Sociological explanations for the emergence Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 15 July 2016

Sociological explanations for the emergence

The widely accepted definition of a sect is a religious group with characteristics, which distinguishes it from either a Church or a denomination. Many groups which fit this definition now prefer the less contentious title of “new religious movements”, because over the last fifty years, sects have become linked with brainwashing, mass suicide, and even a murder. One of the examples is the suicide of 900 members of the People’s temple.

Sects are not a new phenomenon and they have always attracted controversy. Throughout History, humanity has formed secret societies and secular groups to try to make sense of the world. Most of the time, their strong beliefs have sprung from dissatisfaction with mainstream religions, although the influence of Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism can be seen in many of today’s sects.

Sects mainly depend on the qualities of the ‘charismatic leader’, if there is one. A dictatorial sect leader is as potentially dangerous as a dictatorial political leader; perhaps even more so, because members are subjected to their guru’s every whim, they are often portrayed as being inspired by some form of “higher power”, and are told that they will only reach salvation if the obey his or her word,

Sects are small religious movements. They always keep a strong distance between themselves and the world outside. Troeltsch claimed that sects are ‘connected with the lower classes or at least with those elements in society which are opposed to the state and the society’. They are in opposition to the world (Haralambos and Holborn, sociology Themes and Perspective).

Sect members are sometimes expected to remove all contacts with the outer world except only when they wish to see changes taking place in the wider society. Members are expected to intensely commit themselves to the sect’s beliefs. They can be expelled from the sect if they fail to show such a commitment which is required from them.

Young children are not allowed to enter the sect by being baptised if they are not old enough to understand the significance of the ceremony and the commitment they are required to show once they become members. They are supposed to adopt the lifestyle and beliefs of the sect very keenly. They must not make any contact with the outer world and they should sacrifice the worldly pleasures in order to devote themselves to their religious life.

Sects share the characteristics of having total control over individuals’ lives with religions such as Islam where religious beliefs still have a strong hold over social life.

In this sense, sects have more restrictions and commitments then for example the Church of England.

Sects are in many ways, the opposite of churches. A Church is defined as a religious group that accepts the social environment in which it exists while a sect is said to be a group that rejects its social environment.

Churches are defined as large complex organisations with a long history of investment in the past. They are inclusive. Individuals do not have to express their faith to become members of a Church. Indeed often they are born into it. The practice of baptism ensures that Children of members are automatically recruited before they are old enough to understand faith. That is why; church membership is sometimes called ‘involuntary membership’. Children do not actively choose to become members. In effect, such members do not have to prove how religious they are. No one is likely to test whether they agree with what the church believes, something which is often seen in religious sects.

Churches accept the wider society. Those churches who have failed to respond to the many changes in society have declined, while others that see change as opportunity have grown. As established Churches mature they tend to become more centralised, develop a hierarchical administrative structure and rely on professional, well educated ministers and theologians to oversee their activities.

Because of it’s size, members of a Church are drawn from all classes in society, but the upper classes are likely to join. According to Troeltsch, this is because; a Church usually ‘stabilises and determines the political order’. All members are allowed to have free dealings with the wider society, although they maybe asked to behave in a religious manner when dealing with other people. However members are not asked to cut off all their relations with the outer world or to devote their whole lives to religion. They can play a full part in social life and are not expected to withdraw from society.

Unlike churches, sects are not organised through a hierarchy of paid officials. The only central authority which exists in the sect is a single charismatic leader, whose personality and perceived special qualities persuade the followers to adhere to his or her teachings.

Religious sects are rapidly growing since 1950s and church growth is declining. People join sects for a variety of reasons. The popularity of so-called ‘accepted’ religions is declining, and the interest in mysticism, new age teachings and supernatural is certainly growing. Particularly in the west, where spirituality has been blocked by the joys of wealth and gratification, more and more people seem to be looking for a spiritual aspect to their lives. If mainstream religion fails to supply this, then there are numerous sects around which appear to promise either guaranteed salvation or at least a close knit community of like minded friends.

The industrialisation and the growth of scientific knowledge have led the world to secularisation. It is defined by peter Berger as a process ‘by which sectors of society and culture are removed from the domination of religious institutions and symbols’. The term secularisation was not only used to describe the restriction in the influence of religion due to changes within modern society, but also the adaptation of religion to the changing values of society. Many existing scholars suggested that traditional religious beliefs, teachings and practices would struggle to survive in the modern world, suggesting that they were more suited to past cultures and belief systems.

