Cult generally refers to a Religious cult that uses mind control techniques but there have been secular cults as well. Cults are religious or secular groups that use mind control to manipulate members and which harm members through these controls.
There is no hard and fast definition of a Religious cult. Rather there is a continuum with some religious groups being more cult-like and others less so. It is widely believed that some religious groups like the Scientologists, the Moonies, Hare Krishna and others are cults. Naturally members disagree. In other cases the situation is less clear. Anti-cult organisations can see the Jehovah's Witnesses as a cult. Many Christian Fundamentalists appear cult-like to outsiders. This is particularly noticeable in the Bible Belt of the United States. Within the Bible Belt relatively small rural communities are often dominated by religious fundamentalists and residents may know little about alternative viewpoints.
Ways of recognising cults
- Cults are over the top in demanding unquestioning obedience to the Cult leader or cult organisation.
- Cults seek to separate members from Non-Members and alternative viewpoints. Recruits may be under pressure to break relationships with former friends and even close family members. Former cult members are shunned.
- Cults demand that members focus their whole social life round the cult, avoiding or limiting outside social activity.
- Cults require heavy sacrifices from members. Members are required to give large amounts of money or time to the organisation.
- HOW TO DETERMINE IF A GROUP IS A DESTRUCTIVE CULT
- Identifying a Cult Cults can be religious of secular.
- Criteria for recognising cults
- Ex-Cult Resource Center Home page.
- Destructive Cults
- Religious and Secular Cults: Leaders and Followers
- The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult