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Assess the view that cults and sects are inevitably short-lived and of little influence in contemporary society.

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Introduction

Assess the view that cults and sects are inevitably short-lived and of little influence in contemporary society. Cults are religious groups, unlike sects because they believe their teachings are just one of many paths towards the pursuit of the truth. They are also more open to the outside world. There is a pursuit of the inner self and emphasis on experiencing inner power. A sect is usually fairly small in membership and very exclusive in their acceptance of members. They place great stress on obedience and strict conformity to the rules of the sect. They believe that only they know the correct way to Heaven. There are many explanations put forward to describe the future of sects/cults; one being that they have little influence and are short-lived. The loss of new generation can stop the sect from continuing as they were not converted into the sect but merely born into it. ...read more.

Middle

The very nature of their isolation from society means they will have little chance to influence it. Some sects and cults move away from society to the outskirts where they can build their communities and are close to people with the same beliefs. The fact that cults don't demand high attendance and members or customers can come and go as they please with no consequences means they have little influence on individual's lives. On the other hand, some sects/cults can turn into denominations for example the Methodist religion where the values and beliefs where accepted by many people until it eventually was accepted as a mainstream religion and became a denomination. The very success of a sect can lead to its down fall. The more membership grows the greater need for full time officials to manage the organization. This coupled with the toning down of its more extreme views and the rise in members status, leads the sect down the road to a denomination. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that there is a growth in these movements suggests they are becoming more influential. People must be joining them to gain some sort of self satisfactory whether it be physical or spiritual experiences it must be positive in some way. Celebrities can influence the public through the media to join cults because they had a positive experience whilst doing a certain activity. This can lead to membership increasing but not always for a long time. Niebuhr argues that sects are short-lived as they must either evolve into a denomination for example the Methodist religion and Quakers, or else die for example the Branch Dravidians. The future of a sect depends on how extreme its beliefs are. Some sects have found that if they wish to survive, they must tone down its more extreme views in order to be recognized and gain more membership then potentially becoming denomination. In conclusion sects and cults can be arguably called short-lived in society but there are many arguments against to suggest that sects and cults are not. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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