Religious Cults - A Threat to Society? Essay

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Religious Cults - A Threat to Society? On November 18, 1978, in a cleared-out patch of the Guyanese jungle, Reverend Jim Jones ordered the 911 members of his flock to kill themselves by drinking a cyanide potion, and they did. It seems cultists were brainwashed by this megalomaniac Jones, who had named their jungle village after himself and held them as virtual slaves, if not living zombies. Jones himself was found dead. He'd shot himself in the head, or someone else had shot him. Is it plausible that more than nine hundred people took their own lives willingly, simply because he told them to?

This paper will examine aspects of certain religious groups around the world that have shocked us with similar types of behavior. Most of
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Groups with self-styled s like Charles Manson, David Koresh, and Marshall Applewhite have flourished, teaching impending doom, using mixtures from Christianity, millennialism and even science fiction.

Most of those who join these groups, do not join them with the intention of becoming a cultist, they are usually seeking a new religious group, or a self-help group, looking for some improvement in their lives. It is the group that they join that play on the individual’s insecurities and giving them some sense of order and a reason for their existence in the world.

There have been many religious groups that have caught the medias attention with their deviant behavior such as the members of Jonestown. Here are some other examples that will illustrate the complete dominance that the leaders were able to hold over the members of the cult.

David Koresh’s Religious group, known as the Davidian is one of the more familiar cuts during the past decade. On February 28, 1993, Storm Troopers of the ATF tried to enter the Branch Davidian compound in the outskirts of Waco, Texas, where David Koresh and his followers had set up their haven. The compound was stockpiled with weapons that were to be used for a holy war that the had claimed would be coming soon. David and his followers vowed there would be no surrender. For 51 days there was a standoff between the cult, and the ATF. The
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