Bane Of The Mordern Era

The Cults

Basically a cult is a Pseudo-religious system which differ from the traditional religions, by its beliefs, worship and it's doctrines and is opposed to it. the word comes from the latin word "cultus" meaning worship. It is it different from a sect by the fact that while a Sect is an offshoot or off an established religion a cult would not be related to a religion, but they use it as a mask, to cover their refarious activities, and to allure people to follow them.

Various cults which have hit the headlines are:
Order for restoration of the Ten Commandments. They operate in Rwanda. They burnt alive 900 people after squeezing money out of them.
David Koresh of USA.
Aum-Shin-Rin-Kyo of Japan. They carried out a sarin gas Attack in Tokyo subway that lead to the death of six people and injuring hundred.
Falun Gong of China.

India too boasts of such cults. For Example, Satya Sai Baba, Mata Amrithananda Myi, Mariaama Christians etc.
These cults usually target the youth because:
  1. They need love and appreciation.
  2. They need acceptance and appreciation.
  3. Teenagers and youth are the most rebellious.
  4. They have a tendency to be independent.
  5. They have a feeling of insecurity.
  6. They are vulnerable and trust others but not their parents.
  7. Comparison troubles them a lot.
  8. They are excited about the opposite sex.
  9. Maximum decision are taken during this emotional period.

Young people who are on the search of indentity or with a spiritual quest or looking for straight forward answes to their questions ara the most vulnerable. Their search for loving and affectionate people ends up in various cults. Persons who have recently undergone some kind of painful experiences or those in an unusual state of anxiety, stress, or uncertainty are more susceptible than others. Adolescents who have just entered a university, poor academic performence, exposure to drugs and alchol or when they are hurt, loanly, unloved, confused or guilty are also susceptible. Those who are uncomfortable with outside world and introverts or with strong family ties are less susceptible. A Typical would be cult member will have the following profile:
A person in the age group of 14-25, with a broken relationship with parents, from an unreligious or scantly religious background.

The hallmarks of a cultic convertion usually include the abandonment of a family life-style; severing of ties with family and friends; a radical negative and sudden change in personality; relinquishing of possessions, indoctrination with a new set of values, goals and beliefs, the assuming of a new identity even a change in name, new spiritual unquestioned submission to leaders and group priorities, isolation from the outside world, subversion of will. The process of recruity a new member is long and usually takes about a year for a recruit to become a full fledged member.

At first they world isolate lonely, confused youth from the crowd. They will be on the lookout for teenagers as well those out of college seniors, who have an uncertain future. This is followed by indoctrination tough lectures, sermons, even recorded tapes of lectures to brainwash the new recruit. Sometimes even drugs are added to food, so that the new recruit is attached to the organisation. In some organisation the recruit is given very low protein diet and very little sleep(around 2-3 hours daily) so that their reasonging and will power gets decreased.

In the Al-Qaeda training camp, the commited Jehadis had a daily timetable which included six hours of field training and six hours of field work. This constant indoctrination helped them to have a strong faith necessary to be in a suicide mission.

The new recruit looses his power to think clearly and reason. Even to answer a simple question he has to depend on his seniors/leaders. He can not even get out of the organisation because the leaders of the organisation will keep a close watch on him. They may even keep guards who will watch the recruit 24 hours, secretly. They would'nt allow the new members to meet their parents or relatives as they would try to stop the children from going to the cult.

The convert is made to feel guilty and fear of God's wrath is placed into his mind, so that his mind can be easily manipulated. They are stripped of all their ego, individuality and their past. Their personality is radically changed negatively. They stop loving their parents and relatives. They throw away everything that the cult considers to be 'worldly'. To substitute their parents, they are given a new 'spirtual' family.

Go through the following random checklist to ensure whether the organization or group that you may attend is a cult in disguise or not. Remember that an organization cannot be branded as a cult merely by having all the points listed below and vice-versa. The points listed below are merely an outward symptoms of a cult:

  1. Do the organization allows you to move freely and talk with your parents and other relatives? Most of the cults would not allow them to meet them parents.
  2. Do they allow you to ask questions?
  3. Do they answer all your questions?(most of the cults have very able leaders who can answer almost all your questions very quickly.)
  4. Are they too affectionate to you?
  5. What about their finances? Do you have to go for fundraising? Where do the money go? Most often they won't even show their financial statements.
  6. What do they teach about God, Jesus & Salvation? Do they talk about the coming paradise on earth?
  7. What is the level of commitment? Do you have ot forsake All? Bible teaches that we have to keep priorities to God. We should turn everything to God, but God gives all the property, so that we should be its steward.
  8. How is the relationship between boys and girls? Most cults strongly disagree with boy, girl relationship. They won't allow them to meet since this will undermine the total commitment demanded by the cults.
  9. What do they say of outsiders? Do they consider them as inferiours?
  10. What is the level of privacy? What importence do they give to group cooperation. Almost all the cults disregard privacy and individuallity.
  11. What is the importance given to miracles and prophesies.
  12. How much importance do they give to Bible? See the context from which verses are taken. Most of the cults give scanty regard to the bible or they take verses to suit their whims and fancies.
  13. What importance do they give to recreation and sleep? Most cult would give scanty regard to food and sleep.
  14. Do they allow newspapers and magazines? Do they allow you to have contacts outside their organization.


What does the Bible teach about cults?
Throughout the human history we can see that satan is creating such cults which claim to be religious. When recruiting a new member that cult appears to be very religious, offering oppertunities for Bible study & promises for higher wisdom. The Devil does everything in the cover of Biblical & Christian phrases. See what the Bible has to say about cults.
Galations 1:6-8

"I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another [gospel] only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be cursed."
Colossians 2:8
"Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ"
I Timothy 4:1,2
"But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;"
II Corinthians 11:13-15
"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works."

What is to be the response of the church & the individuals to the onslaught of cults?

  1. To Equip christians to understand the socio-physical, philosophical & spiritual dimensions of the contemporary cult explosion.
  2. To unite together to form a forum against the cults.
  3. To extend a helping hand to the former cult members. This means
    1. Approching them where they are, by entering into their system of belief. We must try to comprehend "The questions" fully before offerring an answer.
    2. Revealing the capitivity of those who think they are free. They must be shown the inconsistencies, neglected questions & constricted perspectives of their own philosophies in their own terms.

End Notes

1. Youth brainwashing & the Extremist Cults - Rouald Euroth
2. 'Aware' UESI(Kerala) Newsletter, Aug 2001
3. Witness for me - A Manual for Evangilical Unions
4. India Today - Sept 2001 (Second Issue)
5. 20th Century Chronicles