From Cult to Religion Essays

1262 Words 6 Pages
What’s the difference between a cult and a religion? This question is not easily answered. Is it the age, how old it is in relation to newness? How about the size, how many fellow believers does it have? Or what about its’ popularity does that differentiate a cult from religion? According to the online dictionary by Merriam-Webster the definition of a religion is “the belief in a god or in a group of gods: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group” (“Religion”). This same dictionary defines a Cult as “a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has …show more content…
It certainly is, in fact Christianity itself when it was new was a Cult. Some two-thousand plus years ago at the beginning of the Christianity movement it broke off from Judaism when some of the people believed that the promised messiah, Jesus Christ was born and walked the earth. Himself, along with a few chosen disciples began teaching and preaching a new idea of the way to worship God. This then by definition is a Cult. According to the online bibliography Cults, “ most cults in the historical record have been short lived, but some persist to become the nuclei of important religious movements.” This is exactly what happened with the example of Christianity. What about size, does size really matter? What role does that play in defining the difference between a cult and religion? As we mentioned earlier Christianity started out with a very small group of men. Those few members helped to define early Christianity as a cult. So how many members does it take to go from being defined as a religion instead of a cult? We know Christianity today is defined as a religion. There is no clear cut answer to the size question. Some may believe it to be a million followers, others may say it only takes a few thousand, while others may say any number of believers or followers can make up a religion. The same can be true when applied to the term cult, it may be a few people or millions of people. “Both the positive and negative uses of the term, however, agree

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