Page updated 27 May 2016

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Cult or the OCcult? What is the difference?

People today are interchanging the words "cult" and "occult." They are not the same thing and should not be confused. Let me begin by sharing the distinctive definitions.

[1]Cult is defined as follows:

• a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.

• an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.

• the object of such devotion.

• a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

• Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.

• a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

• the members of such a religion or sect.

• of, for, or attracting a small group of devotees: a cult movie.

• a specific system of religious worship, esp with reference to its rites and deity.

• a sect devoted to such a system.

• a quasi-religious organization using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents.

The [2]OCcult is defined as follows:

• of or relating to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies.

• beyond the range of ordinary knowledge or understanding; mysterious.

• secret; disclosed or communicated only to the initiated.

• hidden from view.

• (a) not apparent on mere inspection but discoverable by experimentation, (b) of a nature not understood, as physical qualities, (c) dealing with such qualities; experimental: occult science.

• Medicine/Medical. present in amounts too small to be visible: a chemical test to detect occult blood in the stool.

• the supernatural or supernatural agencies and affairs considered as a whole (usually preceded by the).

• occult studies or sciences (usually preceded by the).

• Synonyms: occult studies or sciences (usually preceded by the).

• of or characteristic of magical, mystical, or supernatural arts, phenomena, or influences

• beyond ordinary human understanding

• secret or esoteric

• to hide or become hidden or shut off from view

• Meaning "not apprehended by the mind, beyond the range of understanding" is from 1540s. The association with the supernatural sciences (magic, alchemy, astrology, etc.) dates from 1630s.

As you can see from these definitions there are many churches in these end times who proclaim to be Christian but they are modeled like "cults." Cults often practice occult techniques and witchcraft. See more about witchcraft, and witchcraft in the church.


[1] and Collins English Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition

[2], Collins English Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition, and Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper