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  1. 1. Beliefs in Society Religious Organisations
  2. 2. <ul><li>We generally have 4 religious organisations: </li></ul><ul><li>Churches </li></ul><ul><li>Sects </li></ul><ul><li>Denominations </li></ul><ul><li>Cults </li></ul>Religious Organisations
  3. 3. Churches <ul><li>A large, well established religious body </li></ul><ul><li>Mainstream organisations that represent the major world religions </li></ul><ul><li>The term ‘church’ is particularly associated with the Christian religion </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds, thousands or even millions of members </li></ul><ul><li>Monopoly view of truth </li></ul>
  4. 4. Sects <ul><li>Smaller, less highly organised group of very committed believers </li></ul><ul><li>Usually set up in protest at what a church has become </li></ul><ul><li>No more than a few hundred members </li></ul><ul><li>Charismatic leader </li></ul><ul><li>Monopoly view of truth </li></ul>
  5. 5. Denominations <ul><li>A sect that has cooled down to become an institutionalised body rather than a protest group (Becker, 1950) </li></ul><ul><li>Sects become denominations due to the necessity of a bureaucratic, non-hierarchical structure once the charismatic leader dies </li></ul><ul><li>Generally, grow to accept churches </li></ul><ul><li>No longer claim a monopoly of truth </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerant of wider society and require a low level of commitment </li></ul>
  6. 6. Cults <ul><li>Some disagreement amongst sociologists on how to classify a cult, but most agree: </li></ul><ul><li>That it is a less coherent religious organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Focus of cults tend to be on individual experience, bringing like-minded individuals together </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible membership </li></ul><ul><li>Terms ‘sect’ and ‘cult’ are often used interchangeably by the media </li></ul>
  7. 7. Activity <ul><li>Using your book, identify some other differences between the religious organisations and examples of each </li></ul>
  8. 8. Similarities and Differences <ul><li>In summing up the similarities and differences, Wallis identifies two characteristics: </li></ul><ul><li>How they see themselves – churches and sects claim the monopoly of truth. Denominations and cults accept that there can be many valid interpretations </li></ul><ul><li>How they are seen by wider society – churches and denominations are seen as respectable and legitimate, whereas sects and cults are seen as deviant </li></ul>
  9. 9. NRMs and NAMs <ul><li>NRMs is an overarching term that covers both sects and cults </li></ul><ul><li>Coined by Barker (1984) as a more neutral term </li></ul><ul><li>Some NRMs are not new! </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Emergence of NRMs <ul><li>Membership of churches may be dropping, but affiliation with other religious organisations has risen </li></ul><ul><li>Noted that there may be as many as 25,000 NRMs in Europe with 12,000 members residing in the UK </li></ul>
  11. 11. Difficulties in Measuring Affiliation <ul><li>In pairs, identify some of the problems with measuring affiliation to NRMs </li></ul>
  12. 12. Classification… <ul><li>Wallis has identified 3 main kinds of NRMs: </li></ul><ul><li>World-affirming groups </li></ul><ul><li>World-rejecting groups </li></ul><ul><li>World-accommodating groups </li></ul>
  13. 13. World-Affirming Groups <ul><li>Usually individualistic, life-positive and aim to release ‘human potential’ </li></ul><ul><li>Live in the real world, but try to find new ways to relate to it </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t restrict the lifestyle of its members </li></ul><ul><li>More common amongst middle-aged, middle class groups who are in search of new, more positive meanings. </li></ul><ul><li>Generally lack a church, ritual worship or strong ethical systems </li></ul><ul><li>Often more like ‘therapy groups’ </li></ul>
  14. 14. World-Affirming Groups <ul><li>E.g. The Church of Scientology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Founded by L. Ron Hubbard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stresses the importance of unblocking the mind </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spread throughout the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Members pay for courses and books </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. World-Accommodating Groups <ul><li>More orthodox </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain some connections with mainstream religion </li></ul><ul><li>Place value on religious life, e.g. speaking in tongues </li></ul><ul><li>Dismayed at the state of the world and the state of organized mainstream religion </li></ul>
  16. 16. World-Accommodating Groups <ul><li>E.g. Neo-Pentecostalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Place emphasis on religious experience </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. World-Rejecting Groups <ul><li>Usually sects </li></ul><ul><li>Highly critical of the outside world </li></ul><ul><li>Demand significant commitment from their members </li></ul><ul><li>Strong ethical codes </li></ul><ul><li>Exclusive group that often shares possessions </li></ul><ul><li>Often millenarian </li></ul>
