Cults

Conspiracy Theories, Public Rhetoric, and Power

Podcast
"You don't go to religious studies conferences with the title of the conference being 'The Problem with Religion,'" so why do we use that rhetoric to talk about conspiracy theories? Listen in to Andie Alexander's interview with RSP co-founder David G. Robertson to find out why!

New Directions in the Study of Scientology

Podcast
Scientology seems almost exclusively to be considered fair game (pun intended) for ridicule and criticism among New Religious Movements, and this may have much to tell us about the theoretical models scholars are using, and the institutional factors at play in the legitimisation of particular traditions in the academic and popular discourse. We discuss insider scholarship and the control of information; the Free Zone and the Church; strategic use of the category 'religion'; and how we see scholarship developing in the post-Hubbard era

The removal and assimilation of NRM Children

Response
Considering the title of her podcast, I was hoping that Dr Susan Palmer would speak about children in all New Religious Movements (NRM). Instead, I found myself immersed in a discussion about children in more problematic groups such as Hari Krishna, the New Unification Church, Children of God, 12 Tribes, Mormon Polygamists, and Scientology.

Minority Religions and the Law

Podcast
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.cult" and "sect" uncritically. Nevertheless, outside of academia, the language of "cults" continues to be used,...

Nul Point | Mid-Year Special 2013

Podcast
What is the least well known book of the Bible? How many people in the UK listed their ‘religion’ as ‘Jedi Knight’ on the UK 2011 Census? What is Professor Jim Cox’s drink of choice? To find out, you need do nothing more than hit ‘Play’ and enjoy this forty minutes of pure, unadulterated, top quality Religious Studies entertainment.

American Millennialism

Podcast
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.

What should we do with the study of new religions?

Response
In the interview with Professor Eileen Barker, three broad themes are brought up. First, the definitions of ’new religious movement’ and ’cult’ are given a brief consideration. After this, Barker introduces the Inform network and its activities in distributing information and making the results of scientific research concerning new religious movements available to society at large.

Studying “Cults”

Podcast
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!