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New Religious Movements


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Title: New Religious Movements

New Religious Movements
Centre of Asian Studies, The University of Hong
Kong A Carnival of Gods A Study of
Contemporary Religions
  • Dr. K. K. Yeung
  • Vice-General Secretary, Religious Education
    Resource Centre

1. Some Facts
2. An Example Aum Shinrikyo
3. Characteristics of NRMs
4. NRMs in Japan
5. Two more examples
6. Discussions
Religious Population of the World, 1998
(From Britannica Book of the Year, 1999.)
Some estimate
  • There are around a few tens of thousands of NRMs
    in the whole world (1999)
  • There are around 2,000-3,000 NRMs in the West
  • Over 3,000 NRMs in Japan (1993)
  • 10-20 of Japanese population is involved in one
    or more of the NRMs
  • Soka Gakkai (Largest NRM in Japan) claims a
    membership of over 17 millions worldwide and
    40,000 in Hong Kong
  • There are around 100 new religions and spiritual
    groups in Hong Kong (1996)

Examples of NRMs in Hong Kong
  • Christian-related
  • Jehovahs Witnesses (??????)
  • Mormons (???)
  • Unification Church (???)
  • Eastern
  • Transcendental Meditation (????)
  • Hare Krishna (??Krishna ????)
  • Japanese
  • Soka Gakkai (????)
  • Indigenous
  • Zion Church (????)

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
prays at an altar for victims of sarin nerve-gas
attacks on the Tokyo subway system by the Aum
Shinrikyo (?????) cult in 1995, marking the 10th
anniversary at Tokyo's Kasumigaseki subway
station Sunday, March 20, 2005. At 8 a.m.,
on March 20, 1995, Aum Shinrikyo cult members
released deadly sarin by puncturing gas-filled
plastic bags with sharpened umbrella tips.
Thousands were subjected to a sarin nerve gas
attack that killed 12 people on jam-packed
subways, and left more than 5,500 sick.
Tsukiji subway station of Tokyo Metro Hibiya
Line, March 20, 2005.
A commuter being treated by an emergency medical
team, following the lethal nerve gas attack .
Aums members
Ikuo Hayashi
  • Joined the Aum cult in 1988. He is thought to
    have used electric shocks to brainwash cult
    members and advised Asahara on biological
  • Dubbed "Dr Death" by the Japanese media, former
    brain surgeon
  • The first person to be sentenced in connection
    with the 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway
  • His apparent remorse and his co-operation in the
    investigation are believed to have influenced the
    decision to punish him with life imprisonment
    instead of the death penalty

Aums members
Masato Yokoyama
  • Had studied applied physics at a top university
    before joining Aum, where he quickly became one
    of the guru Shoko Asahara's inner circle.
  • Admitted carrying two packets of sarin on to a
    packed subway train, but only managed to pierce
    one of the packets with an umbrella before making
    his escape.
  • He said he did not realise the nerve gas was
    lethal, even though he held his breath while
    releasing it.

Aums members
Yasuo Hayashi
  • Became known in the Japanese media as Aum's
    "killing machine"
  • In the 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway, he
    carried three plastic bags containing liquid
    Sarin onto the train in the morning rush hour and
    then punctured them with the sharpened tip of an
    umbrella before running off.
  • Was also convicted of taking part in a Sarin
    attack the previous year in the city of Matsumoto
    to the west of Tokyo, in which seven people were

Aums members
Toru Toyoda and Kenichi Hirose
  • were among five cult members who released nerve
    gas on the subway on 20 March 1995.
  • They carried the Sarin into the trains in plastic
    bags which they then punctured with umbrellas.
  • Toyoda has been charged with attempting to kill
    former Tokyo Governor Yukio Aoshima in May 1995
    by mailing a parcel bomb to his office. The
    package exploded when Mr Aoshima's secretary
    opened it, blowing off all his fingers on one

Aums members
Toru Toyoda and Kenichi Hirose
  • Between 1994 and 1995, Toyoda, Hirose and Asahara
    also allegedly planned to manufacture 1,000
    automatic rifles modelled on the Russian-made
    AK-47, but succeeded in producing only one.
  • Both had admitted the charges against them, but
    argued in court that their minds had been
    controlled by cult leader Shoko Asahara.

