UDSKUDT: The Day of Judgment: A New Religions Perspective

Days of judgement, apocalypses, and/or various stages of cosmic battles played out on earth, are used in numerous religious systems to represent the ultimate disruption of space, time, society, value structures, and political systems – the world ends and the sorting of good and bad begins in order that a new paradisical reality may commence. This possibility ties beliefs to narratives that are both heroic and sacred. Sometimes it is a narrative that, for some groups of beleivers, seems to be coming real. In this research I investigate a number of instances where judgement day seemed to be dawning for particular groups and examine their responses. Here I will investigate themes arising from The People’s Temple massacre in 1978, The Branch Davidian siege at Waco in 1993, the mass-killings associated with the Ugandan “Restoration of the 10 Commandments” movement along with other examples. I will investigate why sociological approaches to these incidents used by new religion scholars are and are not accurate. I will return to an examination of Leon Festinger’s theories of cognitive dissonance as a foundation for constructing better methodological examinations of why and how “judgement days” draw near.