The Anti-Cult Movement: History and Impact

Persecution of Knight's Templars - a minority spiritual groups

A miniature painting of the burning of the The Knights Templar, in the presence of King Philip Augustus “The Fair.” Though originally of Christian faith and highly regarded throughout the courts of Europe and the Church, during the Inquisition the Templars were suddenly accused of allegedly being a heretical sect due to their differing spiritual practice from the mainstream version of the day Church of Rome, and were executed accordingly.

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”.

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