Aums members
Shigeo Sugimoto
  • the getaway driver of the Sarin attack

Aums members
Yoshihiro Inoue
  • a co-ordinator of the 1995 Tokyo subway gas
  • Escaped the death penalty in 2000 on the grounds
    that he did not personally release the poisonous
    sarin nerve gas.
  • But a judge has now ruled that, as a co-ordinator
    of the attack, he was just as guilty as those who
    carried it out.

Aums guru
Shoko Asahara
  • Shoko Asahara (????), 48 (in 2004) was indicted
    of murder and attempted murder in the 13 criminal
    cases that resulted in the death of 27 people.
  • Was the last of 189 people indicted in
    AUM-related crimes to be sentenced, and became
    the 12th to get the death penalty.
  • 11 other Aum members have received death
    sentences, though none have been executed pending
    appeals. (up to Feb 2004)

Young Members of Aum Shinrikyo (?????)
  • Thirteen young members (age 23-38) interviewed
    two months before the gassing
  • Came from highly successful families
  • Did well in schools, not because of hard
    working, but because were extremely bright liked
    reading, playing with computers, studying
    things of particular interest to them
  • Graduated from Tokyo U (6) Waseda U (3), rest
    (4) from other highly regarded Us went to these
    Us only because of parental pressure
  • Quite withdrawn and antisocial while in schools
    few if any real friends not interested in
    athletics rarely participated in school clubs
  • No clear career goals, no clear political

Why join the Aum?
  • 11 August 1999 file picture shows a follower
    meditating before portraits of Aum Shinrikyo guru
    Shoko Asahara and his two sons posted on an altar
    at a seminary of a Tokyo building

Defining NRM (1) Church, Sect Cult
  • CHURCH a conventional religious organization
  • SECT a deviant religious organization with
    traditional beliefs and practices
  • Heresy (??)?
  • CULT a deviant religious organization with novel
    beliefs and practices
  • Antisocial cults
  • Doomsday cults
  • Evil cults (??)?

(From Rodney Stark William Bainbridge)
Defining NRM (2) A Working Definition
  • Eileen Barker
  • An NRM is new in so far as it has become visible
    in its present form since the Second World War,
  • and that it is religious in so far as it offers
    not merely narrow theological statements about
    the existence and nature of supernatural beings,
  • but that it proposes answers to at least some of
    the other kinds of ultimate questions that have
    traditionally been addressed by mainstream
    religions. (Questions such as Is there a God?
    Who am I? How might I find direction, meaning and
    purpose in life? Is there life after death? Is
    there more to human beings than their physical
    bodies and immediate interactions with others?)

Defining NRM (3) 7 Characteristics (Eileen
  • Small size in early days
  • Members having personal knowledge of each other
    and face-to-face interaction
  • Atypical representation of population
  • A tendency to attract people of a narrow age
    range, educational level, or a particular gender
    e.g. young people of above average education
  • First-generation membership
  • Initial members have chosen to join
  • Exhibit far more enthusiasm/ fanaticism and
  • Charismatic Leader
  • Usually also founder of the movement
  • Likely to be accorded charismatic authority
  • Unbounded by the constraints of rules or tradition

Defining NRM (3) 7 Characteristics (Eileen
  • New belief systems
  • Tend to be more unambiguous and uncompromising
  • Syncretistic
  • May include millennialism
  • The Them/Us divide
  • Social boundary between them and us, Evil and
    Good, fallen and saved.
  • Esp. sharp in world-rejecting NRMs
  • External hostility
  • Because usually receive antagonistic reactions
    from larger society

Defining NRM (4) Formative Factors of NRM
Sociopolitical Opportunities
Organizational Structure
Socio-economic Process
Collective Action
Charismatic Leader
Religious Beliefs, Rituals and Practices
(Adopted with modifications from Chan Shun-hing )
Why do people join NRMs? (Eileen Barker)
  • To find direction, meaning, the hope of salvation
  • To find a sense of belonging to like-minded
  • To develop a relationship with God
  • To develop their spirituality
  • To find their true selves
  • To find other possibilities that they felt they
    were denied in the outside world
  • To get good health cure diseases
  • To have moral guidance

Why join the Aum?
"The thing I liked about Aum was it gave me
very clear answers, unlike other religions. For
instance, if I had a problem, there were always
exercises like meditation designed to help sort
it out in my mind." "Actually I wasn't that
surprised about the sarin gas attacks, because
the word of the guru, Asahara, was absolute, and
everyone had to follow his orders. I think even I
could have done such a thing if I'd been ordered
to." "I reject the way Asahara led Aum, and
the terrible things it did. But I am still
searching for something to fill the spiritual
void I feel in life outside the cult. "
  • Tatsuya Nagaoka, a member of Aum for two years
    before leaving in 1990

