Richard L. Dowhower
Religions respect the individual's autonomy.
Cults enforce compliance.
Religions try to help individuals meet their spiritual
Cults exploit spiritual needs.
Religions tolerate and even encourage questions and
independent, critical thinking.
Cults discourage questions and independent critical
Religions encourage psycho-spiritual integration.
Cults "split" members into the "good cult self" and the
"bad old self.”
Conversion to religions involves an unfolding of
internal processes central to a person's identity.
Cultic conversion involves an unaware surrender to
external forces that care little for the person's identity.
Religions view money as a means, subject to ethical
restraints, toward achieving noble ends.
Cults view money as an end or as a means toward
achieving power or the selfish goals of the leader.
Religions view sex between clergy and the faithful as
Cults frequently subject members to the sexual
appetites of the leaders.
Religions respond to critics respectfully.
Cults frequently intimidate critics with physical or
Religions cherish the family.
Cults view the family as an enemy.
Religions encourage a person to think carefully before
making a commitment to join.
Cults encourage quick decisions with little
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