Does Belief in the Biblical Apocalypse Justify Violence or Suicide?
Several sociologists and historians of religion predicted that with the advent of the year 2000, manifestations of millennialism would increase. In the words of religious historian Catherine Wessinger, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Loyola University, in her paper presented to the October 1996 conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Nashville, “This was not a difficult prediction to make. The approach of the new millennium was bound to excite people’s imaginations and hopes, that the limitations of the human condition would be transcended finally.”
Events involving violence in the past decade of groups with a predisposition for suicide have served to draw the attention of the media, sociologists, and law enforcement officials to minority religions with apocalyptic beliefs. The underlying question has been whether such beliefs necessarily lead to or precipitate suicide or acts of violence by their members. Continue reading
The Politics of Religious Persecution
Over the last few decades, there have been an increasing number of cruel attacks on sincere people of many faiths and religions, brushing off their dedication and idealism as an apparent symptom of “brainwashing” or mental or spiritual coercion. The notion that religious leaders are controlling the minds of their members has been dramatized in the media, serving to further popularize the concept. As a result, restrictions on religious liberty have been or are presently being enacted in more and more countries around the world, limiting individual religious freedom, even though such legislation is at odds with most of these countries’ constitutions. Some anti-religionists have also attempted to present such “mind control” theories in courts of law as established scientific fact, despite the fact that “brainwashing” as a concept has been rejected by most of the international academic community. Such efforts, accompanied by intense lobbying by anti-religious sectors, have enabled the “brainwashing” theory to be found nominally acceptable in varying degrees in Western European governmental reports and legislation, though it remains a nebulous concept without clear definition. Continue reading
The Family International’s Child Protection Policy
Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord (The Bible).
Every child deserves a bright future—one of hope and opportunity. As Christians, we believe that human life is sacred, and that every child is a unique being, worthy of respect and dignity. Children are meant to be loved and cherished and to grow up in a healthy, happy environment. Continue reading
Passion for God. We love God with our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. We seek a close personal relationship with Jesus, and to grow in emulating His attributes and living His love. 1
Pursuing God’s Spirit. We desire to know and understand the truth of God’s Word, the essence of His divine nature. We value the foundational principles of the written Word, hearing from God, and following His guidance. 2
Discipleship. We aim to create an atmosphere in which members can follow Jesus according to the personal call He gives them, and enact their commitment to God’s will for their lives. 3 Continue reading
The Family International (TFI) is an international Christian community committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe. We believe that everyone can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, which affords happiness and peace of mind, as well as the motivation to help others and to share the good news of His love. Our fundamental beliefs are generally in accordance with those held by Christians the world over; we also embrace some untraditional doctrines. Our application of the foundation principle of God’s Law of Love that Jesus taught—to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, which He said fulfills “all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40)—is a defining feature of our lives and our faith. Continue reading