The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The word was first used in the early 17th century denoting homage paid to a divinity and borrowed via the French culte from Latin cultus "worship", from the adjective cultus "inhabited, cultivated, worshipped", derived from the verb colere "care, cultivate".

In the 1930s cults became the object of sociological study in the context of the study of religious behavior. They have been criticized by mainstream Christians for their unorthodox beliefs. In the 1970s the anticult movement arose, partly motivated by acts of violence and other crimes committed by members of some cults (notably the Manson Family and People's Temple). Some of the claims of the anti-cult movement have been disputed by other scholars, leading to further controversies.

Government reaction to cults has led to controversy. Cults have also been featured in popular culture.

Read more about CultThe Study of Cults, Criticism By Former Members, Stigmatization and Discrimination, Doomsday Cults, Government Policy, In Literature and Popular Culture

Other articles related to "cult, cults":

Jovan Vladimir - Cult - Legends
... In the western fringe of Macedonia, which is now part of Albania, Jovan Vladimir was remembered as a saintly ruler, cut down by his father-in-law, an emperor, who believed some slander that he was a womanizer ... The enraged emperor, accompanied by soldiers, found Vladimir on a mountain pass named Qafë Thanë (also known as Derven), on the road between the Macedonian town of Struga and Elbasan ...
Political Cult - Destructive Cults - Destructive Cults and Terrorism
... Olsson compares Osama bin Laden to certain cult leaders including Jim Jones, David Koresh, Shoko Asahara, Marshall Applewhite, Luc Jouret and Joseph Di ... to Osama bin Laden as a "destructive cult leader." At a 2002 meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA), Steven Hassan said that Al Qaida fulfills the characteristics of a destructive cult ... what we know about destructive mind-control cults, and this should be a priority with the war on terrorism ...
Political Cults
... A political cult is a cult with a primary interest in political action and ideology ... Groups that some writers have termed as "political cults," mostly advocating far-left or far-right agendas, have received some attention from journalists and scholars ... In their 2000 book On the Edge Political Cults Right and Left, Dennis Tourish and Tim Wohlforth discuss about a dozen organizations in the United States and Great Britain that they characterize as cults ...
Political Cult - Doomsday Cults
... Doomsday cult" is an expression used to describe groups who believe in Apocalypticism and Millenarianism, and can refer both to groups that prophesy ... Leon Festinger and his colleagues had observed members of a doomsday cult for several months, and recorded their conversations both prior to and after a failed prophecy from their charismatic leader ... The cult members believed that most of the Western Hemisphere would be destroyed by a cataclysmic flood on December 21, 1955 ...
In Literature and Popular Culture
... Cults have been a subject or theme in literature and popular culture since ancient times ... There were many references to them in the 20th century ...

Famous quotes containing the word cult:

    The cult of individuality and personality, which promotes painters and poets only to promote itself, is really a business. The greater the “genius” of the personage, the greater the profit.
    George Grosz (1893–1959)

    The cult of art gives pride; one never has too much of it.
    Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880)

    Look at this poet William Carlos Williams: he is primitive and native, and his roots are in raw forest and violent places; he is word-sick and place-crazy. He admires strength, but for what? Violence! This is the cult of the frontier mind.
    Edward Dahlberg (1900–1977)