Christianity, for example, teaches that humans were spontaniously created from dirt a few thousand years ago Genesis 2:7, were kicked out of an eternally idellic garden due to the mechanizatons of a talking snake Genesis 3:1 who got a woman to eat a magic fruit Genesis 3:6, and a few centuries later the big father figure in the sky flooded the planet because people were bad Genesis 7 & 8. They believe that if they're good after they die they will go live in a cube made of transparent gold. Revelation 21:10-18
1. A movement that separates itself from society, either geographically or socially
2. Adherents who become increasingly dependent on the movement for their view on reality
I'd say yes.
3. Important decisions in the lives of the adherents are made by others
4. Making sharp distinctions between us and them, divine and satanic, good and evil, etc. that are not open for discussion
A bit of a stretch.
5. Leaders who claim divine authority for their deeds and for their orders to their followers
6. Leaders and movements who are unequivocally focused on achieving a certain goal
Nope, unless getting rich is the kind of goal we're talking about.
By my estimate Scientology rates at the high end of the Bonewits scale on all points except maybe 9, 10, 14 & 16, & even with those there's no shortage of anecdotes, it's just not institutionalized as with the others. It actually has specific policies on how to manage 6-8 & 11-13.
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