NEW YORK, Aug. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Most people have heard the word 'cult' and know what it generally means. A cult, or what we might more descriptively refer to as a destructive cult, is a small religious group which carries a belief that can have a negative effect on society. Followers of the cult are, often times, completely unaware of the corrosive effect of the cult and the damage it is creating.
There are countless cults in this world, and there are many that, in the course of modern history, have risen to fame. The one that we are, today, all too familiar with is the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS. The infamous Klu Klux Klan (KKK) is also one.
So how can we tell a destructive cult from a normal religious group? Looking into the various cults, we have learned a few things about what they have in common.
Interview Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xanp8EDkCyE&feature=youtu.be
First and foremost, a destructive cult always has as its central authority a single, charismatic leader. For example, the current leader of ISIS is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who claims to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He is the supreme leader who is cannot be questioned by members of ISIS.
Secondly, cult leaders often isolate their group from the rest of the society. Once the isolation has taken place, they polarize their audience's worldview. A cult's teachings and reasoning often start with a simple ultimate truth that the entire group is expected to believe. For example, a group with the characteristics of a cult, Falun Gong, believes that when one dies, their spirit can enter and remain in a different world that they call the 'afterlife' by practicing the tenets of Falun Gong. In order to remain in this desirable place, similar to being in heaven, rather than constantly being reborn into successive lifetimes of misery, it is necessary for the believers to follow the rules of the cult and obey the orders of their leaders, which can include murder, theft and other serious crimes. The "truth" in this case is a distortion of the basic tenets of Buddhism.
Last but not least, a destructive cult has to be, of course, destructive. They have absolute control over the life and death of their followers. In January, 2001, a group of Falun Gong believers, under the influence of their leaders, immolated themselves in the middle of the Tiananmen Square by dousing themselves with gasoline and setting themselves on fire. They have committed other sorts of crimes. Needless to explain, taking lives is the biggest of all crimes.
Why should we care?
It goes without saying that we live in a free country and everyone is free to practice their religion as they see fit. Well, that is absolutely the case, until it becomes obvious that something else is going on. ISIS, for example, is one of the biggest and most destructive cults now in existence. We, as a country, see them as a terrorist group, but in fact, they are indeed a cult that is driven by a twisted interpretation of Islam. Yes, twisted. Which means that whatever they are practicing, though they refer to it as Islam, is quite far removed from the original intent of the religion. This is the most fatal aspect of cults. The ultimate leaders of cults always use a truth as a base, and make their believers do things that they claim would help the believers achieve the ultimate goal. When suicide bombers kill themselves, do you really think they want to die? The reason they are doing it is because their leaders told them that by doing so they could achieve the ultimate goal.
Knowing this, we can conclude that war against ISIS should be a psychological one rather than a physical one.
How do we help someone that has taken up with a cult?
You've seen cults depicted in movies and on TV, but cults are more prevalent than you think - on June 12, 2016 at 2:02 A.M., a shooting took place at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen opened fire on more than 300 patrons of the club, leading to 49 deaths and 53 injuries. Omar was later shot and killed by the police, after calling 911 to pledge allegiance to ISIS.
How do individuals get involved with cults in the first place, and what steps can be taken to "deprogram" and heal those who have been drawn into these damaging groups? These questions and more are being addressed in Meeting with a Cult Specialist: Rick Alan Ross. Over the course of three decades, Ross has participated in around five hundred cult interventions, provided expert court testimony, and performed cult-related work all over the world.
Mr. Ross, in this interview, mentioned interventions - the ultimate tool that he uses to help the followers of destructive cults. He explained that it usually takes 24 to 32 hours of preparation with the family members of a follower, in order to prepare for an intervention with the families of the target present, in order for the intervention to be successful. "The first intervention is the most crucial." His reason for that is that the target might walk out right as soon as he or she realizes that an intervention is taking place. And the reasons they don't immediately walk out is due to the respect they feel for the family members who are present. If the target remains through to the conclusion of the first intervention, the intervention has a higher likelihood of succeeding as it means the target is willing to take the information they have just received into consideration. And it becomes likely that he or she will leave the cult within a few days.
This is a simple but effective way. According to Mr. Ross, the reason a person is in a cult, is that they are blinded by the cult instead of using their own critical thinking. Just like many drug addicts, they are not conscious of what exactly they are doing. And because of that, they usually do not realize what they were doing was wrong. After a series of interventions, it becomes obvious that these believers have gained back their ability to rely on their critical thinking and to start questioning the group that they have been a member of. And that is when we know an intervention has been successful.
There are countless cults around the world, and many of them are very destructive. There are also countless people whose lives and families are destroyed by these cults. So if you see someone that is in need of help, do not hesitate to act. There is nothing little about something this big.
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（ ICN TV Network，Aug 03, 2016）