New Religious Movements Throughout The Modern World Essays

New Religious Movements Throughout The Modern World Essays

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Robert Van Voorst reports, that new religious movements have six essential parts to their development: there is one sole leader in power and they may appear to develop and diminish quickly, they may initially be small in size but can grow to be international movements, they are well developed and organized, they may be initiated in response to an occurrence that took place within the modern world, and lastly, they may differ substantially from the modern world. (336-337) New religious movements in the West can be extensively diverse. Most of them come from the dominant religion known as Christianity, but this is not a factor in all cases. Some movements are formed from the belief that an apocalypse is imminent and the world will soon come to an end and that God will birth a new society of pure perfection to replace the old, damaged world. However, most Christians believe that Jesus Christ will return to reign over their lives, bringing a thousand years of peace on earth to bring all of humanity to the end of time. (337)
According to Van Voorst, some New Age and apocalyptic movements may bring extreme violence and an outbreak of chaos. For instance, the movement led by Jim Jones “became increasingly dictatorial and erratic.” His goal was to move all of the people in his congregation of the People’s Temple, to a new location from San Francisco to Guyana, even renaming the area “Jonestown.” When some of the news crews and relatives of the followers came to visit the group, most of them were murdered as a result of Jones’ direction. He also directed many of his followers to commit suicide by voluntarily ingesting a poisonous concoction laced with cyanide, versus seeing their congregation fall apart. Any followers who refused the dr...


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...iverse world. These groups allow followers to focus on the existence of their own spiritual needs. They often solve the questions of cultural identities, and can even fill a void within oneself that one may not be able to fill outside of their group. Their community allows them to find the answers to the vital questions they have about life and death. Whether they are following a leader, a god, a demon, nature, science, or their own bodies they are able to have a sense of connection to that being. It is true that some of these cults or sects may negatively impact the followers to do things that they would not normally do and some of these actions may result in illegal acts or harmful behavior; however for those who are simply practicing a religious movement that we may not understand, it is their right to follow this religion regardless of how we view their beliefs.

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