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New Religious Movements - Essay Example

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New religious movements (NRM), sometimes referred to as cults, are groups that exist apart from the major religious culture in which they are situated however continue adhere their new host culture. Numerous of these new religious movements come evolved from smaller religious traditions such as the Punjabi Sant Mat tradition (Divine Light Mission), Shintoism (Mahikari), and Zoroastrianism (Mazdaznan).1 The continued growth and spread of these NRMs is considered to be a modern day phenomenon…
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Download file to see previous pages Not only do these NRMs catch the attention of scholars, but they also caught also the interest of the general population. The most crucial moment for public awareness in cults or new religious movements occurred in November, 1978, when some 900 members of the The Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana died by murder and suicide. Moreover, some movements have been accused of ongoing human rights abuses, child abuse, brainwashing, prostitution, financial
fraud and swindling.3 Only a small number of the older cults such as the the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have garnered huge membership all throughout the world. Of those groups formed in the twentieth century, only a few, such as the American Muslim Mission (found in 1930), can count their membership in the tens of thousands.4
National polls report that 19 in 20 Americans affirm a belief in God, and 4 in 10 said to join Sunday services regularly. Nevertheless, these surveys do not show how and what the people really believe in. Therefore, a number of new religious movements develop to fill these gaps. ...
Moreover, the rise of new religious movements and cults also reflects the tensions that exist in the society at large, usually evolve from pressures that increased public acceptance of ideas outside the established religious institutions. As an example, the cultural revolutions of the 1960's lessen the social taboos against religious testing. Furthermore, technological advancements, particularly the Internet and the access world travel, enable a lot of people to access wider beliefs and religious systems and making it easier for small religious groups to form.5 Additionally, new religious movements continue to grow due to: existence of man's spiritual needs, man's cultural identity search, filling a void in man's heart, man's seeking for answers to vital questions, cults cashing in on pastoral weakness of established religious institutions, a plot from the devil, existences of a charismatic leader/founder/guru, prevailing weaknesses of the members, and the doctrines uniqueness of the movement.
Existence of spiritual needs.
The evolution of cults or new religious movements often indicate that there are spiritual needs which have not been fulfilled or even identified, or which the Church and other established religious institutions have either not aware of or not able to provide.6
Cultural identity search.
The new religious movements are able to attract huge number members because there are always people searching for meaning when they are feeling gone astray in a period of cultural revolution.7
Filling a void.
Many Christians join the cults or new religious movements because their hunger ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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