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NRMs: New Religious Movements

September 23rd, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

If you’ve perched here before, you’ll know that I find religion a fascinating subject matter.  One of the most intriguing (at least to me) areas is New Religious Movements (NRMs).  These movements are popularly referred to as cults; however, due to the inherent negative connotations associated with the word, I’m going to refrain from using it.

Typically, these religions are considered minority in the scope of the world’s religious landscape, and they are relatively new in the sense that they usually weren’t established over a millennia or so ago.  Some NRMs do claim to originate from centuries old beliefs; however, their existence and proliferation is, generally, relatively recent.  Of course, as with many other aspects of religion, there is much debate among scholars concerning the scope, prevalence, and definition of NRMs.  Within the mainstream and popular media, there are many misconceptions and negative stereotypes regarding NRMs.  This is in large part due to the highly sensationalized portrayal of some rare and extreme cases of violent, abusive, and sometime bizarre behaviour by NRM leaders and followers.

That being said, I’ve decided that I want to write a regular series of posts that provide a brief overview of some NRMs, and some of their leaders.  I will not be engaging in debate about any group’s validity as a religion.  As I’ve previously indicated, religion is hard to define, so what you might call religion, someone else may not.  The sole purpose of these posts will be to introduce you to something new, and to try and dispel the myth that all NRMs are somehow dangerous, violent or engaged in brainwashing of their members.  Chances are you will not agree with the practices of many of these groups.  That’s fine.  The point is that simply branding all NRMs as inherently the same is narrow-minded.  In the same sense, tarnishing the image of all members of an NRM because of the actions of a few individuals is also narrow-minded.   So, I hope that you’ll try to keep an open-mind as we peck into this intriguing area of study.

For me, NRMs speak to the diversity and creativity of human beings in trying to make sense of the world and their part in it.  It also speaks to the freedoms that many of us enjoy.  So, let’s not engage in debate about the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’, and instead, let’s engage in learning something new about our fellow human beings.

So, stay tuned in the coming days as I introduce you to the incredibly diverse milieu of New Religious Movements.

Cheers! M. xo


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