A Critical Analysis of Symbolism and Religious and Cult Behavior

Vigilant Citizen is well known for articles revealing the symbolism of the “Illuminati” or, putting it another way, the global elite’s cult beliefs which are permeating our culture in the form of the all-seeing eye symbolism, etc. As pointed out, there are many examples of this – it can hardly be denied that this symbolism is very much real and very pervasive throughout pop culture. However, there are other cults whose symbols are actually even more prevalent and more intrusive throughout our society, and in the interest of being totally fair and honest about using religious iconography and cult-like tactics, they should be brought up as well – for calling one group out for their subversive control and blatant placement of symbolism and desire to control the population without doing the same for another group who, for whatever personal reasons is not considered to be harmful (which this author completely and wholeheartedly disagrees) is hypocritical and not honest in the sphere of inquiry.

In the realm of spiritual iconography, use of symbolism, and control of the masses, there are many competing groups which all try to capture the hearts and minds of people. Many of these groups have been around for millennia, and regardless of what deity the group represents, the tactics are all very similar. The basic template that all religions or cults use for control of their adherents is the same, regardless of the particulars of the religion. They all start with an admission of belief. This belief is the first and foremost requirement for any religious group. Without this admission of belief there is no religion. Various religious groups and cults all have differences which vary from geographical location or culture to culture, and they all claim to have the “real truth” as opposed to their competing groups – yet they all share one common thread – they all demand a belief in a deity.

The deity that a particular group demands loyalty and belief to is fairly inconsequential from the standpoint of cult behavior – they all have their differences, but the result is the same. The number one demand, the price of admission, the Raison d’être – is belief in the group’s signature deity. There is no way around this, no substitute, and swift and very harsh retribution will befall anyone in the group who does not actively worship the deity represented, even up to and including expulsion (and in earlier times and tribal cultures, even death).

So, from the standpoint of what makes a religion or cult, the first and most adamant requirement is belief. This poses a very serious problem to anyone who requires some form of logical, rational proof of something before willingly giving over their belief – because admitting belief in a deity means that you admit there is something more powerful than you that is “in control” – and by admitting your belief, you have voluntarily given up control to that deity. By giving your allegiance and control to a deity which can’t be directly communicated to (and by direct I mean actual conversation such as we have with other humans, back and forth and audible) you are opening the floodgates for any number of people, books or stories which purport to “know” what this deity wants for you, or what it demands of you.

Because of this requirement of belief and subsequent lack of proof regarding the existence of the deity, something must be substituted for proof that is able to bypass the logical and rational functioning of a person’s mind in favor of giving over their belief. After all, if someone told you that a pink elephant told you to hand over all your money otherwise you would die within a week (and that they were the authorized collector for said elephant) you would demand proof – you would want to see or hear or otherwise have some proof of this elephant’s existence before handing over your hard earned cash. This is where all religion moves from being a relatively harmless shared group delusion into harmful cult behaviors. Because it is widely known that people usually will require proof of the existence of something, there must be a way for those who wish to make someone believe in a deity to short-circuit the rational, logical brain. This technique is rooted in what the Greeks called Pathos. Emotion. Plain and simple emotion.

In the absence of proof regarding a deity (it matters not which one, but we’ll get into that a bit later) the leaders of a religion or cult will substitute a huge helping of emotion and guilt in order to gain your belief and submission to their deity. The biggest technique (and the most effective) is to tell you that if you don’t believe, you will be forever “damned” by this deity – which means you will either be cursed somehow during your lifetime, or in the next (another un-provable notion, the idea of an “afterlife”). By playing upon your fear of the unknown and your fear of powers you can’t possibly understand or comprehend fully (due to the deity being beyond direct comprehension or communication) you are manipulated into giving over your belief, and your submission (that’s the important part). Interestingly though, the deity in question never tells you directly what you must do – it is always through a human intermediary – someone who supposedly knows the deity better than you, or some book supposedly written by this deity directly (or old, wise men who talked with the deity directly and wrote it all down – before the deity stopped talking directly to humans, of course!)

If you are starting to think this sounds like a cheap con game, you are getting the picture. Requiring belief in something without proof is the key which has allowed humans to be conned, controlled, manipulated and otherwise brainwashed since before the time of ancient Mesopotamia and since man first saw lightning and heard thunder, claiming it to be “from the gods”. It is a simple but completely and utterly effective means of controlling the masses. If you can get someone to believe in a God (your God, of course) you can control them. It’s that simple. The saddest part of all is that everyone is willing to understand this about other people’s Gods – however they will adamantly and bullishly argue (sometimes to the point of death) for their God.