The believers
  • Three types of response
  • Joining an NRM will remain the most important
    thing to happen in their lives
  • The experience may have seemed wonderful at first
    but has since soured through disappointment and
  • Having extremely unpleasant experiences and
    feeling that they have been deceived,
    manipulated, exploited and/or robbed not only of
    money and material goods but also of their time,
    innocence and faith in God/humanity

The NRMs Fundamental difficulty
  • The aspiration to realize religious ideals in
    this world through political means met with
    strong opposition from society at large
  • Choices available
  • Greater confrontation (e.g. Aum Shinrikyo)
  • Find hope in an ideal society in the future
  • Compromise and take a more realistic position
    with regard to social reform (e.g. Soka Gakkai)

Typology of orientations of religion towards the
  • World conqueror
  • To control of the structures of society
  • Militant use the sword or the bomb
  • World transformer
  • Influence the structures, institutions, laws and
    practices of a society (with accommodating
  • Civil society rather than battlefield is the
    primary arena for interaction with the enemy

Typology of orientations of religion towards the
  • World creator
  • Direct competition with the outside world
    strengthen its own world to attract others as a
    clear alternative to the fallen world.
  • Missionary work not to transform the structures
    of the world outside, but to increase the numbers
    of the enclave
  • World renouncer
  • Same as 3.1-2
  • Seek purity and self-preservation (the
    self-construction of the fundamentalist world)
    more than controlling the fallen outsiders

What makes a cult become World-destroying ?
  • Totalized Guru no deity beyond the guru no
    difference between reality and metaphors for both
    guru and disciples
  • Extreme Technocratic Manipulation associated
    with both a claim to absolute scientific truth
    and the use of technical devices to transform
    disciples (in the case of Aum, hallucinogenic
  • Impulse the relentless impulse toward
    world-rejecting purification
  • Ultimate Weapons the attraction of ultimate
    weapons (e.g. nuclearism)

What makes a cult become World-destroying ?
  • Aggressive Numbing a shared state, where
    hesitations toward violent and illegal actions go
  • World-destroying apocalyptic events a vision of
    an apocalyptic event or series of events that
    would destroy the world in the service of renewal
  • Altruistic Murder ideology an ideology of
    killing to heal, of altruistic murder and
    altruistic world destruction

(From Robert Lifton )
NRMs A Postmodern phenomenon?
  • Some characteristics of modern society
  • The weakening of communal life after the
    breakdown of extended family
  • The absence of emotional support in bureaucratic
  • In want of a mediating structure between the
    nucleus family and bureaucracy
  • The meaninglessness of utilitarian individualism
    valued by capitalism
  • Dissatisfaction boredom
  • Loss of identity and values
  • gt Counter-cultural movements

NRMs Reenchantment?
  • Weber disenchantment of the world
  • de-divinization of the world there are no
    traces of God to be found in the worldas a result
    of scientific progress, the world cannot
    considered anymore as a clue to discover the hand
    of God acting in nature.
  • closely related to a process of rationalization
    gt replaces the ancient "magic" features of
    thinking with scientific naturalist explanations.
  • attempts to overcome religion by reducing all
    explanations to those two questions "what is
    this made of"?, and "how does it work"?
  • Reenchantment The re-divinization of the world
  • Totally rejecting rationalism/ (capitalistic)
    materialism/ scientific advancement ?
  • Or Reintroducing a religion that can mediate
    between the sacred and the modern capitalistic

NRMs in Japan
NRMs in Japan
3 types of New Religions in Japan
  • New Religions
  • New New Religions
  • New Spirituality Movement (Spiritual World)
    New Age

New Religions and New New Religions in Japan
(No Transcript)
New Spirituality Movement
  • Beliefs
  • Earlier religions (with hardened doctrines and
    institutional forms) prevented individuals from
    realizing full spiritual potential
  • Humanity is entering a new stage in the evolution
    of consciousness
  • Each individual should search and discover their
    own inner being, develop their own spirituality,
    and bring about their own spiritual
  • Techniques meditation, ascetic training,
    bodywork, psychotherapy
  • Study ancient mysticism, archaic religions and
    myths, rituals, psychological theories

