Religious Cults And Other Dangerous Cults Essay

1611 Words Oct 8th, 2016 7 Pages
In addition, many dangerous cults can be described as totalitarian (Kent, 2008, p. 109) and are often the defining characteristic of a cult. If a group revolves around one central leader who is controlling, authoritative, destructive, yet charismatic, it could be called a cult (Halperin, 1982, p. 21). In many instances, to be considered a worthy member of the respective group, one must perform in accordance with group norms as set by the leadership. If an individual meets the expectations of the leadership, they will be considered spiritually satisfactory. If they fail to do this, they are often punished in some way (Ward, 2011, p.909-910).
What is involved in these cults is a little less straightforward, however, there are a few facts that have been discovered through ex-members. Religious cults are typically characterized by adoration and even worship of a central leader and having a set of beliefs that is outside of what is seen as normal doctrine and principles regularly seen in mainstream religious groups (Richmond, 2004, p. 367). According to Paloutzian (1996), there are certain characteristics that can be generalized to most cults. The first is having a charismatic leader. Life within the cult centers around this one leader and this person is given absolute authority over the members. The second characteristic is some sort of regulation that involves complete submission to a leader. Sometimes, this leader will claim to a prophet that has been appointed by God and…

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