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May 2, 2018 / C H Thompson

New religious movements

New religious movements (NRM) – since the 1960s, there has been a growth in new religious organisations and movements, sometimes referred to as quasi-religious movements. As more and more groups emerged, some sociologists felt the term sect and cult was no longer adequate enough to describe these new movements.

Roy Wallis, (1984), identifies types of NRM into three distinct groups (Wallis, 1984, pp. 10-20.) The diversity of these groups illustrate today’s pluralistic, post-industrial society.

World-affirming NRMs

  • Accept the values and goals of the wider society
  • They strive to reinvigorate the individual for life in mainstream society
  • They don’t come across as religious at all as they lack some features of religion such as collective worship
  • NRMs have few or no implications for how that life should be lived
  • They offer techniques for their followers to live more satisfactorily in the world e.g. transcendental meditation where each person is guaranteed to relax and cope better with stress
  • Thus they accommodate the individual to the world, without rejecting or affirming it.



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