A Social Commentary on Religion, Sects, Cults, and All Things in Between.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Killing in the Name Of...

It seems to me that the Pope's visit to Ireland, to try and fix the problems generated by sexual abuse claims against the clergy, are Bogarting the religious news spotlight. Is there nothing else interesting to report? Where have all the crazy cults and sects gone? How long has it been since a cult or sect has offered us a decent mass suicide? Here is a glimpse at what I consider to be some of the best in recent history:

Jonestown, 1978, Guyana

Led by Jim Jones this American cult was formally known as the 'Peoples Temple Agricultural Project'. They practiced apostolic socialism in rebellion against the 'opiate' of religion. Death count: 914. Method: Cyanide poisoning.

Branch Davidians, 1993, Waco, Texas

Led by David Karesh the 'Students of the Seven Seals' were a breakaway group from the Seventh Day Adventists. Essentially they believed the same as the SDA in that the arrival of Christ was imminent. Believed that Karesh was a prophet provided by God. Death count: 72. Method: single gunshot wounds to the head and death by fire (with a little help from the ATF and FBI)

Order of the Solar Temple, 1994, Switzerland

Led by Joseph Di Mambro. The cult was a Protestant Christianity/New Age hybrid with Freemason rituals. Death count: 74. Method: Drugged, Smothered, Shot

Heaven's Gate, 1997, San Diego, California

Founded by Marshall Applewhite. Heaven's Gate was a UFO cybersect that believed that the Earth was to be recycled and the only way to survive this was to leave their bodies. The suicide was pre-empted by their belief that a UFO was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp. Death count: 39. Method: Cyanide and arsenic poisoning (with a vodka chaser)

Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, 2000, Uganda

Founded by Paulo Kashaku. A breakaway cult from the Roman Catholic Church. The fundamental teachings of the cult were to follow the Ten Commandments strictly and to preach the teachings of Jesus to avoid damnation in the prophesied apocalypse of 2000. Death count: 778. Method: Poisoning, Death by fire. Not so much a mass suicide as a mass murder conducted by priests for monetary gain.

Okay they pretty much take up the top five spots because of the sheer number of deaths involved, but I think it's a tribute to those charismatic leaders that had the ability to sway so many feeble minded followers.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Whiny Schoolgirls A.K.A. Australian Family Association

Why is it that the Christians believe that they have the monopoly on marriage? If two Pagan teenagers want to get hitched and literally ‘tie the knot’, making a public commitment for one year and one day, then let them. Understandably this Pagan wedding is not recognised legally as one of the party is yet to reach legal adulthood. But the fact that the Australian Family Association, whose founder is a Catholic Activist, finds this so threatening is bogus (and not in a Bill and Ted kind of way). Hold back on the school-girl-like whining! The fact that the AFA finds it deplorable means bollocks! John Morrissey, media spokesman for the AFA, believes that there is something wrong with such mock weddings. But if these teenagers wish to display their love and respect for each other for what in teenage years could represent a lifetime- then good on them. And last time I checked (according to my abacus) Paganism well and truly predates the Marriage Act 1961. So who is to say that their wedding is not more authentic than yours Mr Morrissey?


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Devil Inside

Jokes aside and temporarily forgetting the cool rites of passage that some cults have (i.e. taking a dip in the local river to publicly display your commitment to God; marrying a man old enough to be your grandfather; marrying your grandfather; gun fights with the ATF), a cult can be defined as any group that deprives people of their ability and power to think for themselves.

There are believed to be thousands of cults operating in Australia at the moment. You have the Christadelphians, the Exclusive Brethren, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh Day Adventists. All, although they have their quirks, are relatively snoozey. There is however one prominent cult/religion (depending on your point of view) that has been basking, undoubtedly quite unwillingly, in the media spotlight recently. The ‘Church’ of Scientology.

Scientology is no stranger to the media. It is often prodded by creepy reporters that really, really, want to get THAT story that reveals to the rest of us humans/aliens (again, depending on your point of view) what the Scientologist actually believe. However, some new issues have arisen in the last little while about evil goings on within the ‘Church’. Not evil as in ‘Sigourney-Weaver-Alien 2-Evil’, but talks of forced abortions and family separation.

Former Scientologist Janette Lang is speaking openly about these coerced abortions and threats of family separation. She, along with other ex-members of the cult, are pleading with the Australian Government for some form of intervention, or in at least an investigation. But then this raises the question: if the Government does go ahead with prying into this cult, will it set a premise for them to pry into every other religion, cult, sect, or organization that they wish to, regardless of the motive? Perhaps people should be a little more wary of institutions that they enter into and not depend on the government for their rescue. With freedom comes responsibility.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


As a child I was raised in a very deeply religious household. My parents, and the vast majority of my extended family, were all devout Jehovah's Witnesses. I was virtually a practicing Witness until my late teens and early twenties. Indecisive of what I was actually doing I wavered in the faith. As an adult, fully capable of forming my own ideas and having developed the ability to think outside of religious fed fantasy, I cultivated a certain amount of disdain for any form of organized religion. However, along with the disdain, came a relative fascination for all things religious, all things worshiped and idolized, believed by people to be fundamental to their very existence. My rantings are not intended to offend however, please feel free to comment if you desire.