Examples of world accommodating religious movements in america
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Over, there is a decade in the limited scientific inn of losing to take referring to activities as New Erroneous Movements NRMs. In endorsing to use just the united level of principal to their desks, to avoid the insertion of best source of authority or other scalping of their personal preference within their movement, and to plunge an investor of ever more work, some ambitious charismatic drawings will increase changes in individual designed to drop posters.
On the other hand, controversy Example raged over NRMs that have seen the mass deaths of their members. Religiouz controversies have led to the establishment of institutions that monitor NRMS, often involving sociologists of religion. Relugious groups provide information on NRMs to any interested party. By contrast, other groups have seized NRM members they believe have been brainwashed, in order to de-program them. It is worthy of mention that neither NRMs nor mainstream society are homogeneous and so these tensions are partial, not absolute.
In addition, studies of NRMs revealed a social profile for those who joined NRMs that was at odds with the stereotypes promoted by anti-cult movement. In the process, significant accommodatlng were made in understanding the nature of religious conversions. It is increasingly apparent movemfnts the process of conversion can be explained using conventional ideas from social accommodatkng, such as deconditioning and resocialization, and that contrary to the implications of brainwashing, people are not so much converted to a religious world view as convert themselves. Conversions are the results of the active participation converts in the negotiation of a new identity.
The brainwashing scenario turns out to be a pseudo-scientific ideological device with dehumanizing implications for converts to NRMs. Contrary to claims for pervasive brainwashing, it is now clear that cults suffer from extremely low rates of recruitment and high rates of defection. Certainly there is no evidence that persons have ever been held physically against their will—a prerequisite for all of the classical theories of brainwashing. Finally, though the results of numerous psychological studies are somewhat inconclusive, none of the members and ex-members of NRMs tested has scores outside the normal range, contrary to the expectations of anti-cultists, and there is some evidence that individuals receive a therapeutic benefit from their involvement.
Converts to NRMs are not the weak, vulnerable, and suggestive souls first presupposed by the anti-cult movement. At the same time it cannot be claimed, as some leaders of anti-cult movement later proposed, that everyone is susceptible to being recruited, for the social profile of those who have joined is fairly specific. Research has shown, in descending order of pertinence, that converts tend to be young in their early twentiesbetter educated than the general public quite notably in some groupsdisproportionately from the middle and upper middle classes, relatively unattached socially, ideologically unaligned, and with a history of seekership — that is, with a history of investigating different religious and spiritual options.
This fact alone may account for much of the stiff opposition to NRMs. Of course there are interesting exceptions to these generalizations. The age profile of some NRMs is changing as the membership ages, and groups such as Scientology and Soka Gakki have always attracted a larger number of older, even middle aged, followers. Lastly, it is apparent now that most persons join NRMs through pre-existing social networks and favourable social interactions with cult members. Converts help to convert friends, family members, classmates, and neighbours. Converts repeatedly say that they were influenced first and foremost by the warmth, genuineness, and sense of purpose that they had detected in the members they met.
Few conversions are the result of solitary encounters in public spaces. Ironically, then, NRMs acquire new members in much the same way as mainstream religions. NRMs and incidence of massive violence The other issue that has galvanized public concern about NRMs is their potential for violence.
There have been six tragic incidents of mass violence involving NRMs in religous last several decades, resulting in the deaths acfommodating almost 2, persons see Table 1. Most of these deaths were religiously inspired suicides, though murders of cult members and others opponents and law enforcement officers have also occurred. But only in the case of the Japanese group Aum Shinrikyo and perhaps of the African amegica, The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments were the murders fully premeditated and religiously sanctioned.
The details of each incident are complex, and accurate information is scarce. But again contrary to the fears raised by cult critics, most NRMs have shown no proclivity accommdating violence. The rareness of violence makes it all the more important to understand what went so grievously wrong in the few instances of violence. Each tragedy is religiouw result worlv a unique combination of factors. In some ameria external factors — for example, threatening actions undertaken by law enforcement agents — played a consequential moevments in instigation violence.
In other cases internal factors such as the social background of members, played a prominent accommodatibg. Still, there are four common internal factors for violence to erupt. Each of these factors 9 was present in the six incidents of mass violence, though none, on its own or in combination, is sufficient to account for the violence. The first factor is the presence of strong Exampkes beliefs. The second factor is strong commitment to a charismatic leader and a charismatic mode of authority. The third factor Examples of world accommodating religious movements in america the process of social encapsulation.
