Religion: What Price Syncretism?

Last January the Christian Century began a four-part series on U.S. Christian cults and soon began to regret it. Author Marcus Bach, writer on offbeat religions (Strange Altars), was treating his subjects so sympathetically that sect-shopping Century readers were writing in to ask how they could get in touch. Managing Editor Theodore A. Gill, a staunch Presbyterian, grimly published all the articles—on Psychiana, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unity and Baha'i; then he tore off an editorial taking the sects apart.

"The proliferation of the sects," he writes in the current issue, "[is a] judgment upon us all. But accepting the judgment has never necessarily...

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