vary, alter, change - become different in some particular way, without permanently losing one's or its former characteristics or essence; "her mood changes in accordance with the weather"; "The supermarket's selection of vegetables varies according to the season"abide by, comply, follow - act in accordance with someone's rules, commands, or wishes; "He complied with my instructions"; "You must comply or else!
"; "Follow these simple rules"; "abide by the rules"I could have given my own sect the preference and made everybody a Presby- terian without any trouble, but that would have been to affront a law of human nature: spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely themselves to the spirit- ual complexion, angularities, and stature of the indi- vidual who wears it; and, besides, I was afraid of a united Church; it makes a mighty power, the mightiest conceivable, and then when it by and by gets into selfish hands, as it is always bound to do, it means death to human liberty and paralysis to human thought.
In the sociology of religion, the most widely used classification is the church-sect typology.
The typology states that churches, ecclesia, denominations and sects form a continuum with decreasing influence on society.
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Sects are break-away groups from more mainstream religions and tend to be in tension with society.
Many labels are commonly employed by non-sociologists to refer to religions and tend to be used interchangeably.
The basic premise is that there is a continuum along which religions fall, ranging from the protest-like orientation of sects to the equilibrium maintaining churches.