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Religion has had a significant influence on people's minds over the years, influencing their thinking and habits. Religious beliefs are unquestionably held by people of the particular faith. However, people occasionally have distinct viewpoints that may conflict with the religious values of the society. These could be the outcome of education, which teaches people to think critically about their views. Most people grow up in communities where they are expected to accept certain beliefs without inquiry. People may be forced to obey beliefs that are antiquated.
This essay will compare and contrast Deborah Layton to one individual in the Rumspringa book. Deborah, in her book "Seductive Poison," portrays how religious beliefs may harm people when they follow without questioning. In the book, she shows how a dangerous cult seduced one woman in recent memory, and she eventually found her way back to sanity. The American cult was under the leadership of Reverend Jim Jones and took place in Northwest Guyana. The reverend was inciting his followers to carry out revolutionary mass suicide. Deborah heard the message and knew it would have great consequences for the people. She moved to the South American jungle and tried to plea for help from the U.S. government, which ignored what she was saying. However, cult tragedies were witnessed in the Jonestown massacre when over 909 people died in Jonestown in the event known as "revolutionary suicide," which was caused by apparent cyanide poisoning.
Tom Shactman, in his book "Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish," shows the predicament the youth faced after the age of 16 years. The Amish community had beliefs that people followed to the latter. Children were allowed to follow the beliefs strictly until they were 16 years old. This age gave them an opportunity to live outside the bounds of faith. They were allowed to experiment with alcohol, premarital sex, trendy clothes, telephones, drugs, and be engaged with wild parties. The youth were given freedom by their parents to choose the path to follow, and this gave them the opportunity to learn enough to be able to make the most critical decision in their lives. However, if the teens chose not to be baptized, they were not welcome back to the community again. This situation made 80-90% decide to be baptized to avoid the consequences, while only about 10-20% were courageous enough to leave because they were not baptized.
The two books show intense indoctrination in both communities, with religious beliefs determining the lives of the people. Additionally, the two books give an opportunity for the people to avoid cognitive dissonance, but the consequences are severe. However, the book "Seductive Poison" has less harsh repercussions compared to the ones Tom displays. Deborah can escape the revolutionary suicide, whereas the teens of Amish have no choice when they do not follow the faith as they will be expelled from the community. Religious leaders are seen in both books as great influencers to their followers' beliefs and deeds. Their teachings are widely accepted despite the severe consequences it has on the followers. Only a few people dare to avoid the psychological stress caused by the indoctrination.
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