It is by no means clear what comprises a cult or a sect. The definition of a cult or a sect is in the eye of the beholder (and that eye, when it belongs to a 'normal' modern person, often designates in advance a sect as a frightening, absurd and dangerous group, which is almost certainly a prejudice). When we define a sect as a religious, high demanding group, in which by authoritarian leadership a strict and 'strange' doctrine is taught, the number of that kind of groups in Western Europe is not high. Neither is the number of adherents. Even if one thinks of 'new religious movements' and if one includes self-development groups and small congregations in mainstream religion, the total number for e.g. Great Britain does not exceed the 1000. Recent figures on the membership of sects in Germany, for instance, are (2004): 350 devotees for ISKCON (Hare Krishna), 500 for the Divine Light Mission, 600 for the Unification Church, 20 for the Family. Even the 5000 'members' of the Church of Scientology do not form an impressive number.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
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