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NRMs in Western societies II: Movements of nonChristian origin

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Common characteristics. strict discipline. obedience to a teacher and a tradition ... 'New Age' (Aquarius) Age of Pisces = yang. emphasis on rationality and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: NRMs in Western societies II: Movements of nonChristian origin


1
NRMs in Western societies II Movements of
non-Christian origin
  • 25.3.2004

2
Readings
  • Bednarowski The Church of Scientology Lightning
    Rod for Cultural Boundary Conflicts (in Miller
    1995)
  • Puttick, E. New religions and counter-culture (in
    Lehmann Myers 2001)

3
Discussion topics
  • New religions and counter-culture
  • Typology
  • Personal Development movements
  • Eastern movements
  • Esoteric and Neo-Pagan movements
  • Other "Book" religions
  • New Age
  • Examples
  • Wicca
  • Raelian movement
  • Nation of Islam
  • Soka Gakkai

4
New religions and counter-culture
  • 1950s
  • a period of post WWII conservatism
  • 1960s
  • period of rapid social change
  • explosion of rebellious creativity
  • rebellion against materialism and 'technocracy'
  • active escapism
  • flight into sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll
  • search for meaning and fulfillment
  • alternative society / counter-culture
  • impact on all aspects of society
  • a reaction against the disenchantment of the
    world"
  • spiritual revival NRMs
  • Attempts to cope
  • HPMs

5
Human Potential Movements I
  • Human Potential Movements
  • 'The Realization System Private Lessons in
    Practical Psychology'
  • will start to build the structure of a new and
    dominant YOU, a serene and successful YOU, a more
    courageous and capable YOU, a happier, healthier,
    more wonderful YOU ... A triumphant YOU born of
    Greater Self-Knowledge which THE REALIZATION
    SYSTEM will bring you, just as it has done for
    countless others in all walks of life.

6
Human Potential Movements II
  • psycho-spiritual wing of the counter-culture
  • outgrowth of humanistic psychology
  • Abraham Maslow
  • 'self-actualized' human being
  • exploration of human potential, counselling
  • British MP Nicholas Soames
  • This terrible counselling thing has grown up in
    Britain. Whatever you do wrong it's somebody
    else's fault, or your mother hit you. I think
    that's all balls. It's ghastly political
    correctness. People need to pull themselves
    together. I'm not a great believer in blubbing in
    your tent. I do get melancholy now and again, but
    you go to bed, sleep well and wake up pawing the
    ground like a horse in the morning.
  • 1970s
  • Eastern Spirituality Western Psychotherapy
  • spiritualization of psychotherapy

7
Human Potential Movements III
  • Personal development
  • not a new phenomenon
  • Samuel Smiles
  • Self-Help (1859)
  • he who never made a mistake, never made a
    discovery"
  • the shortest way to do many things is to do one
    thing at once."
  • Dale Carnegie
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)
  • courses taught to business and professional
    people
  • 5 million copies by his death in 1955
  • Ron Hubbard
  • Dianetics The Modern Science of Mental Health
    (1950)
  • "a condition of ability and rationality for Man
    well in advance of the current norm"
  • "complete insight into the full potentialities of
    the mind."

8
Human Potential Movements IV
  • Norman Vincent Peale
  • The Power of Positive Thinking (1952)
  • "Expect the best and get it"
  • "I don't believe in defeat"
  • Bernard Haldane
  • How to Make a Habit of Success (1960),
  • "Open your life to success"
  • "Building success into your thinking"
  • Robert Lumsden
  • Twenty-three steps to success and achievement
    (1972)
  • "Make maturity your goal"
  • "Increased happiness for you"
  • "Wider mental horizons"

9
Human Potential Movements V
  • last couple of decades
  • combination of HP with spirituality
  • Will Schutz
  • "Profound Simplicity" (1979)
  • explosion in the number of
  • techniques
  • courses
  • seminars to improve oneself
  • A man can make millions by telling other people
    how they might make millions

10
Human Potential Movements VI
  • HPMs most common in success-orientated US
  • the opportunities are there
  • If you don't succeed, you are a failure
  • more people undergoing therapy than anywhere
    else
  • Eastern Europe
  • HPMs as NRMs?
  • dont necessarily involve God
  • similar goals with many religions
  • Self-improvement
  • person's awareness of and confidence in himself
    or herself
  • awakening and experiencing energy
  • Self-identification
  • Scientology vs other
  • Criticism
  • pseudo-science
  • reluctance to let people go

11
Human Potential Movements VII
  • Examples
  • Landmark Education / Landmark Forum
  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming
  • Insight
  • The Emin
  • Life Spring
  • Rebirthing
  • Scientology

