Essay about Destructive Cults

792 Words Aug 21st, 2015 4 Pages
Part 1
Destructive cults defined within literature Much of what American society has come to understand or know about cults has been depicted by the media in controversial headlines and television dramas which primarily have been depicted on a negative note. Therefore, it is important to establish that not all cults are negative or destructive nor are they technically considered cults, but are rather labeled due to their unorthodox views. Over the years the definition of a cult has shifted and is used differently depending on the perspective or the context in which it is used, in North America there are three general perspectives used in relation to knowledge about cults; religious perspective, sociology and academic theology, and the
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Strengths and Limitations Defining a cult is challenging due to the ambiguity within the criteria of what a cult is which leaves much to public opinion or perspective. The definition that was chosen for this research focuses on the behaviors and intent of those in control within the cult to manipulate and cause harm, leaving room to focus on the negative aspect and experience of the members which many report can be traumatic. Another strength in the definition is the lack of focus on religious beliefs or unorthodox believes which would otherwise include large numbers of groups who are not destructive nor inflict harm resulting in trauma. The definition is restricted in that some of the criteria also leaves room for interpretation, for example, who can judge how much is excessive devotion? Or even unethical? This leaves individuals who are outside of the cult to become “experts” on what is considered within “society” what acceptable devotion is and what is unethical.

Occurrence in the general population
Due to mislabeling and different definitions of what a cult is, it is rather challenging to approximately identify how many cults are in the

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