Definition of a Cult

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Hornbein
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So I was wondering what the definition of a cult was. After some bad ones I found

A cult is a group which is typically led by a charismatic and self-appointed leader, who tightly controls its members, requiring unwavering devotion to a set of beliefs and practices which are considered deviant (outside the norms of society). -- Wikipedia

It was interesting to discover that it was only in the 19th century that the word became pejorative. Before that cults were respectable.

However while this definition is good as far as it goes I feel it doesn't stand up to close examination. How about Scientology. A close childhood friend whom I'm still in touch with is a hardcore Scientologist so I know a bit about that. It's leader passed away long ago but Scientology marches on.

We could drop the requirement for a charismatic leader then I'd say the US Army would qualify as a cult.

We could abandon the stipulation for a living leader and instead require only that the cult have been founded by a charismatic leader. But isn't that George Washington? The Army still qualifies.

If the cult is so successful that its practices become the norms of society then it is no longer a cult. Perhaps the truth is captured by "a religion is a cult with an army."
 
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  • #2
Hornbein said:
So I was wondering what the definition of a cult was. After some bad ones I found



It was interesting to discover that it was only in the 19th century that the word became pejorative. Before that cults were respectable.

However while this definition is good as far as it goes I feel it doesn't stand up to close examination. How about Scientology. A close childhood friend whom I'm still in touch with is a hardcore Scientologist so I know a bit about that. It's leader passed away long ago but Scientology marches on.

We could drop the requirement for a charismatic leader then I'd say the US Army would qualify as a cult.

We could abandon the stipulation for a living leader and instead require only that the cult have been founded by a charismatic leader. But isn't that George Washington? The Army still qualifies.

If the cult is so successful that its practices become the norms of society then it is no longer a cult. Perhaps the truth is captured by "a religion is a cult with an army."
Needlessly insulting and misinformed.
 
  • #3
Frabjous said:
Needlessly insulting and misinformed.
I must note that your reply falls well into this category.
 
  • #4
Hornbein said:
I must note that your reply falls well into this category.
Washington was not self appointed and armies predate the US.
 
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Thread is paused for Mentor review...
 
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Thread was pretty much doomed from the start, and will remain closed.
 
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