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Reasons why statistics on religious
beliefs may NOT be accurate.
· No systematic count of believers; statistics on religion are brought together from
variety of sources such as churches, census, surveys, therefore they have varying
degree of accuracy. This makes it hard to know for show the total number of
religious believers
· People's belief change over time; cannot follow up on a statistical data of 2014 and
use it in 2015 for example, people may get into or get out of religious beliefs which
fluctuates the data a lot and therefore cannot make comparisons
· Many people tend to keep their religious beliefs private; people may be religious
however may not attend a place of worship to reflect this. As a result it is hard to
conclude who is religious and who is not, because those worshiping in private may
not be counted
· Religious organisation exaggerate their membership figures; they may do this so
that their organisation is seen successful so that they may potentially recruit new
members…read more

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Sects Churches
· Exclusive · Inclusive
· Claims the monopoly of · Universal
the truth · Restrained worship
· No formal hierarchy
· Formal hierarchy
· Charismatic Leader
· Does not allow · Compromises with
members to interact needs of wider
with wider society non society
members · Closely linked to state
· Considered deviant by
the wider society · Claims the monopoly
· Promises a better of the truth
afterlife…read more

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Examples of Sects
· Jim Jones ­ People's temple
Appealed to poor and disadvantaged in the society;
predominantly ethnic minority. The members
physically isolated themselves and over time, they
drank poison and died- they believed by doing this
they were being transported into another `better'
world.
· The Amish
Small group of traditional and simple people, who
are strict Christians- organisation derived from
schism.…read more

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Denomination
· Partway between church and sects
· Controversial and respectable
· Professional clergy but less formal hierarchy
· DO NOT claim the monopoly of the truth
· Are not closely linked to the state
Steve Bruce: Methodism is falling in numbers as
they are lacking commitment from the elderly and
having problems recruiting younger members.…read more

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Cults
· Loosely organised groups
· Not formed through schism
· DO NOT claim the monopoly of the truth
· Usually seen as deviant
· Hierarchy is discouraged
· Emphasises divinity within individuals
· Focuses on the present life
Stark and Bainbridge
· In order to distinguish between sects and cults, the following question
needs to be examined:
`what degree of conflict or tension is there between the religious group and
wider society?'
· Sects isolate themselves from wider society and do not encourage
interaction with them, whereas cults are not bothered about society as a
whole, they just focus on the individual member particularly in helping
them become successful; offering benefits in this world unlike sects who
promote other worldly benefits.…read more

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