good work. They have helped a lot of people in their struggles with addiction. But it’s a little like a cult. Communion consists of coffee and cigarettes.”

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been a sanctuary for many struggling with addiction. While its methods are effective and have helped countless individuals, some observe that the group dynamics and rituals of AA meetings can resemble those of a cult.

The communal aspect, centered around coffee and cigarettes, forms a unique bond among its members.

4. Burning Man

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“I’ve tried to explain to burner friends why it’s too religious for me: it’s a pilgrimage to a desert where YOU BURN AN EFFIGY as part of a whole ceremony.

There are tenets, there’s a dogma, there are accepted ways to dress/behave/interact, it’s roped in celebrities at the risk of their public humiliation, and oh attendance is extremely exclusive and mostly accessible only to those who are privileged enough to afford it”

Burning Man, an annual gathering in the Nevada desert, has evolved into a cultural phenomenon with its own set of rituals and a dedicated following. Participants create a temporary city where self-expression and communal living are celebrated, creating an almost spiritual experience that draws thousands each year.

5. Cryptocurrency

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“I have the truth and can predict the market’s future – some YouTuber somewhere”

The world of cryptocurrency has garnered a cult-like following, with enthusiasts passionately advocating for digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

This movement is not just about financial investment; it’s a belief in a new, decentralized financial system, attracting both fervent supporters and skeptics.

6. Andrew Tate’s Alpha Male Doctrine

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“Andrew Tate’s college of learning how to be an alpha male. People paid thousands just to be told to go to the gym and invest money they didn’t have into stocks that fell off a few months later.”

Andrew Tate’s controversial ‘college’ of learning to be an alpha male has seen people paying thousands for advice on fitness and investment.

Critics argue that his teachings, which gained a dedicated following, often lacked substance and led followers to make questionable financial decisions.

7. Astrology & Healing Crystals

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“Astrology. Oh and the people that believe they can buy “healing crystals” from a store that burns enough incense to give you a headache.”

Astrology and the belief in healing crystals have seen a resurgence, with many fervently believing in their power. This trend reflects a broader search for meaning and healing in the modern world, where traditional religious beliefs are often replaced with alternative spiritual practices.

8. The Law of Attraction

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“Upvote but to be fair, a lot of that is based off an actual religion lol. It’s called new age spirituality, which is a conglomeration of a lot of different spiritualities. My best friend has dove into it since his therapist is an adherent, and it’s now a huge part of his personality. But he seems to be a lot happier because of it and genuinely enjoys learning about it, so I’m just stoked on the fact he’s doing better.”

The Law of Attraction, with concepts like ‘manifesting’ and ‘vibrations,’ has become a quasi-religious movement. Its lack of central authority allows for diverse interpretations, making it appealing to a wide audience.

This belief system underscores the human desire for control over one’s destiny.

9. Company Culture

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“slavish adherence and loyalty to company/corporate work culture especially.”

In some corporations, company culture takes on a life of its own, resembling a belief system. Employees often adopt a shared set of values and practices that can be as binding and identity-forming as any religious group.

10. Dietary Dogmas

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“Various diets. Like diehard keto people or the carnivore people. The content that gets put out feels so predatory and misleading.”

Dietary lifestyles, such as keto or carnivore diets, have developed cult-like followings. Proponents often advocate these diets with a zeal that goes beyond mere dietary preference, entering the realm of personal belief systems.

11. The Apple Ecosystem

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“Why does anyone care what color your chat bubble is?”

The loyalty to Apple products and the company’s ecosystem often resembles a form of worship. Apple enthusiasts not only use the products but also adopt the brand as a crucial part of their identity and lifestyle.

12. Scientology

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“Oh that sign that says religion? That’s just a funny thing hey what’s the Denver Broncos record again?”

Scientology, often in the news for its secretive nature and celebrity followers, is seen by many as more of a cult than a religion.

Its practices and the devotion of its members continue to fascinate and mystify observers.

13. Malignant Consumerism & Environmental Ethics

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“So people who claim to be progressive but still give money to Uncle Jeff at Amazon.”

The fervor surrounding consumerism, especially when buttressed by strict ethical standards regarding the environment, has taken on a near-religious zeal. This movement sees consumers advocating for and adhering to stringent environmental practices, often judging those who don’t follow suit.

