Not all spiritual beliefs are considered equal today, even in western societies that supposedly cherish the principle of religious freedom.
Scholars estimate there to be tens of thousands of religions worldwide. 1 If you belong to one of the major religions, your beliefs will generally be considered respectable and have mainstream acceptance. But if you belong to a smaller religious group, especially one that deviates from what is considered “normal” in society, you might receive very different treatment.
Small religious groups, are at particular risk of being labelled a “cult” and considered potentially dangerous or harmful. 2 This can happen quite easily, not because of anything a group has done, but simply because they are a small religious movement, which today is becoming synonymous with being a “cult”.