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.
Author: Lorne L. Dawson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 1998
Cults--what do we really know about them? Long the focus of controversy, cults or what sociologists prefer to call new religious movements, have been studied by scholars for years. Yet little of this information has made its way into public awareness. This book summarizes, synthesizes, and assesses the results of years of research into new religious movements by historians, sociologists, and psychologists of religion. Organized in terms of seven of the most commonly asked questions about cults (e.g., Why did they emerge? Who joins them and why? Why do some become violent?), the book clarifies the issues at stake, seeking to replace prejudice and speculation with reliable insights into the nature of cult activity. Written in an easy-to-read yet detailed manner, Comprehending Cults provides an excellent introduction to the study of new religious phenomena.
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.
Author: Michael Ashcraft
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2005-06-17
New Religious Movements is a highly unique volume, bringing together primary documents conveying the words and ideas of a wide array of new religious movements (NRMs), and offering a first-hand look into their belief systems. Arranged by the editors according to a new typology, the text allows readers to consider NRMS along five interrelated pathways—from those that offer new perceptions of existence or new personal identities, to those that center on relationships within family-like units, to those movements that highlight the need for recasting the social order or anticipate the dawn of a new age. The volume includes original documents from groups such as the Unification Church, Theosophy, Branch Davidians, Wicca, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Santeria, and Seventh Day Adventists, as well as many others. Each section is prefaced by a contextual introduction and concludes with a list of sources for further reading. New Religious Movements offers a rare inside look into the worldviews of alternative religious traditions.
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: 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: Stuart A. Wright
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016-01-07
While scholars, media, and the public may be aware of a few extraordinary government raids on religious communities, such as the U.S. federal raid on the Branch Davidians in 1993, very few people are aware of the scope of these raids or the frequency with which they occur. Inspired by the Texas State raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints in 2008, authors Stuart A. Wright and Susan J. Palmer decided to collect data on all the raids of this kind that have taken place in Western-style democracies over the last six decades. They thus established the first archive of raided groups and then used it see if any patterns could be identified. Their findings were shocking; there were far more raids than expected, and the vast majority of them had occurred since 1990, reflecting a nearly exponential increase. What could account for this sudden and dramatic increase in state control of minority religions? In Storming Zion, Wright and Palmer argue that the increased use of these high-risk and extreme types of enforcement corresponds to expanded organization and initiatives by opponents of unconventional religions. Anti-cult organizations provide strategic "frames" that define potential conflicts or problems in a given community as inherently dangerous, and construct narratives that draw on stereotypes of child and sexual abuse, brainwashing, and even mass suicide. The targeted group is made to appear more dangerous than it is, resulting in an overreaction by authorities. Wright and Palmer explore the implications of heightened state repression and control of minority religions in an increasingly multicultural, globalized world. At a time of rapidly shifting demographics within Western societies this book cautions against state control of marginalized groups and offers insight into the reasons why the responses to these groups are often so reactionary.
Suffering that is not coupled with any redeeming good is one of our world’s more troubling, apparent glitches. It is particularly vexing for any theist who believes that the world was created by a supremely morally good, knowledgeable, and powerful god. Gratuitous Suffering and the Problem of Evil: A Comprehensive Introduction is among the first book-length discussions of theistic approaches to this issue. Bryan Frances’s lucid and jargon-free analyses of a variety of possible responses to the problem of gratuitous suffering will provide serious students or general readers much material with which to begin an extended contemplation of this ancient and contemporary concern. The perfect size and scope for an introductory philosophy class’s discussion of the problem of evil and suffering, and deliberately crafted to be approachable by all interested readers, Gratuitous Suffering and the Problem of Evil is philosophy doing what it does best: serious, engaged, rigorous explorations of even the darkest truths. The book offers many useful pedagogical features, including chapter overviews and summaries, annotated suggested readings, and eight-eight discussion questions.
This is a survey of cult religious violence as associated with Jonestown, the Branch Davidians, Aum Shinriko, Montana Freemen, Solar Temple, Heaven's Gate and Chen Tao. The book presents case studies of contemporary millennial religions that either became violent, or had the potential for becoming violent. It sets out to reveal how outside pressures and internal forces affect the decision to use violence by new religious movements.
In early 1990, in response to apocalyptic prophecies given by her mother, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Erin Prophet entered a network of underground bunkers in Montana along with members of her mother's Church Universal and Triumphant, a controversial New Age sect. Emerging to find the world still intact, Erin was forced into a radical reassessment of her life and her beliefs. She had spent her adolescence watching her mother vilified as a dangerous cult leader even while attempting to meet her expectations by becoming a "prophet" herself. Prophet's Daughter describes Erin's search for her mother's origins and motivations. With the craft of a storyteller, she describes the combination of health crises and external pressure that drove her mother's ever-more dire prophecies. She reveals how the allure of infallibility led her mother to a conspicuous downfall, and how her mother's rapidly progressing Alzheimer's disease truncated any hope of resolution. A remarkable memoir with implications for the dialog about power, group behavior and the future of religion.
Author: Hugh B. Urban
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2015-09-15
"New Age, Neopagan, and New Religious Movements is a comprehensive and user-friendly book devoted to the study of alternative spiritual currents in modern America. The book covers a wide range of new religions from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, including the Native American Church, Mormonism, Spiritualism, Scientology, the Nation of Islam, Rastafari, ISKCON, Wicca, the Church of Satan, Peoples Temple, Branch Davidians, and the Raeelians. Each chapter focuses on one key issue or debate that raises larger issues in the study of religion and American culture more broadly, such as the legality of peyote in the Native American Church, the role of women and feminism in Wicca, the role of hip hop and reggae music in the spread of the Nation of Islam and Rastafari, and the debate over human cloning in the Raeelian movement. The book also addresses key theoretical and methodological problems in the study of new religions: Why has there been such a tremendous proliferation of new spiritual forms in the past 150 years, even amid our increasingly rational, scientific, technological, and 'secular' society? Why has the United States become the heartland for the explosion of new religious movements? How do we deal with complex legal debates such as the use of peyote by the Native American Church, the use of marijuana by Rastafarians, or the practice of plural marriage by some Mormon communities? And how do we navigate issues of religious freedom and privacy in a new age of religious violence, terrorism, and government surveillance?"--Provided by publisher.
Author: Lorne L. Dawson
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 2013-10-01
Genre: Religion and sociology
Series: a href="http://www.oupcanada.com/tcs/"Themes in Canadian Sociology/a This concise volume examines the changing religious landscape of Canada within the broader context of the contemporary world in which we live. Offering students an overview of the fundamental issues, perspectives, and insights shaping the sociological analysis of contemporary religions, this is the ideal introduction to the sociology of religion in Canada.