Start / Religiolexikon / D / Destruktiver Kult (destructive cult)


Destruktiver Kult (destructive cult)

Verwandte Begriffe

In der anglo-amerikanischen Religionswissenschaft wird die Bezeichnung "destructive cult" gleichsam synonym für hochproblematische, für die Einzelnen und die Gesellschaft gefährliche religiöse Gruppen gebraucht. In der deutschsprachigen Religionswissenschaft wird der Begriff nicht verwendet.


"Destructive cult" generally refers to groups whose members have, through deliberate action, physically injured or killed other members of their own group or other people. The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance specifically limits the use of the term to religious groups that "have caused or are liable to cause loss of life among their membership or the general public".[73] Psychologist Michael Langone, executive director of the anti-cult group International Cultic Studies Association, defines a destructive cult as "a highly manipulative group which exploits and sometimes physically and/or psychologically damages members and recruits".[74]

John Gordon Clark cited totalitarian systems of governance and an emphasis on money making as characteristics of a destructive cult.[75] In Cults and the Family the authors cite Shapiro, who defines a "destructive cultism" as a sociopathic syndrome, whose distinctive qualities include: "behavioral and personality changes, loss of personal identity, cessation of scholastic activities, estrangement from family, disinterest in society and pronounced mental control and enslavement by cult leaders".[76]

In the opinion of Benjamin Zablocki, a Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, destructive cults are at high risk of becoming abusive to members. He states that this is in part due to members' adulation of charismatic leaders contributing to the leaders becoming corrupted by power.[77] According to Barrett, the most common accusation made against destructive cults is sexual abuse. According to Kranenborg, some groups are risky when they advise their members not to use regular medical care.[78] This may extend to physical and psychological harm.[79]

Some researchers have criticized the usage of the term "destructive cult", writing that it is used to describe groups which are not necessarily harmful in nature to themselves or others. In his book Understanding New Religious Movements, John A. Saliba writes that the term is overgeneralized. Saliba sees the Peoples Temple as the "paradigm of a destructive cult", where those that use the term are implying that other groups will also commit mass suicide.[80]

Writing in the book Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field, contributor Julius H. Rubin complains that the term has been used to discredit certain groups in the court of public opinion.[1] In his work Cults in Context author Lorne L. Dawson writes that although the Unification Church "has not been shown to be violent or volatile", it has been described as a destructive cult by "anticult crusaders".[81] In 2002, the German government was held by Germany's Federal Constitutional Court to have defamed the Osho movement by referring to it, among other things, as a "destructive cult" with no factual basis.[82][83] (Wikipedia [engl.], Stand 28. 01. 2019)


Index Theologicus

Kritische Links
Autoren Winfried Müller
Geändert 28.01.2019