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A prezi for use in the classroom.Activities and videos are embedded. It is from a Catholic position and requires students to make a copy and rename it with their identifier

Juliette Bentley

on 19 July 2016

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Transcript of Sects

What is a Sect?
A Sect has 5 key characteristics:
Jehovah's Witnesses
Amish - Background Info
> Protestant group, over 2 centuries old
> Separatism - own education, economy
> Approx 200,000 members
> Live a 19th century way of life
> Live rurally on farms
> Maintain Christian beliefs and Holy Days
> Believe that community, goodness and wisdom are the way to salvation
> Pacifists
How are they a sect?
> Rejection of wider society -
Don't use technology in order to remain 'unpolluted'
As pacifists, they refuse military service
Don't accept state benefits, insurance etc
Follow the teachings of The Bible/mainstream faith tradition
otal commitment - Members give their full commitment
ppostion to wider society - Reject and hostile to society Exclusivism. They claim to be more enlightened than the parent religion- Elitist
o professional clergy - High level of lay participation
harismatic leader - Develop from a central figure Only a single authoritarian leader
mall and exclusive - Only certain people can join- Voluntary membership for adults based upon conversion or recommendation of faithful followers
> Small, exclusive and requires commitment -
Live in isolated rural areas
Individualism is avoided - community is at the heart of their beliefs.
What does the Vatican say about sects?
Unification Church
How are they a sect?

View: the following video clip and complete the retrieval chart which follows. Your teacher will show you (two transitions forward). You will view as a class but are expected to go back and check details from the video if you have missed anything. The video looks at Amish beliefs from the perspective of someone leaving the community but reveals much of the tennets of the faith as the family grapple with leaving their security and certainty.
> Founded in South Korea, 1954
> Beliefs are based on the Bible
> It teaches that God is the creator, whose dual nature combines both masculinity and femininity
> The Blessing ceremony of the Unification Church attracted world wide attention.
> Main belief is the Divine Principle - Book written by Sun Myung Moon talking about the systematic theology.
> Spiritualism - Communication with the dead

> Charismatic Leader - Sun Myung Moon
> Exclusive group - hard to get out. Accused of brain washing in 1970's.
> Had to give total commitment by going to ceremony.

However after we look at Cults you may decide that the Moonies are more akin to a cult. be prepared to form an opinion later in the unit.
Sects an Introduction

It is important to realize that there exists difficulties in concepts, definitions, and terminology. The terms sect and cult are somewhat derogatory and seem to imply a rather negative value judgment. One might prefer more neutral terms such as new religious movements, new religious groups. The question of the definition of those movements or groups as distinct from church or legitimate movements within a church is a contentious matter'.It will help to distinguish sects that find their origin in the Christian religion from those which come from another religious or humanitarian source. The matter becomes quite delicate when these groups are of Christian origin. Nevertheless, it is important to make this distinction. Indeed, certain sectarian mentalities and attitudes, i.e., attitudes of intolerance and aggressive proselytizing, do not necessarily constitute a sect, nor do they suffice to characterize a sect.


The word sect comes from the Latin word secta, which means “school of thought.” It is a subjective term that may apply to a religious faith or denomination, or it may refer to a heretical splinter group. Sometimes, the connotation is one of disapproval, similar to the “destructive heresies” spoken of in 2 Peter 2:1.

Sects are found in all religions. Islam has Sunnis and Shias, Judaism has Orthodox and Karaites, Hinduism has Shiyaism and Shaktism, and Christianity has Baptists and Lutherans. These are all examples of religious sects, and they can be thought of as “branches” of different religions. There are also non-religious sects, such as capitalists and socialists among economists, or Freudians and Jungians among psychiatrists.