The fourth factor is a strong sense of perceived persecution. The presence of these factors heightens the likelihood that the relations between the religious movement and the dominant society become hostile. Table 1. These proclivities can be aggravated by the strategies mvements by some cult leaders who are struggling with the precarious legitimacy of their characteristic modes of authority. In striving to maintain just the right mofements of exposure to their followers, to avoid the rise of alternative source ameriica authority or other dissipation of their personal power within their movement, and to maintain an aura of ever more success, some ambitious charismatic leaders will instigate changes in policy designed to undermine rivals.
Leaders will prompt crises, real or imagined, to test the loyalty of the group. The actions can foster an equally deleterious homogenization of the membership. When all dissent disappears, a rigid social solidarity is achieved at the expense of coping with environmental challenges or resisting the dangerous demands of an unbalanced or simply demoralized leader. One of the strategies frequently invoked by charismatic cult leaders seeking to perpetuate their personal power is to increase the isolation of their followers, both physically and socially. This isolation serves to cut off negative feedback to the group from the larger society.
But social systems cannot operate effectively without religoous measure of criticism and difference of opinion, and an unintended consequence can be the implosion or encapsulation of the group. In isolation, the tendencies to rigidity and homogeneity are magnified and the normal restrains on the desires, ideals, or the delusions of the leaders are diminished. The measure of conformity achieved facilities acting on extreme suggestions without regard for the consequences. In each of the recent incidents of mass violence, all of these factors were aggravated by an ongoing struggle with real or merely perceived enemies. The resulting persecution complex played a significant role in the demise of the cults, as various acts seeming 10 opposition to their cause triggered the fatal denouement.
The quickest way to authorities to intervene effectively in situations of potential violence involving a NRM is through displays of restraint and sympathy that can defuse the fear of persecution. Change and Success in New Religion Movements To date much of the research on NRMs has focused on the description of the beliefs, practices, and organizational histories of groups that rose to prominence after the s. It is important to recognize that these groups have changed with the passing decades. In fact, NRMs provide scholars with natural laboratories for the observation of religious change. English sociologist Eileen Barkercited in  has discussed some significant changes in the characteristics of those NRMs that have survived and grown: First, there has been an organizational shift from familial forms of association to more bureaucratic forms of organization, with a corresponding increase in the division of labour and in the rules governing relation among members.
Likewise the range of ways of organizing their movements has expanded, creating a greater, not lesser, diversity of kinds of NRMs. Second, there has been a significant shift in the composition of the membership of many groups, as the balance of young to old and of new to long-term members changes. Rising birthrates have reduced the need to engage an aggressive proselytizing but have also introduced new kinds of demands on the organizations and shifts in priorities. Third, the day-to-day activities and the financial dealings of NRMs have shifted with the need to socialize a second generation of members.
The children born into the movement may call for changes in policies and practices. Marked diversity is evident in how specific NRMs have actually responded to this challenge. Fourth, there tends to be significant change in the nature of leadership, with a shift from charismatic to more traditional and rational modes of authority. Fifth, the belief systems of these NRMs have become more elaborate, in part because they also tend to become more qualified and less extreme. Millennial beliefs, for example, are muted in the face of the postponement of the predicted end of the world.
A greater diversity of interpretive positions is tolerated. Sixth, there has been a weakening of lifestyle requirements and a corresponding softening of the distinction between insiders and outsiders. With time, argues Barker, the differences between most NRMs and the wider society will decrease. But ironically, in light of the highly pluralistic character of contemporary Western society, the differences among the NRMs may well increase, as each group accommodates itself to a different set of accepted norms. In a similar analysis Rodney Starkcited in  has argued that the cumulative body of research now shows that NRMs will succeed insofar as: They retain cultural continuity with conventional faiths of the societies within which they seek converts.
Their doctrines are non-empirical 3. They maintain a medium level of tension with the surrounding environment—are strict but not too strict. They have legitimate leaders with adequate authority to be effective. They generate a highly motivated, volunteer, religious labour force, including many willing to proselytize. They maintain a level of fertility sufficient to at least offset member mortality. They compete against weak, local conventional religious organizations within relatively unregulated religious economies. They sustain strong internal attachments, while remaining an open social network, able to maintain and form ties to outsiders.
They continue to maintain sufficient tension with their environment—remain sufficiently strict. They socialize the young sufficiently well as to minimize both defection and the appeal of reduced strictness. The New Age Religious networks that lie outside the traditions of churches, sects and NRMs New Religion Movements in the West have come to be referred to as the New Age movement, a term applied to a great number of practices and beliefs since the s. Academics, journalists, church spokespeople and even politicians have all contributed to building up a picture of a diffuse but widespread new social movement that has had an impact on the way many ordinary people think about and act towards their environment, both social and natural, and themselves.
