When does a cult become a religion? What are the criteria that demarcates one from another? I've always wondered this. I suppose the first hurdle is establishing exactly what is a cult and what is a religion. For cult, there appear to be several definitions, ranging from defining any nonChristian theology/practice as a "cult", to labeling any group which contains elements of coercion and abuse as a "cult", to a more neutral alternative to "sect". The definition I use is more neutral and academic: "adherents of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices". Religious folk (irrespective of which religion you practice), what are your thoughts on this?