Monday, October 23, 2006

Faithful Mass Suicide: Lessons of Jonestown


In November 1978, 913 people died in a shocking mass murder-suicide, and 28 years later, the Jonestown Massacre still remains the most chilling example of faith turned against the faithful. The group was led by the charismatic Jim Jones, who started his church, the Peoples Temple, in Indiana. He then moved the group to the San Francisco area, and ultimately to a desolate area of Guyana, where the tragedy played out as a concerned group showed up to investigate.

Cults like this one are a key reason I reject all those who attempt to link obeying them (whether the them is a particular person, church or party) with obeying God.

I've attended a few churches run by pastors who exploited their members' faith, fears and uncertainties with their calls for obedience. I see this same attitude in pastors who want to extend their control beyond the church doors.

Like the cult leaders, the goal of those who want to eliminate the church/state separation quickly shifts from spirituality to very unGodlike power. They want to create a world in their own image and that desire can have terrible consequences.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:03 AM   0 comments links to this post


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