Explaining The Growth Of Religious Movements Notes

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  • Created on: 24-05-16 21:15

Explaining The Growth Of Religious Movements


·       Troeltsch– sects tend to draw their members from the poor and oppressed.

·       Weber:

Ø  Sects arise in groups who are marginal to society.

Ø  They may feel that they are disprivileged– not receiving their just economic rewards or social status.

Ø  Sects offer a solution – theodicy of disprivilege – a religious explanation and justification for their suffering and disadvantage.

Ø  It explains their misfortune as a test of faith.

·       Many sects and millenarian movements have recruited from the marginalised poor.

Ø  E.g. 20th century – the Nation of Islam recruited successfully among disadvantaged blacks in the USA.

·       However, since the 1960’s Moonies have recruited mainly from more affluent groups.

Ø  Wallis argues this does not contradict Weber’s view, because many of these individuals had become marginal to society.


Relative deprivation:

·       It is possible for someone who is in reality quite privileged, to feel that they are being deprived or disadvantaged.

·       Middle-class people are materially well off, they may feel spiritually deprived.

·       Especially in today’s materialistic, consumerist world, which many perceive as impersonal and lacking in moral value, emotional warmth and authenticity.

·       Wallis– due to this, the middle-class may turn to sects…


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