Religious-Political Cults and Israel

Posted: 02/14/2009 by editormary in Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Mary\'s Choice, Newswire, Religion, War, Zionism
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A long time ago, I obtained a degree in Psychology. While I never pursued work in that field, and opted instead for areas giving me greater personal freedom and less risk of falling into an area where there was danger of me controlling other people, becoming a professional art restorer and professional translator and editor to make a living, I have never abandoned my interest in all psychological phenomena, particularly those of a mass nature that are more readily classified as having sociological implications. I did most of my research based on my interest in finding a theory that would “explain” the apparently contradictory urge for personal liberty (individualism) and the need for being part of a mass (the theorised Crowd Instinct) in a post-industrial world based on transportation and communication by the combination of what I considered the best out of two schools of thought, that of Elias Canetti, (Crowds and Power) and that of Guy Debord and the other Situationists. I never quite found what I was looking for, but very often, I saw the paradigms of their viewpoints on crowd dynamics, which were about the power of persuasion to people who often were convinced they were acting independently, illustrated perfectly in religious cults and political movements, two areas that continue to interest me.

 

When I was in University, there really weren’t many religious cults going around that I could identify clearly as such, but that energy (which Canetti and others describe as irresistible) would need to be directed someplace. Those were the days when New Age started to take a foothold in almost every place one could go. Being vegetarian, I guess I must have bumped into their world more often than most people do, as the practice of abstaining from meat is a frequent one in many New Age practices. My discount card at the vegetarian diner or food shop seemed to have put me on hundreds of mailing lists of all kinds. I resisted all the recruitment calls that were either blatant or veiled and I only took part in two events (a group hypnosis event, which I am still attempting to understand fully, and a drumming event, since I was a drummer and thought maybe I could learn something useful.) New Age carried a lot of the same features as any religious cult, such as the belief that its initiates were part of the creation of a New Society, while at the same time, increasing Personal, Individual Potential. Yet there is that little grey area that a sceptic, a rationalist such as I am would come to loggerheads with each and every time: the request to not really believe what you see and hear, but to believe in some kind of faith concept, often freely exchanged with various forms of Guruhood, hero-worship, deference to a “spiritual” or “political” head who was looking out for us, making great personal sacrifices, yet could SEE himself what we were still blinded to. Another feature is to reject facts, prior information or even information coming from other sources. In order to render this effective, you actually do need a group of people, including friends, to go along with it too. Recruitment (often for no other purpose than pure recruitment) has an element of a pyramid structure “con” to it which in today’s world of emails is a lot faster than it was in the 80s, and I would imagine, a lot more widespread. Although I do tend to believe that with the speed in which internet relationships are born and dissolved, it may not be as dangerous as it was in the past, since there is perhaps a more flippant attitude towards it. One may not even have to be a “true believer”, it’s enough to have your name added onto a “friends” list or a “mailing list” that will go into a market research kitty. In the end, gaining consensus seems to be little more than convincing someone that “everyone’s into it” so that the pinnacle of the pyramid feels himself entitled to act in the name of an enormous popular mandate. 

 

There is a lot of this in the Obama campaign, and myself and others far more entitled to an informed comment on it have pointed out here and elsewhere, and the macroscopic difference is, that while his hordes of adoring masses sometimes go off the deep end in idolising him, he was actually elected into office, he does have a mandate. But, this is not where I am going today. What actually started me thinking was a call from a friend of mine who is a practicing Psychologist. He asked me to lend a hand in some research regarding a certain cult that he knew I had familiarity with because our next-door neighbour was involved and had tried to recruit us both. My friend had only the sketchiest memory of the group and wanted to ask me what I remembered and could find out about the group structure and praxis, so that he could know what kind of levels of “self-surrender” his patient had been exposed to. While researching, I found some interesting things, which at some point, in another venue, I will write about, but what I found again and again were the characteristics of

 

1)      a group leader that had “reserved information” and “high-level contacts”. In a word: clout and prestige that the seeker would need to tap into so that he or she could be released from ignorance.

2)      a request that the seeker make some kind of commitment (economic, recruitment, active) to the purposes of the group.

3)      the insistence that the group was not an end in itself, but that there was a higher purpose that would be achieved through it, often in escatological or apocalyptical terms.

4)      slickness in the campaigning that demonstrates there is a large organisation behind it, perhaps a LOT of money, but not much disclosure of the organisation’s structure or finances. When it was disclosed, often the information could not be clearly verified and more often than not, one would find denials and contradictions with one Google search further.

5)      insistence that there were going to be great changes ahead, either personal or collective and in some cases, global. 

