sect

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sect

1. a subdivision of a larger religious group (esp the Christian Church as a whole) the members of which have to some extent diverged from the rest by developing deviating beliefs, practices, etc.
2. Often disparaging
a. a schismatic religious body characterized by an attitude of exclusivity in contrast to the more inclusive religious groups called denominations or Churches
b. a religious group regarded as extreme or heretical

sect

a religious, or sometimes a secular, social movement characterized by its opposition to and rejection of orthodox religious and/or secular institutions, doctrines and practices, e.g., the Shakers, Quakers, Amish Mennonites.

Sociologists have identified sectarianism with a relatively low level of institutionalization and with a tendency towards doctrinal heresy. Ernst Troeltsch (1912) distinguished between ‘churches’ and 'sects’ (see also CHURCH-SECT TYPOLOGY). ‘Churches’ were characterized as conservative, orthodox, hierarchic, tradition – and ritual-bound, having a high degree of organization and institutionalization. By contrast, 'sects’ were perfectionist, radical, egalitarian, manifesting a low degree of organization and institutionalization. 'Sectarians’ valued spontaneous action above ritual practice. Troeltsch regarded sect and church as polar opposites. Troeltsch's work was concerned with sectarian movements within Christianity and is consequently difficult to apply outside of this context. This is particularly the case where many Third World sectarian movements are concerned.

More recently, Bryan Wilson (1973) has suggested that 'sects’ may be regarded as 'self-distinguishing protest movements’. The protest may not necessarily be directed at orthodox churches but against state and other secular institutions within society. Wilson rejects Troeltsch's dichotomous model and suggests that it is useful to examine sectarian movements by reference to the relation between the following social factors: doctrine, degree of organization, form of association, social orientation and action. Wilson further suggests that 'sects’ may be typified according to their ‘responses to the world’. Many sectarian movements display some degree of conflict and tension with both the religious and secular social world. Consequently sectarians are often characterized by a desire to seek both deliverance and salvation from orthodox cultural forms, traditions and institutions. Wilson suggests that there are at least seven possible responses to the world and to the ‘problem of evil’within it. He calls these the ‘conversionist’, ‘revolutionist’, ‘introversionist’, ‘manipulationist’, ‘thaumaturgical’, ‘reformist’ and ‘utopian’ responses.

By going beyond the concern with degree of organization and doctrinal heresy it is possible to examine sectarian movements which have arisen outside Christian culture. See also CULT, MILLENARIANISM AND MILLENNIAL MOVEMENT, CARGO CULTS, RELIGION, MAGIC, SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION, NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS.

SECT

On drawings, abbr. for “section.”
References in classic literature ?
The historian of the sect affirms that, by the wrath of Heaven, a blight fell upon the land in the vicinity of the "bloody town" of Boston, so that no wheat would grow there; and he takes his stand, as it were, among the graves of the ancient persecutors, and triumphantly recounts the judgments that overtook them, in old age or at the parting hour.
God forbid that I should leave this child to perish, though he comes of the accursed sect," said he to himself.
The tears burst forth from his full heart as he attempted to reply; but Dorothy at length understood that he had a mother, who, like the rest of her sect, was a persecuted wanderer.
Those expounders of the ways of Providence, who had thus judged their brother, and attributed his domestic sorrows to his sin, were not more charitable when they saw him and Dorothy endeavoring to fill up the void in their hearts by the adoption of an infant of the accursed sect.
Their antipathy to the poor infant was also increased by the ill success of divers theological discussions, in which it was attempted to convince him of the errors of his sect.
He spoke of the danger of pity, in some cases a commendable and Christian virtue, but inapplicable to this pernicious sect.
But the course of her unearthly eloquence soon led her to the persecutions of her sect, and from thence the step was short to her own peculiar sorrows.
But the Holy Book remained, and the table on which it rested was drawn before the fire, while two of the persecuted sect sought comfort from its pages.
But in process of time a more Christian spirit --a spirit of forbearance, though not of cordiality or approbation--began to pervade the land in regard to the persecuted sect.
The Latin priests say it was stolen away, long ago, by priests of another sect.
All the virtues peculiar to the sect to which she belonged shone in her, but she seemed to be unconscious of her merit.
He said that the division of society, hatred and arrogant behaviours of individuals and prioritising sects over religion were some major causes behind this issue.