18 May 2009


Sat and watched some TV tonight and caught the last half hour of 4Corners. It was about Wayne Bent, a 'cult' leader charged with several counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

It got me thinking about the whole cult thing though. I mean, we use cult to describe a group of religious beings who are 'not quite right' in our eyes.

Yet the Collins Dictionary defines it as:
1 a specific system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and deity
2 a sect devoted to such a system
3 a quasi-religious organization using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents
4 (Sociol) a group having an exclusive ideology and ritual practices centred on sacred symbols, esp. one characterized by lack of organizational structure
5 intense interest in and devotion to a person, idea, or activity
the cult of yoga
6 the person, idea, etc., arousing such devotion
a something regarded as fashionable or significant by a particular group
b (as modifier)
a cult show
8 modifier of, relating to, or characteristic of a cult or cults
a cult figure
(C17: from Latin cultus cultivation, refinement, from colere to till)
cultism n
cultist n

Taken from : http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-definitions/cult

So essentially, the first two definitions pretty much describe any religion as far as I can see. So what is it that seperates the good from the so called bad? Why do we call the 'family', Moonies and Bent's Strong City groups cults yet call the Catholic , Anglican and Baptist groups "religions"?

well, I just did what any serious netter would do! I googled and got a real mixed bag of responses that make for some interesting/entertaining/frustrating reading LOL

I googled this : "the difference between religion and a cult"
And came up with :


and this

and finally this one

as the first three links. I have to say out of the 3 the last one seems to have the best explanation in one of it's posts.

So, food for thought and all that. Would love to hear your views so leave a comment if you wish.


Meagan said...

To me the ability of the congregation to QUESTION what is being preached as opposed to blindly following along and believing it all.. (not that I've put a great deal of thought into it but had an interesting chat with a colleague who almost got sucked into a 'cult' while he and his wife were in the States. From the outside looking in he was unaware they weren't a standard 'church')

Kebeni said...

it is interesting isn't it. I start to agree with you about questioning the congregation but sometimes I think the 'brainwashing' is so subtle that the 'victim' may not even be aware of it happening IYKWIM. Hmmm, still thinking on this one LOL