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Controversy exists among sociologists of religion as to whether the term "cult" should be abandoned in favor of the more neutral "new religious movement." A great deal of literature has been produced on the subject, the objectivity of which is hotly debated.Etymologically, the word cult comes from the root of the word culture, representing the core system of beliefs and activities at the basis of a culture.Rumors were spread by detractors about Christians drinking human blood and eating human flesh.
The term has also been applied to certain human-potential and self-improvement organizations.
Because of the increasingly pejorative use of the terms "cult" over recent decades, many argue that the term should be avoided.
Each of these groups is now well into its second or third generation, but it is often difficult to distinguish between a group's public image—which may have become fixed decades earlier—and its current practices.
Earlier "cults," such as the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and Christian Scientists, are now generally considered part of the mainstream religious fabric of the American society in which they originated.
When a new religion becomes a large or dominant in a society the "cult" basically becomes "culture." In this sense, "cult" may be seen as a pejorative term, something akin to calling someone a "barbarian." It represents a type of in-group/out-group terminology designed to exclude one group by calling them less human or inferior.
Over time, such groups tend either die to out or become more established and in less tension with society.
Anti-cult groups in the 1970s and 80s, overly comprised of families of NRM members who objected to the newfound faith of their relative, made particularly strong accusations regarding the threat of "dangerous cults." Among the allegations levied against these groups were "brainwashing," the separation of members from their families, food and sleep deprivation, economic exploitation, and potential harm to the larger society.
Some families took desperate measures to force "cult" members back into traditional faiths or a secular way of life.
Certain groups that have been characterized as cults have clearly posed a threat to the well-being and lives of their own members and to society in general.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating