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May 2, 2018 / C H Thompson

New age movements

New age movements become prominent in the 1980s e.g. UFOs and astrology, and it refers to a set of beliefs and activities that contain a spiritual element but aren’t organised in the same way as traditional religion. It draws together people who are engaged in an individualistic quest for spiritual experience.

It is difficult to be described as a movement as it lacks a leader, headquarters, a prescribed text, public policy or common goals. Sutcliffe argues that it is more a collection of individuals, who gather when they choose.

Heelas et al identified two main themes that run through all varieties of the New Age:

  1. Self-spirituality -> to turn away from traditional religion and instead to look inside yourself for a sense of spirituality, rather than worshipping external Gods
  2. Detraditionalisation -> to reject traditional sources of authority such as churches or moral and ethical values, as you’re responsible for your own truth though getting in touch with your spirituality.

Why turn to New Age, sects and cults and NRMs?

 

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