Author: Lorne L. Dawson
Publisher: Don Mills, Ont. : Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2006-01
Tackling popular misconceptions about new religious movements, Comprehending Cults summarizes, synthesizes, and assesses over 40 years of research by historians, sociologists, and psychologists. This excellent introduction to the study of new religious groups offers a balanced treatment of new movements as a source of spiritual satisfaction while confronting issues of violence, sexuality, and brainwashing within religious cults.
What is a cult? Why do they emerge? Who joins them? And why do tragedies such as Waco and Jonestown occur? This reader brings together the voices of historians, sociologists, and psychologists of religion to address these key questions about new religious movements. Looks at theoretical explanations for cults, why people join and what happens when they do. Brings together the best work on cults by sociologists, historians, and psychologists of religion. A broad-ranging, balanced and clearly organized collection of readings. Includes coverage of topical issues, such as the 'brainwashing' controversy, and cults in cyberspace. Section introductions by the editor situate the nature, value, and relevance of the selected readings in context of current discussions.
Religion Online provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to this burgeoning new religious reality, from cyberpilgrimages to neo-pagan chatroom communities. A substantial introduction by the editors presenting the main themes and issues is followed by sixteen chapters addressing core issues of concern such as youth, religion and the internet, new religious movements and recruitment, propaganda and the countercult, and religious tradition and innovation.
Author: John A. Saliba
Publisher: Rowman Altamira
Release Date: 2003-01-01
This balanced textbook looks at emerging religions through the lenses of history, psychology, sociology, law, theology, and counseling. The Second Edition is updated throughout and includes a new foreword by J. Gordon Melton.
Author: W. Michael Ashcraft
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2005-06-17
Genre: Body, Mind & Spirit
Is the Torah true? Do the five books of Moses provide an accurate historical account of the people of ancient Israel’s origins? In The Original Torah, S. David Sperling argues that, while there is no archeological evidence to support much of the activity chronicled in the Torah, a historical reality exists there if we know how to seek it. By noting the use of foreign words or mentions of technological innovations scholars can often pinpoint the date and place in which a text was written. Sperling examines the stories of the Torah against their historical and geographic backgrounds and arrives at a new conclusion: the tales of the Torah were originally composed as allegories whose purpose was distinctly and intentionally political. The book illustrates how the authors of the Pentateuch advanced their political and religious agenda by attributing deeds of historical figures like Jeroboam and David to ancient allegorical characters like Abraham and Jacob. If “Abraham“ had made peace with Philistines, for example, then David could rely on a precedent to do likewise. The Original Torah provides a new interpretive key to the foundational document of both Judaism and Christianity.
Author: David G. Bromley
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
Release Date: 2007-05-25
In this volume, a group of senior NRM scholars who have been instrumental in the development of the field offer essays that present the basics of NRM scholarship along with guidance for teachers on classroom use.
Although religious innovation in America has historically been the norm rather than the exception, mainstream Americans have often viewed new religious movements with suspicion and occasionally with outright alarm. The question motivating many studies of new religious movements has been “why would someone join these religions?” In Antiquity and Social Reform, Dawn Hutchinson offers at least one answer to this often repeated query. She argues that followers of new religious movements in the 1960s–1980s, specifically the Unification Church, Feminist Wicca and the Nation of Yahweh, considered these religions to be legitimate because they offered members a personal religious experience, a connection to an ancient tradition, and agency in improving their world. Utilizing an historical approach, Antiquity and Social Reform considers the conversion narratives of adherents and primary literature of the formative years of these movements, which demonstrates that the religious experiences of the adherents, and a resonance with the goals of these religions, propelled members into social action.
