Why “Recent and New Religions”?

Religions of relatively recent origin — such as Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, and Scientology — offer unique opportunities to study the processes by which new religions are spawned and spread.  Because the founding and dissemination of these religions is relatively well documented, the study of these religions provides considerable insight into the psychologies of founders and believers.

Over the last 40 years, many have predicted that the world would become increasingly secular, rational, and/or scientific, with the result being the demise of religions.  Contrary to these predictions, new forms of religion are appearing every day and there is no reason to think that the human inclination or need for religion has been diminished in any way by development, progress, or modernity.   Indeed, there is every reason to think that increasing industrialization, consumption, and materialism are spurs to religion, both new and old.

This Category will examine these historically recent and new forms of religion, and the resurgence of religious fundamentalism that is often linked to the forces of modernity.

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