A friend on Google+ turned me onto a Big Questions program about the difference between cults and religion. While this topic of cult versus religion is interesting in itself. What's more interesting for me was the appearance of a Branch Davidian that was on the show. For those that do not know, Branch Davidians are mostly associated with the belief that David Koresh was the final prophet before the second coming of Jesus. What really happened was not Armageddon however, as they ended up getting shot at by the government at Waco. Now while I do not agree with everything the Government and the Davidians did during the siege, I think that there are still believers that trust what Koresh told them is true is insane.
What happened at Waco in 1993 is no secret, its fact that David Koresh was an unstable man who was accused of sex abuse and the stockpiling of firearms and explosives. What happened exactly at the end of the siege is still debated, but what we do know is that if you were in the church building (with Koresh) that stated burning you died. So after all of this, would you believe that twenty years after Waco there are still Branch Davidians that believer what Koresh told them. In the Big Questions video, you get to meet Livingston who made it out of Waco, or more correctly got arrested and put in jail for what happened at Waco.
The first time you will hear Livingston is at about 16 minutes. What is fascinating is that he talks with utter conviction that he believes everything about Koresh and that all prophecies by Koresh have come true. However, what he fails to admit is the failed prophecies about the stock piling of guns and how that lead to the siege. According to the Branch Davidians the guns were stock piled as they got a prophecy from Koresh that they were going to be attacked, and so they had guns for protection. Which begs the question, was the cause of the siege (the guns and explosives) the reason for the prophecy? Also, why not speak to the ATF agents when the first came, there was no reason to automatically jump to guns unless you had something to hide.
The next time to hear apologetics by Livingston is at about 33 minutes, where the conversation about sexual abuse starts. The guy denies sexual abuse of children by Koresh happened, yet it is documented according to testimonies by abused girls. I should add here, that there is some doubt due to dubious age laws regarding wives in Texas at the time?
If, you have time watch the video, or at least watch those segments with Livingston to see delusion at work. Oh and there is a Raelian on the show as well.
This is what religious beliefs can lead to. No matter whose actions that day in Waco were wrong or right, personally I believe there were errors on both sides, the fact is that due to stupid beliefs people died, just as in Jonestown. The fact that people still believe this idiocy after twenty years show that indoctrination is difficult to get over and that faith is dangerous.