Author: James R. Lewis
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2014-07-16
In terms of public opinion, new religious movements are considered controversial for a variety of reasons. Their social organization often runs counter to popular expectations by experimenting with communal living, alternative leadership roles, unusual economic dispositions, and new political and ethical values. As a result the general public views new religions with a mixture of curiosity, amusement, and anxiety, sustained by lavish media emphasis on oddness and tragedy rather than familiarity and lived experience. This updated and revised second edition of Controversial New Religions offers a scholarly, dispassionate look at those groups that have generated the most attention, including some very well-known classical groups like The Family, Unification Church, Scientology, and Jim Jones's People's Temple; some relative newcomers such as the Kabbalah Centre, the Order of the Solar Temple, Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate, and the Falun Gong; and some interesting cases like contemporary Satanism, the Raelians, Black nationalism, and various Pagan groups. Each essay combines an overview of the history and beliefs of each organization or movement with original and insightful analysis. By presenting decades of scholarly work on new religious movements written in an accessible form by established scholars as well as younger experts in the field, this book will be an invaluable resource for all those who seek a view of new religions that is deeper than what can be found in sensationalistic media stories.
Author: George Lundskow
Publisher: Pine Forge Press
Release Date: 2008-06-10
Genre: Social Science
Using a lively narrative, The Sociology of Religion is an insightful text that follows the logic of actual research, first investigating the facts of religion in all its great diversity, including its practices and beliefs, and then analyzing actual examples of religious developments using relevant conceptual frameworks. As a result, students actively engage in the discovery, learning, and analytical processes as they progress through the textùjust as a scholar pursues knowledge in the field and then applies theoretical constructs to interpret findings.This unique text is organized around essential topics and real-life issues and examines religion both as an object of sociological analysis as well as a device for seeking personal meaning in life. While primarily sociological in focus, the text incorporates relevant interdisciplinary scholarshipùthus teaching sociological perspectives on religion while introducing students to relevant research from other fields. Sidebar features and photographs of religious figures bring the text to life for readers.Key Features and Benefits:Uses substantive and truly contemporary real-life religious issues of current interest to engage the reader in a way few other texts doCombines theory with empirical examples drawn from the United States and around the world, emphasizing a critical and analytical perspective that encourages better understanding of the material presentedFeatures discussions of emergent religions, consumerism, and the link between religion, sports, and other forms of popular cultureDraws upon interdisciplinary literature, helping students appreciate the contributions of other disciplines while primarily developing an understanding of the sociology of religion InstructorÆs Resources on CD-ROM· InstructorÆs Resources on CD-ROM contains chapter outlines, summaries, multiple-choice questions, essay questions, and short answer questions as well as illustrations from the book. Contact Customer Care at 1-800-818-SAGE (7243) to request a copy (6:00 a.m.û5:00 p.m., PST).Intended Audience: This core text is designed for upper-level undergraduate students of Sociology of Religion or Religion and Politics.
Author: Thomas Robbins
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Release Date: 2001-01-01
Misunderstanding Cults provides a uniquely balanced contribution to what has become a highly polarized area of study. Working towards a moderate "third path" in the heated debate over new religious movements or cults, this collection includes contributions from both scholars who have been characterized as "anticult" and those characterized as "cult-apologists." The study incorporates multiple viewpoints as well as a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, with the stated goal of depolarizing the discussion over alternative religious movements. A prominent section within the book focuses explicitly on the issue of scholarly objectivity and the danger of partisanship in the study of cults. The collection also includes contributions on the controversial and much misunderstood topic of brainwashing, as well as discussions of cult violence, children brought up in unconventional religious movements, and the conflicts between alternative religious movements and their critics. Unique in its breadth, this is the first study of new religious movements to address the main points of controversy within the field while attempting to find a middle ground between opposing camps of scholarship.
