Sect vs Denomination: Difference and Comparison

Sect and Denomination are parts of a subgroup of a particular religion. A lot of religions have their denominations and sects.


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Communities are a part of these sects and denominations. Still, the difference between a  Sect and Denomination is that the latter has a bigger membership and is more widely accepted than Sects. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Sect and denomination are two types of religious organizations.
  2. A sect is a smaller, more exclusive group that often diverges from mainstream religious beliefs, while a denomination is a larger, more inclusive group that shares common beliefs and practices.
  3. Sects often arise in response to perceived religious oppression or corruption, while denominations evolve as religious beliefs and practices change.

Sect vs Denomination

A sect can be a small religious organization. The formation of a new religious group is also a sect. It is a group of people who protest against religious issues. Denomination is a large religious organization which has been working for years. They follow their own beliefs. Most of the people accept denomination because of its long existence. 

Sect vs Denomination

A Sect is a type of branch of a religion or a denomination. These sects are newer religious groups that members form as a protest in the form of the parent religion or denomination. The sect shows off the elements of the religion or denomination from which the sect is derived. 

A Denomination is a branch under a particular religion. Also, it is an established group that has existed for a long duration and is widely spread worldwide. The denomination is especially known for Christian groups such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, and other types of Protestantism.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSectDenomination
MembershipSects have a comparatively smaller membership than Denominations.Denominations have larger memberships than Sects.
HistorySects may be relatively new when it comes to their history.Denominations have a long and vast history because they have existed for a long time.
AcceptanceSects are not as widely accepted as Denominations are accepted.Denominations are widely accepted because of their elements and history.
FormationSects are formed as a protest against religious contexts.Denominations are formed slowly over time and due to geographical distances.
DefinitionA sect is an off-branch of a religion or a denomination.A denomination is a subgroup of a religion.

What is Sect?

A sect is a smaller sub-group of a particular religion or denomination. It is an offshoot of religion but still retains the original beliefs of the particular denomination or religion.

Still, it differs with some rules and principles, which makes its existence and allows the sect to be on its own, deviating from the mother religion or denomination.

Usually, sects are formed because of disputes with a religious group or denomination officials. This makes them keep changing their religious views and principles accordingly to the new leaders or varying beliefs among the members.

Sects are mainly formed because of the wavering beliefs and opinions of members because of the emergence of various new ideas and interpretations, in religious groups or denominations.

Sects have their independent view of the sacred book.

These sects believe in and respect the original denomination or religion but keep their personal opinions and ideas.


What is Denomination?

A Denomination is a religious group that is a subgroup of a particular religion, like Christianity.

These denominations are derived from the original mother religion, but they have their own set of beliefs and rules that they opt to follow.

Denominations are fairly large in the number of memberships and are spread widely all across the world.

A denomination is followed and accepted far and wide because of the many years of its existence and the way it has made itself a part of history.

Denominations have existed for centuries and are heavily established and recognized by members worldwide.

Two examples of a denomination are Christians and Catholics because they have existed for centuries, and their traditions are spread worldwide.

Some examples of denominations created in Islam are the three basic branches of the Sunni, Shia, and Sufis.

Other Shia denominations exist: Twelvers, Ismailiam, Zaidyyah, Alawiyyah, and Alevism.

These denominations follow the basic rules and principles of the mother religion, Islam, but the cultural and traditional differences are apparent within the rest. 


Main Differences Between Sect and Denomination

  1. A Sect is a branch of a denomination or a religion. Meanwhile, a denomination is a subgroup of a particular religion. 
  2. A Sect is smaller in size, and the membership is not vast. On the other hand, Denomination has a larger membership and is significant compared to sects. 
  3. A Sect is formed because of political differences between the officials of the religions or the denominations. Denominations are formed because of geographical distances or cultural estrangements or beliefs between the members of a particular religion, making them form different denominations. 
  4. Sects practice the same beliefs of the mother religion or denomination they have derived from, but the rules and principles of the sects are moderated to fit their opinions. On the other hand, Denominations have changed because of different psychological and theological thinking, which causes them to have varied rituals and cultural habits compared to the mother religion or sect. 
  5. Every sect is derived from a particular religion or denomination, but a denomination is always derived from religion. 
Difference Between Sect and Denomination

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