Sects, Denominations, Cults and Churches

Troeltsch 4 main features of a church
Churches claim monopoly over the truth, complex rigid hierarchy and are bureaucratic, close relationship with the state, integrated into mainstream society acting as a conservative force
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Example of churches
Roman Catholic, Church of England and Episcopal Church
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Bruce on churches
Troeltsch doesn't always claim monopoly over the truth, not always conservative. He ignores religious pluralism
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World accomodating
Churches, they accept the dominant norms and values of society, members live similar lifestyles to other members of society
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Troeltsch definition on sects
Sects are the opposite of churches, people who are dissatisfied with mainstream religion are attracted, they are formed from schisms in churches
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Features of sects
Sects claim monopoly over the truth, intolerant to others, no complex hierarchy often have a charismatic leader. Small total commitment is required
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World rejecting
Groups are in opposition to the world, reject many dominant norms and values of societies, replaces them with alternative beliefs and practices, members live differently to others in society
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Examples of sects
Examples are Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and the Amish
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Features of denominations
Don't usually claim a monopoly over the truth, they have a hierarchy and bureaucratic structure, large membership,not closely linked with the state
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World accomodating
Accept norms and values of society, slight restrictions on members lifestyle, more concerned with spiritual behavior than wordly issues, members are self selected
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Examples of denominations
Methodists and Baptists
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Features of cults
Loosely structures, tolerant and non exclusive, followers rather than official members, non exclusive, higher class generally attracted, tollerate other religions
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World affirming
Accepts the world as it is, offers individuals special knowledge and personal insight, no option to or link with the state
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Examples of cults
Heavens gate, Branch dividians
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Barker's negative connotations of sects and cults
Sects and cults have negative connotations, the medias treatment of sects and cults means they are associated in the grouping with the evil and controling
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Wallis and Bruce differentiation of sects and cults
Sects are closely knit, closed groups with strong demands for commitment and strict internal discipline. Cults are very loosely knit groupings open to all and highly individualistic
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Aldridge- Cults route to self realisation
Cults see themselves offering route to self-realization, or salvation with followers making individual choices and drifting in and out depending on what works for them
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Stark and Bainbridge- Audience cults
Provide information or services of some kind, little organisation or involvement from followers. Service often consumed individually, and spread by the media, might include new age ideas
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Stark and Bainbridge- Client cults
Have more organisation, offer services to followers such as therapies and courses, often sold to clients by practitioners
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Stark and Bainbridge- Cult movements
More organisaed, involving range of activities support and personal involvement and commitment. Scientology is an example.
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New age movement definition
They are close to cults/world affirming religious movements. NAM's ideas often aren't linked to an organisation but spread to a culture (crystal healing, reiki etc)
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Heelas- NAM's
Claims that NAM followers focus on self spirituality and the development of the self
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Bruce- NAM's
Highlights three themes to NAM's, new science rejects many claims of traditional science, new ecology is concerned for the environment
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Who do NAM's appeal to
They appeal to women more than men, and the middle class more than lower class, this is because they can afford it
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They reflect cultural changes in mainstream soceity
People are surrounded by non-conventional ideas like horoscopes and homeopathy. Mass comunication gives us an awareness of different movements
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NAM's are similar to postmodern thinking
In post modern society of choice and diversity people can pic and mix from all kinds of new age philosophies to help them construct their own identity
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Example of churches


Roman Catholic, Church of England and Episcopal Church

Card 3


Bruce on churches


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Card 4


World accomodating


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Card 5


Troeltsch definition on sects


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