Religion has played a central role in people lives for centuries. People need it to feel more complete and have a purpose in their lives. They want to become a part of something bigger. Notably, all religions have certain features in common as they affect people in a very similar way. The film Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple reveal some of the most distinctive features of any religion. These major features outlined in the film include purpose, connectedness, and reconsidering certain values.
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Admittedly, one of the major features of religions is that they bring a goal into people’s lives. Thus, one of the former members of Peoples Temple notes that he had not had a good lifestyle as he had taken drugs and he had drunk alcohol, but he joined the new church, and it was a new start for him (Jonestown). It has been acknowledged that when people are disappointed with their lives in society and can start searching for an alternative.
Churches and numerous clubs are regarded as this kind of alternative. In the church, people find their purpose as they see a prophet or just a strong leader who can tell them what to do next. Lots of people get tired of making choices and become eager to rely on another person who offers a simple way out. People want to be protected from poverty and injustice. Religion can help them find what they are seeking.
It is also important that any religion unites people. Thus, Peoples Temple united people of different cultural and social backgrounds, different races, and ages. All those people were trying to become happy. Importantly, one of the former members of Peoples Temple claims that he felt at home when he was there (Jonestown).
During sermons, people became exalted, and they felt absolutely satisfied and complete. They got the feeling of being a part of something bigger. Admittedly, this is true for any religion as all religions make people united in their happiness. This connectedness is associated with another characteristic feature of any religion.
Religions always make people reconsider (and adopt) certain values, and they start regarding their religion as something more meaningful than their (or anybody’s) life. The history of humanity has had numerous illustrations of this process. People were ready to die and kill in the name of their god or their religion. This devotion becomes unprecedented in Peoples Temple as it leads to the death of more than 900 people in the twentieth century.
In one day, more than nine hundred people gave their lives in the name of their leader. This is only one example of people’s readiness to die for something they believe in. Thus, beliefs become more important than a human’s life, which is one of the most striking peculiarities of religions, and it yet to be researched and understood.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the film in question reveals some of the central characteristic features of any religion. These features are purpose, connectedness, and sacrifice. People have always longed for something bigger, for a divine element in their life. Those who get disappointed with the society are looking for something else, to be a part of something more meaningful as they need a goal in their life. Sometimes this longing ends in something really dramatic as people do not value their own lives.
Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple. 2013. Web.