I don't object to it being called a religion per se' but object to the example being made which seems to diminish the truth in the scripture -"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
To answer your last question:
Yes its status as a cult and especially the reasons why its considered a cult and Judaism or Islam is not. The difference there between Cult and Religion isn't always clear on the surface just as its not always clear between other terminology such as Schism and Heresy, Latin or Orthodox, pagan or gentile etc etc.
All such types of rational terminology on their surface if used divisively may actually be contradictory to the above Holy Scripture in the essence of its meaning.
How can any Christian argue with Holy Scripture? Sure, without the Church we cannot know its true fullness but isn't it in its literal hermeneutic translation where its truth begins?
I think we have to look at that Scripture historically as Jesus meant it. To me it says; He will bring many to Him that are not of our apostolic fold who if left to our own human devices we would not, so perhaps we need to try and see what He saw.
Wow. My intent was certainly not to diminish the truth of scripture, and frankly, I think reading that into my little elbow-jab of a post is just a little extreme. I didn't give a second thought to the use of "cult" vs. "religion" in my post because that wasn't my point! My point was a wink-nudge jab at Lub because I think that the use of that verse in this particular sense is a cop out, because frankly, everyone uses that verse, but we are NOT united.
Is it only on what we agree that we find unity? I think if we look hard enough we can find unity in any fellow believer regardless of their indoctrination and this is where the Faith must begin. Once that Christian ideal is established then we can enter works like those that are currently going on in Ravena. We help the poor gentiles and pagans because its the Christain thing to do right? We don't require them to repent and be asimilated into us to be worthy of the dignity they deserve as a human being and child of God. I see no reason we shouldn't have the same Christian attitude toward each other.
This is not the type of unity that the EO church objects to, obviously, since the church participates in all kinds of Ecumenical movements. The unity that is at issue is unity in the Eucharist, the acceptance of dogma that will bring the churches back into communion, such that we as EO and you as Catholics can commune in the same church, which we currently can not.
Now you might tell me, "but you can commune in the Catholic church." My response to that would be no, I cannot. The Catholic church allows those of "like faith" to commune, but the EO church does not. Others may not commune in the EO church, and we EO may not commune in other churches. Why? Because in our theology, the chalice is not a TOOL for unity, as the Catholic church uses it. The chalice CONTAINS our unity. Our churches are mystically united IN the chalice. Receiving from the chalice either sanctifies or burns. If one does not believe in the fullness of the truth, if one is not in good standing with the church sacramentally, then they are burned. This is what we believe, this is why those of other faiths do not commune in the EOC. If there is no unity in dogma and confession, there is no unity in the chalice. Period. End of story.