Is there really a fundamental difference between a “religion” and a “cult”?

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You’ve never heard that joke? The difference between a religion and a cult is.. about 100 years


Not really, I was brought up in christianity and this is a cult in my opinion, hundreds of different cults in this case.


The only difference between a religion and a cult is a cult does not have tax exempt status.


By some definitions no… But those definitions aren’t very useful. What tends to be called a cult is one where the leadership has an inordinate amount of control over the membership. Specifically behavioural, information, thought and emotional control. This is referred to as the BITE model. There are many groups considered reasonably mainstream like the LDS church and Jehova’s witnesses which absolutely qualify as a cult under this model. I would also say there are subsets of the Catholic Church which qualify. Notably the clergy, but it’s not limited to that. The diverse nature of Protestantism makes it harder to say much about the group as a whole but there are many churches in it which qualify too. Basically if there’s no distinction between cult and religion in your definitions, the definitions might not be useful… And there are better ones available.


all religions begin as cults