What are the similarities between these two? Numerous. What are the differences? Few.
They are both organised and hierarchical.
Some with subgroups and sub-subgroups.
Some with fractions that share one origin but hold different views.
Some with warring divisions.
They try to recruit as many members as possible.
They have a system of hand signs and gestures, rites and ceremonies.
Betrayals and detachments are not encouraged, and sometimes death is the consequence.
Both of them brainwash members.
Both of them have strict rules and regulations.
They have powerful and charismatic leaders.
They are especially popular in rural areas and slums.
They empower members to commit ‘justifiable’ crimes.
They attack others.
Most of them carry dark histories, and try to cover the past.
The differences, as mentioned, are few.
One of them is mysteries and superstitions, which are essential in religions but not so in gangs.
Another is the philosophies. Religions are based on philosophical grounds, most of which are metaphysical, while gangs are formed because of interests and profits.
Religions try to get support from governments, if they can’t control or substitute the latter. Gangs try to fight against governments, if they can’t get rid of latter.
Religions were once gangs. Gangs might become religions. Cults are in between.