  18. 18. World-Rejecting Groups <ul><li>E.g. The Unification Church (aka The Moonies) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Founded in Korea by Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 1954 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rejects the secular world as evil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong moral rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mass Weddings </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. World-Rejecting Groups <ul><li>WRG have come under the most scrutiny, usually due to the public horror at the indoctrination that has led to mass suicide </li></ul><ul><li>The Waco Siege </li></ul><ul><li>People’s Temple </li></ul><ul><li>(warning on video!) </li></ul>
  20. 20. World-Rejecting Groups <ul><li>Robbins (1988) identified the following characteristics as signs of cultist behaviour: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authoritarianism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infallibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shunning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secret doctrines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promised ones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fire and brimstone </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. World-Rejecting Groups <ul><li>Cult apologists defend the right of such groups to exist </li></ul><ul><li>Also want more religious tolerance </li></ul><ul><li>They claim: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cults are misunderstood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People don’t know enough about the groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anticult groups are intolerant of religious freedom </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. New Age Movements (NAMs) <ul><li>Large number of religions and therapies since 1970s </li></ul><ul><li>Generally classed as ‘world affirming’ as they focus on individual potential </li></ul>
  23. 23. New Age Movements (NAMs) <ul><li>Bruce (1996) identified two main forms: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Audience cults </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Client cults e.g. Tarot reading </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. New Age Movements (NAMs) <ul><li>Appeal to all ages, but more to women </li></ul><ul><li>People already subscribe to the cultic milieu/holistic milieu </li></ul><ul><li>Annual celebration of NA ideas takes place in London and Manchester </li></ul>
  25. 25. The appeal of NRMs and NAMs <ul><li>In small groups, identify and briefly explain why: </li></ul><ul><li>people may join or support NRMs </li></ul><ul><li>young people are attracted to World-Rejecting Movements </li></ul><ul><li>World-Affirming movements appeal to individuals </li></ul>
  26. 26. NAMs <ul><li>Using you textbooks (p. 54), research the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-spirituality and detraditionalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Postmodernity and the New Age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New Age and modernity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heelas (1996) </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Denomination or Death?? <ul><li>Niebuhr (1929): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sects are WRMs that have come into existence because of schism (division) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short lived and often die out within a generation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or, compromise with wider society, abandon their ideas and become a denomination </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Denomination or Death?? <ul><li>Several reasons for this: </li></ul><ul><li>The second generation </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Protestant ethic’ effect </li></ul><ul><li>Death of the leader </li></ul><ul><li>Using the textbook (p. 53), research these reasons and then feedback </li></ul>
  29. 29. Stark and Bainbridge (1985) <ul><li>See religious organisations moving through a cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Schism – tension between the needs of deprived and privileged members of a church. Deprived members breakaway to found a WRM </li></ul>
  30. 30. Stark and Bainbridge (1985) <ul><li>2. Initial fervour – charismatic leader and sect have tensions with wider society </li></ul><ul><li>3. Denominationalism – coolness of the second generation means the fervour disappears </li></ul><ul><li>4. Establishment – sect becomes more world-accepting and tensions reduce </li></ul><ul><li>5. Further schism – less privileged members breakaway to found a new sect </li></ul>
  31. 31. Established Sects <ul><li>However, Wilson argues that not all sects follow the patterns of the sectarian cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Whether or not they do so depends on how they answer the question ‘what shall we do to be saved?’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversionist – Evangelicals – membership grows -> becomes a denomination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adventist – Seventh Day Adventists – wait for a saviour; don’t compromise </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Activity <ul><li>In pairs, you will be given a sect to research. You will need to swap contact details (e.g. Email address) </li></ul><ul><li>You will need to prepare a PowerPoint presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation – beginning of next lesson </li></ul>

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