The term "cult" is generally used as a hateful snarl word that is intended to intentionally devalue people and the new faith groups that they have chosen to follow. It tends to associate thousands of benign religious groups with the handful of destructive religious groups that have caused loss of life. The term often creates fear and loathing among the public, and contributes greatly to religious intolerance in North America. The word "cult," particularly as used by the media, carries a heavy emotional content. The term suggests that this is a group that you should detest, avoid, and fear.
Many information sources use the term "cult" to refer to the few destructive, doomsday religious groups whose members have been murdered or committed suicide. Examples are The Solar Temple and Heaven's Gate. We do refer to such groups as "cults"
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