Doomsday Cult Leaders… strange individuals
Over the history of mankind there have been a generous assortment of ridiculous eccentric weird wacked out bizarre cult leaders who were all obviously a few fries short of a Happy Meal. But I’m not talking about just your run of the mill fanatical narcissistic bozo control freaks. I’m talking about nut jobs that in the end joined hands with their followers to do the hara-kiri boogie (suicide).
These guys all eventually become so spoiled and full of themselves that the current world just isn’t enough for them. So they dream of an end to their current world and taking things to the next level in a new and improved sparkling fantasy world. To that end, they all convince themselves and their worshippers that an apocalypse is coming.
Cult leaders attract and captivate followers because they are always good at one thing: massaging people’s psychological needs to make them feel good about themselves. This has the effect of getting followers to eventually make huge sacrifices for them including their money, their family ties, their bodies, and ultimately their lives.
Common attributes of doomsday cult leaders
Tends to recruit vulnerable people by making them feel good about themselves.
Separates people from their families out of the cult leader’s need to be the absolute and only center of everyone’s lives.
Takes their money and possessions.
Appears to perform miracles.
Convinces followers that he (the cult leader) is special or divine and that previous religious writings were about him.
Wants to control every detail of the follower’s lives.
Moves their followers around from place to place.
Eventually predicts there will be some dramatic war that wipes out everyone or the world will end someday and they will all go to a new fantasy world where the cult leader will rule on a grander scale. Their dysfunctionality ultimately escalates to the point where they command their followers to commit murder and/or suicide.
This is probably a pattern that has repeated itself since the dawn of civilization. Some of the latest and most well known of these wastes of space were Charlse Manson, Jim Jones, and David Koresh. All of these people had groups of mesmerized robots who either followed them to their graves or to jail.
Manson believed that the Beatles and the Bible were telling him that there would be a massive race war which would leave him in charge. He and some followers ultimately ended up serving life in prison for gruesome random murders committed in an attempt to get the race war started. His followers believed he was divine and performed miracles such as bringing a dead bird back to life or that he could see and hear what his followers were doing and saying when he wasn’t around them.
Jim Jones believed that the world was going to end in a nuclear holocaust and that he and his followers would go to the “next life” where he would continue reigning as their God. He ultimately committed suicide with hundreds of his followers.
David Koresh believed the Waco siege was the coming end of the world, predicted in the Book of Revelations. He committed suicide with his followers. His present day followers think he will return to the earth someday.
Jesus Christ separated his followers from their families. His “miracles” were probably faked or at least actions that were misunderstood or misremembered. Convinced his followers he was divine. Claimed that Moses had written about him (there is no mention of Jesus by any author of the old testament). Was a control freak.
Like Manson, Koresh, and Jones, Jesus dreamt of an end to the world, but also thought that before this end of the world he would be the one to fulfill scripture by leading a successful uprising against the Romans who were occupying Judeah at the time (what the “Messiah” was supposed to do, not hang on a cross). He also told his followers that in their lifetimes he would come “on clouds” (Daniel’s colorful reference to a coming King) and then the world would end.
Like Manson, Koresh, and Jones, eventually Jesus thought it was showtime and took steps to get the end of the world into gear.
To that end, Jesus took his followers to the big city (Jerusalem). He was careful to ride into Jerusalem on a colt as he knew Zechariah predicted the conquering Messiah would do before liberating the Judeans and dominating from “sea to sea.”
In Jerusalem Jesus entered the Temple, flew into a rage, and became violent. He began whipping people and animals and overturning merchant tables in what is known as the “temple incident”.
Other indications that Jesus may have attempted an uprising are that later Jesus tells his disciples to buy swords to fulfill a scripture about Jesus being “lawless.” When they came to arrest Jesus, one of his followers pulled out a sword which he used to wound one of the arresters. Dozens of years later, the gospel authors are careful to portray Jesus as being against this action.
After Jesus is arrested, he is pulled up in front of a crowd coincidently alongside another prisoner named Barabbas who is mentioned as having been imprisoned for being involved in a “murderous insurrection.” Although gospel authors are careful to insert other verses to contradict the idea that Jesus was involved in this failed insurrection, it’s possible that this was the real reason Jesus was arrested and crucified. Nobody wants to follow a failure.
The Romans mocked the idea of Jesus being a conquering/ruling Messiah by putting a “crown” of thorns on his head and putting a sign on the cross above Jesus’ head saying “Jesus, King of the Jews.” This was likely a warning to other ambitious would be Messiahs of the fate awaiting them if they cross the Romans as many, like Jesus, had risen up and tried long before and after Jesus.
When Jesus was arrested and executed instead of conquering the Romans and bringing the end of the world, this left his followers scratching their heads, so they later borrowed the idea of Jesus resurrecting from other older religions (the earliest known version of Mark, the first cannonized gospel written, doesn’t mention the resurrection). Later Paul rationalizes the crucifixion into a sacrifice to bring redemption for followers, an idea borrowed from the religion (Mithraism) of Paul’s home town of Tarsus. In Mithraism instead of a man savior, a bull is sacrificed and the bull’s blood drips on people to wash their sins away.
After the execution of Jesus, his followers kept the commune going and still believed Jesus was going to come back to end the world in their lifetimes which of course never happened either.
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