Cult vs Occult
Have you ever thought of the difference between Cult and Occult? Since a cult and occult sometimes sounds similar, some may think that they carry the same meaning, but they do not. Cult is mostly associated with religions and religious beliefs whereas occult is a kind of practice that is believed to be supernatural. In almost all the communities, there can be cultic groups and in these groups they may have occult practices. In both cases, the associated group deals with a certain set of attitudes that characterize their life patterns. Usually, their lifestyles differ from the others. Let us now look at both terms, cult and occult, and the difference between them in detail.
What does Cult mean?
Cult works as a noun as well as an adjective. This refers to a group of people who has a kind of belief system that is different from the socially accepted religious beliefs. In some communities, certain cultic groups are identified as deviants who go against the accepted social beliefs and norms. Sometimes, cults may be small in numbers. These cultic groups are believed to be extremists in their beliefs and nothing can change them. Also, the leader of a cultic group is mostly a single individual who is authoritative among the followers. Most people see the cults as groups who falsely go after an imaginative faith. Further, they see cults as misguiding agents of a community because the cults do not accord with the socially established belief system.
That is the religious side of the cult. This term is not only used to label a semi-religious group, but it has another function too. As mentioned above, the word uses as an adjective as well.
Eg: The movie star has become the cult figure among the youth.
This means that the movie star has been more popular among the youth and he has become like a role-model in that particular community. Moreover, the word cult can be used to express a way of life or an attitude that has become very popular in a society.
Eg: The cult of instant food.
This means that the use of instant food has become the trend in the particular community.
What does Occult mean?
Now, we will consider the term Occult. Occult is a connection with the supernatural or magic powers and science or reason cannot explain these things. Either a group of people or a single individual may practice occult, and they use mysterious power elements which cannot be understood by ordinary people. The groups or individuals who practice occult assume that they have a magical power and strength and they use this power to attain certain things. For example, those who practice witchcraft may try to enchant, kill or harm people and also they can use the power for the welfare as well. Fortune telling, talking with dead, witchcraft are some examples for occult practices. Crystal balls, horoscopes, star signs, etc. are some of the tools that most occultist use. However, occult always deals with supernatural or demon powers.
What is the difference between Cult and Occult?
When we analyse both Cult and Occult, it is clear that both deal with beliefs and practices which have been upheld by a minority of people.
• In a cult, there can be occult practices but however not all cults practice occult.
• In both cases, they may appear as deviants in certain societies because these do not adhere to the socially established religious system.
• Cult is mostly associated with religious beliefs, but occult is just a practice.
• In grammatical sense, the term Cult functions as a noun as well as an adjective whereas the word Occult functions as an adjective.
Finally, it is apparent that there is a clear distinction between the two terms and they are inter-related in certain instances. All over the world, we can see cults and occults and sometimes these are hidden from the outside world.