WILL YOU STILL GO TO HEAVEN IF YOU DON’T DRINK THE KOOL AID? by Art Smukler, author and psychiatrist

A patient reminded me about the November 1978 Jonestown massacre. 913 members of The People’s Temple cult committed suicide by drinking grape-flavored Kool Aid laced with potassium cyanide. Their leader, Jim Jones, after a number of practice sessions, ordered the entire cult to drink the deadly mixture. They did exactly what he said!

Psychotic, crazy, mass hypnosis, gullibility? Probably all.

Is it that much different now, 34 years later?

Charismatic preachers, acting like messengers from some crazy god, continue to have enormous religious and political power. In their eyes, birth control and homosexuality are clearly a sin. Now the preaching has taken on an even crazier tempo. Republicans are battling each other to prove who is the “true” conservative.

As a psychiatrist, I often wonder what is really going on. Am I the crazy one? If I don’t believe, will I not get into “The Kingdom”, or wherever religious fanatics go who are true believers? Whatever their fantasy might be, I’m not interested in joining them.

When a patient is overtly psychotic, logic doesn’t help. Talking to rigid evangelicals also won’t help. So what will?

Join groups like Planned Parenthood, work to have all 50 states pass equality laws supporting gay rights, speak out against any school that won’t teach evolution, speak out against any use of violence to advocate a religious belief, and do whatever you can to expose any hint of terrorism that will limit our right to have the freedom to come to our own conclusions about the world.

Because so many people need to drink Kool Aid, doesn’t mean that we have to respect or ignore the dangers that it breeds.

Any thoughts?

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