Worship – Concept in religion, language, cinema and freedom of worship

We explain what a cult is and its meaning when referring to religion, language and cinema. Also, what is freedom of worship?

All religions involve a cult.

What is a cult?

Nowadays, when we speak of a cult, we usually refer to a more or less informal grouping, organized around shared beliefs religious, mystical or esoteric. Cults distinguish ordinary people from cult initiates, revealing their secrets only to their most advanced practitioners.

The use of the term in this sense is mostly pejorative, as a way to distinguish the official religions from these informal esoteric or mystical groups, often also referred to by the name of sect.

Now this is a rather colloquial use of a word that has a rather complex history and series of meanings. Cult comes from Latin cultus, Latin verb form colere, which can be translated as “cultivating”, and which is clearly linked to the world of agriculture: cultivating is sowing and inhabiting the land, making it fertile, extracting fruits from it.

This is where the word culture also comes from, since this sense was applied figuratively to the human spirit, that is, to the mind: even today the phrase “a cultivated person” is used to refer precisely to someone “cultured”, that is to say, that he has cultivated his mind with knowledge and learning, or that he has a fertile spirit.

However, we must distinguish between the adjective “cult”, applied as in the example in the previous paragraph, and the noun “cult”, which has the meaning we gave it at the beginning.

Since religion was, in the past, the main form of social, moral and civic education of the peoples, religious practice was also understood as a form of cultivation of the spirit, which, as in the case of agriculture, had to be carried out through rites and ceremonies of a cyclical, repetitive type.

Many of these senses, and those historically associated with the idea of ​​worship and culture, nonetheless survive today. When we speak of “cult of personality”, for example, we refer to a form of devotion around the way of being of a social or political leader, who is venerated as if he were a religious icon.

Religious worship

The religious meaning of the word “cult” comes, as we explained earlier, from its figurative association with the image of the cultivation of the land: religion cultivates the human spirit as the peasant does the land, to make it fertile, to give fruits. Hence perhaps that religions consist of repetitive, repetitive, cyclical practices, just like agriculture.

The truth is every religion and every form of mysticism entails a cult, that is to say, a series of identifiable practices destined to form bonds of solidarity, brotherhood and belonging among the faithful. Christian worship, for example, encompasses the different versions put into practice by each of the churches that, however, have in common their veneration of Jesus of Nazareth as divine messiah.

However, in modern times the term “cult” has been used to distinguish between religions and unofficial practices, called “sects” or “cults”, as understood by the German philosopher and sociologist Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923).

Freedom of worship

freedom of worship
Freedom of religion is a guaranteed right in most modern societies.

By freedom of religion or religious freedom is understood the fundamental right that most modern societies grant to their citizens of freely choose and practice their religion, choose none, or openly profess atheism or agnosticism. It is a fundamental law for the separation between State and religion, that is, to have a secular State that does not interfere in matters of faith.

Freedom of worship is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right, in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Cult film

The term “cult movie” or “cult director” are commonly used in cinephile jargon, that is, in the speech of movie fans. It means that a movie or a director are widely followed and celebrated by a good part of the community interested in watching and making movies.

Thus, a film or cult director is a frequent mention among the influences of the new creators, has hints or references in other works of the same or of different film genres, and constitutes, unofficially, an institution for those interested in cinema.

Cult language

In the case of cultured language or cultivated language, we refer to a formal, careful and demanding form of speech or writing, which uses a technical, specialized or not very colloquial vocabulary. It is the form of language that dominates in academic, specialized or philosophical situations, so it requires recipients with a high degree of training, that is, educated or cultivated recipients.