Bryan Wilson, described secularisation as ‘the process whereby religious thinking, practices and institutions lose social significance’. He looked at Church attendance figures, Church baptisms and marriages, number of new clergy coming forward.

Certainly these statistics support his thesis:

1- baptism within the Church of England have dropped

55.4% in 1960

36.5% in 1983

2- Number of clergy joining the church is down. This is because they are expected to have more training, knowledge and faith then other religious leaders. Extensive theological training favoured by churches isolates clergy from their congregations and frustrates the clergy and congregation. This frustration has led to the resignation of a large number of clergy from traditional churches in the late 1960s.

3- Since 1985, nearly half of marriages in the UK are civil.

4- Church attendance figures are down:

6.2% in 1960

4.3% in 1983

Attendance at religious ceremonies such as baptisms, communion and confirmation has also dramatically fallen. Wilson sees the decline in church marriage, the rising divorce rate and the increase in cohabitation and number of children born outside marriage as evidence that religion and it’s moral value system exerts little influence today.

The perceived decline in the influence of religion is strongly related to the rapid increase in the size and complexity of modern society. While ‘clergy’ were the largest professional group in the early 1800s, with roles including teaching, counselling, keeping law and order and government clerical responsibilities , by the end of the twentieth century those roles had been replaced by the increasingly specialist positions. Clergy were transferred to the periphery and religion was confirmed to the private sphere.

Major religions other than Christianity, UK, 1980-95

As the table shows, membership of these movements rose by nearly 5,000 between 1980 and 1995, an increase of approximately 130 percent.

Overall, there does seem to have a decline in membership of religious organisations in the UK. Institutional, Christian religions have decline most, while many non-Christian and smaller religions have gained members.

Eileen Barker (1985) suggests that small religious groups could be classified according to the religious tradition from which they originate. For example, Hari Krishna and the disciples of Bhagwan Rajneesh take their inspiration from Hindu religion, Zen groups from Buddhism, and the children of God from Christianity. Other groups have an occult, pagan or witchcraft source. Barker suggests that another way of classifying new religious movements is according to the degree of commitment shown by their members. The people’s temple is at one extreme, while some other movements require little more of their members then to attend a short course.

People have seen much in the media in recent years about the phenomena of cults and sects. For example, the tragic mass suicide of the People’s temple in Guyana, the horrific flaming destruction of the Branch Dravidians and many more. This tells us how deeply particularly the western society is getting involved in strange and dangerous religious movements.

Christians have become more aware of this growing situation because the increasing number of sect is affecting the Christian religion and the church.

The media has been particularly influential in informing the public about sects through press, magazines and films. There have been a number of real life stories about sect which portray them as a threat to society. The story of Christina is one of them. She spent the first twelve years of her life in a bizarre cult where men and women were expected to swap sexual partners all the time. The movement was called The Family where the members had to share everything including their body. Relationships were completely open and there was no privacy.

Christina claimed that her parents did not make any decisions; it was the leader of the cult who made all decisions. After she left the cult, it was very difficult for her to make her own decisions and sometimes she even felt like going back. In the cult, no one was allowed to make their own decisions; they did not even have the authority to decide what clothes they can wear. The decision of leaving the cult was Christina’s mom’s decision.

The Cult kept a huge distance from the outer world. Christina said that ‘I never watched television or read magazines, and the only stuff I did read was compiled by members of the cult’. Media obviously portrays sects as dangerous, insecure and satanic. This maybe a reason why most of the sect members are not allowed to watch TV or read newspapers.

There are now many anti-cult groups which produce literature warning of the dangers of sect membership, and also many ex-members who have written accounts of their time in a sect. some, but not all, would argue that their lives have become more fulfilled by joining a sect, and that their beliefs and way of life are as valid as anybody else’s.

Many anti-cult movements (ACM) or counter cult movements (CCM) are striving hard to raise public awareness about the dangers of sects to society especially to the youth. The anti cult movement grew in the 1960s when frightened parents whose children joined the sects began an informal network of information. Their efforts quickly grew a professional network of organisations. The ACM wants to rescue the current sect members as soon as possible. The help in educating the general public about the threats of sects so that they can stay away from them.

