Religion is no longer as simple as it once was. Beliefs are now so varied that the mere concept of “belief” can turn dangerous. As the centuries go by, more and more religions sprout up. At least one thing they all have in common is an interpretation of the word of God. However, as more and more divisions of religions come to light, there are also those that have no basis or remote ties to any Holy texts. This is the first sign your religion is a cult.
A cult generally operates under the direction of a very charismatic leader. All the members in a cult will think about the leader as their God or savior, leading them on the path to a better life. The cult leader usually claims to be a messiah, delivering the message of whichever principle they believe. In a cult the leader literally takes Gods place in the followers’ minds.
In cults, the leader usually claims that religions are wrong and that the belief in God is just for control over your mind. Cult leaders preach to followers that he will show them the real path to happiness and a rewarded afterlife, be it in heaven or space.
Cult leaders generally have all the authority over an entire mass of devotees. This makes cult followers engage in unusually extremist behavior. Cults also most commonly live in an unconventional manner, be it all together and wearing the same types of clothing or other more distasteful circumstances.
When people are so devoted to their one authoritative leader which tells them to do completely unorthodox things in his name, claiming that he is the all-knowledgeable one, you know you’ve encountered a cult. The effects of cult leaders can be immensely destructive.
There have been instances for example of cult leaders planning out mass suicides. Such was the case with The People’s Temple. This cult exhibited the most horrifying and dangerous effects of cult worship. 918 people died in the “revolutionary suicide” by ingesting cyanide after being told by their cult leader that the world was never going to accept the “true freedom” they lived by. This so-called god to his people convinced his loyal followers to ingest poison so they could depart “this realm to live in another”. With the exception of a few members who hid or escaped, the whole cult, including children, died.
Cults most usually stand out thanks to their obsessive behavior. Cult followers seem to live in a trance like state. They fanatically repeat their cult leaders’ word in attempts to spread it, no matter how crazy they may be to an outsider. This fanaticism on behalf of cult followers to their leader has not only resulted in suicide, but in murder as well. A prime example of this is The Manson Family. In this instance, the cult leader himself merely planned out the murder and sent his followers out to commit his heinous plans.
Cults are extremely dangerous. They prey on weak minds that desperately need something to believe in. Cult leaders wield an image of savior for those who are lost. They create the illusion of love and friendship for those that have usually never experienced it, gaining a loyal to death following that commonly proves catastrophic.