Piety is a traditional virtue. In recent years, in addition to physical health, the mental health of the elderly has also become a heated topic. But an obvious phenomenon exists in the society: a considerable proportion of cult victims are the elderly.
So why are the elderly more likely to be involved in cults? And how can people help them fight against cults? Let’s talk over this issue.
Physical functions degenerate as age increases, but the elderly will naturally pursue health and longevity to enjoy a better life. Cults take advantage of their hopes and disguise their evil intentions as sweet lies.
For instance, cults advocate that belief can build up one’s body and cure all diseases without taking medicine. Elderly people, especially those who live alone and suffer from serious illnesses, are more likely to be hoodwinked by ideas of “a free cure” and “potential effectiveness”.
In fact, the original intention for most elderly people who have been led astray is health. Most of them are simple in nature. A proportion of these victims are impoverished, almost illiterate, poorly or even inwardly opinionated. As such, they fail to discern cults from religions and are entrapped by cults.
Cult members are cunning and adept at taking advantage of vulnerability of the elderly.
Cult-free (WeChat public account: Anti-cult in China) will list a case here.
The Church of Almighty God (aka Eastern Lightning) is one of the country’s greatest domestic threats. Offering petty favors is its customary tactic. Its Detailed rules of involving potential followers has specified that “gospellers” should help to do housework and send gifts, or even household appliances such as TVs and refrigerator to maintain relationships.
Grandmother Gao is a case in point.
Sickly Grandmother Gao is nearly 70 years old. All of her family members other than her are in other places, hence she lives alone and depends on 3 mu (equal to 0.2 hectare) of fields. Apart from farm work and housework, a lack of interpersonal interaction has resulted in her feeling of isolation. One day, a middle-aged woman took the initiative to get in touch with Grandmother Gao and frequently sent her gifts. After that, the woman could bestow petty favors every 10 days or even did housework and farm work for her. Grandmother Gao described them as being as intimate as sisters. Later the woman mentioned that the Church of Almighty God was an amiable big family that advocated mutual aid. Hence Grandmother Gao became a follower in a daze after being brainwashed.
The aforementioned story is not an individual case. In addition to offering a little bit of economic bait, cult members will inveigle the elderly in the name of blessings for safety, health and wealth.
Here are some common measures.
So, how to avoid such cases?
Family members should pay more attention to the elderly.
Younger generations should bear parents’ daily life in mind and remind them of illegal groups frequently. In particular, keeping family members company is the best means to ease loneliness.
In case of deception, the elderly are not to be blamed as they are more vulnerable to tricks. Patience plus specific illustrations of relevant policies and the potential danger of cults is more effective to keep the elderly away from cults.
Care of parents is indeed the best defense against cults.
Government policies serve as an all-round safeguard
Poor health and being badly off can result in a misconception that cults are a cure-all. In light of this, relevant departments should make efforts in the following three aspects.
Firstly, more anti-cult publicity.
Innovative publicity that appeals to the elderly can ensure better understanding of cults and corresponding potential threats to individuals, families and society.
Secondly, more effective medical insurance and poverty alleviation.
Most elderly followers are poor or in bad health but cannot afford high medical fees. Thus they accept sweet lies that a cult can cure all diseases without taking any medicine or spending money. Therefore, more attention must be paid to disadvantaged families along with higher medical reimbursement to ease the living and mental burden of the elderly.
Thirdly, more severe punishment for cult recruiters.
Cunning and hypocritical cult recruiters fabricate lies that cults can bless people and prayer can cure them. Then these recruiters gradually brainwash and advocate fallacies in due order, finally defrauding elderly followers of their property or even instigate them to violate laws. In response, more severe punishment for cult recruiters is a must.
Society should create a favorable environment for the elderly.
Our society should further promote scientific and honest education to stifle cults in the cradle. Through various beneficial cultural and fitness activities, promotion of science and historical materialism instead of superstition along with healthy lifestyles can prepare the elderly for future difficulties. Attention and concern from the Party and government will also keep the elderly from cults.
Live and learn to keep pace with the times
The elderly should further study and get in touch with new developments. An enriched life is able to relieve loneliness. Confidence in the Party, government and the public rather than big talk or fallacies uttered by those with ulterior motives is more conducive to the elderly. Respect for natural law and physical exercise in a scientific way will lead to longevity and happiness.
Mencius had a wise belief that man should love the elderly and the young while extending such love to others as well. Respect for the elderly is not only a traditional virtue, but also a social principle in current society. With our joint efforts the elderly can enjoy their serene twilight years.