Are cults still popular? It seems like we used to hear about them a lot more than we do today. Are people more on guard against them than they used to be, or is there some other explanation? — J.T.
Some cults may not be as popular as they once were (or at least in the headlines as much). But others are still active, and new ones seem to spring up all the time. Almost every week, I get letters from people who've gotten involved in a cult or know of someone (such as a family member) who has.
One reason we may not hear as much about cults today is because many people are now reluctant to label anything as "wrong" or "unacceptable"—even extreme new religious ideas or practices. But this overlooks the emotional and social harm that cults often inflict on those who follow them. One characteristic of many cults is that they are led by a strong leader who demands total and absolute obedience from his followers.
I've often asked myself why people become involved in cults. One reason is because down inside we all yearn for God (even if we don't realize it)—and cults promise to satisfy that yearning. And for a time they may deceive people into thinking they've found the answer, or they make them afraid to leave.
In reality, however, only Christ can satisfy our hunger for God, for only He can take away our sins and restore our relationship with God. The Bible says, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18). Have you asked Him to come to live within you, and are you seeking to follow Him every day?