The ape that we have inside yearns to have someone to guide him, he needs to believe that there are superior entities who can magically solve his problems. As children, we are always hoping that somebody will show up and take care of the situation. From this, cults are born that, in essence, are ways of leaving the responsibility for one’s own growth in other people’s hands. ~ Carlos Castaneda, Encounters with the Nagual
The American Heritage Dictionary defines cult as 1. a system or community of religious worship and ritual; 2. a) obsessive devotion to a person or ideal; b) a group of persons sharing such devotion.
That said it seems safe to say that every religion, spiritual belief, intentional community or membership into anything (gyms, gangs, clubs, fraternities, military, etc.) is indicative of cult-like behavior. The preferable word for cults has become cultures or traditions but the bottom line is they are cults and for you language enthusiasts, the Latin word cultus is the root of the words cult, cultures and cultivated which all refer to worship, care, nurturance, devotion, ritual and ceremony. This basically covers everything from the way you dress, the way you worship, the way you talk, the music you listen to, the way you define yourself. All of it part of a cult in one way, shape or form. The human brain is exceedingly malleable and one can be coerced and manipulated into doing or believing anything if they don’t have enough personal power.