TODAY’S ROGUE MESSIAHS
False prophets, charlatans, self appointed messianic leaders and their like have, throughout history, misled the vulnerable into destruction and depravity. Colin Wilson has written an excellent examination of such fakers in his book ‘Rogue Messiahs’ in which he offers insights into some recent cases. One thing that many of these intellectually distorted so called spiritual leaders have in common is the misuse and abuse of The Bible, often using selected scripture to support their personal messages. The problem is that frequently the messages are not of the love thy neighbour nature but more often of hell fire and damnation for none believers. In this short essay I will be arguing that we should all be aware that rogue messiahs come in many guises and we can all be vulnerable to their misguided manipulations.
When we think of manic messianic leaders we may have in mind obviously twisted individuals such as the Rev. Jim Jones who was responsible for poisoning his followers at the self created village; Jonestown. Or David Koresh who sexually abused and degraded his initiates before many of them perished with him in the flames of his Waco, Texas ranch. Both these rouge messiahs used The Bible to justify their deranged behaviour. There are more like them in the world today using so called Holy Scriptures to bemuse, mesmerise and ultimately control their victims. As I write there has just been a modern day would be messiah convicted of a terrorist offence for preaching hatred on the streets of London. Trevor Brooks, also known as Abu Izzadeen was found guilty at Kingston Crown Court of supporting terrorism. He actually said ‘Allah gave mujahideen chance to kill the American’ whilst attempting to raise money to support attacks on British and USA troops in Afghanistan. However, he actually killed no one and the argument made in support of what he said is that coalition forces are actually killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The use of the name of God, Allah, Jehovah etc. to justify war or jihad as some term it is common and really an accepted practice. Historically God’s will etc. has been the excuse used by leaders to explain to the people who will actually be doing the fighting that their cause is just and right. Centuries ago Britain staged The Crusades, which were conducted, supposedly, to free the so called Holy Land from the infidels or none believers. The more likely truth is that it must have seemed quite a fantastic adventure to go plundering a foreign country and kill for the thrill of killing. It is happening today.
Recently there was a great commotion in the media about Prince Harry going with the Army to Afghanistan. I watched in astonishment as the rights and wrongs of this were debated on the SKY TV News channel and the presenter actually said ‘Of course he should go, he’ll have great fun’. Now that is the awful truth of it. There are people in positions of authority in this country and indeed I believe in all countries, believing that war is fun. War is in fact about death, about murdering, maiming and disabling human beings for gain. There is no other way to look at war, it is hell on earth and it can only be viewed as fun by the morally and intellectually bankrupt.
Today throughout the world there are self appointed rouge messiahs that are preaching to their followers that the murder of those that do not follow their very specific religious beliefs is God’s will. Or Allah’s will or Jehovah’s will or whatever name they have. Nothing has changed in that respect as killing seems to be at the top of most divine beings wish list. That strikes me as strange as if God etc. made everything why would he want to destroy his creation? It can not be argued that it is because many of his children deny him and follow a false faith as there are countless places on this Earth that have never heard of Christianity or Judaism or even the Islamic faith for that matter. Somewhere in Iceland, Outer-Mongolia or perhaps even Timbuktoo there will exist someone who has no knowledge of religion. In fact there is someone you know who is exactly like that, they will however be just a few months old.
My argument is that it does not have to be a religious fanatic thumping a Bible or a copy of the Koran etc. to lead vulnerable people into committing acts of atrocity. It can be someone who appears on the surface to be perfectly rational who is in fact a rouge messiah. All that is required is that the people believe in them. Their followers then accept that what they say is the truth and they will act on it without question. Today’s most dangerous rouge messiahs do exist but they may do so behind an acceptable façade of responsible respectability.
In the not too distant past one such rogue messiah was Hitler. I have lived in Germany and the people are wonderfully warm hearted and friendly. Yet one man, a messianic maniac, persuaded the good German people to commit the most heinous atrocities in the concentration camps such as Auschwitz or Belsen. In the UK during the Falklands conflict our navy sank an Argentine battleship called the Belgrano, many hundreds of innocent young Argentinian conscripts drowned and our then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, welcomed the horror saying ‘Rejoice, Rejoice’ as if we the people of Britain should glory in this mass murder. Indeed The Sun ‘newspaper’ did just that with its infamous headline ‘GOTCHA’ above a photograph of the stricken ship. It made me feel physically sick.
We should always question our leaders, they have no divine rights, they are simply human beings doing what should be a professional job of work. When we stop thinking that our appointed Government might be wrong we are in trouble. Our Government has openly admitted it was wrong about WMD in Iraq, but they now tell us that getting rid of the so-called dictator Sadam Hussain was worth all the death and destruction caused by invading that sovereign land. As I write 48 people have just been blown apart at a funeral to the north of Baghdad. In all it is officially estimated that over 150,000 people have been killed in this war that our elected leaders started on a false pretext without reference to us. Our unthinking silence is our acquiescence. By doing and saying nothing we allow today’s rogue messiahs to mislead us on the pathway to infamy endangering our immortal souls. It has happened before.
Rogue Messiahs by Colin Wilson is published by Hampton Roads ISBN 1-57174-175-5. I