The Rising Cult Threat

February 21, 2013
On March 20, 1995, right before 8 a.m. five members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult released deadly bags of Sarin Gas in the Tokyo subway tunnels. The result was devastating with 12 people dead and 6,300 wounded. (Swarts 34) This was just one of many attacks by cults over the years, and the amount of cults is still growing. Though many seem harmless they can easily turn violent in a second. Aum Shinrikyo was a perfect example of when a seemingly harmless cult attacks. With all the cults in America, who is to say we are safe? The cults are the problem, and the only solution is to bring them to justice. All the destruction must end.

To begin with, the problem with cults is that they revolve too much around death. In fact many are classified as extremist groups. A famous cult is the Ku Klux Klan, which was started by six angry Confederation soldiers in the 1860s, was dedicated by pitiful rage to the destruction of all African Americans. Since then, they have killed numerous African Americans because they were black. Then they started attacking “inferior groups,” due to their strong belief in white supremacy. Then there was the Aum Shinrikyo attack. They believed that the end of the world was upon them, and that they had to carry it out themselves. By killing as many as they could, Aum Shinrikyo would fulfill their purpose. Between the two groups, death was the actual belief. Cults also influence deaths among themselves. Mass suicide was always a common practice in the cults of the late 90’s, when the doomsday belief was the main belief. For example, the Heaven’s Gate group committed a mass suicide on March 26, 1997. Around 30 members killed themselves that night. In most mass suicide incidents, the leader of the group is blamed. Most leaders are seen by their fellow cultists as charismatic or powerful. It makes sense because if they were not like this, they would probably not be the leader. Some members are so dedicated to these people; they would do anything for them, even commit suicide. The leaders of Heaven’s Gate strongly believed that a mass suicide would be the only way to get to heaven, and their cultists did not question that order. Unfortunately, these people believe in such an abstract idea that they waste their lives. Death is definitely not the answer to happiness, and the insane leaders promote that it is. It is because of them, people are losing their lives. Don’t teach death, teach peace!

Scholars argue that cults can alleviate one’s mind and stress. Although this may be true, one also usually misses the big picture. Cults leave a trail of pain and suffering wherever they go. This proves the saying all good things must end. To realize this point, all that needs to be done is to look at ex-members of cults. It has been noted that they do usually suffer from Post Traumatic Stress disorder. It only happens to the ex-members because so many horrible things have happened to them. Once one has PTS, he/she can never completely get rid of it. It always linger there in his/her brain till the day he/she dies. Those who have the disorder have also been known to commit murder and other terrible crimes. In fact, ex-cult members who have experienced pain while part of the cult have gone to great lengths at getting revenge. Many cults such as People’s Temple were attacked and even destroyed by ex-members. It is slightly ironic that cults, whom teach to spread destruction, only get themselves destroyed by their own members. Then, members who survive the destruction kidnap “defectors.” Their goal in doing this is to force them back into the group. It may seem illogical to try to get an ex-member to rejoin a group they left for a reason, but the kidnappers use a process called brainwashing to reinitiate the defectors. This is done by replaying a message over and over to change the victim’s mind about the cult. The process is done so gradually that the victim will never notice the change. Luckily, there are deprogrammers (which are exactly the opposite of brainwashers) to help escaped ex-members to recover. All this just proves that cults are good for nothing but pain and suffering. All in all, cults are just a big loop of revenge. Another hot topic is the difference between cult and religion. Today, the common people see cult and religion as the same, when they are not. Cults merely take the main ideas of a main religion and twist them into something horrible. However, when a cult does something in the name of the main religion’s God, people will immediately accuse the main religion. In the middle-east, Christians are being killed for challenging the Islamic religion. Surprisingly, they are being killed even though they are not acting violent in any way. Another perfect example of when main religions are persecuted is September 11. When the extremist group, Al Qaeda attacked and destroyed the World Trade Center, many Muslims were persecuted of being in league with the group. What people don’t realize is that one of the Islamic beliefs is to treat everyone with kindness. Yet it is that common belief that cult and religion are the same. People need to know that they are not. If only cults were never around, then this destruction can end.

In short, cults are big problem in America and must be stopped. Though it must be done fairly, through court systems, and not violent. Otherwise, America would be no better than the cults themselves. It has been proven that cults never bring peace, but violence and pain. Some may argue that this would be a violation of freedom of religion and it may be. Yet the fact still remains, cults have violated the law, taking innocent lives. They may protest, but they brought themselves into it. Overall, cults must be stopped and the members must be rescued.

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