Tag: J. Gordon Melton

What do you call a ‘cult’?

Cult? Sect? New Religious Movement? Alternative Religion? The terminology used to describe some religious groups and movements is confusing — in part because the words used are ambiguous.

In his column at Patheos, Christian theologian Roger E. Olson addresses Safe and Unsafe Sects (and Problems with Terms for Alternative Religious Groups). A good article, though the mention of J. Gordon Melton does inspire us to provide a word of caution regarding cult apologists.

Death of failed ‘Messiah’ Sun Myung Moon brings out cult defenders

Sun Myung Moon In today’s brief edition of Religion News Briefs: the death of cult leader and self-proclaimed ‘Messiah’ Sun Myung Moon brings out cult defenders.

An Amish bishop testifies against the cult-like group that attacked him. Plus, an Australian doctor — a member of the extremist Exclusive Brethren sect — has been banned from practicing medicine after prescribing a ‘gay cure.’

Ex-prosecutor: ‘Aum made preparations to topple the government’

Aum Shrinikyo The Aum Supreme Truth cult could have toppled the government and taken power, even only for a short period, by committing mass murder in Tokyo with 70 tons of deadly sarin gas and 1,000 automatic rifles, a former Supreme Court justice said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Meanwhile, New Religious Movements scholars — paid for by Aum Shinrikyo itself — defended the cult.