 

Now, there are many very innocent groups and organisations that may have some or all of these characteristics, but there is one constant characteristic that a legitimate group would never have, and that is the insistence that we have to “believe them” and not objective information, information obtained through personal perception or through sources that we trust. To make a fear, a projection or an illusion into a case bigger than a reality that can be objectively verified is a common trend in these groups. They want us to feel urgency, panic, outrage about the same things they do, and they present numbers, figures and projections out of all meaningful parameters. 

 

While trying to help my friend, I got caught up in a few quite competent Cult Watch organs, many of them doing admirable work and only to be commended. I cried while reading some of the testimonies, of how people who only sought positive things, love, knowledge, peace, were denied their liberty, mental well being and critical tools. I thought, the day freedom comes to the Palestinian people, I will direct my energies to work towards these slaves of gurus, healers and charlatans. Then, I thought, it’s probably a bigger industry than even Zionism… I think I am out of my league here! 

 

One thing though, that did trouble me in these forums, sites, lists, was the lack of appearance of some groups that I believe are every bit as dangerous and deluded, and I mean a category of groups that to me are on the wild side of rational thought, the Christian Zionists. I didn’t see any areas in these sites that would include this branch of cults. Christian Zionism has a few purposes, the practical one is to keep (especially US) international policy favourable to a Jewish State in Palestine, and to do this would do anything possible and imaginable so as to have leaders in office that will always have as their priority to render this scenario possible. The Christian Zionists need this for their escatological goal, the battle of Armageddon to be fought in Israel, thus saving the souls of the Christian Zionists who will be raptured. It gives me the creeps to actually write about it, to think of the implications, but all religions contain elements of a final scenario, and I suppose Christian Zionism has abandoned the principles that made Jesus Christ into a univeralist model of love and forgiveness, and instead focus in on the final countdown, where they can be protagonists in the big war. The focus of Christian Zionism has a narcissistic element, combined with the violent one, that obviously will be reflected in any campaign they do.

 

One group that has piqued my interest for a long time is CUFI, and I wrote about their big show “A Night to Honor Israel”. Here is another peice that shows their severe contradictions. I check them out from time to time, and this morning, I saw something that I think would be worthy of Cult watch, and that is, the campaign for a “Prayer Card for Israel”. 

 

To spare you having to actually give your personal information or visiting their site, I will show you the campaign. It starts out innocently enough, saying prayers for Israel (and America):

A Prayer Card to Help You Pray for Israel and America

Then click on it and you get to this page:

We Need to Pray for Israel

Your prayers are critical during these difficult times.   CUFI created a special prayer card to help you pray for Israel and the world.   

All of a sudden, America has become “the world”, but that’s just a little detail. Click further (they must get points for each click made, because you are forced to navigate for a while) and you come to the page where you request the “card”, needing to send them your name and email address. You get an email in less than a minute and you visit their site now from your email account, so they have your IP and NOW your email too. But, you are curious and you want to see this card so exclusive it has to be requested by email and you have to download a PDF, and damn the torpedoes! It hits you in the face with just that, there’s the image of a nuclear missile, a headshot of Ahmadinejad, writing in all caps: NOT ON OUR WATCH! And the tagline, Stand with one voice against the threats from Iran. Stand with Christians United for Israel 

 

This is the accompanying text:

Thank you downloading the prayer card to help you pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the world. You will receive a link to download your prayer in your e-mail shortly.

We want to provide this prayer card to millions of Christians around the world. We want to help every Christian pray for Israel and America.

Please help us reach millions of Christians worldwide. Please fill out the information below to send the prayer card to your family and friends.

Ah! the next step is the Pyramid one: you should send it around to friends. Hell, even your ENTIRE ADDRESS BOOK! Talk about obtaining a bunch of information for free!! Here is their text, misspellings and all – and note, the name of the text isn’t any longer “Israel prayer” but the hyperlink is “Iran prayer”, a classic bait and switch… but maybe it was about Iran the whole time?

 

In order to send to more than 5 friends, please enter your email to recieve a copy of this message to forward to your entire address book.

 

 

* Email: Required

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spam Control Text: 

 Please leave this field empty  

 

  

Tell a friend about our Prayer Card

* = Required Fields

 
  Link being sent: http://cufi.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=iran_prayer
  Your Name:
First Name: Last Name:

 

 

 

 

 

* Your Email:

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

* Send to:

Enter multiple addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.
Please note that you can only list 5 friends at a time. If you want to send this to more than 5 friends please enter your email in the space above to receive a copy of this message to forward to your entire address book..
(Note: We respect your privacy, addresses you enter below will be added to your Address Book, but will not be used by the organization. For further information, see our Privacy Policy.)

