Assess the Sociological Explanations for the Growth of New Religious Movements.

1280 Words Mar 24th, 2015 6 Pages
Assess the sociological explanations for the growth of new religious movements.
By: Amy Rashid

Over the years, there has been a growth of new religious movements in the society. This growth can be explained in terms of why people chose to join the movements or in terms of wider social changes. Hence, in this essay, I shall discuss several sociological explanations for this occurrence. Firstly, Steve Bruce (1995, 1996) attributes the development of a range of religious institutions, including sects and cults, to a general process of modernization and secularization. He believes the weakness of more conventional institutionalized religions has encouraged some people to consider less traditional alternatives. As modern societies
…show more content…
Thus, members are expected to remain celibate during their youth. They are to subsequently marry, have children, and create an ideal family which contributes to world peace. Thus showing that world-rejecting new religious movement attracted the youth with its idealistic, spiritual and caring way of life. Furthermore, this may be supported by Steve Bruce (1995) who saw world-rejecting movements as having a particular appeal to the young. Many became disillusioned by the failure of the counter-culture in the 1960s to radically change the world. Drugs and exploitation of the movement disintegrated the hippie culture, and thus these disillusioned youths turned to religion as a path to salvation rather than religion. An example of this would be the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), which is also popularly known as ‘Hare Krishna’. ISKCON is based in Hinduism and they worship the hindu god, Krishna as the Supreme God. Hare Krishnas are also known for their public singing and dancing and distribution of materials including their magazine, Back to Godhead. ISKCON is actively evangelistic, with the goal of spreading God-consciousness throughout the world. Notable followers of this movement would be the Beatles. Therefore, showing that new religious movements appeal to youths due to its potential for a more spiritual and idealistic life via more loving social relationships. Lastly, Wallis also claims that world-affirming new religious