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DR DANIEL MUTEGI GITI:Unbundling the cults and their practices- debunking the myths

The cultic happenings at Shakahola in Malindi, Kilifi County requires that we educate our people, who also need lots of teachings. The word “preach” is repeated in the Bible 150 times and the word “teach” appears 250 times, meaning God want more of teachings than preaching so that people can understand the real picture of the Gospel. 
The National Police Service and Shakahola residents load the exhumed bodies of the victims of a cult belonging to Pastor Paul Mackenzie Nthenge into a truck./COURTESY 

The prophet Hosea writing in Hosea 4:6, a book dated 760 to 720 BC (Before Christ) says that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” -NKJV.

Cults are spreading because of lack of knowledge by our people. Many have rejected knowledge and will gather around foolish teachings and discussions. 

It is Paul writing to Timothy in 67 AD (After the Death of Christ) in 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” -NIV. 

Cults and occultism are a global issue and has been with humanity ever since civilizations and communal living of people began.  Cults possess unusual beliefs and tend to live in relative isolation from the outside world, coalescing around a charismatic cult leader. The leader makes certain orders and alters the beliefs, behaviour and customs of the members. 

Cults may be seen as de facto religion while some may be irreligious. Some of the things that cults prohibit people from include education, health, wealth and use of technology including prescription on the media channels to watch/listen to and also behaviour including being prohibited from talking to people who don’t belong to the cult among others. It is like these cults don’t want us to subdue the earth as God instructed us through Adam and Eve to do in Genesis 2:15. In Psalms 115:16 Bible says that “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men” -NIV. God gave us authority to research, develop, subdue, rule the earth and make impressive discoveries and projects on earth, including medicine, education, architecture, infrastructure name them. 

Let us unbundle these prohibitions. First, in regards to education, Doctor Luke as the apostle Luke was the author of Acts of Apostles and he was a physician/doctor, he notes in Acts of Apostles 7:22 that “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” -NIV.

God desired that Moses be raised in the house of Pharaoh – Pharaoh Ramses II, since Egypt had developed an effective reading and writing through the cuneiform system by 3200 BC. This would enable Moses to read and write the instructions God kept giving him as he delivered Israelites from captivity. 

Secondly, on Health -3rd letter of John chapter 1 verses 2 says “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” -ESV; and in Isaiah 53:5 says that “But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him.And by his wounds we are healed” -NIV. 

There are four main features of cults. First, is the authoritarian control over their members, which makes them dependent on the cult leader. It makes them to believe that they cannot live outside the group/cult. They worship and revere the cult leader, and little is mentioned of the Bible or Jesus or God.

Secondly, cults have extremist believes, and hold to very dogmatic and extreme beliefs which they cannot question because of the inherent fear and likely punishment from other members and the cult leader. 

Thirdly, cult members are isolated from the rest of the society, including from family and friends through mind control strategies of the leader.

A friend you are acquainted with will stop greeting you after joining the cult since they are indoctrinated to believe all the rest are sinners.

Fourthly, cults have the element of veneration of one single individual who is charismatic, striving to fulfil his or her requests; the cult structures and systems revolve around the cult leader. 

Cults can be grouped into four types - first is the Doomsday Cults that prepare for the supposedly end of the world. 

Secondly are the political cults, where the left and right political groupings can morph into a cult.

Thirdly are the religious cults where certain spiritual beliefs are the bedrock of such cults, and they may be offshoots of mainstream religions or they may support new and extreme views and beliefs.

Fourthly are the sexual cults where all the other types of cults may have an element of sexual abuse while others focus on sex as a primary function. 

The primary motivation for people to join cults is the desire for meaning, community fellowship and loneliness. People who join cults have troubled lives and past, and they have difficulty fitting into society and culture.

 Above that, Kenyans could be joining cults because of four main reasons. One is the growing culture of gambling.

 Secondly is the growing culture of bribery, where some people believe that they can’t get anything even from God, without bribing. 

Thirdly is our greed which has gone over the roof. People who have more want more, hence cults are a haven to make them multiply that, its akin to going to witchcraft. 

Fourthly, it is the culture of shortcuts and instant things and miracles that is a pastime of the current generation. They abhor work but want to drive a Mercedes Benz! they have lower capacities and want the CEO job! 


Dr. Mutegi Giti, Urban Management, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) & Environment Specialist.
Twitter: @DanielGiti.

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