One of the greatest tragedies in mankind’s entire history may be that morality was hijacked by religion. ― Arthur C. Clarke
And this quote is at it’s starkest true self when it comes to religious cults. The belief in God may have its psychological benefits, but following a religious cult, blinded by superstition and misplaced faith can and has led to massive destructions, and not always moral!
Take these 12 religious cults for example. Their practice and belief are heavily contributing superstitious attitude of people, so much that it is actually proving to be dangerous for humanity.
The infamous Church of Scientology was formed in 1953 by the writer L. Ron Hubbard. Arguably one of the richest cults, with high-profile members like Tom Cruise, it has remained controversial since its origin. This religious cult is based on the idea of clearing the human psyche of ‘negative’ emotions and memories, and bring out it’s full potential, with intense therapy sessions that often rely on the use of lie detectors. Claimed to be based on scientific research and facts, Scientology is known for its official litigations, and murky ways of shutting up its critics and apostates alike, often by killing them, rumour has it.
2. The KKK
With beliefs rooted in white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan is a particular cult of Christianity. Extremely violent in nature, from arson to cold-blooded murder they do not hesitate to go at lengths to establish its racist attitudes and torture Jews, Blacks and people from other races. Remember the movie A Time to Kill, starring Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey? That did have a pretty accurate depiction of this cult!
3. Children of God
This severely twisted cult, founded by David Berg and also known as Family International, is devoted to pedophilia and sex, to put it bluntly. The followers of this cult believed that sex with children was natural and right. Based on the belief that apocalypse is coming (doomsday cult), this cult uses “flirty fishing”(use of sex) to get new members for it. The children who were born as a result of flirty fishing were referred to as “Jesus Babies”. Rose McGowan, the American actor escaped from this cult and revealed some of its brutality later. It is rumoured that the female members of this cult are also forced to go into prostitution and sex slavery!
Also known as Raëlianism, this is a UFO religion (they believe in the existence of extraterrestrial entities flying UFOs) founded in 1974. They believe that life on the earth was created scientifically by extraterrestrials, and prophets like Buddha, Jesus etc are just Elohim (this cult’s name for the ETs). Raelism strives for world peace, sharing, democracy and nonviolence, and also has a very liberal attitude towards sex. The founder of this cult, Claude Vorilhon, also known as Raël, claims to be in touch with ‘God’. According to this cult, through mechanisms like human cloning and mind transfer, humans can achieve eternal life.
5. Bavarian Illuminati
Founded in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, this cult is one of the main Illuminati groups. Apparently, this cult was opposed superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life and abuses of state power, yet they remain known as the world’s biggest conspirators. Allegedly, there are many big shots in this cult who control world affairs, by masterminding events and planting agents in government and corporations, in order to gain political power and influence to establish rules of a new world.
6. Aum Shinrikyo
It is a Japanese doomsday cult (the cults that believe in an impending apocalypse) founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984. Though the belief system of this cult is based on elements of Indian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism, Asahara’s idiosyncratic interpretations have made this almost equivalent of a terrorist organisation. Claiming their main agenda is to get rid of sin, Asahara claimed that he could transfer to his followers spiritual power and ultimately take away their sins and bad deeds. This cult was responsible for carrying out the deadly Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995 that killed 12 and maimed almost 1000.
7. The People’s temple
‘The People’s Temple of the Disciples of Christ’, commonly known as the Peoples Temple, is a religious cult founded by Jim Jones in 1955 in America. Jones was a twisted man, and using the idea that the Bible was only white men’s justification to dominate women and coloured people, he preached ‘socialism’ and solidified his ability of fake ‘faith healing.’ The people’s temple is truly a doomsday cult in nature, considering 918 people died at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in a mass murder and suicide, to reach ‘divinity,’ an incident that records the most number of determined civilian death in the USA before 9/11.
8. Heaven’s gate
Heaven’s Gate is another UFO religion cum doomsday cult found in the 70’s. Apparently, the founders of this cult claimed that they have arrived on the Earth in a UFO from another world. They also urged their members “to shed every attachment to the planet” to be eligible for ‘another level,’ as the earth was believed to be ‘wiped clean’ too. In 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the cult were found by the police. They had committed mass suicide believing that it would take them to an alien space ship that was behind the comet Hale-Bopp, and which in turn would take them to ‘another level.’
9. The church of euthanasia
Started by Chris Korda in the Boston, this is a relatively new religious cult. Apparently, the cult is “devoted to restoring the balance between Humans and the remaining species on Earth.” and excessively forbids its members to procreate. This cult also has four chief doctrines – suicide, abortion, cannibalism (of the already dead people) and sodomy (as the sexual act doesn’t lead to procreation). They boast of slogans like “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself”, and “Eat a Queer Fetus for Jesus”, which should give you an idea about how extreme this cult is.
10. Branch Davidians
Also known as the ‘Branch’, this cult was founded in 1955, led by David Koresh, who believed himself to be the ‘final prophet.’ As it was an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, there were power struggles between Koresh and its leaders. Koresh also had sexual relations with many of the female members of the cult, and sometimes even raped underage girls with their parents’ consent. Stories of acute child abuse by Koresh were also circulated though the state failed to collect enough evidence against him initially. Koresh also made his followers believe that the State was their enemy. In 1993, FBI tried to forcefully bring the Branch Davidians out of their Texas refuge, during which the building caught fire, and 80 members, including several children and Koresh himself, died.
11. Order of the solar temple
Started by Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret in 1984 in Geneva, The Order of the Solar Temple cult believes in the existence and ideals of the Knights Templar (an organization of the most powerful of the Western Christian military orders, that existed during 12th to 14th century). They believe in establishing ‘correct notions of authority and power in the world’ and assisting humanity through a great ‘transition’. They also believed in the second coming of Christ as a solar God-king. In 1994, Di Mambro ordered the killing of a 3-month-old infant, identifying him as Antichrist. This cult is known for the execution of mass murders and suicides in Switzerland as part of religious rituals. The dead believers left farewell notes claiming that they were leaving to escape the ‘hypocrisies and oppression of this world.’
And all in the name of religion!