Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 11th Edition definition of cult:

It is a bit ambiguous, but I think you will see how it relates to the word religion.

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 11th Edition definition of religion:

From these definitions, what can we say about the two concepts?

Would it be fair to say that a cult has many fewer followers and in most cases do not have support from their particular government where as a religion has drastically more followers and in many cases became religions BECAUSE they were supported by their particular government?

There are cults that became religions and then subsided into cults again. One example is Zoroastrianism.

The scientists and others who investigated at length (and continue the investigation even today) the Christian religion's beginnings would say that Christianity was probably a cult, and, at some point, because it was supported by the cult follower's government, it grew from a cult into a religion.

So the only real difference between cults and religions is that religions are/were supported by their government when they were a cult and with that support grew into a religion.

Sometimes ambiguity is a bitch and the majority is blind to the obvious until you point it out.

The crazy man has spoken!!!

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Comment by yusuf on June 9, 2012 at 4:02am

I saw this debate on Big Questions,

and this woman who is bible scholar (secular), points out that the difference is only of size.

My opinion, as being brought up in cult myself is cults use severe mind control techniques and complete devotion to a living person which gives it unique fervor and makes it more dangerous where as religions are, once a cult later became more acceptable and generalized and routinized. Though both preach seclusion, cults's specifically thrive on being chosen exclusively as being small minority.

Comment by AgeOfAtheists14 on April 11, 2012 at 7:47pm

it's all about corporate vultures... and their preachers nah mean?

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