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New Religious Movements - Essay Example

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New religious movements tend to transcend the usual categories of what is categorised as 'liberal' and 'conservative' streams. Starkloff (2008) is of the view that traditions and cults do not describe its appeal to the term 'New Religious Movements', but provides a description where faith is blinded beyond the boundaries of the established churches and culture. It does mean that there is no consensus over what constitutes the 'new' in the new religious movements.
The phenomenon behind new religious movements (NRMs) is, arguably, not new, since NRM is concerned with a groups of religious bodies or movements that entails an isolated and particular set of attributes, that have been assigned to the fringes of the dominant religious culture and by elements within the secular culture, in context of a set of religious movements that exist in a relatively contested society as a whole. It has been observed that "[m]any religious movements were born and prospered, either as a development of well-known religious traditions or as the result of a syncretic approach to different religions. In many cases their doctrines and practices differed widely from those of the mainstream religions: moreover, the "closed" structure of some of these groups, the unconventional behaviour of their members, and some tragic events in which they were involved gave rise to considerable social alarm" (Ferrari, 2006, p.2). Thus, the NRMs have in many cases appropriated the anti-systemic feelings in an efficient manner and have successfully channelised into themselves in order to achieve their (un)declared goals vis--vis legitimate social and political institutions.
II. When Religion Returns to a Haunted New World Order
Interestingly, NRMs are often identified as 'sect' in a number of European languages "("secte" in French, "setta" in Italian, "secta" in Spanish, "Sekte" in German)" (Ferrari, 2006, p.2). Mostly, such sects are formed by a "group of dissenters who separated from a larger religious group" and popularly indicated as a collection of a "narrow-minded and fanatical group of people" (ibid, p.2). New Religious movements, Ferrari (2006) points out, also known as 'socially controversial religious movements', 'unconventional religious movements', 'movements of religious renewal' and so on among sociologists of various hues without consensus over a single appropriate term.
About the origins of new religious movements, Szerszynski is of the view that they lie in the great cultural turn of the 1960s and he goes on arguing that "[l]arge proportions of a whole generation seemed to be reacting against the priorities of post-war society, and refusing - or at least hesitating - to take up their expected role in the instrumental, bureaucratised world of late twentieth century capitalism. The 1960s generation, at least for a time, strove for a simple life, less ...Show more
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What Samuel P. Huntington portrayed in the last decade of twentieth century as the coming of clash of civilisations has become a real life picture in the very first decade of twenty first century itself. The clash of civilisations, which is essentially grounded in contesting religions, is no more the illusion of an eclectic academician…
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