Page 1Cults have been characterized as domineering and persuasive. Cults arewilling to prey onany social class and gender in order to attain another member. The increasingpopularity ofjoining cults is reflected on economic status, social class, and emotionalstate (Singer p. 16,1995).
A conflict perspective suggests that poor economic stability, socialclass, and no authorityattest to the fact that more people are joining cults, and that increasingeach might lessen thechance of joining a cult. Authors Deikman, Levine, and McMahon argue thatcults merely preyon those who are weak and of poor judgment. As social structures, cults servemerely tolegitimate class subordination in ways that ensure joiners will worship andfollow the leader(Singer p. 30, 1995). Authors Dawson and Allen argue that cults look forspecific behaviours:1. poor economic stability2.Order now
social class3. no authority4. genderTrends in Canadian cult joining by economics, class, authority, and gendersupport theview that these behaviours are typical of followers (Hoggart p. 65, 1995).
Societal elements continue to let people have low incomes, low class, and noauthoritywithin a job. There is no regulation of cults and no regulation of how manypeople join. Societalelements continue to ignore people and continue to keep low economies, lowclass, and noauthority within our society. A conflict perspective argues the extent to which characteristics andbehaviours cults lookfor when seeking out a new member.
One specific cult is the Catholic Church. Many people would not dare think ofa churchPage 2as a cult, but, the church looks for specific characteristics of a newmember. Once a memberjoins, they are there for life. If they decide to leave, they are shunnedfrom the churchs societyand are not acknowledged as a Catholic any longer. Economic StabilityConflict theorists, such as Weber, agree that economic interests areimportant in shapinghuman action(Kendall p.
15, 2000). Most members of a cult do not have a lotof money. Premembers usually have recently sold a house or are unemployed. Cult leadersprey on these peoplebecause of low economics. Members with no funds are vulnerable to the cultsince they are morelikely to stay within the group because they have no other place they can go.
Cults will prey andpersuade other people, like themselves, to join and stay within the cult. Economic stability, according to Weber, produces inequality and conflict insociety(Kendall p. 21, 2000). A cult is a mini society, and within this society thereis an exploitation ofthe followers. This exploitation of the members economics produces inequalityamongst thefollowers and followers and also between the followers and leader.
Thediscrepancy betweenfollowers and followers occurs when a majority of followers have loweconomics while 5 percentof other followers within the cult have higher economics. The low economicfollowers will staytogether while the high economic followers do the same. Because the leaderhas enormouscontrol over the followers, all followers will have to interact with eachother. This causesconflict.
The conflict between followers and followers is a great problem tothe leader. When aconflict arises, the society the leader has established will eventuallycollapse and followers aremost likely to leave when a major conflict arises. To solve this problem, theleader ensures thatlow economic followers are sometimes separated from the high economicPage 3followers. This will ensure that a huge conflict will not arise so suddenly.
A conflict between followers and leaders arises when the leader picks afavourite follower. This favourite member usually has money saved up, which he or she willeventually hand over tothe leader (Levin p. 72, 1984). Most followers will shutout the leaders pet,leaving him or her tobecome closer to the leader.
This cycle will continue until the leaders petruns out of funds. Theleader will then pick another favourite follower. When newcomers join a cult, they embrace the doctrines and practices. Soonthe cultsdemands increase and the new member is asked to devote increasing amounts ofmoney. Thisdemand is justified as necessary to fulfill the groups goals. Willingnessto give over financialsecurity is interpreted as a new members commitment and sincerity.
Thesacrifices the newmember makes are compensated by the sense of belonging and purpose. Theleader then givestemporary praise and acceptance to the member. Inequalities and conflicts in the cults society could lead to a disaster. Followers againstfollowers and followers against the leader should lead to a disband of thesociety. The leadersability to cease conflict is impressive.
He takes money from members andmakes it an offering totheir god to cease the fighting. The other members then believe the conflictwill end. All conflictswill usually stop at this point because .