Religion and Film

Document Type

Student Paper

Publication Date

Winter 1-31-2024



Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

This paper critically examines the methods employed by various religious figures, psychics, and cult leaders to manipulate and exploit their followers for personal gain. It explores both the vulnerabilities and desires of followers that make individuals susceptible to manipulation, as well as the techniques employed by leaders and figureheads that allow them to exert control and influence over their followers. Using specific references to the films Kumare, An Honest Liar, as well as the life of cult leader Jim Jones, this paper investigates the tactics used, including deception, false narratives, myth, ritual, isolation, confirmation bias, social proof, love-bombing, and the halo effect to win over and undermine followers' autonomy and critical thinking. By providing examples of how these techniques are employed and the implications they have, I intend to make individuals cognizant of potential dangers with the hope that we as a society can work to identify and prevent such manipulation as it occurs in the future.

Included in

Religion Commons