Example Aum Shirinkyo (?????)
  • At the time of the Tokyo subway attack, the group
    claimed to have 9,000 members in Japan and up to
    40,000 worldwide.
  • 1,114 adopted Aums world-renouncing communal
    life. 47.5 of them were in their 20s.
  • Aum's current membership is estimated at 1,500 to
    2,000 persons.
  • Aum have to pay an indemnity of more than 3
    billion yens (220 million HKD) to the families
    of sarin-atttack victims

Example Aum Shirinkyo (?????) First stage
  • From yoga class to new religion
  • Asahara Shoko (b.1955) attended a school for the
    blind from the age of five, and after graduating
    in 1977 he moved to Tokyo. This marked the
    beginning of his intense interest in religion.
  • Despite earnest efforts, he failed the entrance
    exam at Tokyo University and turned to studying
    acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.
  • He married in 1978 he and his wife sold herbal
    medicine and natural foods, and he continued his
    study of acupuncture.

Shoko Asahara (????) real name Chizuo Matsumoto
Example Aum Shirinkyo (?????) First stage
  • Asahara joined Agonshu, a "New New Religion" that
    stressed liberation from bad karma via
  • In 1984, Asahara and his wife began holding
    regular yoga classes, and here gained some

Example Aum Shirinkyo (?????) Second stage
  • To prevent the destruction of the world
  • In 1986, Asahara claims to have recieved
    enlightenment while alone in the Himalayan
  • In 1987 he changed his name to the holy Asahara
    Shoko (????), and renamed his group Aum Shinrikyo
    (Aum "powers of destruction and creation in the
    universe" (Sanskrit) and Shinrikyo the
    "teaching of the supreme truth" )
  • Followed various Mahayana Buddhist (????)
    concepts concerning enlightenment and mediation
    as a means to liberation
  • Aimed at the goal of saving society as a whole
    from the coming Armageddon
  • Wanted to send members to preach Asaharas
    teachings and have everybody follow the path of

Example Aum Shirinkyo (?????) Third stage
  • No longer wanted to save the world but needed to
    protect themselves
  • In July 1989, Asahara professed political action
    was necessary to save the world and hence the
    Shinrito (???) political party emerged, so as to
    publicize Aum's teachings, offer salvation to a
    wider audience, and provide Aum with access to
  • All 25 candidates from the party lost, and
    because they had truly expected to win, this
    served a great blow. This overwhelming defeat led
    to further estrangement of the group. Developed
    an increasingly hostile and isolationist stance
    towards society (started murders, kidnapping and
    acts of violence)
  • By early 1990s, Aum increasingly preached an
    inevitable apocalyptic war
  • Asahara apparently became convinced that the
    salvation of society as a whole was hopeless gt
    everything must be done to preserve Aum even at
    the expense of the society

Aum Shirinkyo Some More Facts
  • Legal and Financial Statuses
  • The status of relgious corporation granted Aum
  • Massive Japanese tax breaks
  • Immunity from governmental oversight
  • Over 1 billion financial assets
  • Variety of businesses (computer), religious
    extortion (????,??)
  • Structured as a strong government in waiting
  • Membership
  • 60,000 members (three times larger in Russia than
    in Japan)
  • Majority of its members have college or
    university backgrounds
  • Recruited from military, police, key technical
    industries, armed forces, universities and
    university faculties
  • Recruited scientists and tech experts in Japan,
    Russia, and elsewhere
  • Strong evidence of using mind-altering drugs, and
    brainwashing (e.g. sleep deprivation and
    isolation therapy)

Aum Shirinkyo Some More Facts
  • Destructive weapons
  • Prophesized the destruction of the world in 1997
    (Provided members with bomb shelters, air
    filters, clothing to ward off electromagnetic
    radiation, supplies of food and medicine for
    surviving the impending) war
  • Acquired conventional armaments form former
    Soviet Union
  • Actively engaged in acquiring sensitive US
  • Stole weapons research data from Mitsubishi plant
  • Built chemical plant capable of producing
    substantial amounts of sarin gas
  • In process of developing biological weapons
    (anthrax, etc.)

