According to RAE, a sect is “a religious or ideological doctrine that deviates from what is considered orthodox.” However, depending on the cases, this meaning may not be precise enough to identify all the groups that we could, at first, include under this concept, as stated from Clerus. Thus, the main characteristics for be able to identify a sect are the following:
By its nature, a sect is easily identifiable if we look closely at its structure. By the hierarchical order they have, in sects you can always identify a leader, which is the figure to whom all the people who make up this group pay homage. The leader is the person with the most authority. And it is he who decides each of the movements that the sect must take.
When people they become part of a sect, we could go so far as to affirm that they forget about the rest of the outer life, as stated in Aleteia. Individuals begin to see the sect, and the people who make it up, their only links with the outside world, being able to absorb the totality of the social life of the person in question.
When we refer to sects, in them we do not find, as a general rule, discussion groups that decide on the next courses of action that the group will take. Rather, all decisions that are of some importance are made by the leader and your innermost circle of trust. The rest of the individuals have as their sole mission obey all demands that they are dictated by the domes with more power.
Control over activities to be carried out abroad
If we previously spoke of the totalizing character of the group at the level of personal relationships, something similar happens when we refer to the activities that all members can be done externally. Activities outside the group are restricted to the approval of values previously defined by the leader in question or by the organization of the sect.
The economic nature also has a strong impact on these types of organizations. In some cases, the people who make up the sects give up their economic power to the organization itselfIn others, by means of individual contributions the funds are derived periodically, in order to sustain the financing of the group. In any case, the economic aspect is closely linked to the very nature of the sects.