Two themes I found throughout these essays included the views of the cults towards society as a whole and views pertaining to governmental tyranny. The Millennial attitudes of all these groups focus on catastrophic occurrences and how they can survive in the oncoming new world.
The two themes of social and government evil evoking the new world seem intertwined in many of the cults. However, I find an example of cultural blame being the underlying factor of groups/cults such as those described in ‘Millenarians ; Violence, The case of the Christian Identity Movement’ to particularly attribute the evils of the world to the Jews. Although these groups criticize government and believe it to be satanic, I do not believe this criticism is valid for it is based on their theory of Zog. Instead of representing government as the problem, they refer to some underlying controlling group of Jews known as the Zionist Occupation Government. This fact enables me to regard their oncoming apocalypse due to governments evil tyranny because they are basing it on a racial presumption. Therefore, I contend these groups base their beliefs of Millenialism on the sole fact that Jews and non-whites are the ultimate evil that must be fought in the tribulation. For this reason I find their blame or reason for Millenialism to be founded on social/racial factors. These groups focus on a war between good and evil, which breaks down to white/good and Jew, non-white/evil. These beliefs lead many of these groups to a militant sort of lifestyle focusing on withdrawal from society and a self-sufficient focus. With the oncoming tribulation at hand, they stockpile weapons and food, as well as other amenities, in order to battle with the evil forces around them until judgement day cometh and they can be saved by the return of Jesus and join him in the new Utopian world of 1,000 years of peace following the Rapture.
The more prominent blame of government tyranny evoking apocalypse that I found throughout the essays is a theme I believe in. However, I find these cults to be somewhat psychotic in their views and beliefs. For instance, peoples such as the Branch Dividians, I see no harm in letting these small groups build a commune and shelter themselves from the norms of American life. After all, I see everything they did as the American way (I’m not saying morally I agree with all of their actions), for the most part they wanted to practice their beliefs in a small community. Collecting weapons is a constitutional right given to us in order to keep government in check, yet it was the main reason our government preyed upon these people, leading to the fulfillment of Koresh’s prophecy. Here was an example of a cult who believed the Babylonian power of U.S. government wanted to take over the world by force and institute a slave like world socialistic government. Koresh, for them, seemed to decipher Revelation scripture explaining the seven seals, and had them believing Armaggedon was at hand and they must battle the evil Babylonians in the cosmic struggle of good and evil. This battle would bring Gods Kingdom to earth and even in death they would be saved, for they will sit righteously in the eyes of God. With these apocalyptic beliefs it is no wonder why these otherwise peaceful people reacted in the way they did, defending their righteous sanctuary in the eyes of their God, against the evil Babylonian empire. Government as the underlying theme of apocalypse in this cult, turned out to be a fulfilled prophecy in the eyes of the Branch Dividians.
All of the essays focused on catastrophic occurrences in the new world and how to prepare for survival. Some thought eternal spiritual existence was the answer, such as the Solar Temple cult. They seemed to participate in a mass suicide ritual believing their internal energys would transcend into a new, better world. Other cults like the Aum Shinrikyo developed a system of becoming self-sufficient in all areas; from education to medicine, and priesthood to science/technology. This group sought survival by extending survivalism to areas most survivalists do not focus on.
In the extent of survivalism and government tyranny, I agreed with some of the groups mentioned, mostly that of the Soldiers of Fortune. I agree in so far as being prepared for the fall of industrial society and /or governmental oppression. Where I differ with all of these groups is the fact that each and every one of them seem to single out peoples based on race or religious backgrounds and place blame on these groups of individuals; whereas, my blame is on those who believe they are better than others as well as those people who believe their claims to this world/land are greater than anyone elses.