Read e-book online Challenging Religion: Cults and Controversies PDF

By James Beckford

ISBN-10: 0415309484

ISBN-13: 9780415309486

Within the final part century new spiritual routine or cults of 1 kind and one other have mushroomed in the course of the US and Europe. more and more those teams were met with makes an attempt to observe and keep an eye on them at the a part of the nation, and matters in regards to the safety of non secular 'consumers' were set opposed to the democratic correct to spiritual freedom. during this assortment, top sociologists of faith from the united kingdom, US, Western and jap Europe debate the political, functional and moral matters which come up from those adjustments within the spiritual panorama.

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The influential example which comes instantly to mind carries its own debt to the work of INFORM and its tribute to the founder of that organisation—Eileen Barker. For some years, the media had latched on to the concept of brainwashing as an explanation of the powerful influence of new religions in converting young people. The concept had the appeal of a ‘trendy’ modern process. It absolved converts of responsibility for relinquishing former and traditional beliefs and adopting those of a heterodox minority.

See Hesse 2001:9–11, 23–33; and Yonan 1999. 10 Among many New Testament examples of such enthusiasm, see John 3:1–3. 11 For a thesis which argues that the early spread of Christianity was in part attributable to the failure of prophecy relative to the expected second coming of Christ and the consequent felt need of Christians to reassure themselves by converting others to their view that their own faith was still justified, see Gager 1975. 12 Various influences tend to shape new religions into a measure of conformity or similarity with other movements in a given culture.

It may be able to illustrate from serious academic research studies much about the motivations of converts and their subsequent careers. On the other hand, it is also able to advise the leaders of new movements of the posture they should adopt in canvassing their message and to make them aware of the impact which their activities have on the general public. In some instances, it may broker a meeting between concerned parents and the founders or officers of new movements. Perhaps in the longer run the most influential of its activities may be found in the capacity of such an agency to establish firm theoretical postulates for the analysis of new religions.

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Challenging Religion: Cults and Controversies by James Beckford


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