It reflects a growing consciousness about environmental impact but also raises questions about consumerism’s role in modern identity.

14. Fitness

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“Or rather the people who have their whole life revolve around fitness. Being physically fit is important, but I cannot stand people who treat it like it is the end all be all of their existence. And I don’t mean athletes who invest their lives in playing a specific sport.

In that case, exercise is a means to achieve their goal. I mean the people who constantly talk about their gym routine, post workout photos from the locker room, and generally make people who don’t exercise as much feel like subhumans.”

For some, fitness is more than a healthy habit; it’s a central part of their identity. These individuals often center their lives around their fitness routines, sharing their achievements and lifestyle extensively on social media.

This dedication, while admirable for promoting health, can sometimes border on the obsessive, creating a divide between the fitness enthusiasts and those who are less active.

15. Starbucks

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“People become obsessed, collect all the tumblers, freak out when they are closed or out of syrup or add-ons, and at 10 times what it costs to make coffee at home.”

Starbucks, more than just a coffee brand, has cultivated a dedicated following. Fans collect tumblers, eagerly anticipate new flavors, and integrate their Starbucks visits into their daily rituals. This brand loyalty goes beyond mere preference for coffee; it’s a lifestyle choice, a statement of identity, and for some, a near-obsessive devotion.

16. LGBTQIA+ Extremism

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“I’m gay but the willingness for people to make sexuality just everything about them these days is so weird to me.”

Even within the LGBTQIA+ community, there exists a faction that approaches advocacy and identity politics with a zeal comparable to religious fervor. This group’s intense activism and often uncompromising stance can create divisions both within and outside the community.

It highlights the complexity of identity politics and the fine line between passionate advocacy and fanaticism.

Understanding Cults

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In exploring modern-day ‘religions,’ it’s crucial to understand the concept of cults, as some of the obsessions we’ve discussed bear similarities to cult-like behaviors. Here, we get into cults, their defining characteristics, and their impact on individuals and society.

What Are Cults?

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  • Cults are groups that often exhibit extreme devotion to a specific cause, leader, or belief system.
  • They are characterized by their insular nature, persuasive or coercive control methods, and, often, a charismatic leader.
  • Unlike mainstream religions or movements, cults typically have an unbalanced power structure and employ manipulative techniques to maintain loyalty and obedience.

Key Characteristics of Cults

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  • Charismatic Leadership – Cults often revolve around a charismatic leader who is considered infallible and holds immense control over followers.
  • Isolation – Members may be encouraged or forced to cut ties with the outside world, including family and friends, to deepen their commitment to the group.
  • Indoctrination – Cults typically use intensive persuasion or indoctrination techniques to reinforce their beliefs and discourage critical thinking.
  • Exploitation – Members may be exploited financially, emotionally, or physically for the benefit of the group’s leaders.
  • Apocalyptic Beliefs – Many cults focus on end-of-world scenarios or major transformative events, creating a sense of urgency and solidarity among members.

The Impact of Cults

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Cults can have profound effects on individuals, often leading to psychological, emotional, and sometimes physical harm. The intense group dynamics and isolation from mainstream society can result in long-lasting trauma for former members.

Additionally, cults can have broader societal impacts, sometimes leading to significant legal and ethical concerns.

While the modern-day ‘religions’ we’ve discussed are not cults in the traditional sense, understanding the dynamics and characteristics of cults helps us recognize the fine line between healthy devotion and unhealthy obsession.

It’s essential to approach such groups and movements with a critical eye and an awareness of the potential risks involved.

More from Viral Chatter

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Are you curious about the wisdom that comes with age? Do you wonder what life lessons you might learn from those who have walked the path before you?

We’ll delve into a thDon’t Miss where Redditors aged 50+ share their insights on life. We also incorporate findings from various psychological and health studies to provide a well-rounded perspective.

Here are ten key takeaways that could enrich your life and positively impact your outlook.

Sources

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  1. janjalalich.com/help/characteristics-associated-with-cults/
  2. spiritualabuseresources.com/articles/characteristics-associated-with-cultic-groups
  3. psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-mind/202106/understanding-cults-the-basics
  4. reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/16vhi8d/whats_something_that_isnt_a_religion_but_pretty/

This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.