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New Religious Movements and Spirituality

A New Religious Movement is a religious group of modern origins, which may be related to the dominant religious culture of its area.  Offshoots of mainstream religions were often called cults, but can be included under the umbrella of new religious movements.¹

There is a great variety in practices and teachings of new religious movements.¹  From loose associations of belief in spirituality to more conformist and insular communities, NRMs are generally small religious groups with populations of less than one million.¹ A list of most new religious movements can be found here.

1883 Parliament of New Religions

Scientific NRMs are those that claim a scientific basis for their beliefs.  In the West there are several NRMs, including Seventh-day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, based on apocalyptic and millenarian beliefs - that the end of the times is approaching.² In the East, many NRMs were created either in reaction to increasing colonization and imperialism from Europe (Arya Samaj and the Brahmo Samaj movements) or to blend Western and Eastern traditions and beliefs (Zhen Yesu Jiaohui, the True Jesus Church).²

New religious movements may appropriate cultural and religious traditions from one ethnic culture and interpret them in a modern, and usually Westernized, way.² Asian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism have often been brought to North American and Europe in modified forms.²

Spirituality is the modern concept of the sacred.  However, what the sacred is varies greatly with individual beliefs. Often, self discovery and improvement are key, along with a metaphysical belief in a greater power of some kind (who may or may not be a god or gods).²

 

 

References:

1. Encyclopedia Britannica. New religious movement (NRM). Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1007307/new-religious-movement-NRM

2. Colby College. New Religious Movements. Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.colby.edu/rel/guide/religions/nrm.html

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