The Jonestown Massacre: Religion Is The Cause Of War

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There is great controversy over whether or not religion is the cause of the war and terror that exists in the world today. While some agree and some disagree, one thing that can usually be agreed on is that fanatics are a big influential factor of the religious issues that the current world faces. From the Westboro Baptist Church to ISIS, religion has influenced the negative actions of many people, people who believed that they need to allocate their beliefs for the good of the world.

One of the most famous examples of religious fanaticism (though if it was done in the name of a religion is continually debated) was the Jonestown Massacre (also known as Jonestown Mass Suicide, humorously dubbed as the “Kool-Aid Massacre”). The Jonestown Massacre
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If you think of me as your God, I’ll be your God”. The Peoples Temple originated in Indianapolis, Indiana during the mid-1950s, where it was originally a mix of Christianity and Marxism, and the church claimed to practice “apostolic socialism”. Due to criticism, Jones moved the congregation to Redwood Valley, CA, then to San Francisco, CA, then finally to Guyana, South America, where he purchased land and named the town after himself ("Jonestown.”). The Peoples Temple, as well as Jones himself, relied entirely on the loyalty of the members. In the PBS documentary, Neva Sly Hargrave and Joyce Shaw-Houston (former Peoples Temple members) told producers about one of Jones’ “loyalty” tests. “Jim started talking about our cause and he said, “This punch is going to be passed out to everybody here.” We all drank our punch and then he said, “You just drank poison. And we will all die, right here in the church, together as one.” The women were just screaming, “Oh no, my baby, my baby,” and others just sat there. And all of a sudden, Jim says, “That wasn’t poison you drank,” ... Jim said that this was a test of loyalty. He just wanted to see if we were truly committed to our cause, and that was how we would show it.” (Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple.). …show more content…
Heaven’s Gate was a UFO Religious Millenarian group led by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles. Heaven’s Gate members believed that the earth was about to be “recycled”, and the only way to survive was the leave immediately. They believed that their human bodies were only “vessels”, and while they were said to be against suicide, they defined suicide in their own terms as “to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered" (“Heaven’s Gate (Religious Group)”). A belief of the group was that in order to be able to leave for the Next Level, one had to shed everything that made them human. This meant their friends, family, jobs, possessions, money, individuality, and even their sexuality (autopsies showed that several of the men had underwent castration prior to committing suicide, as they believed they’d live a “genderless life” once they reached the Next Level.) Around the time of March 19-20, Applewhite (also referred to as “Do”) recorded a video titled Do’s Final Exit, where he spoke about how their upcoming suicide was the only way to evacuate earth. On a humorous note, the previous year, the group purchased up to $10,000 worth of Alien Abduction Insurance for all 50 members. On March 26th, 1997, 39 members of Heaven’s Gate ingested Phenobarbital mixed with applesauce and vodka, as well as had tied plastic bags around their heads to induce asphyxiation. Every member was dressed in identical

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