cult (plural cults)
- (offensive, derogatory) A group of people with a religious, philosophical or cultural identity sometimes viewed as a sect or NRM, often existing on the margins of society or exploitative towards its members.
1985, Rodney Stark, Religious movements: Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers, Paragon House Publishers, ISBN 0913757438, page 167:
- Werner Erhard's highly successful est cult is partly derived from Scientology. Erhard had some experience with Scientology in 1969. Then he worked for a while in Mind Dynamics, itself an offshoot of Jose Silva's Mind Control.
1996, John Ankerberg, John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House Publishers, ISBN 978-1565071605, page 216:
- There are scores of modern religious cults and sects that have been influenced by Hinduism to varying degrees. Werner Erhard, founder of 'Landmark Education's 'The Forum',' and 'est' seminars, which have about 700,000 graduates, was influenced by Hinduism through Swami Muktananda, one of Erhard's principal gurus.
1997, Len Oakes, “Followers and Their Quest”, in Prophetic charisma: The Psychology of Prophetic Charisma, Syracuse University Press, ISBN 0-8156-2700-9, page 137:
- Outsiders often criticize the extreme commitment of group members. But what is really happening is that leader and followers are conspiring to realize a vision that is falsified daily. For the cult is not paradise, and the leader is not God. Hence the follower is embattled; to squarely confront the many failings of the leader and the group is to call into question one's own great work. Only by daily recommitting himself can the follower continue to work toward his ultimate goal. Each follower works out a secret compromise, acknowledging some things while denying or distorting others. Clearly this is a high-risk strategy that may go awry.
2000, Jenkins, Philip, Mystics and Messiahs : Cults and New Religions in American History, London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195127447, page 180:
- Another potent element of the new cult milieu was the therapy sect, which offered believers the chance to achieve their full human potential through personal growth and self-actualization by taking total responsibility for one's actions. The prototypical movement of this kind was est (Erhard Seminar Training), in which intense and often grueling sessions forced followers to confront a new view of reality.
- Devotion to a saint.
- A religion that evolved out of another religion but has become a different religion through developing a radically different theology.
- Sufi is a cult of Islam because it evolved out of Islam and claims to be Islamic but rejects the Koran and other foundational doctrines of the Islamic religion.
- (informal) A group of people having an obsession with or intense admiration for a particular activity, idea, person or thing.
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cult (not comparable)
The term has a positive connotation for groups of art, music, writing, fiction, and fashion devotees, but a negative connotation for new religious, extreme political, questionable therapeutic, and pyramidal business groups.
cult m (plural cults)
- cult (enjoyed by a small, loyal group)