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28-Feb-2020 02:54

The first concerns assessment of the social and historical factors that facilitate the rise of such movements.

The second concerns explicating the dynamics of recruitment and commitment by which NRMs form and sustain their membership. Religious movements seem to arise where dominant religious institutions are internally unstable, where theological innovation is possible, where charismatic leadership is present, where the socio-political climate fosters religious liberty and expressiveness, and where the normative meaning and plausibility structures of a society have been weakened.

Viewed from this perspective, secularization is a self-limiting process that actually stimulates the rise of NRMs.

A different interpretation, more in keeping with the traditional assessment that secularization has a corrosive effect on religion, holds that NRMs are a manifestation of, rather than a response to, secularization.

Although it has been common practice to refer to the above groups as "new" religious movements, many were neither new as religious phenomenon nor new to the American culture. The beliefs of the movement, however, derive from a bhakti tradition founded by Sri Caitanya in Bengal, India, in the 16th century.

The Hare Krishna movement was brought to the United States in 1965 by A. Other Buddhist and Hindu-derived movements popularized in the 1960s had earlier penetrated American culture through the initiatives of individuals such as Swami Vivekananda, Madame Blavatsky, Soyen Shaku, Shigetsu Sasaki, Paranahansa Yogananda, and others.

Movements of a non-Christian, non-Western derivation: Buddhist groups (Zen, Nichiren Shoshu, Tantrism), hare krishna (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), transcendental meditation (Science of Creative Intelligence), Meher Baba, and other Hindu-derived guru groups. Christian or Neo-Christian groups: Charismatics/neo-Pentecostals, the unification church (Moonies), groups associated with the Jesus Movement (Alamo Foundation, Children of God), the Way Ministry, the conservative/fundamentalism New Religious Right, televangelist ministries, Roman Catholic Traditionalists. Religio-therapeutic self-help groups derivative of transpersonal psychology and the human potential movement that syncretistically combine traditional and eclectic elements of religious language, symbolism, and discipline (scientology, est, Arica, Eckankar and various new age groups).

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The trauma of the Civil Rights Movement, the atrocities in Vietnam, assassinations, and the spread of post-Watergate political cynicism, eroded core American cultural values and the structures by which they were upheld, including institutions responsible for conveying moral and spiritual values.A wide variety of both indigenous and imported NRMs have flourished globally in the post World War II era, especially in Latin America, Africa, and Japan.While it is not possible to gage accurately the total number of individuals involved in these movements, the scale on which they have emerged since the 1960s is unique.Counter culture and religio-therapeutic groups in particular are derided as contrived, artificial, and bizarre phenomena that point to the triviality of religion in modern society.

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These movements give expression to the structural differentiation of religion and to its reduction to the status of a packaged and marketed consumer item in contemporary culture.

Such groups are said to manifest ritualized traits of narcissistic and obsessive self-fixation.