We’ve all looked at people who join cults and looked down at them from some superior plane of knowledge.
“How could they fall for that?
Don’t they know better?
Can’t they see through this guy’s lies?”
You watch the Netflix series Waco, or a documentary on Scientology and begin to see consistent themes. Why do people join cults? The answer is multifaceted but consistent:
- Something is lacking in their lives
- The leader promises them some sort of fulfillment
- They want to better themselves
- They feel some inherent lack in themselves and this offers wholeness
- They feel cut off from other people and want community
The list goes on. None of these things are terribly surprising.
Last night, I was in the shower—the place I do some of my best thinking—when I realized that there is a gigantic cult we have all fallen for.
You and me. Everyone we know.
And very few people have woken up to it.
Because when you fall for a cult, you become brainwashed. You lose touch with reality. People try to talk you out of it, to show you the light, to wake you up, but it’s incredibly difficult to undo the brainwashing.
It’s global. It pulls on Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and atheists alike.
We all are told that our lives could be better and we can finally be fulfilled IF…
But everyone who has joined; everyone who has gone all-in with this cult has come up lacking. Many people make it to the highest ranks of this cult and regret it. No one has ever looked back and said, “Yah, I’m glad I spent my life pursuing this.”
It’s commercialism. Capitalism.
It’s every commercial we’ve ever seen, working together to promise us a better life and fill the holes inside of us.
Are you lacking community? Buy this fitness program or these clothes and YOU could looks as happy as these models who are paid to smile and hug each other.
Feel like your life is too difficult when you’re home? Maybe you just need this new and improved Swiffer, or this new hi-tech gadget that completes your home once and for all…
There is no single great leader heading up this cult, but many. It’s more of a spirit than a man. The spirit of higher profits, salesmanship, fooling people into buying what you’re hocking. And why do they buy? Because this spirit of MORE has promised that ‘it’ will solve their problems.
‘It’ can be a new car which will make you suave like Matthew McConaughey in a Lincoln.
‘It’ is whatever new protein powder will carve up your body like Adonis so you can finally feel at home in it.
Want to know how successful this cult is at getting you to look where it wants you to? Look at diamonds, chocolate, clothes, coffee. The list goes on.
I rant on diamonds often, but for good reason. People have bitten into this cult of consumerism hook, line, and sinker so much that they can’t imagine a marriage without a diamond ring. Why can’t they? Because an advertisement told them so in 1938.
Despite the fact that over 3 million people have died in the last 20 years as a result of the diamond trade, many Westerners can’t get past the idea that a diamond is necessary for marriage!
Think about how quickly you breezed over that statistic.
3 million humans.
3 million of your nieces and nephews and students.
3 million sons and daughters.
If you think your little rock is more important than 3 million humans made in God’s image, what further proof do you need that you’ve fallen for this cult of advertising? If they can bend your mind into thinking this shiny crystal is worth more than a single human life, then they are a cult on par with the power of Islam’s Jihad. (For a more full post on why you should avoid diamonds, read my post here)
This cult has been lying to you and brainwashed you into believing that this thing is necessary for a wedding, and that new piece of clothing will make you finally feel good about yourself…more than the one they sold you last year.
Come out of Plato’s Capitalist Cave. Realize that fulfillment is not found in buying more and more, until you’ve finally arrived.
Above I mentioned that many people have reached the top of this cult and still felt empty. How many people have gotten filthy rich, bought everything they’ve wanted, and felt satisfied?
“I finally bought enough stuff and then my life was fulfilled,” said no one ever.
Jim Carrey famously said that he wishes everyone could get everything they want, all the money, everything…just to realize it won’t satisfy them. After all, were there people who were satisfied in life throughout history who didn’t have a smartwatch or a Tesla? Why, then, do you think you can’t be happy until you have one?
What’s your reaction when you see an advertisement? Do you allow it to place a new desire in you which wasn’t there before? Do you let it carry you along and tell you what you need?
