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Chapter 3: Why Did NRMs Emerge? RELS 225 Cults and New Religious Movements RELS 225 Cults and New Religious Movements.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3: Why Did NRMs Emerge? RELS 225 Cults and New Religious Movements RELS 225 Cults and New Religious Movements."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3: Why Did NRMs Emerge? RELS 225 Cults and New Religious Movements RELS 225 Cults and New Religious Movements

2 Slide 2. Why did NRMs Emerge? Response to something unique in history, or They are not unique in history.

3 Slide 3. Response to Cultural Change? (Robert Bellah) 1960’s changes in: 1.Values Love for others life environment Self-awareness 2.Social structure 3.Role and character of religious institutions

4 Background: Changes after WW2 1.Distinct youth culture Political protest Civil Rights movement Vietnam War Drug experimentation Liberal lifestyles

5 Slide Changes in Values NRMs are successor movements to political protest and cultural experimentation of the 1960s. Rises in: Affluence birth rates Education Rejection of 2 American pillars of ideological understanding: Biblical religion Utilitarian individualism, rejected for being unsatisfying, in light of their new ideals.

6 Slide 6. 1.a Baby Boomer values in 1970’s Me generation Guidance no longer from church Had to “grow up”; reintegrate into society How to redirect revolutionary spirit? Turned to NRMs for guidance 1.Human potential movement 2.Conservative Christian groups 3.Neo-Oriental groups

7 Slide 7. 1.b appeal of 1970s NRMs over conventional religion NRMs appealed to various classes Provided a variety of religious beliefs and ways of life Provided a feeling of control over own lives Permitted reintegration into society while retaining idealism.

8 Slide 8. 1.c Social Reintegration Thomas Robbins, Anthony, & Curtis NRMs are a method of social reintegration, providing: 1.Adjustive socialization resocializing individuals to mainstream values and norms, 2.Combination combining expressive and utilitarian orientations together 3.Compensation renewing commitment to vocational routines (religion fulfills the needs jobs can’t) 4.Redirection substituting stigmatized activities and satisfactions for those deemed to be socially legitimate (“highs”)

9 Slide Changes in Social Structure Three varieties of change: a.Family / community young adults search for ‘surrogate families’ to replace ‘mediating structures’ (social clubs) b.deinstitutionalization alienating expectations Public/private sphere blurred c.Adapting life in late modernity Response to uncertainty: turn inward and cultivate close personal relationship and a heightened sense of subjective identity in the form of self-actualization

10 Slide a Family changes Society moved from community-oriented to nuclear family What about when you move away from your family of origin? Family-like system missing in private lives Work isolates people from others NRMs transform into something positive: Childish expressivity Instrumentalism and adult functionality NRMs reconcile the two

11 Slide b Deinstitutionalization Hunter and Johnson (1981) build on Berger Social life became polarized between private and public.

12 Slide c Modernity Modernity created 3 structural changes for religion: Disembedding of social life Institutionalization of reflexivity Process of globalization Search for meaning In intense cultivation of personal relationships When that fails, in religion. NRMs provide hope

13 Slide Changes in Religion Secularization Independent institutions Economic Political Medical Educational Transferred authority away from religious institutions

14 Slide 14. Stark & Bainbridge Psychopathology Model of Cult Innovation Cults arise at times of societal crisis Entrepreneur Model of Cult Innovation Cults are created when there is a market for them Reconfigure existing religions Subculture Evolution Model of Cult Innovation Family recruiting and mobilizing material resources

15 Slide 15. NRMs as Cultural Continuity NRMs not a “New” phenomenon. Christianity began as a “cult” Other religions, too. Were met with skepticism, hostility, persecution NRMs are a normal part of religious history, not a recent anomaly.

16 Slide 16. Great Awakenings (McLouglin; Wilson) 1 st 3 Great Awakenings since middle of 18 th century American religious dissent Protestant Christianity Each show shift in self-conception In cyclical patterns Natural Needed for dynamic growth of nation. A 4 th “Great Awakening” in American religious history? NRMs since the 1960s

17 Slide 17. NRMs not so “New” (Ellwood & Partin) NRMs have their roots in older religious traditions. NRMs are the result of society continuing to seek to fulfill its needs. What are those needs? How do NRMs meet these needs?


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