Explanations of the growth of NRMs 3

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  • Explanations of the growth of NRMs 3
    • Growth of New Age
      • They cover wide range of beliefs and activities.
      • Heelas - two common themes that characterise the NA
        • Self-spirituality - seek the spiritual as they have turned away traditional religions.
        • De-traditionalisation - rejects the spiritual authority of external sources (priests/texts) and values personal experiences and believe they can find the truth themselves.
      • NA beliefs vary, may include world-affirming beliefs which help succeed in wider society, but also includes world-rejecting elements to allow individuals to achieve englightenment in their inner world.
    • New Age/ Postmodernity
      • Drane - appeal is due to a loss in faith in meta-narratives (claims of 'truth').
      • Science promises progress to a better world but it has given war, genocide etc.
      • People loose faith in experts and as a result turn to NA where they can find the truth themselves looking within.
    • New Age/ Modernity
      • Bruce - appeal is due to modernity as it values individualism (key principle of NA).
      • Particularly important value to those in 'expressive proffesions' e.g. social workers.
      • NA are softer versions of traditional eastern religions e.g. Buddhism which is why activities of NA are audience of client cults as they make fewer demands.
      • NA 'pick and mix spiritual shopping' reflects consumerist ethos.
      • Heelas - sees the NA and modernity linked in four ways:
        • Source of identity - individuals have different roles that overlap leading to a fragmentd society; NA offers an authentic identity.
        • Consumer culture - dissatisfaction as it never delivers perfection; NA offers an alternative way to achieve perfection.
        • Rapid social change - modern society it disrupts established norms and values; NA provides a sense of certainty and truth like sects.
        • Decline of organised religion - modernity leads to secularisation thereby removing the traditional alternatives.


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