FROM CULT TO RELIGION
by Phil Bartle, PhD
Not every cult becomes a religion
Every new religion starts off as a cult, although not every cult graduates to become a religion.
The social organisation of a cult, to be started and to survive and thrive, must be different from what it becomes as an established religion.
Most importantly, the leadership must be organized with different principles. See: Graduating from Cult to Religion.
A struggling cult, founded perhaps by one person with a vision, maybe soon a few collaborators, and then a few followers, needs a strong charismatic leader to keep it whole and operating.
This may last until the death of the charismatic leader. Then it has to find another charismatic leader, who may take the cult along very different directions.
As the cult grows and outlasts its members and leaders, it must develop new ways of ensuring continuity of leadership, and charisma may eventually become dysfunctional.
Soon traditions of inheritance become the means of obtaining new leaders or, more likely, the same set of meritocracy and rational succession principles of any surviving bureaucracies.
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