Reading about the people involved in the recent attacks in London, it began to occur to me that they all sounded like classic cult members.  They were raised moderately religious, and then in young adulthood, they suddenly became much more devout.  They were recruited during times of transition & difficulty – going to college, losing a parent. 

So I started thinking more and more about the idea of terrorism as a kind of cult.  And it suddenly made so much sense… Cults are led by influential & charismatic people (such as Osama bin Laden), and create a sense of being the “true” people of God.  They teach members that all those outside the cult are evil.  They demand loyalty from members even to the point of death (or to the point of killing others). 

The similarities were so striking that I went searching the internet to see if anyone else had made these connections.  And sure enough, I found several articles dealing with that exact idea.  That Islamic extremism is a type of cult. 

Here are some articles I found:

http://www.rickross.com/reference/alqaeda/alqaeda25.html

 

http://www.theage.com.au/text/articles/2005/07/15/1121415624460.html

http://www.cultclinic.org/presentation-terrorist.html

I’m not sure what impact that has as far as how we deal with it… cults have always been a difficult problem to face, because you risk putting legitimate religious groups into that category by association.  But I think it’s helpful to take it into consideration. 

Cults are a tool of Satan… a way to spread deceit & false religion… a way to turn people away from God & His Truth.  They are divisive by their very nature. 

So, I guess we need to battle deception with truth & division with unity.  And we need to protect the young and vulnerable from the pull of cults, gangs, & any extreme group.  We must do this by offering them the real thing – real community within the church, real meaning & purpose in life, real salvation, and a real relationship with God.