12
Eastern movements I
  • Indian influence in particular
  • 19th c.
  • discovery and translation of ancient Buddhist
    scriptures by European scholars
  • Until the 1960s
  • interest in Eastern religions - largely
    intellectual
  • confined to an elite group of scholars and
    psychologists
  • experiential, mystical approach limited
  • Transcendentalists
  • Theosophical Society
  • teachings of Krishnamurti
  • visits by Vivekananda and Yogananda
  • 1960s
  • influx of Chinese and Japanese immigration
  • 'hippie trail'
  • Allen Ginsberg, other Beat poets, the Beatles in
    the 1960s

13
Eastern movements II
  • Common characteristics
  • strict discipline
  • obedience to a teacher and a tradition
  • rejection of scientific materialism
  • meditation
  • appeal to Westerners
  • discipline and guru-disciple relationship
  • normative limbo of modernity
  • Parallel from the mundane world
  • leaving army or prison
  • Parallel from Christianity
  • Pope John XXIII's Vatican 2
  • adaptation difficulties of many monks and nuns
  • antiquity of the Eastern message
  • Old original truth
  • Hinduism 5000-year history.

14
Eastern movements III
  • Examples
  • Maharashi Mahesh Yogi
  • Transcendental Meditation to the West in 1958
  • ashram in Rishikesh in 1960s
  • Beatles, Mia Farrow and other celebrities
  • "Easy is right
  • Swami Prabhupada
  • International Society of Krishna Consciousness
    (ISKCON)
  • George Harrison
  • Maharaji Guru Ji
  • Divine Light Mission Elan Vital
  • Other
  • Soka Gakkai
  • Movement of Inner Spiritual Awareness
  • School of Economic Science

15
Esoteric and Neo-Pagan Movements I
  • Heterogeneous group
  • Esoteric movements
  • usually either Eastern-based or Judaeo-Christian
    in origin
  • Neo-Pagan movements
  • based on Celtic, Norse or Native American
    traditions
  • Goddess worship
  • Shared characteristics
  • New Age
  • 'Mind-Body-Spirit'
  • Magic
  • Eclectic

16
Esoteric and Neo-Pagan Movements II
  • Anthropological interest in magic
  • Frazer
  • Malinowski
  • Evans-Pritchard
  • Magic in esoteric NP movements
  • Generally for positive purposes
  • healing
  • Positive encouragement (eg. plants to grow)
  • blessing

17
Esoteric Movements I
  • Two main sources
  • Western origins (Judaeo-Christian)
  • Eastern origins (Hindu, Buddhist or Sufi thought)
  • Terminology
  • esoteric (within, i.e. only for the initiated)
  • hermetic
  • Hermes Trismegistus
  • "sealed (hermetic seal)
  • occult
  • hidden' or 'secret'
  • not anymore (www)

18
Esoteric Movements II
  • beliefs and practices
  • emphasis on secret knowledge
  • restricted to a select few
  • unorthodox ideas
  • magic and mysticism
  • highly complex, and progressive teachings
  • build up on each in steps
  • eclectic
  • borrow from several traditions
  • Schisms and offshoots frequent
  • unorthodox nature of beliefs believers
  • Examples
  • Theosophy, Rosicrucians, Chaos magic, Raelian
    Movement, UFO cults

19
Neo-Pagan Movements I
  • original usage
  • "pagan" "country-dweller"
  • Also heathen
  • "people who live on the heath
  • Romans the uneducated barbarians
  • anthropological usage
  • follower the old native religion of their land
  • rather than an imported religion
  • Neo-paganism
  • coined by Oberon Zell, founder of Church of All
    Worlds
  • "a revival and reconstruction of ancient Nature
    religions adapted for the modern world."

20
Neo-Pagan Movements II
  • Characteristics
  • usually includes worship either of the Earth
    Mother Goddess
  • pantheon of gods
  • Hinduism paganism?
  • polytheism ? Paganism
  • eclectic
  • borrowing from several sources
  • diversity
  • ask two Pagans a question and you get three
    different answers.
  • Examples in England
  • Wicca, Druidry, Neo-shamanism and Norse religion
  • Examples in the US
  • Native Americans religions

21
Reactions to NP and esoteric movements
  • Society
  • 1980s satanic panic
  • moral panic of Satanic Ritual Abuse
  • Fundamentalist Christians
  • witch hunts
  • NPs / esoteric religion Satanism
  • witchcraft ? Satanism
  • original Paganism - pre-Christian
  • Neo-paganism - use of pre-Christian mythologies
  • Satanism perversion / inversion of Christianity

22
Other "Book" religions
  • Generally
  • Judaism and Islam
  • spiritual racial and political foundations
  • Eg. Various Black Muslim movements
  • Examples
  • Bahai Faith
  • Nation of Islam
  • Holy Tabernacle Ministries

23
New Age I
  • counter-culture movement of the 1960s
  • dissatisfaction with
  • the norms and beliefs of western society
  • Judaeo-Christian establishment
  • The term
  • late 1960s
  • Alice Bailey's neo-theosophy
  • contemporary usage
  • broad and vague
  • Astronomical and astrological bases
  • Solar Age 2,100 years
  • current solar age (Pisces) started around 0 AD
  • "New Age" (Aquarius)
  • Age of Pisces yang
  • emphasis on rationality and materialism
  • Age of Aquarius yin
  • emphasis on spirituality and intuition

