Start Encyclopedia69 Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
dictionary -  encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   




  A sect (from Latin secare, ‘to cut off’) is a small, voluntary, exclusive religious or (occasionally) secular group, which demands total commitment from its followers. Sects typically emphasize their separateness from, and rejection of, orthodox religious and/or secular institutions, doctrines and practices.

In the 17th century, during the English Civil War and the religious upheavals, a ‘sectary’ was someone who was considered to put the interests of his or her religious community above all else. Sectarianism came to embody the attitude of ‘my church right or wrong’. The tragic consequences of this attitude can still be seen in Northern Ireland today.

Where there is a majority faith established by law, such as the Church of England, or the churches recognized by the Treaty of Augsburg (1555) in different constituent states of Germany, minority groups are labelled as ‘sects’, and are often legally disadvantaged. (For example, in the British House of Lords no representatives of other churches hold equivalent status to the Anglican bishops.) This discrimination diverts attention from an important theological and sociological difference. The ‘established’ churches or churches which claim to be catholic, that is universal, accept as members all who are born and baptized within their territory. They embrace, potentially, the entire population of a country and accept pastoral responsibility on that basis. Sects, by contrast, are free of any connection with the state, and are ‘gathered’ in the sense that members elect to join, sometimes by adult baptism, or by public statement of faith. DA EMJ

See also charisma; church; religion; secularization; state.Further reading B. Wilson, Religion in Sociological Perspective.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
Secondary Qualities


Other Terms : Suicide | Historical Linguistics | Satanism
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About |
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us