Aum Shirinkyo Some More Facts
  • Assassinations, Assaults and other illegal acts
  • Planned and attempted to assault the leadership
    of the Japanese Government
  • Infiltrated Japanese government and industry,
    including law enforcement and military
  • Used murder and kidnapping to silence its enemies
  • At least twice attacked large groups of civilians
    with sarin

Aleph Successor of Aum Shirinkyo
  • Fumihiro Joyu (????)
  • graduated from Waseda University, with M.A.
    degree in Artificial Intelligence
  • Previously Aums Information Minister,
    spokesman and Russia branch leader
  • Have changed Aums name to Aleph
  • Now an Icon for Teenage Girls

Junkou Inoue (religion professor at Kokugakuin
  • After the 1995 attack stained the image of
    religions, an alternative has emerged in the form
    of popular celebrities and fortune tellers
    appearing on Japanese television and in magazines
    claiming to have the mystical power to tell other
    people's fate. Mass media have created 'virtual
  • This is a reflection that Japanese people are
    longing for religious guidance, with many people
    feeling anxiety about modern life.
  • Japan has seen a painful transition since the
    early 1990s after its "bubble economy" burst and
    once-unthinkable ideas such as unemployment
    reared up.
  • Some people show negative reaction to
    globalization. This can lead to nationalism or
    provide a fertile ground for more cults.
  • Now, anomie exists with people having no moral
    standards to adhere to. In this chaos, new sects
    could emerge to influence people. The only thing
    preventing it is the mental scars from the Aum

Soka Gakkai First Three Presidents
First President Makiguchi Tsunesaburo (?????)
Second President Toda Josei (????)
Third President Daisaku Ikeda (????)
Example Soka Gakkai (????)
  • Largest New Religion in Japan (claims a
    membership of over 17 millions (in 1993))
  • Founded first in 1937 as the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai
    (??????), and then again in 1951.
  • Soka Gakkai (????) saw themsleves as a vehicle
    for Nichiren Shoshu's (????) teachings and
    focused on the ultimate goal of world wide
  • Later, Nichiren Shoshu accused Ikeda of having
    seriously strayed from the "correct doctrines" of
    the Nichiren faith. Soka Gakkai subsequently
    accused Nichiren Shoshu of spending the lay
    organizations money on expensive foreign cars and
    the like while not doing their job properly.
  • Soka Gakkai was excommunicated from Nichiren
    Shoshu in November 1992.

Soka Gakkai Basic Beliefs
  • 1.?????
  • ?????????,????????????,?????????,??????????????,?
  • 2.??
  • 3.????
  • ????????????????????????????,????????,???????????

Soka Gakkai Basic Activities
  • 1??????
  • ????????????,?????????????????,??????????????,??
  • 2????
  • ????????????????,?????????????????
  • 3?????
  • ??????????????????????,????????????,???????????,
  • 4?????
  • ???????,????????????,???????????????????????????

Soka Gakkai Daisaku Ikeda
Dr Daisaku Ikeda was awarded the degree of Doctor
of Social Science, honoris causa by CUHK in 2000.
Daisaku Ikeda Promoter of Sino-Japnese Dialogue
Daisaku Ikeda Promoter of Peace and Philosophy
Daisaku Ikeda Philosopher of Peace and Future of
Soka University, Japan
Soka University of America
Four Distinguished Persons Honoured by CUHK
(Press Release)
  • Dr Daisaku Ikeda
  • A prominent cultural and religious leader,
    philosopher, educator, author, photographer and
  • A staunch advocate of world peace and
    humanitarian ideals
  • has travelled widely and published extensively
    in an effort to promote peace and international
  • has conducted dialogues with distinguished world
    leaders on international affairs, culture and
  • was awarded the United Nations Peace Award in
    1983, and the Humanitarian Award of the United
    Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1989. 
  • is also an honorary citizen of more than 70
    cities around the world and honorary professor in
    over 20 universities
  • is also recipient of over 40 honorary doctorates
    conferred by prominent institutions the world

Four Distinguished Persons Honoured by CUHK
(Press Release)
  • has founded the Soka University, the Soka schools
    and other educational institutions, the Min-On
    Concert Association, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum,
    the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, and the
    Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong was the first
    tertiary institution in Hong Kong to establish
    academic links with Soka University in 1975.  The
    two universities have since engaged in extensive
    academic exchanges. 

