I have minted a comprehensive criteria to determine cults from orthodox religions.
Some Characteristics of An Orthodox Religion
1 – Suffering:
Does your religion call for suffering, if it does, chances are it’s an orthodox religion. There are a few exceptions though, you may want to ask your self. Is my religion making me suffer so much that i do not have anything to suffer in the future. If it does, chances are it a cult, as suffering comes with time.
2 – Compassion:
Does your religion teach love, kindness or compassion? If it does, chances are your attending an orthodox movement.
3 – Truthfulness:
Does your religion teach truthfulness? Orthodox movements teach you to nurture one’s nature; one should tell the truth, do things truthfully, become a truthful person, return to the original, true self, and in the end, become a true person. If your religion follows this criteria, chances are it’s orthodox.
4 – Afterlife:
If your religion believes in an afterlife but does not take this belief as to an extreme. Chances are your movement is orthodox.
5 – Lent:
Does your religion or movement teach you to give up everyday material and profits? If so, its probably not a cult.
Some Characteristics of A Cult
1 – Aliens:
Does your religion believe that aliens created humans? If so, you are probably believing in a cult.
2 – Animals:
Does your religion look up to Animals as leaders or spiritual creatures? Does your religion believe in anthropomorphic animals? If so, your probably a part of a cult.
3 – Food:
Does your group or movement recognize food or other inanimate objects as a spiritual being or God? If so, your believing in a cult.
4 – Gaining:
Does your group or movement seek unjustified donations, seek profits in this material world or expect God to reward us for every little thing. Your probably believing in a cult.
5 – Extreme Forgiveness:
If your God is said to have unlimited forgiveness, or forgive you even if you murder someone (many times). You should stay away from this cult.
6 – Suicide:
If your movement encourages suicide, for your spiritual leader or any other reason. Stay away from this awful cult!
7 – Homosexuality & Drugs
If your religion recognizes homosexuality or drugs as the norm, or has no justification against it. You should probably avoid this cult.
8 – Demons & Devils:
If your religion or group encourages summoning of demons or communication with other ghastly figures. You should stay far away.
Some Characteristics Not Necessarily Cultic
1 – Centralized Leader:
If your religion or movement has a centralized leader who has supposedly super-normal abilities. Your should verify with the characteristics above.