What is a cult? A cult is any group that comes together to worship a common object or person. A cult could be any group really, and that actually includes religious groups who at some point may also have been considered just a cult. A cult really isn’t a bad thing when you look at the definition of it, but in the 16th century the church made the word to make groups that weren’t Christian look like nothing more than mere pagans.
When you think about it a cult could just be considered a religion that hasn’t been long enough to be established, or just hasn’t been accepted by the mainstream. I will agree that a cult really isn’t a religion, and a religion isn’t exactly just a cult, but it seems that cults do get some bad names. They certainly do deserve to be treated as outside of the mainstream though when you take into the account the people who have led cults.
Jim Jones comes to mind when you think of a cult. His followers were devoted to him, and they treated him like he was the messiah. He was one of many who invoked the title of the messiah, and used religious overtones to get his followers to follow him. Feeling like the US government was going to get him, and arrest him, he and his followers fled to Jonestown. When some followers tried to flee by plane before the group committed a mass suicide, they were shot by other members.
Why are people in cults so devoted to the leaders of the cult? Why would some people shoot others trying to escape, and why would they all want to die for the leader? The people who join cults are basically religious extremists, or they believe that they have no one else that cares about them. They feel like they have something so close to them that they would rather die then go back into the world, or they feel like death is going to bring them to heaven faster.
Cults are just like any other gang that you can think of, except that they are more related to religion than anything else. They pull the people off the streets who are either mentally unstable or just very devoted to getting to heaven. Either that, or they take people who just don’t fit in, and feel like maybe they will be given a chance with these folks. That is what church is supposed to be right, even if a cult takes the concept to an extreme level.
A cult is a group of people that are extremely devoted to a leader. A cult is like a religion except that you have no mainstream acceptance, and there is a higher level of extremism. There is no real correlation between the beliefs of a cult and any real scripture, and it has nothing to do really with making the world any better through religion. A cult is tame by definition, but certainly not in practice.