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Old 06-08-2012, 08:49 PM
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Thumbs down Religions vs Cults

In your personal opinion, what do you feel is the difference between religions and a cult?

As always, please keep this discussion respectful.
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Old 06-09-2012, 05:30 AM
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Mine is religion and yours is a cult. That is the way most people define it.

My personal take is that they are virtually the same thing it just depends on who is providing the definition. The only further personal classification I can add is that you know them by their "works".

Now let's set aside your and my beliefs and take a look at the definitions proved by reference .com
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
3. the object of such devotion.
4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5. Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
Sources: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult?s=t and http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion?s=t

Reality wise there is very little difference between the two. I offer the suggestion that all religions began as cults at some point in time.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:23 AM
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Pretty much agree with most of what ScriptMan has said.
The only change I would add is that I believe that one major difference between religion and cult is that the cult would be more likely to subjugate its members.
I believe the members of a religion would be more free to explore its personal context and application than a cult member.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:12 PM
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I wonder if it becomes a cult when the focus changes to the leader?
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:25 PM
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When they drink the kool aid you could probably consider it a cult. I'm 43 so I remember watching reruns of the Jones Town Massacre. If you are interested in cults there is a great and very disturbing documentary about Jim Jones and the mass suicide that happened. Any time someone claims that they have all the answers and that you should only be listening to their version of the truth it's time to run.

Oh yeah, and if the leaders eyes are popping out of their head they are a cult-see Heaven's Gate Cult!!!lol

Last edited by snakeair; 11-02-2012 at 02:27 AM. Reason: merged posts
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Cricket View Post
I wonder if it becomes a cult when the focus changes to the leader?
I think that hits the nail on the head.

A definition of cult is tricky but I guess I know it when I see it. <at least I think I do....>

When I was growing up, I remember hearing a LOT about the "Moonies", Hare Krishnas and the like. And the deprogramming.

One of the favorite movie of the week topics.

Did those organizations go away or have we just become so politically correct that they just don't make the news?

I think that cults can spring up from the fringes of mainstream religion <like snake charmer churches and those weird bigamist communes> as well as existing as completely independent entities. <Like the comet people>

I tend to think of cults as those with nutty practices who "add on" to (forgive the quotes) to "mainstream" religions. Things like ritual sexual practices, abusive behavior, severely restricted freedoms, extreme food restrictions, etc.

I'm jumping in today with my opinion but I'll have to think a week and may come back with more personal insight in a couple of weeks as I ponder this more.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:34 AM
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Religion is something about going orthodox way whereas cult deals with establishing your own school of thought which can trespass the boundaries of orthodoxy. I think, both dwell around the concepts of behavior and information control.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:58 AM
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A cult contains many strange practices, many of them involves magical pratices and secifices, they put strong rules to their followers just like anyone who is being possed and controled. Religions followers are more free than the cultists but they are have many things in common.
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