Using the following sites, complete the retrieval chart that follows

New Religious Movements
Amish Origins/History-Europe & US
Amish Lifestyle/Practices
Amish Beliefs
Challenges in 21st Century
Jehovah's Witnesses acknowledge that the Bible is the inspired word of God.
'Jehovah's Witnesses: "The Holy Scripture of the Bible are the standard by which to judge all religions." "To let God be found true means to let God have the say to what is the truth that sets men free... Our obligation is to back up what is said herein by quotations from the Bible for proof of truthfulness and reliability."
- See more at: http://www.xenos.org/classes/papers/sects.htm#sthash.O1R9tKFW.dpuf
Firstly read the documents on the BBC site provided and then create an illustrated poster for other R&E students, which summarizes this faith tradition which began as a sect . You may then need to do further research.

Headings are:
Highest Ideal:
Sacred Writings:
Gatherings for Worship:
Moral Rules and Values
Humanity's Origin and Future:
Attracting New Membership
Requirements for Membership.
According to church documents there is a clear understanding that 'very few people seem to join a sect for evil reasons. Perhaps the greatest opportunity of the sects is to attract good people and good motivation in those people. In fact, they usually succeed best when society or Church have failed to touch this good motivation...The reasons for the success among Catholics are indeed manifold and can be identified on several levels. They are primarily related to the needs and aspirations which are seemingly not being met in the mainline Churches. They are also related to the recruitment and training techniques of the sects. They can be external either to the mainline Churches or to the new groups: economic advantages, political interest or pressure, mere curiosity, etc

The Catholic church identified a number of reasons for the emergence of so many sects and cults in recent decades. There are:
1. a quest for belonging
2.a search for answers to life's meaning
3.a search for wholeness
4.a search for cultural identity
5.a need to be recognised and considered special
6.a search for transcendence/search to express a spiritual need
7.a need for spiritual guidance and vision
8.a need for involvement and participation.
Consider the eight reasons identified by the Vatican and reflect on where your needs are met.
Imagine you are part of a youth forum presenting to Pope Francis and his advisory committee. In a paragraph/3 minute speech, what constructive suggestions about meeting the needs of young Catholics to prevent them from succumbing to the lure of NRM's, based on your own lived experience of church and attending a Catholic college, would you make in order to protect them from the lure of sects?
Why Study Religion?

In order to respond to this question, it is necessary to consider some facts about our contemporary world.
Between 86 and 99.9 percent of the world's population have some formal beliefs.
In a world of two billion Christians, there are about 1.1 billion Catholic Christians.
There are about 1.3 billion Muslims in the world.
The history of the world over the past 5000 years has been so affected by religion that it is impossible to fully understand history without having knowledge of different religions.
Most conflicts in today's world have some sort of religious background to them, so it would be impossible to fully understand these conflicts without knowledge of world religions.
There are many countries today in which religion and politics cannot be untangled.
Various opinions on current issues, e.g. abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering and cloning, arise due to different ethical viewpoints
When people travel they are obliged to be tolerant of other religions and cultures, therefore they need an understanding of them.
A study of religion would give a person a background against which his or her own faith system could be tested. It would also provide opportunities for people to look at issues with open minds and hearts, rather than with tunnel vision.
Why are NRM's Flourishing?

Last forty years have seen rapid increase in the number of new religious movements eg Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness and Seventh-day Adventist.
Reasons are generally considered to be:
1. Accelerated pace of change in society.
2. Changes in family structure.
3. A crisis of authority.
4. Fear of future catastrophes.
5. Scientific rationalism.
6. Eastern spirituality and faith traditions becoming accessible.

Accelerated pace of change leads to disorientation
* 20th Century- accelerated rate of change in society
* Advancements in technology revolutionises transport and communication
*Power shifts in politics undermine cultural identity e.g. breakdown of Communism in eastern Europe
* 'Throw away Society'- Lack of 'permanence' in life
* 1965 Alin Toffler 'Future Shock'-stress and disorientation because of too much change in too short a time

Changes in family structure leave individuals lonely and vnerable
* Breakdown of traditional family structure is evident and while for many a non-traditional family structure works and is successful, for many it can cause dysfunction.
Dysfunction in families can be due to:
#absence of parents at home
#little time spent sharing and communicating with parents when they
#Alcoholism or drug dependency as people anaesthetise themselves from life's stress
#Physical/Psychological abuse
#Inadequate food or shelter
# Frequent changes of dwelling which can mean relocating schools and jobs.

