Ever wondered why people join cults? I have thought a bit about it. Let me share with you my thoughts here.
Why are cults so attractive? Why do they attract people away from mainstream religious thinking?
Sometimes it’s hard to think of why anyone would want to join a cult. We usually think of cultists as stubborn people who blindly follow their leader. But is there more to it?
It’s very easy to accuse them of being blind and stubborn. That’s a nice excuse we provide ourselves with to explain why cults have such huge followings. But it’s really an insulting criticism that we shouldn’t make. I think we’d do better to try to understand them instead. Maybe we can learn something from them.
A lot of cult members are actually very disappointed with organized religions. They have given up on these structures and organizations and have fled to these fringe groups. Why?
I believe one reason is because they are disappointed in the comfortable-ness of organized religious groups – the fact that so many of their members are in their “comfort zone”. Organized religious groups tend to take things a lot easier. They tend to compromise on their standards and ideals. While there are many in organized religions and organized Christianity who are zealous and full of energy and faith, on average I think that is lacking in comparison to the members of cults.
People who join cults are idealists – or at least when they join cults, they become idealists. They understand the importance of fully devoting oneself to ideals and dreams and visions and standards. When they see how lowly ideals and standards are being looked upon in organized religious groups, they become disappointed. When they see how easily organized religious groups compromise on their ideals, they know they don’t belong there.
They will then search and find refuge, purpose and like-mindedness in cults because cults uphold their ideals strongly. I think on average cults live out their beliefs more fervently than in the typical organized religions.. They don’t just pay lip service to what they believe. They live it out wholeheartedly.
And that’s a very important reason I believe cults gain a following. People are simply searching for other people who will give their whole heart and life to a cause and purpose and they usually find it in cults, rather than in organized religious groups.
The attraction of cults is thus in their wholehearted devotion to ideals. It’s in their radicalness of living out their beliefs. That’s something I think many Christians can learn from them.