By John Saliba
This balanced textbook seems to be at rising religions in the course of the lenses of heritage, psychology, sociology, legislation, theology, and counseling. the second one version is up to date all through and encompasses a new foreword through J. Gordon Melton.
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Extra info for Understanding New Religious Movements
Another adopts a somewhat neutral or cautionary optimistic perspective that concedes that there are good features in the new religious movements, features that may outweigh, in the long run, the defective elements in their beliefs and practices and offer an explanation of why people get involved in them. The major problem with these attempts to depict a cult is that new religions do not form one amorphous or homogenous group with exactly the same characteristics. They do, however, share some traits and can thus be grouped together under one name.
Ron Hubbard, the (now deceased) founder of the Church of Scientology, are a case in point. Still others, like the Church Universal and Triumphant4’ and the 16 AN OVERVIEW Aetherius Society4* rely, respectively, on the revelations from the Ascended Masters to Elizabeth Clare Prophet, or the transmissions from extraterrestrial beings to George King. Not many of the new movements maintain that their leaders and/or prophets are the Messiah in the Christian meaning of the term. It is a common feature among all religions to locate a supernatural basis for religious authority on which believers base their beliefs and practices.
Are the New Religions Anti-Self? The first general reaction to the cults has been that those who join them are bound to experience psychologically harmful effects. Converts to a new religious movement make commitments that are manifest in the intense dedication to their newly acquired religious beliefs and practices and/or to their charismatic leaders or gurus. Entry into these movements entails a radical change both in ideology and lifestyle. Although such an alteration in one’s personality does not necessarily occur suddenly (as is so widely held), when it happens it can be visibly detected by the manner in which converts talk and act.