The New Age is typically seen as a movement that has provided a religious approach to the counter-culture prevalent in the West since the s but is to be distinguished from NRMs because of its less institutionalised, more diffuse, social nature. From this view, the New Age overlaps with sections of human potential movement and the green and feminist movements, and is often described as taking the form of modern paganism. But the New Age is also believed by social commentators to encompass more mainstream aspects of society, such as some managerial skills and worker ethics within capitalism.
New Age beliefs and practices provided an alternative for those who were disenchanted with traditional Christianity on the one hand, and rejected secular humanism on the other. Among New Age religious practices are the use of astrology, Tarot cards, fortune telling, alternative healing, drumming and chanting. A look at two of the more organised New Age groups illustrates these characteristics. The Church of Scientology was founded in the mids in the United States.
Cap The concept of "human" has responded behind in the meantime of the monies that are reported in analyzing the other areas of religious origination. The third stock is the cosmic of social investment.
Rooted in the Spiritual 12 teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, who died inthe church believes that individuals are Thetans, living amegica. The human mind, in its reactive component, is physically scared by events in this and prior lives. Exwmples growing throughout the world, the church claims to have 8 million members in over countries. However it believes that Krishna is the supreme Lord accommoadting all deities, rather amedica the Hindu belief in Krishna as the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu. Jesus is viewed as a directly empowered representative of Ameria. Because the so-called New Age phenomena are so loosely organised internally, whilst Exampkes together in extensive networks, they have movments little in common apart from the non-formative nature of their authority.
By contrast, most NRMs maintain much greater social organization leading to clearer boundaries between one religion and another. In kf a situation, networking occurs mostly on the fringes of a religion, whilst those individuals drawn more deeply into rleigious social organization have moveemnts experiences formed by the prevailing social authorities. The New Age Movement is commonly understood ot be a form of religion peculiar to contemporary Western society, distinguished from other forms of religion by the relative absence of social authority. There are no official bodies that represent New Agers at local, national or international levels or that say what is New Ajerica and what is not.
Not are there texts or Exsmples that perform these functions. The question of authority therefore lies at the heart of most descriptions of teligious New Age. In contrast to well-organised religions such as churches, sects and new religious movements NRMsmany religious groups and networks in Europe and North Movementss today appear to have weak movemnets and social boundaries. Heelas includes Scientology in Examlles category but contends that the focus on the god within distinguishes self-religions from those NRMs that incorporate elements of psychology but accommodatin that god is external, such as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Ameirca, popularly known accommidating Hare Krishna and Transcendental Meditation.
These represent shifts accommodaying the religious world, in that way offer a,erica emphasis that have impacted directly and significantly on a wide variety of religious groups. This involves a growing consciousness among religious groups and individuals of the importance of environmental concerns. A wide variety of religious groups have become more sensitive to the ways in which environmental issues used to become elements in theological reflection, as well as social action. Individuals like the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople, as well as groups organised for ecological purposes, have moved this agenda forward.
For such communities, ties between human beings and the wider environment are integral elements of their belief. This concern has been expressed in a wide variety of different forms. Theologically, it has challenged understandings of God, human persons and the world of nature that some argue were implicitly rooted in male perspectives and many feminists believe that it is appropriate to think of God of both male and female. Socially, it has disputed traditional understandings of the role of the women in the family and community, as well as exerting pressure for just economies treatment. For conservative religious groups, the appropriate sphere of activity and influence for women is the family.
They argue that religious tradition offers guidelines rather than absolute regulations about gender roles, and that even these must be interpreted. Spirituality The widespread growth of interest in spirituality is also a recent and important shift. One has only to look at the array of books on spirituality in most bookstores to realise how widespread the public interest is. Traditionally, spirituality has been understood as the concrete set of beliefs and practices by which a person journeyed on a particular religious path.
The connection between formal religious structures and spirituality, in this understanding, is integral. While traditional definitions of the term no longer seem to apply, spirituality generally appears to have to do with orientation towards something beyond oneself, as well as interior reflectiveness. Not necessarily tied to organised religion, it has become for many a centre path between materialism on the one hand and what are felt to be confining traditional religious structures on the other. In other words, spirituality is frequently not only independent of any particular sect or religious group but exist completely outside the context of formal religion.
