What Do Cults and Terrorists Have in Common?

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For decades, religious cults have taken advantage of people who have given over their lives and fortunes to charismatic figures who prey on naive individuals.People of different faiths usually disagree on theology. However, theological differences are not necessarily the determining factor that defines a group as a cult. Others may consider a particular group to be a false religion. but it is not a cult in the classic sense of the word nor from the perspective of modern psychology.

Legitimate religions encourage honesty, transparency, and critical thinking.Conversely, cults, and their leaders, condone the use of deception for recruitment and fundraising purposes. They also use manipulation and fear tactics to maintain control of their members. The negative characteristics of deception and manipulation distinguish a cult from a legitimate religion.Additionally, cults and religions often embrace social behavior that mainstream society considers out of the ordinary. In and of itself, this is acceptable, whether it is a different dress code, diet, or language. However, some cults cross the line and foster bizarre, destructive, and even dangerous social behavior.It will be helpful to examine some cult behavior that ranges from defying common sense to outright destructive and criminal behavior.In the 1970s, followers of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah, supported his Unification Church by standing on street corners for hours selling flowers. These followers, known as “Moonies,” would use misleading “salesmanship” and claim they were raising money for non-existent senior centers or homeless shelters. They referred to this tactic as “Heavenly Deception.” They used it to rationalize that it was okay to lie because they were taking money from Satan and collecting it for “God’s work.” This was extreme misbehavior, but nothing compared to what cult leader Jim Jones did.

Content retrieved from: https://www.sdjewishworld.com/2024/03/16/oped-what-do-cults-and-terrorists-have-in-common/.

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