10 characteristics of RELIGIOUS SECTS

1 year ago

The term "sect" is used in the sociology of religion to designate a particular type of religious group.. This use is more precise and more technical than the use of the word in everyday speech. It is part of a typology of religious groupings that has been found useful in the study of religious bodies and movements. The term "cult" has also been given a special technical meaning as part of this typology, but it has remained less precisely defined, less useful, and less used in empirical research.

characteristics of religious sects

Characteristics of religious sects



  1. All sects display a considerable degree of totalism in dominating the lives of their members.. Ideological dominance is generally complemented and supported at the societal level by measures that distinguish the group, such as inbreeding, limitations on ways of engaging with strangers, refusal to participate in important common social activities (military service, saluting the flag, etc.). , or medical practice), peculiar eating and abstinence habits, and with some groups, even peculiarities of dress. Related to these social forms of segregation is the notion of cult members as members of the "chosen", some kind of religious elite.
  2. They arise in opposition to the accommodation of churches or developing denominations, in rejection of some other aspect of your environment, or in some combination of the two.
  3. Troeltsch has shown that the forms of sects asserted themselves in the early Middle Ages. It must be seen in the period of the Gregorian turmoil (c. 1080) when the sectarianism of the Albigensians spread in Italy and France. This movement had complex social and religious sources. He was greatly affected by the reform efforts and struggles of Pope Gregory VII.; it expressed the opposition of devout laymen to what they considered immorality and simony in the church; and it also represented the aggressive reaction of the new urban classes against the established order both in the church and in the city. This correspondence and interpenetration of religious and social interests has often been associated with the origin and formation of sects.
  4. It has often been noted in the sociological literature that the cult is a low class protest phenomenon.
  5. The sect exhibits complex functions in society. It often offers an outlet for tensions and frustrations related to lower-class status and the condition of being socially and economically disinherited. By allowing catharsis, it simultaneously provides a meaningful community, along with a set of values ​​that promotes a personal reorganization of the members.'' lives and often their eventual reintegration into the larger society. The cult can not only reconcile the disinherited to their situation through the various compensations of the community of this world and otherworldly expectations, but can also bring new meaning to them in their reinterpretation of their life experience. By doing this, you can socialize your members in virtues that lead to worldly and financial success. On the other hand, the cult, with its close community of human beings and its new values ​​that give meaning to life, offers a way out of anomie to many who have been disorganized in the impersonal environment of the modern city.


  6. When the founding generation passes away, the established sect continues to fill similar roles for people who are drawn to it. and provides its born members with the stage to represent their established values.
  7. sects they can take on a number of new roles when their social composition and specific social situation change over time. the established cult continues to perform similar functions for people who are drawn to it and provides its native members with the stage to represent their established values.
  8. It represents a protest against the commitment to society and its values ​​and the institutional development of the church itself. as one aspect of this adaptation. It is a charismatic, secular, egalitarian, and voluntary religion in contrast to the established, professional, hierarchical, and ascribed religion of the church. In this typology, the sect represents an ideal type: empirical reality and specific historical development present greater variety than the typology itself.
  9. In the history, religious sects have been the cause of new movements and radical changes. For example, one of the earliest sects in Judaism were the Nazarenes. This group reportedly consisted of the apostles of Jesus after his death. Although they were a Jewish sect, the Nazarenes were the basis of Christianity
  10. Cults are often subsets of religions due to their perceived need for reform. As the sect grows, it becomes more established, builds a congregation, and becomes more accepted into the mainstream. At that point, it becomes a denomination.


Today, the cults are still prominent. One of the best known is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as Mormons. The Mormon sect eventually became its own denomination of Christianity and continues to grow in following.



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ENCICLOPEDIA DE CARACTERÍSTICAS (2024) 10 characteristics of RELIGIOUS SECTS, en 10caracteristicas.com. https://10caracteristicas.com/en/10-characteristics-of-religious-sects/ (Consultado el: 12-06-2024)

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