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People tend to use 'cult' in the sense of "a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious" when the original sense is closer to "great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work," "a system of religious beliefs and ritual," and "formal religious veneration."
Christianity, for instance, started as an Eastern mystery cult. Specifically an offshoot of Judaism.
'Religion,' on the other hand, now means (boiling down Merriam-Websters various definitions) "a set of institutionalized beliefs and practices related to the supernatural," but originally meant something closer to "scrupulous conformity." So, yeah, if you take the original definition of 'cult' and the modern definition of 'religion,' they're pretty much the same thing.