Types of religious organisation

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  • Created by: KCharlish
  • Created on: 20-05-15 14:59
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  • Types of religious organisations
    • Church
      • Membership - all inclusive, universal, open to all
      • Organisation - complex, formal heirachy, professional clergy
      • Monopoly of truth, only their teachings
      • Accept the norms and values of wider society, closely linked with societies major institutions
    • Denomination
      • Not universalistic, recruited by self selection family traditions
      • Professional clergy, heirachy is less complex than church - no popes/bishops
      • Formal worship, less ritual than a church
      • no claim on the truth, more tolerant of alternative beliefs, less demanding of their members
      • Explicitly separate from the state
      • No pressure to commit yourself to particular set of beliefs or regular attendance.
    • Sect
      • highly exclusive attitude, strong boundaries between themselves and wider society, membership has to be earned, exclude unworthy members
      • lack professional clergy, no complex heirachy
      • Rival/enemy of the church, claims monopoly of truth
      • Critical of wider society, expect members to stand apart from it, discourage contact from non members
      • members required to demonstrate strong involvement and commitment, tight social control, expulsion if fail to conform.
    • Cult
      • open to all, people can join or leave as they wish, no concept of membership
      • loose organisational structure, charismatic leader
      • no claim on truth, relatively tolerant of other organisations, welcoming of involvement with other groups
      • Do not demand high levels of commitment, ask people to be open to the experience.


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