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Transcript of Aum Shinrikyo
a collective name for cults, or sects used by sociologists. Wallis's 3 Kinds of New Religious Movement:
World Affirming Groups: World-affirming movements might not have any rituals or any formal ideology. They may lack most of the characteristics of religious movements. They affirm the world and merely claim to have the means to enable people to unlock their "hidden potential". World-Rejecting Groups - view the prevailing social order as deviant and a perversion of the divine plan. Such movements see the world as evil or at least as materialistic. World Accommodating Movements: draw clear distinctions between the spiritual and the worldly spheres. They have few or no consequences for the lives of adherents. These movements adapt to the world but they do not reject or affirm it. Appeal of New Religious Movement:
Spiritual void - there has been a steep decline in established religion, thus people have looked for alternative belief systems to explain the world and its difficulties.
In the absence of a 'grand narrative' (religion or science), people seek to acquire a personal conceptualisation of the way the world works. This leads to 'spiritual shopping' in which they try out other alternatives until they find a belief system which makes sense to them. Pragmatic Moves:
motivations for people involved in NRM's can be very practical, for example financial success and a happier life. Marginality
Weber pointed out that many people who have been marginilized by society because of status, religion, race etc; have been targeted by NRM's as they try to provide legitimate explanations for their situation. thorugh theology that offers salvation.
This would explain why so many people from ethnic minorities or young social 'drop-outs' have been attracted to joining world rejecting sects. Aum Shinrikyo (currently known as Aleph) is a Japanese cult, listed as a terrorist organization by several countries. The group was founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984
The name "Aum Shinrikyo" ( Ōmu Shinrikyō?) derives from the Sanskrit syllable Aum, which represents the universe, followed by Shinrikyo written in kanji, roughly meaning "religion of Truth". Doctrine
Aum Shinrikyo/Aleph is a syncretic belief system that incorporates parts of Christianity with idiosyncratic interpretations of Yoga, and the writings of Nostradamus.
In 1992 Asahara published a landmark book, and declared himself "Christ", Japan's only fully enlightened master and identified with the "Lamb of God". He wanted to take upon himself the sins of the world, and he claimed he could transfer to his followers spiritual power and ultimately take away their sins and bad works
He outlined a doomsday prophecy, which included a Third World War, and described a final conflict culminating in a nuclear "Armageddon", borrowing the term from the Book of Revelation 16:16.
He also saw dark conspiracies everywhere promulgated by Jews, Freemasons, the Dutch, the British Royal Family, and rival Japanese religions. The movement started as a yoga and relaxation class. It gained the official status as a religious organization in 1989. It attracted such a considerable number of young graduates from Japan's elite universities that it was dubbed a "religion for the elite". To try and get people to join the cult, they tried to attract people by using the 'Aum Salvation plan'. This included claims of curing physical illnesses with health improvement techniques, realising life goals by improving intelligence and positive thinking, and concentrating on what was important at the expense of other life commitments. This was to be accomplished by practicing ancient teachings, accurately translated from original Pali sutras . These efforts resulted in Aum becoming one of the fastest-growing religious groups in Japan's history.
The religion's practices remained shrouded in secrecy. Initiation rituals often involved the use of hallucinogens, such as LSD. Religious practices often involved extreme ascetic practices claimed to be "yoga". These included everything from renunciants being hung upside down to being given shock therapy.[ Incidents Before 1995
late 90's - accused of deception of recruits, holding members against own will, forcing them to donate money
1989 - murder of member who tried to leave
1989 - Sakamato anti-cult lawyer, threatened a lawsuit against them, also recorded an interview for japanese talk show. Network showed interview to the sect , who urged to cancel broadcast. A month later Sakamato, his wife and child went missing. It was found 6 years later that they had been murdered and their bodies dumped.