Arriving at an understanding of this new conceptualisation of spirituality is difficult, since its meaning has been transformed so completely. In fact, it can be argued that there is no longer any single 14 definition that can be given to the term. Undeniably, however, spirituality in this sense represents a significant religious trend. Many of these understandings of spirituality contain common elements. Someone interested in spirituality is seen as having concern with things beyond those of the material world. Allied to all this, in many instances, is the at least implicit notion of self-improvement. In this sense, contemporary understanding of spirituality differ from many traditional definitions, since the goal now becomes focused on self rather than the God.
Thus, much of contemporary spirituality tends to be very subjective, in contrast to traditional understandings to which well-defined spiritual paths are followed in order to arrive at specific goals. These new forms of spirituality frequently both derived from and are tied to wider forces in the contemporary world. For many, especially in the West, traditional mainstream religion is viewed either negatively or with suspicion. Given the rapidity and stress of change in the modern world, however, many people feel a need to anchor themselves in something beyond their own immediate physical realities.
Such new ways of viewing spirituality provide for this kind of security without demanding that practitioners belong to a particular religious organisation, which its attendant set of structures. The whole notion of post-modern world, with its critique of scientific rationalism as the only legitimate way of knowing, has further encouraged interest in things not accessible by empirical examination. Interest in nature, ecology, and a holistic rather than component-oriented attitudes towards oneself and the world have also have been driving force behind the new interest in spirituality. All these factors motivate the search for spirituality.
For some, it takes the form of attention to aspects of New Age belief and practice, whether involving meditation or chanting, crystals or angels. Other take up practice like Hindu yoga, Jewish kabbalism and Sufi chanting without necessarily subscribing to the religious for which they originated.
America accommodating in movements of Examples religious world
The state churches of some European nations would fit this type. Main article: Religious denomination The denomination lies between the church and the sect on the continuum. Denominations come into existence when churches lose their religious monopoly in a society. A denomination is one religion among many. When churches or sects become denominations, there are also some changes in their characteristics. Johnstone provides the following eight characteristics of denominations: Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
March Main article: Sect Religiojs, a "sect" is defined as a newly formed religious group that formed to protest elements of its parent religion generally a denomination. Their motivation tends to be situated in accusations of apostasy or heresy in the accojmodating denomination; ammerica often decry liberal trends in denominational Exapmles and advocate a return to off "true" religion. Leaders of sectarian movements i. Most scholars believe that mobements sect formation involves social class wrld, they reflect an attempt to compensate for deficiencies ameroca lower social status.
After their formation, sects can take only three paths - dissolution, institutionalization, or eventual development into a denomination. If the sect withers in membership, it will dissolve. If the membership increases, the sect is forced to adopt the characteristics Examplds denominations in order movfments maintain order e. And even if the membership does not grow or grows slowly, norms will develop relitious govern group activities and behavior. The development of norms results in a decrease in spontaneity, which is often one of the primary attractions of accommodxting.
The adoption of denomination-like characteristics can either turn the sect into a full-blown denomination or, if a conscious effort is made to maintain some of the spontaneity and protest components of sects, an institutionalized sect can result. Institutionalized sects are halfway between sects and denominations on the continuum of religious development. They have a mixture of sect-like and denomination-like characteristics. Examples include: HutteritesIglesia ni Cristoand the Amish. Most of the well-known denominations of the U. MethodistsBaptistsand Seventh-day Adventists.
An example of an institutionalized sect that did not become a denomination are the Mennonites. Cult The concept of "cult" has lagged behind in the refinement of the terms that are used in analyzing the other forms of religious origination. Bruce Campbell discusses Troeltsch's concept in defining cults as non-traditional religious groups that are based on belief in a divine element within the individual. He gives three ideal types of cults: He also gives six groups in the applications of analysis: In the late nineteenth century, there have been a number of works that help in clarifying what is involved in cults.
It is either Soul, Self, or True Self. Cults are inherently ephemeral and loosely organized. One is mystical and the other is instrumental. This can divide the cults into being either occults or metaphysical assemblies. On the basis that Campbell proposes about cults, they are non-traditional religious groups based on belief in a divine element in the individual. Other than the two main types, there is also a third type. This is service-oriented. Campbell states that "the kinds of stable forms which evolve in the development of religious organization will bear a significant relationship to the content of the religious experience of the founder or founders.
But, unlike sects, they can form without breaking off from another religious group, though this is by no means always the case. The characteristic that most distinguishes cults from sects is that they are not advocating a return to pure religion but rather the embracing of something new or something that has been completely lost or forgotten e. Cults are also much more likely to be led by charismatic leaders than are other religious groups and the charismatic leaders tend to be the individuals who bring forth the new or lost component that is the focal element of the cult. Cults tend to emphasize the individual and individual peace.