A response to Susan Palmer on “Children in New Religious Movements”
by Patricia ‘Iolana
In the complex and sometimes fraught relationship between New Religious Movements and the wider culture and state, why is it that children are so often a focus? children are seen as needing special protection and therefore legitimising dramatic state intervention, but are also seen as of particular importance to the future of these movements, and in some more millennial groups, of the world itself.
A Response to George Chryssides on “Changing Your Story: Assessing Ex-Member Narratives”
By Aled Thomas
In this podcast, Judith Weisenfeld talks to Brad Stoddard about her new book, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Depression. In this book, Weisenfeld explores several social groups in the early 1900s who combined religious and racial rhetoric to fashion new identities. These groups include the Nation of Islam, the Moorish Science Temple, and Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and various Ethiopian Hebrews.
Are we right to connect millennialism and violence? Are groups like Heaven’s Gate or the Branch Davidians typical, or rare exceptions, magnified out of proportion by the lens of the media – and scholarship? How do we account for the popularity of mllennialism outside of religious traditions, new, extreme or otherwise?
James Kapaló takes us inside the Eastern European secret police archives to show us how minority and new religious groups were portrayed. We explore the visual and material presence of religious minorities in the secret police archives in Hungary, Romania and the Republic of Moldova. In particular, we look at Inochentism, a new religious movement in Moldova and Romania. In the discussion, we consider the theoretical and methodological issues in working in archives suh as these, and the historiography of NRMs. We also discuss the complexity of the religious field in post-Communist Europe.
In this longer-than-usual episode, Chris and David provide an interlinking narrative between Grace Davie, Joe Webster, Carole Cusack, Jonathan Jong, Paul-Francois Tremlett, Linda Woodhead and Kim Knott, reflecting on current or future developments in the sociology of religion which challenge the ubiquity of the secularization thesis, problematize it, or go beyond it. The key question: beyond secularization, what is the sociology of religion for you?
What is the religious field like in a country where religion was banned for half of the 20th century? And how do you set up a Religious Studies department there?
Increased attention to religion by international governments and NGOs has not necessarily resulted in less problematic models of religion being used by these governments and groups.
Surely we have moved past the idea of sinister cults brainwashing innocent victims? When it comes to the law, not so, Susan Palmer tells David G. Robertson.
Jeffrey Kripal argues that we need to make room for the paranormal in the study of religion, and that consciousness should be at the forefront of our study.
CESNUR (Centre for Studies on New Religions, Torino) Annual Conference 2015, Tallinn University, Estonia, 17-20 June. Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Prof. Carole M. Cusack, Department of Studies in Religion, The University of Sydney
Since the 1980s, social and economic pressures to stay within mainstream society have become more prominent, and spiritually minded individuals often seek more limited, loosely bonded participation in New Age-style modes of thought.
Luhrmann details the rise of evangelicals in the 60’s and 70’s, and how anthropological work can be informed by evolutionary psychology. This serves as a framework to understand the unique training processes that teach an individual that their mind is not only open to their own thoughts, but God’s as well. Luhrmann goes beyond a purely explanatory endeavor and is interested in understanding the processes that lead some to see God as “a person among people”.
Various new religious movements seek to establish a presence in politics through challenging the hegemony of traditional churches in a very peculiar way.