Now that we have set the stage, I want to return to the basic fundamental idea of “Illuminati” control and symbolism – because it is directly related to all I have just said above. Whether it’s the all-seeing eye, or the skull and crossbones, or the square and compass, or the cross – the idea is the same. These symbols are direct representations of the deity that is to be revered/worshipped/submitted to. It is somewhat ironic and hypocritical to point to one cult or religious group and say “look, those symbols are BAD, they are an EVIL group, they are doing EVIL things” and yet not point out that same behavior in other, more socially accepted religious or cult groups. In essence, ALL religious belief is cultic, and ALL religions are cults. There’s an old joke among religious institutions that basically says that the difference between a cult and religion is the size of the group! Humorous as that may be, there is truth in that statement – no group ever calls itself a cult. That is always reserved for the other groups, never their own. Yet, they all share the similarities I have described above, first and foremost. And, they all share a common use of prevalent symbolism to further brainwash and keep their adherents in line.

I know, I can hear you saying… BUT WAIT!! My group is different! We don’t worship Satan, or use death symbols, or try to control people – we are a religion of LOVE! Our God is a God of LOVE! How DARE you talk about MY God in the same way you speak of those nasty cults and brainwashing religions! I understand your sentiment. I really do! However, in the interest of being honest and fair, it must be admitted that ALL religions and cults use the same basic formula, and I will describe it in very simple terms. Again, you shout – BUT WAIT!! MY GOD WALKED THE EARTH! He became FLESH! He DIED for US! As romantic and wonderful as that sounds, in all of history there is no actual proof for these events from a historical point of view. Although many apologists for various faiths will argue endlessly about this, the historical record and proofs of Jesus or Mohammed or any other “God-men” actually existing and walking the earth is sadly lacking, amounting to just a handful of (very likely forged or interpolated) paragraphs in the historical record, written years after the supposed events took place – in some cases, hundreds of years. (We aren’t talking about the texts supposedly promoting the faith itself, such as the Bible or the Talmud – those are excluded from the discourse because they are not part of the actual historical record of the time). In addition, there are mythological stories of other God-men going back for thousands of years that are so similar to the purported story of Christ or Mohammed or Moses that to try to separate the story from actual history is impossible – and also suspicious from a rational point of view. If there are stories dating back hundreds or even thousands of years that all mirror later stories of dying/rising again God-men, how can we believe with absolute certainty that the latter actually happened, instead of being an amalgamation of previous stories, sanctioned by the prevailing political/religious authorities in power at the time? The fact is, we can’t. And because of that, it’s enough reason to not give over your own personal submission to authority if it can’t be logically, historically and reasonably proven as unique, divine, and true. Giving up your own decision making and your own logical reasoning and thought to another who claims divine authority is too big a price to pay!

The formula for any religion or cult is as follows: There is a God/Deity. He/She/It made you. You are inferior to He/She/It. Not only that, you owe them a debt for your creation. Because you owe them, you must obey. You must worship. If you don’t, there will be hell to pay (some horrible form of retribution). That’s it. Fairly simplified, but that’s really the whole formula, and it’s been used for thousands of years to great effect. That formula, simplified even more, is known as the Problem/Solution model. You owe a debt, and the only way to pay is through your submission – but thankfully, paying is so easy! All you have to do is give up your rational thought and believe! Have faith! It’s easy, maybe – but it’s never that easy. There’s always more to do. There’s always another reason you have to give more. There’s always a catch. You’re saved through grace – but wait – grace without works is not valid! So start giving. Start working, preaching, bringing others to the fold. You must not only believe, but SHARE your belief and convince others! You are never finished. You are never to quit doing as you are told. You are never “free”. It’s always a master/slave relationship, and you are the slave!

Do you believe there is any difference fundamentally between the symbol of the cross and the all-seeing eye? There really isn’t much difference. They both represent deity, and they both represent a veiled threat to those who don’t believe. They are both ever-present in our society, and they both are used to promote obedience. You see crosses literally everywhere – on every street corner, on top of buildings, in hospitals, churches, and more. The symbol of the cross is, first and foremost, a symbol of death – and it represents the death of Christ on the cross. It reminds Christians of Christ’s death and resurrection – but yet it still also represents death, and subtly reminds those not of Christ that death awaits them if they do not believe. Before the mid first century the cross was not the representation of Christ as a symbol. The cross was adopted by the Catholic church and used as a symbol of submission. It is interesting that worldwide, people use the crucified Jesus symbol to represent Christianity and not one of resurrection or life. It is a death symbol, pure and simple – and as such it holds power over people’s imaginations and minds, just as the all-seeing eye symbol does. In fact, you will see some representations of the cross with the all-seeing eye directly above it – and in Christian churches! If that doesn’t underscore what I’m saying, nothing does.

