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New religious movement

religious community or spiritual group of modern origins

New religious movement is a term that is used for certain religious communities. Such communities are usually small, compared to world religions. Very often, they do not have a long history. In most cases, the following will be true:

  • Most people in the movement converted from another religion; the case where the parents and children are part of the same movement does not occur often.[1]
  • The members are all part of the same social group, for example the new middle class.[2]
  • There is a charismatic leader.[2]
  • There is a clear distinction between people who are part of the movement, and those that are not. This distinction can often not be made easily, for mainstream religions.[2]
  • The way the group is organised may change.[3]

Other names for such movements include sect and cult. They are problematic though, because they have a negative connotation. Examples for movements that have been called cults are Scientology, Transcendental Meditation, Unification Church, Family International also called Children of God, Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate and Wicca.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Eileen Barker: Perspective: What Are We Studying? In: Nova Religio 8, 2004, Vol. 1, pp. 88–102.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Eileen Barker: New religious movements: A practical introduction. Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, London 1989, pp 10f.
  3. David G. Bromley, Anson D. Shupe: Anti-Cultism in the United States: Origins, Ideology and Organizational Development. In: Social Compass 42, 1995, pp. 221–236,the statement is on page 228.