Religious cult preying on vulnerable, lonely college students

There’s a great article in The Diamondback, University of Maryland’s independent student newspaper, about how the University Bible Fellowship cult preys on vulnerable and lonely college students. They don’t even pull any punches about using the “c” word either. For those not in the know, UBF is an extremist evangelical organization founded in Korea in 1961. It operates exactly like a cult, with the cult leaders making all of the cult members dependent on them for making life decisions (Christianity is the bait). They also dissuade members from associating with non-members and eventually even want you to move into their building, where you work the majority of your time for free sustaining the cult.

Members have recruiting quotas that they have to meet, and you’ll frequently see members (mostly Koreans) on campus, soliciting random strangers to come to Bible study. Now it never worked on me, because I’m not Christian, and my standard response for getting out of these kinds of things is “I’m Jewish”, which disturbingly evokes a vague reaction of disgust. Now, when the Jews come after me, I don’t really have a throw-away excuse available and have to go with the truth, so I say “I’m atheist.” But I digress.

The funny thing about this UBF article in The Diamondback is that you can just feel a palpable sense of fear emanating from the direction of the UBF building around here. You just know one of the members caught it in The Diamondback, read it, eyes slowly growing wide with horror, and then ran back to the church to tell the superiors. The UBF even has a somewhat coordinated response; they seem to be ordering their members to go to the article and leave favorable messages about the group. However, they’re met in equal numbers of uncoordinated, random people detailing their horrific experiences with the group.

UBF is the kind of organization that sucks your life away. You don’t associate with anyone outside of it, and once you become serious about it, you actually move into a church dormitory and spend all of your time doing free work for the church: recruitment, maintenance, cooking, etc. Christianity is only a tertiary concern. Surely nobody can be surprised that religion, which encourages a mindset of blind devotion and taking things on faith, would lead people right into the hands of exploitative cultists.

4 Responses to “Religious cult preying on vulnerable, lonely college students”

  1. arensb Says:

    Why am I not surprised to see Denny Gulick’s name in the article? :-)

  2. Swatjester Says:

    Let me know when the jews come after you. It’d be a first for me to see.

  3. Cyde Weys Says:

    The Jews don’t proselytize around here, it’s true, but UMCP does have a very high Jewish student population. Around the holidays, some Orthodox Jews hang around centers of high student population, like the student center and cafeteria, and harangue any passers-by who look Jewish, trying to get them to say prayers, and eventually, get more involved in Jewishness and join Hillel (the Jewish student group).

  4. How beliefs linger after faith is gone: My tale as a kosher atheist | Cyde Weys Musings Says:

    […] downsides. Then, throughout college, I couldn’t help but keep bumping into more instances of religion at its most exploitative, as well as religion at its ugliest. Those events and others inspired me to take a more active role […]