Earlier decades had the nuclear/extendefamily tohelp rear children: Not so now. This can mean:
-inadequate emotional support
-young people lacking a sense of belonging and identity.
-Feelings of isolation and or alienation

Many cults apeal to the need for love and belonging!

Crisis in authority
* The 60's marked a change in attitude to authority.
* Vietnam wa was seen in people's homes and the violence and bloodshed couldn't be ignored. Young men questioned the authority of the government sending them into this conflict which cost so many lives.
* Changing attitudes led to demanding rights to criticise rules, values of family, the church and society who did not encourage questioning nor protest.

The result of this was that some people believe that society have lost direction in their lives- the certainties are no longer certain.
Cults/ sects suggest that
can fill the void, tell followers what to believe, how to think and behave and take away the sense of responsibility by making the choices for adherents.
Fear of future catastrophes leads to despair or dreams of Utopia
The media bombard us with threats- life as we know it is under threat:
Continuing threat of stockpiling nuclear weaponry
damage to the environment
demands for food from increasing population
destruction of rainforests and the consequences
loss of water supply
depletion of reserves of fossil fuels
ADD TWO MORE EXAMPLES OF YOUR OWN and insert an image to illustrate one of them.

scientific rationalism
Scientific rationalism has left people with a desire for spirituality.
- Atheistic humanists claim God must disappear - we take responsibility for our lives; develop our potential

- Science provides/has provided the only sure and necessary knowledge needed to know ourselves and the universe

- This “scientific rationalism” has left people with need for spirituality in their lives – spiritual guidance

Science tells us about the “how” of things, but nothing about the “why”

- Loss of religious faith accelerated by belief in science

- Many new religious movements provide opportunities to search for meaning and experience spirituality of life

Eastern spirituality is more easily available
*Mid half of 20th century – little interest in Eastern religion
*Improved communication and transport has led to more contact with people and cultures around the world
*Post 1960’s has seen rapid growth in interest in beliefs and practices of Eastern religion eg Buddhism and Hinduism

Task 1.Make a list of twenty things that have been discovered or invented in your lifetime e.g. smart phones.
Task 2. Ask a person of grandparent age to give you a list of things that have been discovered or invented in his/her lifetime.
Task 3. take three things from the older person's list and write a paragraph of ten lines describing what life would be like for you without these three objects or the modern version of them.
General Definition- A break-away religious following; adherence to a particular religious teacher or faith, especially:

body of persons who unite in holding certain views differing from those of others of the same religion

in modern use, applied to a separately organised religious body having its distinctive name and its own places of worship

View Devil's Playground Clickview and write a paragraph exploring how you would respond to living in an Amish community based upon your notes and viewing. Be detailed and justify your points with reference to your viewing. Use TEEC.
Not al sects exhibit all the characristics described.
What are different types of sects?
1. Conversionist/Fundementalist: This sect believes in the literal interpretation of the Bible or holy text and whose members are dedicated to converting others to their religion. An example is the Assemblies of God which is one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in Australia. They are conservative and believe the father holds authority in family life.Lifestyle is simple and follows a strict moral code.
2. Adventist:Adventists await the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ. Adventists contend that the world will end in the battle of Armageddon Rev 16:14 which Jesus will interrupt by returning.Victory will go to Christ who will reign. Seventh Day Adventists have a literal belief of the bible and keep Saturday as the sabbath.
3. Introversionist: Sects which withdraw from other people. Their preoccupation is the purity and spirituality of the group. An example is The Exclusive Brethren. They believe they are the chosen people of God and do not alow their children to mingle with other children outside the group.
4. Reformist: A sect which seeks to eliminate evil from society through insights gained through prayerful reflection. The Quakers are an example. They participate in social reform movements, relief and opposition to warfare.
VIEW Clickview: Knocking
Complete a PMI based on the program.
Full transcript