Anti-cult movement

A member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness proselytising on the streets of Moscow, Russia

The anti-cult movement (ACM; or the countercult movement) are groups that oppose any new religious movement (NRM) that they characterize as a cult.

- Anti-cult movement
A member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness proselytising on the streets of Moscow, Russia

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Ibn Khaldun statue in Tunis, Tunisia (1332–1406)

David G. Bromley

Professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, specialized in sociology of religion and the academic study of new religious movements.

Professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, specialized in sociology of religion and the academic study of new religious movements.

Ibn Khaldun statue in Tunis, Tunisia (1332–1406)

He has written extensively about cults, new religious movements, apostasy, and the anti-cult movement.

A member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness proselytising on the streets of Moscow, Russia

New religious movement

Religious or spiritual group that has modern origins and is peripheral to its society's dominant religious culture.

Religious or spiritual group that has modern origins and is peripheral to its society's dominant religious culture.

A member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness proselytising on the streets of Moscow, Russia
1893 Parliament of the World's Religions
Practitioners of Falun Gong perform spiritual exercises in Guangzhou, China.
A Rasta man wearing symbols of his religious identity in Barbados
Mary Baker Eddy
A Rainbow Gathering in Bosnia, 2007

In Western nations, a secular anti-cult movement and a Christian countercult movement emerged during the 1970s and 1980s to oppose emergent groups.

Howard P. Becker's church–sect typology, based on Ernst Troeltsch's original theory and providing the basis for the modern concepts of cults, sects, and new religious movements

Cult

Social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs and rituals, or its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal.

Social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs and rituals, or its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal.

Howard P. Becker's church–sect typology, based on Ernst Troeltsch's original theory and providing the basis for the modern concepts of cults, sects, and new religious movements
Max Weber (1864–1920), one of the first scholars to study cults.
Jim Jones, the leader of the Peoples Temple
LaRouche Movement members in Stockholm protesting against the Treaty of Lisbon
Cross burning by Ku Klux Klan members in 1915
An anti-Aum Shinrikyo protest in Japan, 2009
Falun Gong books being symbolically destroyed by the Chinese government

Since the 1970s, the secular anti-cult movement has opposed certain groups, and in reaction to acts of violence which have been committed by some of their members, it has frequently charged them with practicing mind control.

Ibn Khaldun statue in Tunis, Tunisia (1332–1406)

Anson D. Shupe

American sociologist noted for his studies of religious groups and their countermovements, family violence and clergy misconduct.

American sociologist noted for his studies of religious groups and their countermovements, family violence and clergy misconduct.

Ibn Khaldun statue in Tunis, Tunisia (1332–1406)

Together with David G. Bromley, Shupe was considered one of the foremost social science authorities on the anti-cult movement, based on a series of books and articles on the topic he coauthored with Bromley.

Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve Apostles, became an apostate.

Apostasy

Formal disaffiliation from, abandonment of, or renunciation of a religion by a person.

Formal disaffiliation from, abandonment of, or renunciation of a religion by a person.

Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve Apostles, became an apostate.
A 1978 fatwa (nonbinding legal opinion) issued by the Fatawa Council at Al-Azhar, the chief centre of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world. The fatwa was issued in response to a query about an Egyptian Muslim man marrying a German Christian woman and then converting to Christianity. The council ruled that the man committed the crime of apostasy, and should be given a chance to repent and return to Islam. If he refuses, he is to be killed. The same conclusion was given for his children once they reach the age of puberty.
Mattathias killing a Jewish apostate
Logo of The Campaign for Collective Apostasy in Spain, calling for defection from the Catholic Church

Their motivations, the roles they play in the anti-cult movement, the validity of their testimony, and the kinds of narratives they construct, are controversial.

stages of a social movement

Christian countercult movement

Social movement among certain Protestant evangelical and fundamentalist and other Christian ministries and individual activists who oppose religious sects that they consider cults.

Social movement among certain Protestant evangelical and fundamentalist and other Christian ministries and individual activists who oppose religious sects that they consider cults.

stages of a social movement

Some Christians also share concerns similar to those of the secular anti-cult movement.

International Cultic Studies Association

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is a non-profit anti-cult organization focusing on groups it defines as "cultic" and their processes.

Official Emblem of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification

Unification Church

New religious movement whose members are called Unificationists and sometimes colloquially Moonies.

New religious movement whose members are called Unificationists and sometimes colloquially Moonies.

Official Emblem of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification
Unification Movement founder Sun Myung Moon giving a public speech in the Las Vegas Valley in 2010
Prior emblem used during the 1954-1994 period
Moon and Mrs. Moon preside over a mass blessing ceremony in 2010
WFWP logo

In the 1970s, the Unification Church, along with some other new religious movements, became a target of the anti-cult movement.

J. Gordon Melton

American religious scholar who was the founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and is currently the Distinguished Professor of American Religious History with the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he resides.

American religious scholar who was the founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and is currently the Distinguished Professor of American Religious History with the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he resides.

Melton drew a distinction between the Christian countercult and the secular anti-cult movements.

A form of love bombing, Flirty Fishing encouraged female members to enter sexual relationships with potential converts

The Family International

Christian New Religious Movement founded in Huntington Beach, California, USA, in 1968 by David Berg that has been criticized as an authoritarian cult.

Christian New Religious Movement founded in Huntington Beach, California, USA, in 1968 by David Berg that has been criticized as an authoritarian cult.

A form of love bombing, Flirty Fishing encouraged female members to enter sexual relationships with potential converts

The Family has been criticized by the press and the anti-cult movement.