Aum Shinkyria Essay, Research Paper
There are, literally, thousands of cults in existence throughout the world today. From Christianity and other religious spin-offs to entirely new religions, they are everywhere. And they all have one common goal: a utopia for all of it s members. A place where the people who are devoted can go and feel at peace with themselves and with the world. Where they have no worries or cares to make their shoulders heavy. I have focused on a man who started a cult with that objective, and ended up creating mass panic and murder everywhere. That man s name is Shoko Asahara, who started the cult named Aum Shinrikyo.
Asahara was a partially blind boy born into a very poor family in China. Throughout his entire life he had one solitary goal – to become a leader of some sort. This started from an early age, when he would run for class and school president every year in elementary, middle, and secondary school. Being the unusual boy he was, he would constantly be declined presidency, as the other children feared his political standpoint and his threats.
According to Marty Butz, a writer for a prominent occult magazine, perhaps still ambitious for leadership, Asahara realized his own divine appointment and religious calling. While performing his normal religious routine, Asahara claimed to have been visited by the Hindu God Shiva. He also began to inform people that he had been given special powers that allowed him to do such things as levitate, see the future, read people s minds, make his wishes come true, see through solid objects, enter the fourth dimension, talk to God, etc. He pulled together a large following by leafleting and street corner proselytizing. He also had computer, book, and noodle stores in which he would recruit members. By recruit I am of course referring to Asahara drugging and brainwashing a person into believing that Asahara was their king. He had begun the Aum Shinrikyo.
At first this cult was to be a change from what Asahara felt was a grim situation in China to that of a Utopia. However, this got wildly out of hand almost immediately. First, Asahara went to the government to ask for official religious corporation status. This gave him and his cult protection from taxes, from government, and from the law in general. They were free to do what they want, and this went to Asahara s head. He felt so confident in this new status that he had a longtime dream of his followed through. He permanently silenced a lawyer named Sakamoto and his family who had been fighting against the cult since its beginnings.
The situation would get progressively worse throughout time. After running for Prime Minister, and being brutally defeated, he started violent attacks on society. His cult began creating weapons of mass destruction, and began murdering more and more people. The final straw was when the Aum tear-gassed the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 and injuring 5000 others. The government moved in and shut the whole operation down.
So cults form everywhere and everyday. They form with high hopes, good intentions, and a dream for a Utopian society. But they almost all fail, sadly.