Playlist

New Religious Movements

No, they’re not cults, as we learn straightaway from Eileen Barker in this playlist’s first selection. Learn how religious studies scholars talk about new religious movements and some of the challenges of studying emerging groups in these episodes hand-picked by RSP co-founder David G. Robertson.

Episodes in this playlist

  1. What is a 'cult', and how are they generally perceived? How does one distinguish between new religious movements and cults? And what's at stake in that distinction? Tune in to learn more with Eileen Barker and Chris Cotter!
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  2. In this episode of the Religious Studies Project, Lewis shares some of his views on the study of NRMs. It seems, claims Lewis, that our current generalizations about who joins such movements is based on outdated statistics. It seems no longer to be the case that it is primarily young people who join NMRs, rather joiners’ age has increased during recent decades.
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  3. Why is it that millennialism - the belief in an immanent return of Christ to Earth – has had such a particular fascination for the American people? In this wide-ranging episode, J. Gordon Melton joins David G. Robertson to discuss the history of minority religious groups in the US.
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  4. 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?
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  5. 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.
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