New religious movements
New religious movements.
A new religious movement (NRM) is a religious community or spiritual group of modern origins,
which has a peripheral place within its society’s dominant religious culture.
NRMs can be novel in origin or part of a wider religion, in which case they are distinct from pre-existing denominations. Religious studies scholars contextualize the rise of NRMs in modernity, relating it as a product of and answer to modern processes of secularization, globalization, detraditionalization, fragmentation, reflexivity, and individualization. Some NRMs deal with the challenges posed by the modernizing world by embracing individualism whereas others seek tightly knit collective means.
Many scholars studying the sociology of religion prefer to use the term “New Religious Movement” as a neutral alternative to the wordcult, which is often considered derogatory. Scholars continue to try to reach definitions and define boundaries. Scholars have estimated that NRMs now number in the tens of thousands worldwide, with most of their members living in Asia and Africa. Most have only a few members, some have thousands, and only very few have more than one million members.
- Shinshūkyō is a general category for a wide variety of religious movements founded in Japan since the 19th century. These movements share almost nothing in common except the place of their founding. The largest religious movements centered in Japan include Soka Gakkai,Tenrikyo, and Seicho-No-Ie among hundreds of smaller groups.
- Cao Đài is a syncretistic, monotheistic religion, established in Vietnam in 1926.
- Raëlism is a new religious movement founded in 1974 teaching that humans were created by aliens. It is numerically the world’s largest UFO religion.
- Hindu reform movements, such as Ayyavazhi, Swaminarayan Faith and Ananda Marga, are examples of new religious movements within Indian religions.
- Unitarian Universalism is a religion characterized by support for a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning”, and has no accepted creed or theology.
- Noahidism is a monotheistic ideology based on the Seven Laws of Noah, and on their traditional interpretations within Rabbinic Judaism.
- Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counseling known as auditing, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience and understand painful or traumatic events and decisions in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects.
- Eckankar is a pantheistic religion with the purpose of making God an everyday reality in one’s life.
- Wicca is a neo-pagan religion first popularised in 1954 by British civil servant Gerald Gardner, involving the worship of a God and Goddess.
- Druidry is a religion promoting harmony with nature, and drawing on the practices of the druids.
- Satanism is a broad category of religions that, for example, worship Satan as a deity (Theistic Satanism) or use “Satan” as a symbol of carnality and earthly values (LaVeyan Satanism).
Sociological classifications of religious movements suggest that within any given religious group, a community can resemble various types of structures, including “churches”, “denominations”, “sects”, “cults”, and “institutions”.