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current: Scientology is one of the most controversial new religious movements to have arisen in the 20th century. better, since the 20th Century is over: Scientology is one of the most controversial new religious movements that arose in the 20th century.
This has probably been discussed ad nauseam. Regardless, I was curious as to whether or not there was any particular reason that Scientology is not referred to as a cult? JDiala (talk) 01:11, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
I would also imagine it has previously been discussed, but it does seem a strange omission. Under the "Scientology status by country" section it does state that some religions "continue to view it as a pseudoreligion or cult." It gives two sources for the use of that term. It is rather conspicuously absent from the contoversy section, especially when it describes how Scientology "brutally exploits its members," "that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner," and "in which members are encouraged to cut off all contact with friends or family members who are "antagonistic" to Scientology." These are such classic cult behaviors that it is almost as if this section is describing it as a cult while deliberately avoiding the word? That seems rather un-encyclopaedic to me. -Lciaccio (talk) 16:56, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
There are basically three reasons, so far as I know. One is our guideline WP:W2W. The word "cult" in this context is both somewhat vague, as there is so far as I can tell no specific clearly agreed upon definition of the term, and because, at least in this content, the use of the term tends to prompt more heat than light. Poorly defined language is at best dubiously encyclopedic, and so is rather unnecessarily inflammatory language. Lastly, the academic community has stopped using the word lately, replacing it with new religious movement, so we use the currently used academic language instead. John Carter (talk) 17:23, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the clarification. That makes a lot of sense from a Wikipedia standpoint; the entry for Cult itself demonstrates the difficulty defining it. I think the use aimed for here was to signify religions who use psychological manipulation; I wish we had a distinct new word to differentiate those from other types of new religious movements. From what I can tell, had the word been better defined, the fact that it was inflammatory would have required frequent use by reliable sources, and thus may not alone have been a barrier. I haven't made a study of how often the word is used for Scientology, but I suspect the official use of that label by governments indicates it would have been satisfied. -Lciaccio (talk) 21:34, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
And yet none of my two dozen dictionaries have any problem defining the word. The fact is the science of sociology has very clearly provided definitions of the word cult. But one could I suppose go on forever arguing the definition of cult. That said, scientology fits every single definition ever published and that should be enough to use the word. It is a cult period. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk • contribs)