The counter cult movement (CCM) is the older group. This movement challenged sectarian movements such as Jehovah’s witnesses, Mormons and other groups which seemed threatening. The CCM focus on doctrinal differences between NRMs and the established religions and therefore their opposition can be classified as theological.

Many Anti-Cultists see sects as being particularly interested in attracting normal young teens and young adults by using deceptive techniques. The members are brainwashed so that their ability to think negatively about the sect destroys and they cannot become independent. Sects are not only unsafe for the people outside sect but also to their members. Many groups have induced their members to commit suicide for example the mass suicide pact of the People’s Temple. The leader of the sect was a mixed race man called Jim Jones. He took all his members to a Jungle retreat in Guyana. The incident took place on November 1978. The reality of what was the reason is still shrouded in mystery.

According to one member who managed to survive the experience, Jones called all his followers together and told them it was time for ‘white night’, a time when all the members had to commit suicide. He used to prepare his members for this day before. A cocktail of a soft drink laced with tranquilizers and cyanide was given to everyone. Some members obeyed their leader but those who objected were forced to drink, or were injected with poison. Those who tried to flee were shot. Jones killed himself by a single shot on his head.

Later on, over a half a million dollar along with treasure chest of gold and bankers’ checks were found .Further investigation revealed that Jones was a multimillionaire

Sect convince their members to spend major amount of their time with the group, help in the development of the group, accept it’s teachings without any questions, make a commitment that they will always remain in the NRM.

Most people join sects to have their needs met, to understand themselves, to feel a sense of purpose in their lives. Some people join sects because they feel inferior when compared with others, they feel confused and don’t understand their own personality; feel aimless, lonely and insecure. These wide range of needs suggest the reason why people are attracted to a group and their reason for staying. A sect might give answers to all their queries and people might feel that that is what they have been looking for.

Anti-Cultists accept uncritically theories on the use and power of mind control techniques to control young converts to NRMs.

Mind control is also known as brainwashing, coercive persuasion and thought reform. It is referred to a process in which a group or an individual systematically uses unethically manipulative techniques to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator.

The concept of brainwashing first came into public use during the Korean War in the 1950s.

Margaret Thaler Singer, a mental health professional believes that sects have developed sophisticated means of changing behaviour such as deceptive techniques. Because of this, converts are incapable of making logical decisions for themselves. According to her, over the last ten years, cults have used tactics of coercive mind control to negatively impact an estimated 20 million victims.

Brainwashing in sects often involves physical torture, starvation, abuse and a lack of sleep. The idea behind this type of deprivation is that it supposedly makes people unable to think for themselves. The brainwashing techniques are so powerful that no one is safe from them. Even normal healthy young people who enter sects can be victimised by brainwashing. The victim is normally unable to exercise free choice.

The NRM brainwashing system was analysed by Bob and Gretchen Passantino and they have found them lacking in reliability because:

The brainwashing experiments have been unsuccessful. The CIA-central intelligence agency used electric shocks and drugs during their investigation on mind control but the experiments were found as failures. Although brainwashing was used in the Korean War by communist military organisation but they also failed. Only in few cases, they managed to do it. The question arises that how could uneducated sect leaders succeed when highly trained experts had earlier failed? However, CCM promoters believe that modern forms of mind-control with religious organisations represent a major advance over earlier brainwashing techniques.

They are surprised to hear how sects can brainwash recruits in a week, while professionals failed after years of indoctrination. The CCM also tried to find some data to prove that sects or cults are successful in using mind-control techniques but the data was unreliable. The information represented a very small sample size.

Some Sects are Christian groups. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint better known as the Mormon Church is one of the Christian sect. It has approximately 10 million members worldwide. The church is so well organised in the USA that most would rank it alongside the more mainstream religious groups. This acceptance is based on the clean-living, generous and caring attitude of most Mormons.

The movement was started by Joseph Smith in 1830 in New York State. He claimed that an angel called Moroni was sent to guide Smith to a nearby hill, and he was shown where a series of gold plates depicting the early history of America and the real gospel were buried. Smith was told he would be able to translate the ancient hieroglyphics with a pair of magical ‘spectacles’ that would be found nearby.

He taught that god is a physical being who procreates with his wives producing spirit children. The emphasis on the family and having children is central to Mormonism even today, but in its earlier stage it meant that the church embraced the practice of polygamy.

