Doomsday may be fake but end is near for cult

Source:Global Times Published: 2012-12-20 0:15:05

Recently China detained several core members of the "Almighty God" sect, which has long been listed as a cult by the central authorities and has been particularly active before the predicted Mayan "doomsday." When it comes to the issue of dealing with a cult, the principle of procedure based on the law must be adhered to.

The "Almighty God" sect is an offshoot of "the Shouters" cult, which was founded in the US in the 1960s. The "Almighty God" sect spreads doomsday rumors, claiming that nonbelievers are to be struck by lightning. It requires followers to surrender their property to the sect, and has gathered crowds to create public disturbances in some areas. These activities have disturbed social security.

It should be noted that cults are a global problem. It is reported that the US has more than 2,000 cult organizations. Governments around the world adopt various methods to control these groups and prevent them from growing too large. It is normal for China to witness periodic outbursts of cult influence.

While growing rich economically, the Chinese have increasing demands spiritually, which give these cults added leeway. Meanwhile, modern communication tools and the gradually relaxing social governance in China facilitated their operations.

But these are not the dominant reasons. Fundamentally, dangerous cult groups cannot be thoroughly expelled from an open society. Authorities should keep them under control and crack down regularly.

There have been views in the West that the Chinese government has a "fear" of religion, and that some cults impose "challenges" on China's political situation. They have overestimated these cults. These organizations may create some disturbances to the social order, but they have neither any political future nor the capability to challenge mainstream politics.

The largest cult that China has ever witnessed is the Falun Gong. But the Chinese government ultimately dealt with the group in a smooth manner, and the crackdown campaign did not ignite political controversy throughout society.

As for the issue of "the lack of belief" in Chinese society, it is indeed a long-term problem. But cults, despite the fact that they can deceive some Chinese, always have bad reputations and can't take on the world of religious belief.

The problem of a "lack of belief" can only gradually be addressed in China's development. Religion has played an unpredictable role in China's history, and currently it is impossible to empower one certain belief with the strength to lead all of society. This is not something that can be solved through government input.

We do not fear evil cults, but we cannot just let them grow at will. The Falun Gong has continued its activities overseas in recent years, but its general decline is inevitable. China already has the experience it gained from tackling the Falun Gong; other cults like the "Almighty God" sect will have even less chance to gain a foothold.

Posted in: Observer

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