New Religious Movements

All religions were new at the time of their inauguration, but the term ‘new religious movement’ (NRM) came to be employed in the second half of the 20th century by scholars who were trying to escape the negative connotations associated with the terms ‘sect’ and ‘cult’ because they were being used in popular parlance, frequently with the addition of adjectives such as ‘evil’ or ‘destructive’. The movements have tended to be of a controversial nature, and many of the countries in which they have tried to establish themselves have treated them not only with discrimination but also with persecution.

Although tens of thousands of NRMs have mushroomed throughout the world since the World War II, no more than a few hundred are likely to survive into ...

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