Comparative Religions Chapter 13 Response–New Religious Movements

Unlike my previous posts related to the information presented by Living Religions this post will not be strictly devoted to a specific religion, rather this post will be dedicated to the general concept of various new religious movements. New religious movements include the emergence of new religions, branches of existing religions, and the reinterpretation of older religions into a modern setting. Notable recognized religions that fall under the category of new religious movements include Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, and Radhasoami; this list is far from comprehensive as several less conventional religions based on pop culture have arisen over the last century, such as Jediism based on the Star Wars franchise and Arceusism which is based on Pokémon. New religious movements as a whole may be used to refer to religious activities outside the top ranking religions of the world, as length of time in existence and relevance to a modern society contribute the most to a religion’s success.

From the examples given by Living Religions it seems that, given the dominance expressed by existing religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc., new religious movements do not have much of a chance at achieving a similar level of followers in the modern world; however, as religion is at its core based on personal preferences, these new religious movements have merit for those seeking community or an expression of their own preferences that aren’t met by other religions. The emergence of novelty religions, see the aforementioned Jediism, is an interesting twist on religions as a whole; the typical purpose of a religion is to appease the mind and as an outlet put faith in an abstract concept of the unseen, but with novelty religions people obviously know the religion is based on a fictional entity and the religion is filled with parody concepts that make them resemble other established religious elements. Novelty religions may be an ironic way to express one’s personal philosophy without actual commitment to an organized religious institution, if this is true than followers of these religions may be agnostic or atheist individuals who have skepticisms or outright rejection of conventional religious organizations.

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