One of the great and dangerous myths of America is that the "New World" was settled by brave and devout pilgrims, yearning to breathe free and practice their faith. The fact is that the Puritans (or "Separatists," as they called themselves) were little more than indentured servants to European corporate interests.
If history teaches us anything it's that cultists always make the best slaves, and captains of industry in Amsterdam and the City of London set up the plantations as proto-Jonestowns, using newly-created chartered companies like the Massachusetts Bay Company, the Virginia Company and the Dutch West India Company to siphon off the profits while the Puritans (my direct ancestors, mind you) slaved away and masochistically indulged themselves in misery and deprivation (and then eased their suffering with the ultimate narcotic: self-righteousness).
And as this article from Bible Discernment Ministries argues, the Puritans were little more than a Dominionist death cult, quoting this passage from a history of the Puritan/Indian wars:
(T)he Puritan massacres of the Pequot Indian tribe on May 26, 1637, and again on July 14, 1637, were deemed by the Puritans to be directed by God -- Captain John Mason declared, "God laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven ... Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies" (Segal and Stinenback, Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny, pp. 111-112, 134-135).
But again- all this took place in a corporate colony- not a religious commune. Massachusetts and the other colonies were a giant corporate industrial park, not a state as we would understand it today. But any careful study of the history of any successful religion eventually leads to the rich and powerful, lurking in the shadows and pulling all of the strings from the get-go.
In light of all of that, this episode of The New Outer Limits is one of the most subversive and perceptive episodes of television I've ever seen. Anything more I can say about it would be risking spoilage, so all I can say is that this is an absolute must-see for anyone interested in the real (and secret) history of religion and empire, from ancient times to the colonial era to today (and sadly, tomorrow). This episode aired in 2001 but it more timely than ever before.
It's also ripe to bursting with Gnostic themes. Some are obviously borrowed from Dark City, but grafted on to a much more pointed and perceptive critique of the nature - and economics - of belief. It definitely rewards repeat viewing, given all of the subtext woven throughout it.
UPDATE: Reader Jim speaks for me when he writes: "I never watched this show when it aired. Now It's quickly becoming one of my favorite all-time TV shows. So far all the episodes I've watched contain an important message and reveal truths that are only now being fully exposed."
No question about it. Thanks, Jim.