Explanations for the growth of NRMs 2

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  • Explanations for the growth of NRMs 2
    • Growth of NRMs
      • Bruce - argues that the growth of world-affirming NRMs is a response to modernity particularly work, as it no longer provides a source of identity.
      • Therefore, world-affirming NRMs provide a sense of identity and techniques which promise success in this world.
      • Wallis - social change in the 60s gave young people to freedom, enabling a counter-culture to develop.
      • The growth of radical political movements offered alternative ideas about the future, so it offered young people an idealistic way of life.
        • Bruce - criticises that there was a failure of the counter-culture which led to the disillusioned youth turning to religion instead e,g, Black Muslims.
    • Niebuhr
      • Sects couldn't survive more than a single generation without changing or disappearing.
      • Sees the ideology of many sects containing the seeds of its own destruction.
      • Three reasons for this:
        • Second generation - those born into a sect lack commitment from their parents.
        • Protestant ethic effect - sects that practice asecticism and become prosperous will be tempted to compromise with the world and leave.
        • Death of a leader - sects with a charismatic leader either collapse after their death or a formal leadership takes over leading to a denomination.
    • Sectarian cycle
      • Stark & Bainbridge - religious organisation move through a cycle:
        • 1: Schism - tension leads to deprived members breaking away to a world-rejecting sect.
        • 2: Initial fervour - tension between sect's beliefs and wider society.
        • 3: Denomi-nationalism - protestant ethic effect occurs.
        • 4: Establishment - sects become world-accepting and tension reduces.
        • 5: Further schism - less privileged members break away to a new sect with a true original message.
    • Wilson
      • Not all sects follow this cycle.
        • Conversionist sects - e.g. evangelicals are likely to grow apidly to large, more formal denominations, as they aim to convert large numbers of people.
        • Adventist sects - e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses, to be saved they must hold themselves separate of the corrupted world around them.
          • This prevents them from compromising becoming a denomination unlike conversionists.
      • Sees sects have survived over many generations but have become established sects, e,g, Amish.
      • Rejects Niebuhr as many have succeed in socialising children into a high level of commitment and keeping them apart from wider society.
      • Globalisation will make it harder for sects to keep themselves separate.
        • But may attract Third World countries which are attracted to the message of sects e.g. Pentecostalism.


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