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date: 11 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the Christian countercult movement, which, along with the secular anticult, is one of two major oppositional forces to the emergence of new religious movements in modern society. Following a few concrete examples, it considers the Christian countercult in terms of (a) its fundamental differences from the secular anticult; (b) the constituencies of the Christian countercult; and (c) the sociological importance of the countercult movement as a mechanism for reality-maintenance among conservative Christians. While Roman Catholicism has seen minor countercult activity, this is primarily a conservative Protestant movement. The secular anticult has gained considerably more media coverage since the so-called “cult wars” of the 1970s, but the Christian countercult predates it by nearly a century and continues to influence far more people in their view of new religious movements.

Keywords: Anticult, Apologetics, Atheism, Brainwashing, Countercult, Heresy, Identity-Maintenance, Reality-Maintenance

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