Originally Posted by GordonJ
I like to study and talk about cults, but I want to make sure we are clear about the context and what we bring with us, as to what and how it is defined.
I agree the definition
of a cult is a slippery thing!
I've only recently come to like the "BITE" model... The reason why I like it is mainly because it seems it can be used for what I'm calling "non-traditional" cults...
A "traditional" cult the way I'm using it is one where there is a charismatic leader on top, who everyone follows obediently... Examples are NXIVM, Heaven's Gate, Scientology, Jim Jones, and so on...
But there are definitely "cult-like" entities where this is not the case... Landmark is one... the "cult" of Trump could be another...
A guy named "Telltale" on YouTube often analyzes cults using a form of the BITE model in quite an effective way, I thought...
(I think he was once a Jehovah's Witness - which he considers a cult...)
An interesting perspective I came across is the view that something is a "cult" not based on their beliefs (which could be about anything) - but rather based on how they control people... In this view, the beliefs are almost incidental!
But - you're right... There are a lot of disparate views here!