New Religious Movements

  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 16-04-15 16:51
What were the 3 main types of NRM that Wallis (1984) identified?
1) World affirming 2)World rejecting 3)World accommodating
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What are World Affirming NRM's?
Accept the world, are optimistic & promise followers success in terms of mainstream goals & values. They're non-exclusive & tolerant of other religions, but claim to offer additional special knowledge. Most are cults.
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Are world affirming NRM's similar to normal religions?
They lack some of the features of conventional religions e.g. collective worship. However, like religions they offer their followers access to spiritual powers
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Give an example of a World Affirming NRM
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Give 5 characteristics of a World Rejecting NRM
1)Clear notion of God 2)Highly critical of the outside world 3)To achieve salvation members must make a clean break with previous life 4)Members live communally & not in contact with outside world 5)have conservative moral codes
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Give an example of 2 World Rejecting NRM's
1) Manson Family 2)The Peoples Temple
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What are World Accommodating NRM's?
often breakaways form existing mainstream cultures. They neither accept nor reject the world, they focus on religious rather than worldly matters, seeking to restore the spiritual purity of religion. Members tend to live normal lives
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Give an example of a World Accommodating NRM
neo-pentecostalists who split from Catholicism. They believe that other Christian religions have lost the holy spirit
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When are NRM most likely to appear?
During times of uncertainty or change
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Where/What did Cohn (1957) study?
Medieval europe
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What did Cohn find?
NRM may develop after outbreaks of the plague, devastating fires, long droughts, serious economic slumps or wars
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What reason did Cohn give for the emergence of NRM's in these times?
Such evens lead to a sense of doom and desire for salvation. People who feel they way of life is threatened are prone to follow a leader who identifies the enemy, preaches a doctrine of the final struggle and promises a new age
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Where are NRM less likely to develop?
In advanced industrialised countries. However there are still fears of military, urban or ecological disaster which can lead like minded people into a movement and retreat to avoid the predicted disaster
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What do other sociologists argue has lead to the emergence of NRM's? Why?
Social changes involved in the process of industrialisation modernisation. Because they lead to a crisis of meaning and identity.
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Give 3 examples of changes involved in industrialisation and modernisation
1)Decline in social support groups e.g. extended family 2)Multiplication of lifestyles and beliefs 3) Failure of science, capitalism and mainstream religion to offer satisfactory guidance and a sense of meaning
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What can NRM's provide for people?
Certainty in the face of uncertainty, social support within a close knit group, and a strong sense of who they are.
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Who's Work can be used to evaluate the arguments for the emergence of NRM's?
Melton (1993)
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What did Melton find?
Rapid growth in the numbers joining NRM's occurred in the 1950s, a period of social stability. This was before the social unrest of the 60s and early 70s when student riots,black riots and the Vietnam war took place
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What did Melton discover about the 1980's and NRM's?
The number of NRM's grew in the 60s but grew even further in the 70s and 80s. And the 80s is seen as a period of social stability
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What did Melton conclude?
There is no relation between social unrest and the emergence of NRM's
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Define pragmatic
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What are the two main reasons for people joining NRM's?
1) Pragmatic Motives 2)Spiritual Void
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What is meant by pragmatic motives?
Desire to acquire personally beneficial practical outcomes. Therefore motivations for joining world affirming groups can be very practical - financial success/happier life
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What is meant by a spiritual void?
Since the decline in the importance of established religion, people are seeking an alternative belief system to explain the word and its difficulties
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What do people seek in the absence of religion and science?
to acquire a personal rationale for their existence.
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What is spiritual shopping?
trying out various alternatives until they find a belief system that makes sense to them
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WHat did WEBER point out about those marginalised(treated as insignificant) by society?
They may find status and/or a legitimising explanation for their situation which offers ultimate salvation. This could explain the appeal of world rejecting sects so members of ethnic minorities or young social 'drop outs'.
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How can Relative Deprivation make NRM's appealing?
people may be attracted to an NRM because it offers something lacking in the social experience - whether spiritual or emotional. This could explain its appeal to certain members of the m/c who feel their lives lack spiritual meaning
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Why do world rejecting NRM's appeal to the young?
Because they lack adult commitments, also they provide some certainty to a group of people who face similar problems
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What did BARKER find about most members of the moonies?
they came from happy, secure m/c families with parents who's job had some kind of commitment to public service.
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What did BARKER conclude about what the sect offered?
A surrogate family where members could find support and comfort. High patterns of drop outs from NRM's suggest the need they fulfill is temporary
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Who are world affirming NRM's likely to appeal to?
Those who have finished education, married with children and have a mortgage
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According to BIRD, what 3 things do world-affirming sects do?
1)Provide a spiritual component to a rationalised world 2)Provide techniques to help people become wealthy and successful 3)provide techniques that allow people to work on themselves to bring about personal growth
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What does THOMSON note about women and NRM's?
women may not have the economic or social standing of others in society, but sect members have the promise of salvation.
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What 3 types of deprivation do GLOCK and STARK identify women are more likely to encounter?
1)Social deprivation 2)Organismic deprivation 3)Ethical deprivation
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What is Social deprivation?
Stems from a lack of power/status. e.g. people that lack satisfaction from employment may seek guidance from a sect
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What is Organismic Deprivation?
experienced by those who suffer with physical/mental problems. Turn to sects in the hope of being healed and as an alternative to alcohol/drugs
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What is Ethical deprivation?
people may perceive the world to be in moral decline and retreat to a sect
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Why are women draw to the appeal of Cults?
Cults are highly individualised ad mainly involved with the promotion of personal improvement. Women are more inclined to see themselves as in need for self-improvement.
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Card 2


What are World Affirming NRM's?


Accept the world, are optimistic & promise followers success in terms of mainstream goals & values. They're non-exclusive & tolerant of other religions, but claim to offer additional special knowledge. Most are cults.

Card 3


Are world affirming NRM's similar to normal religions?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Give an example of a World Affirming NRM


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Give 5 characteristics of a World Rejecting NRM


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