It was caused by trusting and desperate people looking toward a charismatic man as their leader, and him taking terrible advantage of that trust.
This is the truth of it :(
About sums it up.
Jones was a cult leader, a murderer, a fraud, a criminal mastermind, a narcissist, and more (i'm sure)... still his crimes were not so much 'about' religion, but exploited people's need for spiritual connection. - I hope he rots in the deepest pits of hell.
No- the Jim Jones massacre was caused by a man who was out of his mind.
Of course Jim Jones was a christian. And Jeffrey Dahmer was a fundamentalist christian. Gary Ridgeway (the Green River serial killer) is a christian. Dennis Rader (the BTK serial killer) is a christian. Aileen Wuornos (a serial killer, show in the movie "Monster") was a serial killer. The Ku Klux Klan are christians. Anti-abortion terrorists in the US (Scott Roeder, Eric Rudolph, James Kopp) are christians. The Nazis were christians.<br />
How does it hurt christians to admit all those scumbags were christians? It doesn't. Serial killers and war criminal are not representative of christians in general, and yet christians will repeatedly lie and deny their shared religion.<br />
Have you EVER heard an atheist say that Stalin wasn't an atheist? No, you haven't, not even when the fact is known that Stalin attended a seminary as a boy. Why? Because lying and denying facts weakens an argument, and because lying is dishonest and unethical. <br />
How does it hurt atheists to admit that Stalin and most communists are/were atheists? It doesn't. Communists and war criminal are not representative of atheists in general, yet christians will hypocritically lie and claim they do.
I attended one service at the People's Temple when they were in San Francisco back in 1974, with a couple of acquaintances. Being a reluctant Catholic, I was unimpressed, but one neighbour who was dating a young man there, and a couple of others I knew, joined and eventually died in Guyana. There were all types of people involved, not just poor; some were middle class and well-educated, all were searching for...something they thought the Rev. Jones could help them find. They now rest in a mass grave in the Evergreen cemetary, over in Oakland. Religion was in fact only a small part of their fate, but I admit it made me more cynical about trusting those who offer easy answers.
Jim Jones was just a little more extreme than Jimmy Swigert and the rest of those bible thumpers who take advantage of the weak of mind. They're in it for their own agrandisement, especially monitarily. They're all pretending to be what they aren't in order to appeal to the gullible.
I agree with several of the comments above that point to Jones being a narcissistic cult leader who preyed upon vulnerable people. This tragedy makes a fascinating study. When reading about it one finds it under the subject of dangerous cults. What I find the most interesting about it is the devotion of the people he led. He got them to go to this isolated place far removed from the rest of the world. He made it sound so highly desirable, so utopian. And they gave him their fortunes and also their liberty. There were some who saw through it and tried to get out, by passing notes to visiting journalists. I think people do need to be educated about mind control and how people can exercise an inordinate and dangerous amount of influence. The Jim Jones tragedy is not about religion, it is about mind control.
That is like saying it was caused by the English language because that's the language they used.
Nah, Jim went a bit nuts and blind misguided people went along with it
More agree than disagree. He wouldn't have amassed so many followers if it weren't for the religions pull.
yes it was. I understand the other arguments but religion was a part of it. Maybe Jones didnt care about god at all but the people around him did and he used religion as a method. It a good one cause you cant really prove its wrong, because nobody knows. religion is a good way to change peoples behaviour, to the good or the really bad.
Agree. All fanatics are dangerous. Except Me.
Following blindly caused it. Just my opinion.
Disagree. The massacre was caused by a man with a severe mental illness.
Personally, I believe that an evil spirit had some control of or strong influence on Mr. Jones, and it gave him the ability to have too much influence on his followers. Maybe you could say it was religion, but it is hard for me to know that. It seems that some or all of the adult koolaid drinkers and pushers thought this was what "god"wanted them to do.
unless you take the viewpoint that cult atrocities are different.<br />
that was so horrifying when it happened. they murdered congressman ryan, then they brought out the poison kool-aid and committed mass suicide. men, women and children, about 1,000 people.<br />
i just looked up leo ryan on wikip. he sounds like quite a guy. years before he went to jonestown, he posed as an inmate and infiltrated folsom prison to investigate prison conditions. i might enjoy reading his biography sometime.
I think Jim Jones had it right at the beginning and was a very good preacher and naturally at that time, the political atmosphere at the time was divided and he and other preachers sought peace that only the Lord can provide. <br />
As time went on I think the power that Jim felt in his local community went to his head and used the sc<x>riptures to justify his own ends as most Christian Cult leaders do. They use the sc<x>riptures to fulfil desires for themselves and their core supporters and they effectively are wolves in sheep's clothing and prey on the vulnerable and insecure. <br />
Jim used religion as a vehicle to achieve ultimate community dominance and sought refuge in Guyana when his practices were being questioned by wide Christian communities in America. I agree that he used very dangerous religious doctrine of his making not what is widely accepted as a vehicle to create fear and perceived persecution in the church he founded to get the ill fated residents of Jonestown to reside in Guyana.<br />
I do believe at the end he used evil justifications to end the lives of his congregation and I do believe that religious conformity was used to kill hundreds of followers in Guyana and abroad.<br />
I think using the sc<x>riptures in this way is highly dangerous and can harm the message of what is truly a freedom being saved by the blood of Jesus.
Anything can be a religion. I could set up a religion tomorrow if I wanted to. "Religion" will send more people to hell than just following Jesus. If you get involved in religion that can be anything. Satanism is a religion if you want to look at it that way. Look at the definition of religion. The second definition in the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary is (2)a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices. Jim Jones preached his own philosophies and people chose to buy into it. Brainwashing practices had a lot to do with it and fear of retribution too once they were in his camp. Always beware of anyone who is as charismatic as Jim Jones. Trying to find blame for something that happened in the past is futile. It is best just to learn what we can from the situation and move on.
There are no "gods". Religions are ideologies, and religions are no different than communism or fascism. They are invented and promoted to control the populace of countries, and the more extreme an ideology is, the more likely it is to incite and participate in war crimes. Atheism is not an ideology, it is an absence of ideology. No one ever murdered anyone in the name of nothing. Religions, fascism and communism mass murdered people for the same reasons: race, money, power, sex.
I disagree 100%...it was misuse of trusted power by a greedy psychopath to where he was bored and tired of this life he decided to take all of his cadbury cows with him !
How is Jim Jones any different than Billy Graham, Jimmy Swagart, Joyce Meyer, Charlie Manson, Sung Yung Moon, The Pope or anyone else that preys on weak minded people that have the need to belong. It's a narasistic Power Trip to have the ultimate control of other peoples lives and pocketbooks.