Sects : appeal
Sects have been growing for a range of different reasons....
1) Spiritually shopping or picking and mixing
People have been experimenting where they have been moving away from tradional churches to join sects
Troeltsch claims that they appeal to poor and oppressed people in society. Weber claims that these people are margenalised i.e. not gaining the economic rewards they felt that they deserved and so sects provided them with a 'theodicy of dispriveledge' and promomised them a better afterlife.Wilson also claimed that they appealed amongst those experiencing natural disasters and economic collapse.
3) Relative Deprivation
Middle class felt as though they were lacking in something else apart from economic needs. I.e. they may have been organismically, psychically or ethically deprived
appeal of sects
4) Social Change
Sects helped people overcome rapid periods of social change i.e. industrial revolution brought about dislocation in britain. Many urban working class people felt ANXIOUS with the new changes produced in industrial towns and cities so the Methodist sect grew. It helped the w/c cope with the chaos and adjust to their new situation
5) Adventist sects
Not all sects are sects are short-lived, some can survive a VERY LONG TIME.
Jehova's Witnesses sects was long lived because they believed that those that were not religious will be punished and they will not get a place in heaven
Conversionalist sects managed to successfully concert other people to joing the sects and some people managed to integrate their children to become sects followers also
On the other hand, Sects can also be short-lived, meaning that members will not be remain in sects for long. This is because......
1) They may just have been spiritually shopping/ experiementing
Once they have experimented with the sect, they may leave so it was just a short-phase in someones lives. Escpecially young people who tend to experiment and then leave religious organisations i.e try something new
2) Charistmatic Leader
Sects are usually led by a leader which means that they last no longer than one generation because once the charistmatic leader has died, the sects falls apart and dissapears.
However, this is NOT always the case. The Japanese leader was imprisoned for murder but the sect still carried on and recruited NEW members and sect continued to grow under the new name of 'Aleph'. This shows that not all sects are dependant on a charistmatic leader
3) Sects contain seeds of own destruction
Neibuhr claimed that sects encourage their members to be hard-working and self-disciplined so that they end up becoming upwardly socially mobile and they rise in status. Therefore, they no longer wish to belong in a sect and instead want to enjoy their new found wealth so leave
Example: this is illustrated by the example of Methodists- they were originally marginal in society and joined a sect. However, as the members rosie in status, the sect became a denomination and then dissapeared
4) Too much commitment
Sects usually require members to VERY committed, self-disciplined and hard working i.e. they have to devote themselves to an ascetic lifestyle and enagge in ascetic actevities. This may be TOO DEMANDING and some people may wish to live a NORMAL life so leave sect, escpecially if they have children they may not have time
sects as short-lived
5) Mass Suicide
Some sects are short lived due to mass suicide. For example, world-rejecting sects such as People's temple created by Jim Jones was under sucspicion by the US authorities and fearing the consequences over 900 members agreed to committ suicide through poisoning sect no longer grew afterwards so disappeared
The Branch Davidions sect also had 90 members killed due to a fire and so shows how sects can be short-lived
Cults growing: Stark and Bainsbridge argue that there are 3 cults that are growing.....
- Audience Cults: they are growing because they require the least amount of commitment and people can belong to a religious organisations without being involved too much
AO2: Can be short-lived because some audience cults such as Sciencelogy requires people to live normal livesl; they dont see the point of belonging to an organisation so leave
- Client Cults: treat their members as cutsomers and they offer them services that will help them improve and lead more self-fulfilling lives i.e. Transcendental Mediation
AO2: Wallis argues that they can be short-lived because they offer their services as a commodity and like a business they may suffer from a decline of cusotmers and competition in market place so members will not remain long within client cults
- Cult movements: they offer members a complete spiritual pachange and include answers to core questions such as what happens after death. An example is the Heaven's Gate Cult
AO2: However, the Heaven's Gate Cult is short-lived because all the members committe mass suicide