new religious movements

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new religious movements (NRM)

sectarian or communitarian groups of worshippers, not necessarily Christian, who have usually undergone an intense conversion experience, and are often regarded with suspicion or even hostility by the public and press. Barker (1989) estimates that there are at least five hundred different new religious movements in the UK. This apparent diversity – expressed in the differences of outlook and constituency and in the methods of recruitment of the many various groups – has been usefully conceptualized by Wallis (1984), who divides them into ‘world rejecting (e.g. the Moonies, Hare Krishna), ’world affirming (e.g. Transcendental Meditation, Scientology) and ‘world accommodating movements (e.g. evangelical, charismatic, ’born again Christian renewal groups).

World rejection movements expect their converts to reject their past lives, and to separate themselves from family and friends. The outside world is regarded with suspicion and hostility. Personal identity is submerged into the collective identity of the community which always takes priority over the individual, and which encourages the sharing of possessions and affection. World affirming movements see the external world more benevolently. These movements tend to be more individualistic, with belief systems less clearly codified and articulated and acts of worship less organized. World affirming movements tend to regard everyone as having hidden potential and capacities which can be unlocked by believers and practitioners. Happiness and contentment are seen as something within everyone's grasp, provided that new ways of relating to the world (rather than rejecting or transforming it) are adopted. World accommodating movements tend to emphasize the importance of individual religious experience. Evangelical church groups are typical, where collective celebrations of faith are the vehicle for feelings of intense personal involvement with the spiritual and sacred realms addressed in acts of worship.

Though diverse and numerous, NRM tend individually to have only a small number of members. Public hostility is thus not justified by their numerical strength. Rather, this hostility should be seen as a product of the particular orientation which different groups adopt towards the world: in so far as world rejecting movements demand the total involvement of their members, and the breaking of family ties, anger and resentment are going to be almost inevitable consequences. NRM seem to have grown as a result of people's dissatisfaction with the kind of religious experience offered by the traditional Christian churches. Arguably too, they can be seen as a response to the crisis of identity’ in late modernity discussed by GIDDENS (1991). Given, however, the relatively small number of people actually involved in NRM, and the fact that they seem to appeal mostly to the young middle class, and then only for a few years, their recent growth cannot be seen as something which seriously offsets the trend towards SECULARIZATION. See also SECT, CULT, SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION.

References in periodicals archive ?
The term New Religious Movements (shinshaukyo) was coined by Japanese sociologists in the 1950s and 1960s as an expedient catch-all category into which scholars could conveniently place all of the nineteenth century religious groups that cropped up in response to the extreme political, economic, and social upheavals of a rapidly industrializing Japan.
In such an environment, new religious movements and cults make devotees of many initially innocent and lonely teens (Stoner & Parke, 1977).
Often, this causes outsiders to change their opinion of the group and view it as a religious denomination or mainstream religious organization rather than a new religious movement.
The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, New York: Oxford University Press, pp.
All new religious movements begin their existence as an "other.
Since the 20th century, "Paganism" (or "Neopaganism") has become the identifier for a collection of new religious movements attempting to continue, revive, or reconstruct historical pre-Abrahamic religion.
This isn't too dramatic, although it's difficult to assess the future impact of new religious movements as they're developing--who knew in the mid-19th century that the Mormon Church would be what it is today?
They consider the post-secular to not be a new reality, but an emergent condition for new religious movements.
Founded in 1954 a year after the Korean War, the church, like all new religious movements, initially struggled to assert itself against the establishment.
She demonstrates how these cases had broader implications both for the rights of religious prisoners and for other new religious movements.
Taking center stage as causes of tension between the majority churches in the region--Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox--are proselytism, including that by New Religious Movements, and the existence of Eastern Catholic, or Uniate, Christianity.
In these places old and new religious movements are often active accomplices in such repression.