24
New Age II
  • a broad movement
  • aggregate of beliefs and practices
  • alternative approaches to traditional Western
    culture
  • philosophy, religion, medicine, music, science
    and lifestyle
  • New Age spirituality
  • Judaeo-Christian apocalypticism
  • esotericism
  • Buddhism, Sufism and Taoism
  • schools of Yoga, Qigong, Chinese Medicine and
    martial arts
  • criticism
  • not fully understanding, trivializing their
    practices

25
New Age III
  • New Age worldview
  • relativist approach to truth
  • Vedic statement of "one truth, but many paths"
  • Zen Buddhist spiritual dictum of "many paths, one
    mountain"
  • "do-it-yourself" approach
  • assertion of personal choice in spiritual matters
  • experiential, rather than empirical, definition
    of reality
  • Rejection of scientific physics
  • Yet use of terms from physics and quantum physics
  • Forces, power, energy, energy fields
  • Other
  • Spirit
  • Holism - a coherent, interconnected cosmos
  • Cosmic goal
  • all entities are (willingly or unwillingly)
    cooperating

26
New Age IV
  • New Age medicine
  • alternative methods of medicine
  • herbal medicine, acupuncture, use of crystals in
    healing
  • "holistic medicine
  • attention on entire patient's needs
  • rather than just her or his specific disease
  • medical anthropology
  • New Age music
  • Hair (1967)
  • opening song "Aquarius"
  • line "This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius"
  • instrumental and electronic
  • Enya

27
Examples
  • Personal development movements
  • Scientology
  • Esoteric and Neo-Pagan movements
  • Wicca
  • Raelian movement
  • Other "Book" religions
  • Nation of Islam
  • Eastern movements
  • Soka Gakkai

28
Wicca I
  • "Craft of the wise"
  • founded by the British civil servant Gerald
    Gardner in the 1930s
  • wicca
  • "to bend or shape" (from Indo-European root
    word)
  • wise (Old English)
  • various related Wiccan traditions
  • the original - Gardnerian Wicca

29
Wicca II
  • Beliefs
  • worship of two deities
  • Goddess (Mother Goddess) and God (Horned God)
  • New Age discourse
  • Law of Threefold Return
  • anything that one does may be returned to them
    threefold
  • Practices
  • ancient Germanic or Celtic holidays
  • groups (covens)
  • weddings
  • "bondings," "joinings," "eclipses,"
    "handfastings"
  • trial marriage for a year and a day
  • nudity rituals
  • practitioners of Wicca witches
  • "Wicca" ? "Witchcraft"

30
Raelian movement I
  • Raelism (belief)
  • Elohim
  • scientifically advanced extraterrestrials
  • derived from a Hebrew word appearing in the Torah
  • created life on Earth through genetic engineering
  • immortality
  • through human cloning and "mind transfer"
  • Founded by Claude Vorilhon ( Raël)
  • personal meetings with a 25,000 year old
    extraterrestrial
  • came in a UFO in 1973
  • 55,000 members in 84 different countries
  • France, Japan, Canada, and the United States

31
Raelian movement II
  • Clonaid
  • claims to have cloned at least one human being
    (Dec 2002)
  • Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, a Raelian bishop
  • reincarnation
  • Jesus or Hitler
  • for inspiration or to allow for retroactive
    punishment
  • Geniocracy
  • rule by geniuses
  • a new form of government
  • requirements
  • to run for office
  • at least 50 more above the average intelligence
    potential
  • to vote
  • at least 10 above average

32
Nation of Islam I
  • also known as
  • the World Community of Al-Islam in the West
  • American Muslim Mission
  • The Nation of Peace
  • the Black Muslim Movement
  • NOI
  • Three main aims
  • The United Front of Black Men
  • Racial Separation
  • Economic Separation
  • vs Orthodox Islam
  • Different interpretations of
  • Quran, Allah, Prophet Muhammad, religious
    practices

33
Nation of Islam II
  • Founded
  • by Wallace Dodd Fard (Wali Farad Muhammad) in
    1930 in Detroit
  • Great Depression
  • discontent among blacks
  • Fard (salesman)
  • Christianity white man's religion
  • used to enslave and subjugate the black man's
    mind
  • would not solve the problems of the black
    community
  • disappeared in 1934
  • NOI after Fard
  • internal conflicts and scandals
  • controversial figures
  • Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan
  • shift away from black superiority and desire for
    separate state

34
Soka Gakkai
  • Soka Gakkai International
  • umbrella organization
  • Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin
  • Founded as the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (1930)
  • by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda
  • rapid growth after World War II
  • United States -1960
  • main mantra
  • "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo"
  • "Adoration to the Scripture of the Lotus of the
    Perfect Truth"
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