●Authoritarian Leadership: Authoritarianism involves the acceptance of an authority figure who exercises excessive control on cult members. As prophet or founder, this leader’s word is ultimate and final.
●Exclusivism: Cults often believe that they alone have the truth. The cult views itself as the single means of salvation on earth.
●Isolationism: Some cults require members to renounce and break off associations with parents and siblings.
●Opposition to Independent Thinking: Some cultic groups discourage members from thinking independently. The cult leadership, as it were, has already done the thinking, for them; the proper response is merely to submit.
● Fear of Being Excommunicated: It is not uncommon in cults that people are urged to remain faithful in order to avoid being excommunicated or disbarred, from the group.
● Threats of Satanic Attack: Finally, cults use fear and intimidation to keep members in line. Members may be told that something awful will happen to them should they choose to leave the group.
In Africa, Escapism is a term used by researchers of religion to define a type of Christianity that, because of the current situation on the continent, has a very strong appeal. “Within the safe walls of one’s religion, one can escape the harsh realities of the ‘outside’ world.” It manifests itself in different subtypes (often imported from overseas), like an apocalyptic Christianity or a Gospel of prosperity.” The harsh economic environment makes the Escapism type of Christianity popular.
Taken from here
As Marx is often quoted as saying “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo. Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.”