Have you ever wondered why religion is granted tax-free status in the United States? Despite all lip service to separation of church and state, this one aspect of our governmental policy is a blatant disregard for this separation. It is because through the use of religion, governments in times of “crisis” can rely on religious institutions to help control the masses and keep people in line. There is no other reason for this relationship. In times of crisis governments can call on religious institutions who have taken advantage of this tax-free status to do their bidding – and they do. The idea of deity is actively promoted as well on our money, and through our elected officials. You will be hard-pressed to find any politician who admits to being a non-believer, and in fact the idea of God is used over and over in elections to sway the masses of believers.

While the severity of brainwashing and/or punishments that are inflicted upon believers of various groups is markedly different between groups, the techniques of guilt and demand of submission to the group are no different. Whether it’s Jesus or Satan or Mohammed Lucifer or Baal or Zeus or any other deity, the game is the same – only the severity of punishment for infractions and specific techniques of worship are different. And, the promise of reward varies from group to group as well – heaven for Christians, 72 virgins for Muslim fighters, authority in Hell for Satan worshippers, whatever – the promise of eternal reward is just another way of getting people to believe and stay submissive to the deity.

It’s interesting that Christian belief holds its most disdain and vitriol not for Satan worshippers, but for Atheists. There is a reason for this. Satan worshippers believe in a deity – just not the right one. They can very possibly be turned, they can fairly easily be shown that they are “wrong” in their belief, by playing upon their heart and desire to do good as opposed to being evil or believing in the power of evil/Satan. Same with Jewish believers, or believers of any other competing faith. However, when it comes to Atheists – they are the biggest threat to Christians or any faith – because they don’t just say “I don’t believe in your God” – they say that they don’t believe in ANY god. It’s not only a challenge to a specific deity, but a challenge to the very basis of religious belief that is the issue. Atheism strikes at the very heart of the religious paradigm. So while Christians may show a fair amount of hatred toward other competing groups (such as the “Illuminati” or other competing faiths) they hold their highest level of hatred and disgust toward atheists. In fact, many Christians don’t make a distinction between Satan worshippers and atheists – to them they are equal in both how wrong they are, and how much God/Jesus hates them.

While on the subject of hate, I want to briefly point out that while religions all like to carry the banner of love, that in fact religious belief promotes the exact opposite toward anyone who does not submit and believe. Religious belief promotes hatred, and it is no more evident than in our society right now. Religion gives people an excuse to exercise and focus their anger and hate – and they point it toward other religious groups, or people that choose not to believe, or who won’t believe in certain ideologies such as hatred of homosexuals, hatred of Jews, hatred of abortion, or many other forms of institutionalized beliefs or demands. It is not enough to just accept each other as fellow humans and to have respect for each other and allow each other to live life as they see fit so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else – religious belief always includes a fair amount of bigotry and hatred toward other groups who do not subscribe to their ways. This is the basis of war, the basis of unrest on this earth, and why we will never have peace on this planet while religions are allowed to control the minds of their followers. Many might not agree with this, but nevertheless the facts are facts – and religion has been the cause of the worst violence in human history. While atheism is blamed for atrocities as well, the fact is that atheism is not a belief system, and is not the cause of those atrocities even as it may have been blamed for such. Atheism was not the reason for such atrocities, which were political in nature. However, there are scores of examples of war being committed over whose God is the right one, i.e. my god is bigger than your god.

So, while we might want to point the finger at groups using “satanic” symbolism to control the media and minds of Americans or around the globe and cry loudly about how wrong or evil they are, we might need to also take a step back and realize that, to a very large degree, all religions are actively trying to do the same thing – the only difference is how much overt control over the population they are actively promoting or willing to admit, and the perceived harm or good they are doing. The bottom line is, a cult is a cult, and if you worship a deity, you are part of one. Just because you believe it’s the right one doesn’t make it any less of a cult, nor does it mean you are morally any more correct. Just because you think your group is promoting “goodness” or “righteousness” is irrelevant. Every group believes they are right – and will go to extreme lengths to claim “righteousness” due to “divine authority”. Again, just because you claim your deity is doing what is right from your perspective does not mean it’s literally true – and because nobody’s deity seems to be coming out of hiding for a chat with our planet to set the record straight, the views or ancient writings of one group over another are really not a valid reason to give up our freedom and submit or obey.

My point in this article is not to disparage any particular faith – but to try to point out that pointing the finger at a religious group purporting to be “evil” while claiming to be morally superior on religious grounds is disingenuous at best. Before we can rid the planet of evil cults we will have to rid the planet of all cults – because at their core, all cults and religious institutions rely on one thing – unquestioning submission. Whether it’s Christianity or Judaism or Muslim or Hindu or even an unquestioning belief in the righteousness of a living individual as opposed to a God – the price is the same… unquestioning belief and submission in their authority. So before you stand on moral high ground and claim your beliefs are absolutely right and that another group’s are completely and totally wrong, make sure you take a good look at just how your group goes about spreading your version of the truth – you may find that you have more in common than you think.

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