Who Joins Cults, And Why?

Is there a certain type of person who is more likely to join a cult? No.

Individual vulnerability factors matter much more than personality type when it comes to joining or staying in a cult or abusive relationship.

Cafeteria Religion

Cafeteria Religion -- also known as Salad Bar Religion, Spirituality Without Religion, or Believing Without Belonging -- is popular among so-called 'nones.'

It is a form of religious pluralism, in which people pick and choose doctrines and religious practices to arrive at a customized, personalized spirituality.

Many Christians actually take a similar approach when they fail to learn or practice spiritual discernment.

Why do some people return to a cult?

The late Robert Vaughn Young walked away from the Scientology -- only to be talked into returning.

When he later left the cult for good, he rejected theories about 'brainwashing' and 'mind control,' but eventually found parallels between victims of domestic violence and those who leave other abusive situations.

Witchcraft Goes Mainstream, by Brooks Alexander

Neopaganism has become one of the fastest-growing religious movements today. Christians are not immune from its influence. Witchcraft and occultism are knocking on the doors of American homes, gaining acceptance and prominence in media and advertising, and enticing people of all ages to dabble in deceptive and dangerous practices.

In his book Witchcraft Goes Mainstream Brooks Alexander offers lucid and enlightening descriptions of witchcraft today and our culture's acceptance of it. He concludes by helping Christians formulate a …

Is Scientology compatible with Christianity?

Although the Church of Scientology claims its beliefs are not incompatible with Christian faith, an evaluation of what Scientology teaches in the areas of God, man, the creation, salvation, and death proves this is not so.

Scientology's teachings and practices are inconsistent with the beliefs of orthodox Christianity.

Chapter 4: Abusive Churches Misuse Spiritual Authority

Unhealthy, authoritarian leadership encourages people to place their pastors on pedestals. This is illustrated by the comments of one ex-member of a church located in a major mid-western city. "Little by little this man became the standard by which we all sought to live. The wisdom that poured forth from his lips left us in awe."

An ex-member of an east-coast fringe group commented that her tiny church was believed to be the full expression of God and had …

History and usage of the term ‘cult’

The term 'cult' is used so often, it would seem that everyone knows what a cult is. Yet classifying a group as a cult is not as simple as it sounds.

This article -- a chapter from the 1994 book "Prophets of the Apocalypse: David Koresh and Other American Messiahs" -- takes a look at the history and usage of the term.

Five Reasons to Say No to a Church Membership Covenant

Jesus said to never swear an oath, but to simply let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no."

However, many churches nowadays require prospective members to sign a church covenant or membership agreement.

While some structure is necessary for a church to function, many church covenants include policies and stipulations that run counter to the teachings of the Bible.

Pastor Wade Burleson, in his book 'Fraudulent Authority,' describes why Christians should not …

Stephen A. Kent, Ph. D.

Professor Stephen A. Kent researches new and alternative religions, combining perspectives from sociology with religious studies.

Kent is a cult expert who has written extensively about Scientology, polygamy as practised by Mormon fundamentalists, the Children of God/The Family, and other issues surrounding new and alternative religions.