Cult

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  • SECT
    • Seen to be more deviant compared to Churches and denominations, according to Troletsch the characteristics or sects are diametrically opposite to churches.
      • Smaller and more integrated compared to religious organisations
      • Exclusivist beliefs - claim monopoly of the truth and members of the sect can be on the truth to the path of the salvation.
        • Members of the sect are intolerant of other religious groups and those outside the sect i.e those in a church or denomination who also claim to have monopoly of the truth.
      • Charismatic leader - sects are not organised through hierarchy. Authority lays with charismatic leader a person with a powerful and magnetic personality.
      • They are world rejecting, and reject any values that the world holds and replace them with their own alternatives.
        • This rejection also includes rejecting the state and as a result sect members often face disapproval or prosecution .
        • As a result of this, members may be expected to withdraw from life outside the sect
        • Often classified as a lower class member of society or someone who is opposed to the state.
      • Self selection - members must show deep commitment to beliefs and if fail to do so, may result in exclusion from the cult.
        • Members are recruited through self selection and young children cannot enter through baptism if they are too young to understand the significance of the ceremony.
        • Can join voluntarily as adults
    • AO2
      • Often seen to be deviant in mainstream society and as a result there have been many hostile events between sects and society.
        • The deaths of 80 Branch Davidians killed by the FBI in Texas
      • Often referred to as a cult as suppose to a Sect.
      • The assumption that sects are always hostile is an over generalisation, for example the Amish withdrew from wider society however have remained non hostile.
      • Not all sects have a charismatic leader, Jehovas Witnesses for example.
      • Robertson argues that the concept of a 'sect' is more useful history rather than in a contemporary society.
        • Modern society is more tolerant of subcultures and therefore sects.
        • Sects now tend to be mellower and less openly hostile to wider society.

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