 

Subject:

 

 

 

Body:

 

  

 The threat from Iran is increasing with every day that passes.  As Iran gets steadily closer to obtaining nuclear weapons, we get that much closer to the possibility of a second Holocaust.  The risk that Israel and her six million Jews might be “wiped off the map” is too great for us to sit silently by as the world does nothing.  Now is the time to combine fervent prayer with urgent action.

We must pray that this threat to Israel and America will be removed.  Christians United for Israel has created a prayer card with scriptures to beseech our Lord to protect Israel and the world in this trying time.   
 
 

 

Please click below to download this prayer card.   

Please pray for Israel and America.  Please use the prayer card, and any other scriptures that are meaningful to you, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the world.  

 

 

Israel actually has nuclear weapons. We aren’t supposed to think about that. (This follows the criteria of a cult of expecting people to not believe actual facts, but to trust the leader and to agree that his “fear” should be shared by you too). Israel has actually bombed others in the past few weeks, a fact we are also supposed to ignore. The problem is Israel’s existential threat coming from … Iran.

 

Well, this may be a nothing more than your average religious-political cult, but I believe that since they believe we should “pray” that this “THREAT TO ISRAEL AND AMERICA TO BE REMOVED”, convince others of this and give money, political consensus and … not a small matter … our mail contacts to them, since of course if they want to “read” the prayer, they have to fill out a form with their email address, etc., that this group may be just a bunch of Apocalyptic Messianic fanatics, they indeed should be monitored by anyone who not only sees a danger in the manipulation of facts to suit a limited and dangerous political agenda, as well as anyone who treasures privacy.

 

Since you’ve waited so long: here is that special prayer:

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Comments
  1. HAH! I am so glad to see that someone mentioned these! I actually joined one – out of curiosity – called “Jerusalem Prayer Team”. They are NUTS! Truly insane.

    Let me just say though – I have to admit I used to be a “evangelical Christian” and I was brainwashed into this, too. It didn’t take long to see that it was all a lie – insane! Obviously I no longer go along with any of it, but I am pretty well schooled on how they think. They depend on ignorance, which is why it’s so hard to talk reason with a zionist… as you well know.

    Thanks for this!

  2. And being the curious cat that I am – I had to go and sign up for updates (I like to keep up with what those nuts do, too) and under “Title” or (prefix) there is NO Ms. It’s either Mrs. or Miss. Typical, typical, typical!

    I needed the chuckles this morning! Did you seriously add it to cultwatch? It needs to be added.

  3. Mary Rizzo says:

    @Linda G. Richard
    Hi LInda, thanks for your comments! No, I haven’t added it to cult watch (yet). I believe that they are indeed a cult and even if one just has the most marginal of contact with them, they jump all over you (love bombing) with their mailings. I clicked the box to get their email update, and they treat me like I’m a member of some kind. But, I will look around at a few more cult watch groups and see if the Christian Zionists get a mention somewhere. A few years ago, I found a blog by someone “deprogrammed” from one of these. I asked if I could reprint some of his material on my blog and he never replied, just wish I reprinted it anyway, he knew ALL the tricks in their bag. I shall try to find his blog again, it was very illuminating. He did teach me one thing though, with these people, they don’t want rational argument, or law or history… the only text they think is acceptable is the scriptures. He wrote that this was the only way to fight them. As a matter of fact, in my previous piece on CUFI, I wrote about their Night to Honour Israel and how they reported it in their mailing, (which I got at that time, I guess there was one freebie issue) and they had a Jewish student write about how it was terrific. Read the post here: http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2007/12/christians-united-for-israel-summit-and.html

  4. Einar Schlereth says:

    Hi Mary!
    Wonderful, great. I sent it directly to our Swedish discussion-group.
    Recently I saw (YouTube? Don’t remember) a video on the activities of
    Christian fundamentalists in Iraq. Horrible.
    I would like to make a small criticism regarding (I quote) “I suppose Christian Zionism has abandoned the principles that made Jesus Christ into a univeralist model of love and forgiveness” and that you as an atheist perhaps will estimate. It’s a bible-quotation which very few people know and if you tell them about it (you can try) they call you a liar. Well here it is: Lukas 9/27 (I try a translation but it is better you look it up yourself) But those, my enemies, who don’t want that I shall rule over them bring them on and strangle them before me! By the way: This quotation is “softened” in newer bible-editions!
    So much to the “love” of Jesus. His love concerned his followers – to keep peace among themselves to be strong against “those enemies”. Well – the Christians forgot quickly his advice as you know and happily slaughtered each other. But his other advice they never forgot. The non-believers they killed where-ever they could (if they had the power) and as many they could. Here was Jesus following only the Jewish tradition (read the Old Testament): To kill them all – children, women, men, old and young and even their cattle and all their animals had to be killed. Just like in Gaza nowadays (have you seen the fotos how they killed all the animals in the zoo?).
    Well, dear Mary, I wish you good night.
    With my best regards
    Einar