Today the glorious white Temple of Mormons stands dazzling as testament to the work of those initial inhabitants, and it is seen as the headquarters of the whole international movement. The church is nowhere near as fundamentalist, and it works hard within the community, often running charitable groups, but it has maintained some of it’s former practices.

One of the only mysteries about the group that survives today is the Temple itself. Not all Mormons go to their temple- most simple attend their local churches.

After looking at sects, we can clearly see that sects are dangerous for the society but people are still joining them. Most research claims that most sects’ members are relatively normal. There is a misconception about people who join sects that they are normally ‘crazy’. However research and medical evidences proves that people who join sects are normal human being. They include the young, the middle-aged, elderly, the wealthy, the poor, the educated and the uneducated from every ethnic and religious background. There is no easily identifiable type of person who joins cults.

Membership appears to be drawn from two very different groups, the rejecters and the rejected. The rejecters are those who feel that the values of society are wrong and that the modern stress upon ownership of possessions as the one gouge of value ignores the need for inner harmony and contentment. These rejecters are usually younger people from well-off homes who are themselves not financially deprived, but feel they need a sense of purpose in their lives. Sects such as the Moonies draw their recruits from these sorts of people.

The rejected ones are from the poorer, deprived groups in society who need comfort and explanations for their situation.

Generally, people never think of becoming involved in a sect or cult until it happens. By then it is probably too late. Groups who actively recruit are devious. They sell themselves well and appear highly attractive.

Recruiters look for lonely, depressed, confused, vulnerable people. They offer help, friendship and quick answers to their complicated problems. The vulnerable may feel that their needs are being met and come to depend upon this new source for support. For a lonely person, instant acceptance by a friendly group of people in very appealing. This is the reason why people join sects even after knowing that the public considers them negatively.

A very famous religious movement is the Unification Church, commonly known as ‘Moonies’. It is an empire which is not only growing with an estimated 3 million members, but has also been linked to some of the worst allegations of brainwashing.

The most public face of the Moonies was the 1992 spectacle of 30,000, brides and grooms getting married in one mass ceremony in the Olympic stadium in Seoul, South Korea. All participants had had their partners chosen for them by the Moonies’ leader.

Critics have said that Moon is keen to recruit young people because they will work hard for him. They certainly have to. Using classic cult tactics, members are expected to live in a commune, give up their possessions, cut ties with family members, and make no decisions for themselves. The cult is mainly successful in Japan and US. Moon’s ultimate plan is that his church will become a political force and take over the world, destroying communism.

Moon has claimed that he is not only in contact with God, but has stated he can ‘talk to’ the great prophets, such as Jesus and Buddha.

In the cult, sexes are kept apart, and a clean living approach is adopted- no drugs, tobacco, alcohol or extravagances are allowed.

Although Moon instructs his followers that marriage is sacred and even ensures their unions are blessed by choosing their partners for them , Mrs Moon is either his third or fourth wife (reports vary as to whether he ever married his third).

The growth of sects can also be explained in terms of why people choose to join them or in terms of wider social changes. In reality, these reasons are closely linked, for social changes affect the number of people available as potential recruits.

The question is why are sects increasingly growing? For this we first need to look at the types of people who join sects.

Max Weber linked sects to social stratification. It is believed that sect membership is more likely to appear amongst the poor. A ‘theodicy of disprivilege’ can explain why poor people join sects. One of the reasons for poor people to join sects can be the group’s promise of salvation as a compensation for their poverty. Weber explained that sects contain an explanation for the disprivilege of their members and assure them that they will get honour and respect either in the after world or in a future new world on earth.

However, middle-class people also join sects. The term ‘relative deprivation’ is used to explain this. Some members of the middle class may feel relatively deprived compared with other groups. In an unbiased or practical term, the poor are more deprived then the middle class but when talking about one’s personal feelings, certain members of the middle-class may feel more deprived than the poor.

A number of different types of relative deprivations are pointed out by Glock and Stark:

Social deprivation-may come from a lack of authority, supremacy and status. Such people may feel insecure and unsatisfied with their lives. For example, people who are dissatisfied from their jobs find alternative sources of satisfaction and join sects.

Organismic deprivation- is related to those people who suffer from physical or mental problems. For example, some people may join sects in the hope of being cured from their illness.