Author: E. Burke Rochford
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2007-05-01
Most widely known for its adherents chanting “Hare Krishna” and distributing religious literature on the streets of American cities, the Hare Krishna movement was founded in New York City in 1965 by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Formally known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or ISKCON, it is based on the Hindu Vedic scriptures and is a Western outgrowth of a popular yoga tradition which began in the 16th century. In its first generation ISKCON actively deterred marriage and the nuclear family, denigrated women, and viewed the raising of children as a distraction from devotees' spiritual responsibilities. Yet since the death of its founder in 1977, there has been a growing women’s rights movement and also a highly publicized child abuse scandal. Most strikingly, this movement has transformed into one that now embraces the nuclear family and is more accepting of both women and children, steps taken out of necessity to sustain itself as a religious movement into the next generation. At the same time, it is now struggling to contend with the consequences of its recent outreach into the India-born American Hindu community. Based on three decades of in-depth research and participant observation, Hare Krishna Transformed explores dramatic changes in this new religious movement over the course of two generations from its founding.
Author: Alessandro Orsini
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Release Date: 2011-03-25
Genre: Political Science
The Red Brigades were a far-left terrorist group in Italy formed in 1970 and active all through the 1980s. Infamous around the world for a campaign of assassinations, kidnappings, and bank robberies intended as a "concentrated strike against the heart of the State," the Red Brigades' most notorious crime was the kidnapping and murder of Italy's former prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978. In the late 1990s, a new group of violent anticapitalist terrorists revived the name Red Brigades and killed a number of professors and government officials. Like their German counterparts in the Baader-Meinhof Group and today's violent political and religious extremists, the Red Brigades and their actions raise a host of questions about the motivations, ideologies, and mind-sets of people who commit horrific acts of violence in the name of a utopia. In the first English edition of a book that has won critical acclaim and major prizes in Italy, Alessandro Orsini contends that the dominant logic of the Red Brigades was essentially eschatological, focused on purifying a corrupt world through violence. Only through revolutionary terror, Brigadists believed, could humanity be saved from the putrefying effects of capitalism and imperialism. Through a careful study of all existing documentation produced by the Red Brigades and of all existing scholarship on the Red Brigades, Orsini reconstructs a worldview that can be as seductive as it is horrifying. Orsini has devised a micro-sociological theory that allows him to reconstruct the group dynamics leading to political homicide in extreme-left and neonazi terrorist groups. This "subversive-revolutionary feedback theory" states that the willingness to mete out and suffer death depends, in the last analysis, on how far the terrorist has been incorporated into the revolutionary sect. Orsini makes clear that this political-religious concept of historical development is central to understanding all such self-styled "purifiers of the world." From Thomas Müntzer's theocratic dream to Pol Pot's Cambodian revolution, all the violent "purifiers" of the world have a clear goal: to build a perfect society in which there will no longer be any sin and unhappiness and in which no opposition can be allowed to upset the universal harmony. Orsini's book reconstructs the origins and evolution of a revolutionary tradition brought into our own times by the Red Brigades.
For undergraduate courses in New Religious Movements (NRMs) or Religious Cults. Taking the approach that new religious movements are neither new nor inherently evil or dangerous, New Religious Movements takes a more historical and cultural perspective than other books on the market. Elijah Siegler wrote this book to counter the common misconception that NRMs first appeared suddenly in North America and Western Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. He argues that this is a myopic perspective that derives from the fear that cults were seducing a young and naive generation into leaving their comfortable lives and shows that NRMs have been developing across the globe over the last few centuries. Most books about NRMs also begin from the question as to why anyone would join them but Elijah Siegler argues that this is not the most important question for students in classes on NRMs and his text assumes that people join NRMs for all sorts of psychological, theological, or cultural reasons.
Author: Arthur G. Neal
Release Date: 2015-09-28
Genre: Social Science
According to sociologist C. Wright Mills, we do not live in a world of solid fact but in a world permeated by culture, constructed by humans through communication with each other. Myth-making shapes our lives, beliefs and behavior. Collective myths become plausible explanations for events past and future as each new generation constructs reality anew to make sense of the human condition. Providing a sociological and multicultural analysis, this book examines myth-making in the today's world amid religious extremism and terrorism. The authors discuss the imperative of myth in comprehending illness, sexuality, death and human relationships to the environment and other animals.