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66 MIN READ TIME

The Cult of Falun Gong

THE CHINESE SECT KNOWN AS FALUN GONG (also known as Falun Dafa) has grown dramatically in recent years using a novel fund-raising technique— dance. While other communal religious groups support themselves selling produce or clothing, Falun Gong uses a high-tech, high-volume dance company known as Shen Yun, with several troupes performing to huge audiences across the world, funding the survival and growth of the group and increasing the wealth of the founder, all while convincing their audiences they are supporting a worthwhile cause.

A cult is defined as “a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.”1 The cult of Falun Gong is built around the rambling and sometimesracist musings of a man named Li Hongzi, and has become widespread and accepted in America and across the world. While it claims on the surface to be about wellness and happiness, Falun Gong has all the stereotypical components of a malevolent authoritarian group including magic, lies, a supernatural savior, the threat of a coming doom, and other standard fare of modern cults,2 with the added bonus component of victimhood.

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About Skeptic

BEHE’S LAST STAND COLUMNS The SkepDoc: Is Low-Dose Radiation Good for You? The Questionable Claims for Hormesis, by Harriet Hall, M.D. • The Gadfly: Define Your Terms (or, Here we Go Again), by Carol Tavris ARTICLES Making Gasoline from Water: John Andrews and the Invention of a Legend • Online Gaming: A Virtual Experiment in the Dark Side of Human Nature • Duped by Data Mining • How Science Will Explain and Fix Fake News • The Cult of Falun Gong: A Dance Troupe and Victimhood Raises Big Money • The Opioid Epidemic Misunderstood • Why the Human-Centered View Has Not Served us Well • Behe’s Last Stand: The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again • Straw Man on a Slippery Slope: The Case Against the Case Against Postmodernism • A Disproof of God’s Existence REVIEWS Reviews of: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure; The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake; Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits; Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post- Facts, and Fake News; Hoax: A History of Deception: 5000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies; Truth’s Fool: Derek Freeman and the War Over Anthropology JUNIOR SKEPTIC Quest for the Truth about Dungeons and Dragons

Other Articles in this Issue


COLUMNS
Is Low-Dose Radiation Good for You? The Questionable Claims for Hormesis
Define Your Terms (or, Here we Go Again)
ARTICLES
John Andrews and the Invention of a Legend
A Virtual Experiment in the Dark Side of Human Nature
DATA MINING INVOLVES RANSACKING DATA AND searching
THE INSTANT, GLOBAL SPREAD OF INFORMATION through the
How this Group Raises Big Money Using a Dance Troupe and its Own Victimhood
DRUG OVERDOSE IS NOW THE LEADING CAUSE OF death for
“Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world’s
The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again
The Case Against the Case Against Postmodernism
THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF GOD CREDITS HIM WITH
REVIEWS
A Review of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
A review of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake, by Steven Novella with Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella, and Evan Bernstein.
A review of Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits by Benjamin Radford
Reviews of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post- Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young and Hoax: A History of Deception: 5000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies by Ian Tattersall and Peter Nevraumont
Review of Truth’s Fool: Derek Freeman and the War Over Anthropology by Peter Hempenstall.
Michelle E. Ainsworth holds an MA in history. She enjoys
JUNIOR SKEPTIC
Today we’ll sharpen our pencils, pick up our magical
As we’ll learn, role-playing games (RPGs) such as Dungeons
Strategy board games like Risk were complicated enough
It took a year to sell the first thousand Dungeons
Fear of Satanic cults trickled first through certain
Eventually the Satanic Panic faded away. The FBI concluded