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New religious movement

Religious community or spiritual group of modern origin / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A new religious movement (NRM), also known as alternative spirituality or a new religion, is a religious or spiritual group that has modern origins and is peripheral to its society's dominant religious culture. NRMs can be novel in origin or they can be part of a wider religion, in which case they are distinct from pre-existing denominations. Some NRMs deal with the challenges which the modernizing world poses to them by embracing individualism, while other NRMs deal with them by embracing tightly knit collective means.[1] Scholars have estimated that NRMs number in the tens of thousands worldwide, with most of their members living in Asia and Africa. Most NRMs only have a few members, some of them have thousands of members, and a few of them have more than a million members.[2]

A member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness proselytising on the streets of Moscow, Russia

There is no single, agreed-upon criterion for defining a "new religious movement".[3] There is debate as to how the term "new" should be interpreted in this context.[4] One perspective is that it should designate a religion that is more recent in its origins than large, well-established religions like Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.[4] Some scholars view the 1950s or the end of the Second World War in 1945 as the defining time,[5] while others look as far back as the founding of the Latter Day Saint movement in 1830[4][6] and of Tenrikyo in 1838.[7][8]

New religions have typically faced opposition from established religious organisations and secular institutions. In Western nations, a secular anti-cult movement and a Christian countercult movement emerged during the 1970s and 1980s to oppose emergent groups. In the 1970s, the distinct field of new religions studies developed within the academic study of religion. There are several scholarly organisations and peer-reviewed journals devoted to the subject. Religious studies scholars contextualize the rise of NRMs in modernity as a product of, and answer to modern processes of secularization, globalization, detraditionalization, fragmentation, reflexivity, and individualization.[1]