Example Falun Gong (???)
Example Falun Gong (???)
Example Falun Gong (???)
  • Truthfulness, Benevolence, and Forbearance
  • Reasons for joining
  • Physical cultivation (qigong) Health Curing
    diseases (The breakdown of public healthcare
  • Moral directions cultivation of moral character
  • Spiritual supports (Truthfulness Benevolence)
    (esp. decline of Marxist ideology and rapid
    socioeconomic changes)
  • Social communications, social security and mutual
    supports (Absence of freedom of association and

Anti-Cultist Movement
  • Allegations of danger
  • Diminish the rights of those who enter their
  • Often use inappropriate techniques to draw people
  • Deception and coercion (mind-control,
    brainwashing, forced separation from families)
  • Illegitimacy of beliefs
  • Sexual perversion
  • Political subversion
  • Financial exploitation

Arguments against Anti-cultist movement
  • NRMs techniques of influence are not any
    different than the methods of influence that are
    widely used in every sector of human society gt
    it is not illegal.
  • An abundance of empirical knowledge demonstrates
    that the average person who joins a cult remains
    only a short while. When the group ceases to
    serve the purpose that initially attracted them
    to the group, they leave.
  • Cult and sect formation are a normal part of
    religious life.
  • So long as cults and sects do not act in ways
    that demonstrably diminish the rights of other
    citizens, they are entitled to the full
    protection of the law.

  • I cant simply file away the gas attack,
    saying After all, this was merely an extreme
    and exceptional crime committed by an isolated
    lunatic fringe. Rather than seeing the event as
    Evil Them versus Innocent Us, we should look
    into mainstream society for clues. Wasnt the
    real key more likely to be found hidden under
    our territory? 
  • If the cult peoples lives were absurd, so
    was the existence of the uncomplaining commuters
    who sacrificed everything for Japans miracle. I
    think their lives too are absurd. They are
    consuming, consuming themselves, you know. They
    commute two hours and work so hard. Its inhuman.
    And when they come back to their house, their
    children are sleeping. Its a waste of
    humanity. The cult people got out of that
    system and they entered the right system, a
    system they thought was right at least. They were
    very pure and they decided to live for
    themselves, for something good, for something
    immortal. Of course, they committed a crime, and
    they should not have done that.

Haruki Murakami ????, ?????
References (1)
  • ????.
    ????. 554-582. ????????????????.
  • ???.
  • ??.??.??. 1999. ?????????. 21????. ????.
    ?????. 109-143. ??? ????????????.
  • 4?2? 20-24.
  • ????. 1999.?????????????.
  • ???. 2002. lt?????????gt???????????? ?????.
  • Barker, Eileen, ed. 1982. New Religious
    Movements A Perspective for Understanding
    Society. New York Edwin Mellen Press.
  • Barker, Eileen. 1999. New Religious Movements
    Their Incidence and Significance. In New
    Religious Movements Challenge and Response.
    Edited by Bryan Wilson and Jamie Cresswell.
    15-32. London, New York Routledge

References (2)
  • Beckford, James A. 1985. Chapter 2 A New
    Conceptual Framework. Cult Controversies The
    Societal Response to New Religious Movements.
    London Tavistock Publications.
  • Lifton, Robert Jay. 1999. Destroying the World to
    Save It Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and
    the New Global Terrorism. New YorkMetropolitan
  • Metraux, Daniel Alfred. 1999. Aum Shinrikyo and
    Japanese Youth. Lanham University Press of
  • Stark, Rodney and William Sims Bainbridge. 1979.
    Of Churches, Sects, and Cults Preliminary
    Concepts for a Theory of Religious Movements.
    Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion,
    18(2) 117-133.

Concepts Charisma
  • Max Weber
  • The term charisma will be applied to a certain
    quality of an individual personality by virtue of
    which he is set apart from ordinary men and
    treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman,
    or at least specifically exceptional powers or
    qualities. These are not accessible to the
    ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine
    origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them
    the individual concerned is treated as a leader.

Concepts Charisma
  • Richard Young (a scholar of Japanese religion who
    has participated in an Aum meeting)
  • If you had been there, I think he might have
    almost convinced you that the Buddha was alive
    again and that the possibility of you becoming a
    Buddha too, might not be so remote. What
    originally sparkled with wit, humor and flashes
    of insight became flat, pedantic and redundant
    when confined in print.

Shoko Asahara (????)
Concepts Millennialism/Millenarianism
  • Original meaning (Premillennialism/ catastrophic
  • Belief in the Second Coming of Christ and the
    establishment of his kingdom on earth
  • Worldwide destruction and the return of Jesus
    Christ are required to save humanity and bring
    about a new era of peace on earth
  • More generally
  • A pessimistic view of modern society and sees the
    world as fatally flawed.
  • Beliefs about the imminent transformation or end
    of the world and the creation of an age in which
    human suffering and violence will be eliminated
  • Any religious movement that prophesies the
    imminent destruction of the present order and the
    establishment of a new order, usually reversing
    the relative status of the oppressed and the