Various sociological classifications of religious movements have been proposed by scholars. In the sociology of religionthe most widely used classification is the church-sect typology. The typology states that churches, ecclesia, denominations and Examples of world accommodating movements in history form a continuum with decreasing influence on society. Sects are break-away groups from more mainstream religions and tend to be in tension with society.
Cults and new religious movements fall outside this continuum and in contrast to aforementioned groups often have a novel teaching. They have been classified on their attitude towards society and the level of involvement of their adherents. This church-sect typology has its origins in the work of Max Weber. Along this continuum are several additional types, each of which will be discussed in turn.
Many labels are commonly employed by non-sociologists to refer to religions and tend to be used interchangeably. Sociologists, when speaking technically, will not use these labels interchangeably as they are designations for religions with very "Examples of world accommodating movements in history" characteristics.
These differing religions are often classified by sociologists as ideal types. Ideal types are pure examples of the categories. Because there is significant variation in each religion, how closely an individual religion actually holds as their ideal type categorisation will vary.
Nevertheless, the categorisation scheme is useful as it also outlines a sort of developmental process for religions. Johnstone provides the following seven characteristics of churches: The classical example of a church by this definition is the Catholic Churchespecially in the past, such as the State church of the Roman Empire. Today, the Catholic Church has been forced into the denomination category because of religious pluralismor competition among religions.
This is especially true of Catholicism in the United States. The change from a church to a denomination is still under way in many Latin American countries where the majority of citizens remain Catholics. Islam is a church in countries like Saudi
Examples of world accommodating movements in history and Iran, where there is no separation of church and state.
The Basic Law of Saudi Arabia states: Saudi Arabia, however, lacks Johnstone's criteria for an ordained clergy and a strictly hierarchical structure, although it has the ulema. In the Shi'a denominations, there is a professional clergy led by a Grand Ayatollah.
A slight modification of the church type is that of ecclesia. The state churches of some European nations would fit this type.
The denomination lies between the church and the sect on the continuum. Denominations come into existence when churches lose their religious monopoly in a society. A denomination is one religion among many. When churches or sects become denominations, there are also some changes in their characteristics.
Johnstone provides the following eight characteristics of denominations:. Most of the major Christian bodies formed post-reformation are denominations by this definition e. Sociologically, a "sect" is defined as a newly formed religious group that formed to protest elements of its parent religion generally a denomination.
Their motivation tends to be situated in accusations of apostasy or heresy in the parent denomination; they often decry liberal trends in denominational development and advocate a return to so-called "true" religion. Leaders of sectarian movements i. Most scholars believe that when sect formation involves social class distinctions, they reflect an "Examples of world accommodating movements in history" to compensate for deficiencies in lower social status.
After their formation, sects can take only three paths - dissolution, institutionalization, or eventual development into a denomination. If the sect withers in membership, it will dissolve. If the membership increases, the sect is forced to adopt the characteristics of denominations in order to maintain order e. And even if the membership does not grow or grows slowly, norms will develop to govern group activities and behavior.
The development of norms results in a decrease in spontaneity, which is often one of the primary attractions of sects. The adoption of denomination-like characteristics can either turn the sect into a full-blown denomination or, if a conscious effort is made to maintain some of the spontaneity and protest components of sects, an institutionalized sect can result.
Institutionalized sects are halfway between sects and denominations on the continuum of religious development. They have a mixture of sect-like and denomination-like characteristics.
HutteritesIglesia ni Cristoand the Amish. Most of the well-known denominations of the U. MethodistsBaptistsand Seventh-day Adventists. An example of an institutionalized sect that did not become a denomination are the Mennonites. The concept of "cult" has lagged behind in the refinement of the terms that are used in analyzing the other forms of religious origination.
Bruce Campbell discusses Troeltsch's concept in defining cults as non-traditional religious groups that are based on belief in a divine element within the individual. He gives three ideal types of cults:. He also gives groups in the applications of analysis: In the late nineteenth century, there have been a number of works that help in clarifying what is involved in cults.
It is either Soul, Self, or True Self. Cults are inherently ephemeral and loosely organized. One is mystical and the other is instrumental. This can divide the cults into being either occults or metaphysical assemblies. On the basis that Campbell proposes about cults, they are non-traditional religious groups based on belief in a divine element in the individual. Other than the two main types, there is also a third type.
Campbell states that "the kinds of stable forms which evolve in the development of religious organization will bear a significant relationship to the content of the religious experience of the founder or founders. By sociological typology, cults are, like sects, new religious groups.
But, unlike sects, they can form without breaking off from another religious group, though this is by no means always the case.
The characteristic that most distinguishes cults from sects is that they are not advocating a return to pure religion but rather the embracing of something new or something that has been completely lost or forgotten e.
Cults are also much more likely to be led by charismatic leaders than are other religious groups and the charismatic leaders tend to be the individuals who bring forth the new or lost component that is the focal element of the cult. Cults, like sects, often integrate elements of existing religious theologies, but cults tend create more esoteric theologies synthesized from many sources.
Cults tend to emphasize the individual and individual peace. Cults, like sects, can develop into denominations. As cults grow, they bureaucratize and develop many of the characteristics of denominations.
Some scholars are hesitant to grant cults denominational status because many cults maintain their more esoteric characteristics. But given their closer semblance to denominations than to the cult type, it is more accurate to describe them as denominations. Finally, there is a push in the social scientific study of religion to begin referring to cults as New Religious Movements NRMs. This is the result of the often pejorative and derogatory meanings attached to the word " cult " in popular language.
Religious scholar John A. He argues that the influx of Eastern religious systems, including TaoismConfucianism and Shintoismwhich do not fit within the traditional distinctions between church, sect, denomination and cult, have compounded typological difficulties.
Dawson examines the history and future of the church-sect typology in a article, opining that the typology survives as a useful tool.
The sociologist Roy Wallis — introduced differing definitions of sects and cults. He argued that a cult is characterized
Examples of world accommodating movements in history " epistemological individualism" by which he means that "the cult has no clear locus of final authority beyond the individual member.
Wallis asserts that cults emerge from the "cultic milieu. According to Wallis, "sects lay a claim to possess unique and privileged access to the truth or salvation, such as collective salvationand their committed adherents typically regard all those outside the confines of the collectivity as 'in error'.
Inthe sociologists Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge  distinguish three types of cultsclassified on the basis of the levels of organizational and client or adherent involvement: The sociologist Paul Schnabel has argued that the Church of Scientology originated from an audience cult the readership of Hubbard's book Dianetics: The sociologist Roy Wallis introduced a classification system of new religious movements based on movements' views
Examples of world accommodating movements in history and relationships with the world at large.
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