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What are Cults? What are Cults? RELS 225 RELS 225 Cults and New Religious Movements Cults and New Religious Movements

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  • What are Cults?RELS 225Cults and New Religious Movements

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    LabellingTroeltsch:Churches: bornSects: joinYinger:Universal: CatholicEcclesia: Anglican, SunniDenomination: Baptist, PresbyterianEstablished sect: Jehovahs Witnesses, Christian ScienceSect: Pentecostals, Worldwide Church of GodCult: Moonies, Scientology

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    Wilsons Sect/Cult TypologySects: Change selfConversionist (Salvation Army, Pentacostal)Revolutionist (Jehovahs Witnesses, Christadelphians)Introversionist (Hutterite, Exclusive Brethren)Manipulationist (Christian Science)Thaumaturgical (Spiritualism)Reformist (Quaker)Utopian (Oneida, Bruderhof)Cults:Illumination (Theosophy, Spiritualism)Instrumental (Scientology, Soka Gakkai)Service-oriented

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    Robbins & Anthony TypologyDualistic or Monistic?Multilevel or Unilevel?

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    Walliss Sect/Cult TypologyAttitude to worldAffirm?Reject?Accommodate?

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    Dawsons Sect/Cult TypologyMode of MembershipAudienceClientCult Movement

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    Cult FeaturesCults meet individual needs / desiresClaim esoteric knowledgeDirect ecstatic experienceOffer shorter, surer, safer, clearer salvationOften no systematic orientation to societyLoosely organizedCharismatic leaderUsually short-lived

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    The Future of ReligionNew Religions have emerged in the last few decades.Are these a sign of what religion will become?Or are they the last remnant of religion?

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    Berger on the Role of ReligionBerger (1967)NomosHumans want stabilityAnomieThings happen to destabilize our lives. What things?This is the human predicamentReligion seeks to protect from anomieNomos vs. Anomie and alienationExternalizeObjectivizeInternalize

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    Berger on SecularizationSecularization (culture not dominated by religion)Personal (privatized, not shared)Choice (options and optional, imagined)Religious claims are relativised.Religion is doomed

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    Stark & Bainbridge4 premisesacknowledge the supernaturalHumans seek rewards and avoid costsRewards are scarceAbsence of real rewards leads to compensators: postulating future rewardsReligions provide general compensators based on supernatural assumptions

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    Stark & BainbridgeEffects of SecularizationNOT: humans no longer need such compensatorsRevival (sects)Innovation (cults)Cults are the unchurched trying to become churchedTriumph of commercial & consumer ethic

  • Spiritual Quest of Generation X29 minutes