Types of religious organisation

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  • Types of religious organisation
    • Troeltsch
      • Identified different religious organisations and found differences in churchs and sects. REFER TO TABLE.
      • Niebuhr - provided the first analysis of denominations that have steadily increased in number over the past 200 years.
    • New religious movements
      • Wallis - the explosion of new religions and organisations. NRMs are a way of classifying religious groups based on their relationship with the world.
        • World-rejecting - most common with sects as their beliefs are critical of the outside world an seek radical change.
        • World-affirming - lack of typical characteristics of a religion and are positive about the world but individuals lack something spiritually and prevent them from success.
        • World-acomodating - often offshots of existing major church/ denomination. Don't accept or reject the world; they live with it. Some try to restore spirituality purity to a religion that they believe have lost its commitment to core values.
    • Wallis
      • Criticisms
        • Wallis' typology ignores the diversity of beliefs within a NRM.
        • Not clear whether Wallis is categorising NRMs according to the movement's teachings or individual members' beliefs.
        • Stark & Bainbridge reject constructing typologies.
      • Similarities and differences between religious organisations.
        • Churches and sects claim their interpretation of aith is the only legitimate one.
        • Denominations and cults accept that there can be many valid interpretations.
        • Churches and denominations are seen as respectable/ egitimate.
        • Sects and cults are see as deviant.
    • Sects and cults
      • Criticisms
        • They don't fit into today's society e.g. some churches have lost their monopoly and now a denomination.
      • Stark & Bainbridge - two organisations in conflict with wider society.
        • Sects - result from schisms (splitting of an established church due to disagreements about doctrine).
        • Cults - new religions e.g. Scientology or new to particular societies that have been imported, e.g. TM
      • Sects promise other-wordly benefits to those suffering economic/ ethcal deprivation.
      • Cults tend to offer this-wordly benefits to those suffering psychic (anomie) or organismic (health problems) deprivation.
      • Subdivision of cults
        • Client - based on a relationship between a consultant and client, providing services to followers e.g. therapy.
        • Audience -don't involve formal membership or commitment, little interaction between members, participation may be via media
        • Cultic movements - demand high level commitment, aims to meet members religious needs and aren't able to belong to other religious groups.
  • Stark & Bainbridge reject constructing typologies.


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