Ethical deprivation-is the result of people who see the world to be in moral decline and therefore withdraw themselves into an introversionist sect, for example, Jim Jones’ people’s temple.

Psychic deprivation- refers to those who are not satisfied with their environment and want to see a change in society. They prefer inner spiritual satisfaction rather then the consumerist goals on offer in capitalist societies. The Moonies claim to offer this.

Some middle class people also join sects because they see the world as materialistic, dispassionate and lonely.

Max Weber provided one of the earliest explanations for the growth of sects. He argued that sects are more likely to magnetise those groups that are ‘marginal’ in society. ‘Certain individuals or groups are pushed to the periphery of, and sometimes excluded from, mainstream society’ (A-Z Sociology handbook). A number of situations can lead to the marginalisation of groups in society, which can help in the growth of sects. The situations include defeat in war, economic collapse and unsuccessfulness etc.

To a certain extent, sects are growing due to the recruitment of marginal and deprived groups. The sects offered peace and satisfaction to the ‘Black Muslims’ who wanted ‘the negro in the mud’.

The idea of social change can also help us explain why there has been an increase in the number of people joining sects. Social change refers to a process in which societies or aspects of society move from one state to another. Sociologists, who emphasise social change at the expense of social order, tend to focus on conflict in society, and the contradictions that exist between social groups and interests.

Sociologists such as Wilson argue that sect membership generally arises during the period of social change, when traditional norms and customs are disrupted, world is under chaos, social relationships become less steady and the traditional ‘universe of meaning’ is weak.

Wilson explains that the growth of sects in the eighteenth and nineteenth century grew both in UK and USA due to the anxieties created by industrialisation and urbanisation. Twentieth century sects maybe a response to anxieties created by the dominance of scientific rationalism, neutralism and the resulting secularisation of society.

The example of Methodists can be used to explain the effects of social change. A Methodist is a member of a Christian protestant denomination originating in the eighteenth century evangelistic movement of Charles and John Wesley. Methodism has characteristics of a sect. The rise of Methodism is seen as the reaction of the Urban working class to the ‘chaos and uncertainty of life in the newly settled industrial areas’. Wilson claims that they had to develop their own pattern of religious belief to comfort them to the new environment or to adjust themselves.

Sects mainly offer a devoted, inseparable and close-knit community organisation at the time of change and uncertainty. It provides a new and stable ‘universe of meaning’ which is legitimated by it’s religious beliefs.

Robert Bellah argues that the increase in sect and cult membership seen in the late 1960s in the USA was due to middle class youth experiencing a ‘crisis of meaning’ in regard to the materialistic values of their parent’s culture. Many turned to an alternative drug/pop culture which rejected such values. This youth culture burnt itself out at the end of the 1960.

Sects based on anti-materialistic and free love values such as the Jesus people, eastern -influenced sects such as the Hare Krishna recruited in large numbers from young people in search of spiritual or psychic goals.

The Hare Krishna movement started as a peace -loving crusade to bring the western world near to God but it degenerated into the most cruel and venal of all the cults. The movement started in America in 1965 by Prabhupada who said that he had been told by his guru in India to spread the word to the west, so he made his journey to USA. Prabhupada’s teachings grew in popularity and he was particularly successful at convincing people to give up drugs. His followers started to sell books on the streets in the most major cities and people became used to of seeing shaven headed followers.

Before his death, parbhupada left instructions that a council of sannyasas should be formed. After his death, other members took control of the organisation. Between 1982 and 1987, the organisation was linked to murders, drug dealing, suicide, blackmail and sexual misdemeanours. The group says that this due to the leadership of some worst leaders.

The group still actively sells it’s literature, saying it’s aim is to “bring people to the platform of understanding their original, constitutional position as a eternal servant of the supreme Lord, Sir krishna”

Wallis has pointed out that the growth of higher education and the gradual lengthening of time spent in education created an extended period of transition between childhood and adulthood. Youth culture developed because there was an increasing number of young people who had considerable freedom but little in the way of family or work responsibilities. At the same time there was a belief that developing technology would herald the end of poverty and economic scarcity. Radical political movements were also growing in the 1960s providing an alternative to dominant social norms and values.

At this time, new religious movements were appealing because of the power, the confidence it offered for ‘a more idealistic’ spiritual and caring way of life.