If so, you may be brainwashed by this cult.
I imagine aliens watching us the same way we watch people in other cults. They see us looking at our phones and TVs which tell us what to buy, and laugh the same way we mock the followers of David Koresh. “How could their little screens control so much of their life!? Their pursuit of happiness and joy? Their money and time? It keeps promising it to them but never delivers! It’s like Jim Jones on steroids.”
Jesus had some words for people who had been carried away by similar ideas. In Rome there was a cult of Caesar, and you worshiped the emperor by giving him your taxes, your annual pinch of incense, and your devotion. Jesus was asked whether His followers should pay taxes to Caesar, and His response is profound.
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s; give to God what is God’s.”
You don’t belong to Caesar, this massive political cult. But you use his roads, his water supply, and so on. So give him a few coins, but keep your soul. Give yourself to God. Give yourself in service to others made in the image of God.
We all need clothes. We all need food. We all need certain things to continue to exist. But own them, don’t let them own you. Don’t let the advertisers own your desires, and by extension, your soul. You want to better yourself? Go for a run. Eat kale instead of Doritos. Read more and scroll less. Don’t fall for the bait.
If someone else profits off of your desires (or the desires they put in you), then you’re in trouble.
Wake up from the cult.
Resist the desires commercials try to place inside you.
May we let Christ free our minds from the reins of this cult, especially in the Christmas season when we are especially susceptible to this avarice.
This is very insightful Ethan. In the last book of the Bible, two great entities are described as “Mystery Babylon” (Revelation 17, 18). The first is a universal religious system and the second a world-wide cabal of money, commerce, trade, banking. This duo draws together universal human behavioral patterns that are archetypal—default modes in a world where our Lord Jesus is unwelcome. God must intervene soon to save us from self-destruction. Everyone is religious and everyone loves money.
simple things move a week.
a bunch babies murdered raises up a nation.
losing a coat hangs a baker.
a yellow cow lifts a bronze snake.
a torn curtain makes a tongue speak.
a drop of rain gathers a zoo.
a barbecue in rome burns down a temple in jerusalem.
a bleeding temple resurrects an eternal ark.
a departing ghost ushers in a holy kingdom.
a two pieces of wood, 3 nails and a spear touches the hand of god.
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
Great article. Except for the kale. I’ve tried, but I just can’t be part of the kale cult.
This is so good! Insightful! And oh, so true!
There is a real spirit of mammon that entices us. We must recognize and master it or it masters us. You make some good points here.
It’s called the world, not a cult. Your only intention here to get others to join your cult.
Something is lacking in their lives
The leader promises them some sort of fulfillment (This is what you do for a living)
They want to better themselves
They feel some inherent lack in themselves and this offers wholeness
They feel cut off from other people and want communit
By definition, the business you own and operate is a cult. You can copy and paste “Jesus” onto everything you do, but it doesn’t make it so.
Jesus all ready covered this, “He saidBut lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”
Seems pretty simple even to unlearned simpleton like me.
Stop paraphrasing and plagiarizing Jesus to make a living.
May I suggest it’s the ol’ green-eyed monster…NOT “Capitalism” in and of itself. “Capitalism” is not a “cult”, but rather a misused means of financial order that promotes one to strive for improvement of one’s self. AND therein lies the problem — the inner self that seeks satisfaction at the cost of harm to another… “Capitalism” is simply a tool used by some to further the green-eyed monster’s quest for power and control. IMO, you could just as well make a case that it is a cult in any number of other world systems of group manipulation and control… from the emperors of Rome to today’s governmental overstep and quest of power that we’re experiencing today, especially right here in the United States, with Congress and it’s castle overflowing with green-eyed monsters!!! Take away capitalism and replace it with socialism… and only the name changes, but not the green-eyed monsters’ quest for greed and power…. Calling “Capitalism” a cult merely attempts to redirect where the actual issue exists… IMO.