I was thinking about thinking. Yesterday I found a video on youtube, a school special originally aired in the 1980s some ten or twenty years after the actual incident. The video begins with a history class discussing Nazism. The teacher, unable to answer a question, decides to begin an experiment to see how things turn out. The next day he introduces the class to the corect seating posture and drills the class to enter the room and sit down correctly. Then he tells them their first motto, “Strength through discipline.” The second day, he gives them their second motto, “Strength through community. Over the next few days, their group takes up the name, The Third wave. Their motto adds two more portions, “Strength through Action, Strength through Pride.” Members are given cards and are instructed how to initiate new members into the wave. What was orginially a history class of thirty kids swells to a majority of the school population, some two hundred kids – in less than a week. Non-members were lashed out against. Teachers had students skipping class to attend the wave history class. So a rally is called and the experiment is brought to a swift end. The teacher ends by saying, “Don’t question who you’re following, always question what you are doing.”
I had heard of the incident only in passing, I had never known that there was a book or even a video about it. In fact, just last year a German video was released with the same basic plot that ended in more of a trajedy. Anyway, people are weird. They won’t follow just anybody, but with the right sort of leader and the right sort of ideas, people like Mao, Stalin, Musolini, and Hitler have come to power. Each of them technially minorities as far as political parties go, but they left a major mark in history. We’ve seen this happen in the politicial sphere, but it couldn’t happen in the religious sphere, could it?
Jim Jones: Leader of the Peoples’ Temple, ordered 900 people to poison themselves, including 275 children using Flavor Aid (Generic Kool-Aid)
David Koresh: Leader of the Branch Davidians, ordered they burn their buildings and the remain inside it as ATF and FBI raids were going on. 50 adults and 20 children were killed.
Marshall Applewhite: Leader of the Heaven’s Gate Group, ordered all 35 members to commit suicide through poisoning and in case that didn’t work, asphyixiation.
Charles Manson: Leader of the Manson Family, taught Scientololgy and Murder 101
Joseph C. Dylkes: Crashed a church claiming to be the Messiah in the 1820s, amassed a following but nothing ever came of it
Jose Miranda: Leader of the Growing in Grace Ministry, claims to be Jesus and The Anti-Christ, he calls the children raised in his church the super race. Many of his followers sport “666” tatoos, including himself.
Sun M. Moon: Leader of the Unification Church, also says he is Messiah Jesus, members like his teachings more than his claims
Arnold Potter: Leader of a sect of the LDS church in the 1800s, died while attempted to ascend to heaven by jumping off of a cliff
Cyrus Teed: created Koreshianity and religious commune that went into decline after he died
Religious fervor has caught people in the 1800s and it hasn’t changed in all the time since. These people died and their follows either died with them or abadoned them. Others are alive today teaching their own unique doctrines that appeal to all sorts of itching ears. They get you on your pride of family, and even on pride of race. Their prescence and very words are enough and soon you’re caught up in murder, suicide, violence, and hatred. I’m sorry I can’t give you a list of all the people who have claimed to be Jesus, all the people who amassed a following and led them to their deaths, or all the people still caught up today in cults and cult-like affairs. The list would be too long and too sad. Worst of all, its the people who are doing these things and outdoing others in good things. But no amount of good deeds can make up for the bad ones being plotted and carried out.
Question then, what you are doing, always.