Why do people join cults

Metzler Lexikon Religion pp 427-429 | Cite as


1. Human sacrifice is understood to mean the killing of people or the use of human blood, flesh or bones as → sacrifices, i.e. for ritual purposes. The term human sacrifice only specifies the victim matter more precisely, the intention and external form of the acts of sacrifice can be very different. What they have in common is the importance of the alienation of the victim matter. As a ritual act, the (human) sacrifice is usually part of a larger ritual complex, which - embedded in culturally different worldviews and belief systems - is based on a wide variety of attitudes and motives. A uniform victim theory has not yet existed, so the attempt to classify human victims is based on the descriptive division into sinking victims, building victims, burnt victims, bloody and bloodless victims, partial victims and extermination victims, which looks at the way in which the victim material is treated. On the other hand, typological classifications that emphasize the intentions of the victims lead to terms such as supplication, thanks and expiation.

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