  5. “2) He says the place turned into a Mega-Church. I wonder if he’s ever been in one. First of all, generally Jewish people do not enter into Christian churches, and if they do, wouldn’t they expect there to be prayer and not political rallies? Instead we have this:”

    ::GUFFAW:: Good catch! There is nothing these people won’t stoop to! I am in an email conversation, let me reword that – was – in a conversation with a zionist. He finally got mad at me and called me some name, I don’t remember which. Like I said, you cannot converse with these people.

    I do remember one thing from my “church/brainwash” days. You never question what you are told. To do so is sin. In fact, I remember them telling me that there is no way to look at the Bible in an intellectual way, and doing so is how the devil works or something like that.

    Anyway.. the only thing these zionists have is PR. They sure seem to have a good handle on that in the western press, though. So.. good for you for combating this! It’s a tough road to hoe, and kudos to you for doing it! Thank you!

    Elnar: Good comment, too!

  6. bozhidar bob balkas says:

    we learn from experience; cultists (religions) learn/know before experiencing ev ents.
    one has to taste and see an apple to learn s’mthing about it.
    one has to hear/see a ‘god’ before one can know it, him, or her. however, if people insist that they see/hear/know a ‘god’, then they must have an extra perceptual sense or a much better/special ‘seeing’.

    i only have 5 senses. so, i plead with godseers, to be patient with me.
    since nearly all or all lands since 10K yrs assumed a fascistoid societal structures, they welcomed the cults as yet another tool for enslavement/enserfment of the peasantry.

    as a strong socialist, i wld hope that socialist lands wld educate people about all cults, including the Dear Leader one; and about starry stars and starlets.
    how sisterly is an actress at those awards wearing $5K dress? it is just arrogance! why rub it in? by saying tacitly, Look at me, i’m s’mbody and you housewife are just an uneducated/undeserving dizzy blonde or darkie. thnx

  7. Shaukat says:

    Religion has nothing to do with what Zionist Jews or Zionist Christians are doing. Both has their personal or political agenda to fulfil. Theodor Herzl started the idea of the so-called “Jewish state” to have a place for European Jews to escape centuries old so-called “anti-Semitism” – but he also confessed in his Dairies that “anti-Semitism” would be a good tool to keep Christian world’s guilty conscience alive. Christian Zionism, on the other hand, is much older than Herzl’s Zionism. Their religious source is Scofield Bible, which was a Jewish Zionist project.

    Once Israeli BB was asked for his opinion about Christian Zionists – “They are evil, but as long as they’re on our side, I don’t mind it,” he replied.

    Both Jew Zionists and Christian Zionists are using each other to meet their end goals. Jew Zionists are using American imperialism to establish One World Government under Jewish domination – while Christian Zionists are helping them to fulfil biblical prophecy – to hasten Christ’s second arrival – during which he will convert Jews to Christianity and whoever refuses to do that will be put to sword.

  8. Mary Rizzo says:

    Thanks everyone for your enlightening comments. I want to respond more completely and will in a day or two… but just wanted to share something very weird.

    my “alter-ego” said she would wish to get occasional mailings from CUFI… one a day is the average.. all of them asking me to do something, telling me how great they are and how powerful, asking me to get my “church” to honour Israel during the sermon on 17 May…

    but today’s mailing was full of their testimonials. This one is particularly.. interesting!

    Subrina Turk, Gainesville, GA
    When we were singing and waving our flags at the Night to Honor Israel, my six year old Katrina Hope Turk turned to me and said, “Mimmy Jesus loves this don’t he?”. I told her that he did and she jumped into a chair to get her flag higher. My father fought in WWII and told stories of the camps he helped liberate. Now to have his granddaughter standing in a chair in Washington D C waving a flag for Israel is just amazing. Thank You!

  9. miri says:

    CUFI has a fb wall, and I used to go there fairly regularly, to post videos of Christian life in occupied Palestine. Apparently, this was too much for them, because they removed the ability to be able to post links directly on their wall, instead of burying them among — sometimes — hundreds of bizarre comments.

    Nonetheless, actually bringing scripture (something a bit more substantial than ‘I will bless those who bless you…’) into the comments does frequently short circuit them enough that they actually shut up.

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