New religious movements have various social effects on the society. Some studies have suggested that NRMs have the effect of bringing back alienated young people perhaps from a drug culture to the major institutions of society.

NRMs view the world as :

1. World rejecting – they strongly reject the world around them seeing it as entirely corrupt and unpeaceful. Such a world has to be entirely abandoned or totally transformed. They are usually a clearly religious organisation with a definite conception of God. For example the Unification church. Members are expected to break all relations from their conventional like in order to reach salvation. Organisations of this type act as ‘total institution’, controlling every aspect of their members’ lives. As a result, they often develop a reputation for brainwashing their members. Many of the movements forbid sex outside marriage, for example, the Moonies restrict sex outside marriage.

2. World accommodating-movements in this category believe that the aim of the religion is neither to create a new society nor to improve the believers’ chances of success in their lives. Instead they seek to restore the spiritual purity to a religion, which it believes has been lost. They feel that religions are slipping away from God-ordained design for human life.

3. World-affirming- are very different from all other religious groups, and may indeed lack some of the features normally thought to be central to a religion. World affirming groups accept the world as it is and they are not particularly critical of other religions. Followers carry on their normal lives except when undergoing training. There is little social control over the members or customers and they are not excluded from the group if they fail to act in accordance with it’s beliefs.

So, with the growing number of churches being built nowadays, one might question why people stray from the traditional places of worship and come to join religious cults which are so negatively viewed?

The answer to this question has many forms because different people join sects for different reasons.

Some people join New-Religious movements and leave the established churches such as the Roman Catholic Church and Church of England because they find them too traditional and they think their beliefs are too conventional which do not suit their lifestyles.

Living in a sect is harder then being a church member. Sects ask for full commitment, members leave their families and become dependent on the sect leader. You have to give them money in order to become a member whereas churches do not ask for anything like that. Then why people still join sects even when they can clearly see that sects are not an easier option compared to churches?

The answer is many Churches have become hypocritical in the past years. Their customs are changing and they do not have the same respect as before.

Whereas sects offer clear cut ideas for example, Islam is an eastern religion and is growing because their ideas are to the point and definite, they say ‘this is what you can do and this is what you cannot do’. Churches on the other hand have become hypocritical. For example, a catholic church’s priest said that ‘marrying a divorced woman is not permitted in Christianity’ but he himself married a divorced woman. These are the factors which confuse the public and they move away from churches.

For example, some churches allow abortion, some don’t, some allow gay marriages but some don’t. However the Roman Catholic Church is against abortion and homosexuality. The Churches nowadays do not follow what they preach; they have made their own ideas. There is no unity and different churches hold their own viewpoints. In these circumstances, it is natural for someone to get irritated by the church’s system and as a result they join sects.

We have also seen an example of a priest who was homosexual and was still preaching. In this case, one can argue that if the leader is not following what the religion says then how he can ask others to follow the religion. A priest or any religious leader is supposed to set up examples for their followers. Events like these promote people to join sects.

From above we can conclude that there are people of two thoughts who tend to join sects:

1- People who do not like the rules of the Roman Catholic Church as they find them too traditional or maybe they do not suite their lifestyles. For example, the Roman Catholic Church does not allow abortion, homosexuality, and sex before marriage. Their rules are so strict that they have lost a lot of members.

2- In contrast, there is another type of population who leave churches and join sects because they are confused about the rules of churches which are constantly changing .They are the sort of people who seek for a reason for their existence. Sects provide straightforwardly answers to difficult questions that cannot be answered elsewhere.

There are numerous other reasons for joining sects. It is thought by many that new recruits are naive, idealistic individuals who are fooled by a manipulative cult member. While this may be the case, some of the time it should also be pointed out that there is this original statement that everyone can have his or her choices. They appeal people because they map out an alternative way of life. They draw people out of a wider, largely impersonal society and into a warm and supportive group. People are attracted to religious cults for the reason that they believe their needs will be met. The feeling of meaning, belonging and spiritual fulfillment is the attraction of religious cults.

The church does not call on you to join them, whereas, sects or cults convince you to join the movement. Members are encouraged to think of themselves as an elite who possess special enlightenment or spiritual insight and salvation is generally claimed to be reserved for them alone.

These are the few possible reasons which tell us why the religious sects are growing in an apparently secular society.

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