New Religious Movements

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  • Barker (1984) derived the term NRM.
  • There has been a huge increase in the number and range of small religious groups.
  • 25,000 NRM's in Europe.
  • 12,000 NRM's in England.
  • Term NRM is more neutral compared to cult or sect which present a negative image.
  • Wallis (1985): NRM's mainly drew upon distinct traditions, non-western religion, psychology and psychotherapy.
  • Types of NRM'S:
  • 1. World-Accommodating:
  • More Orthodox
  • Offshoot of existing churches. e.g Subud=Islam.
  • Breaks away from the church.
  • Believes the church has lost religious purity.
  • Similar to denominations.
  • More politically conservative.
  • High value on inner religious self.
  • Examples: Siddha Yoga ( Meditative Hindu-based , Not primarily to help cope with/ succeed in life, very 'cult' like and developed complex organizational structures.
  • 2. World-Affirming:
  • Generally accept the world
  • Individualistic
  • No developed theology
  • No Collective Worship.
  • Techniques so clients can discover their spiritual power
  • Conservative language.
  • Middle-aged/middle class people
  • In search of new positive meaning.
  • Examples: Transcendental Meditation (Brought by Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi in 1950's. Build a personal mantra and finding yourself through positive thinking)
  • 3.World-Rejecting NRM:
  • Highly critical of outside world
  • Politically Radical
  • Morally conservative ( Millenarian expect divine intervention to change the world)
  • Significant commitment from members
  • strong ethical code
  • Adopt a communal life style
  • Shared possessions
  • Public Scrutiny: Horror at level of indoctrination of which led to mass suicide.
  • For example: 909…


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