Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America by William M. Ashcraft, Eugene V. Gallagher

By William M. Ashcraft, Eugene V. Gallagher

Most new or substitute spiritual are gravely misunderstood by way of contributors of the spiritual mainstream. categorized cults or sects, teams and their participants are frequently ridiculed or in a different way left out as bizarre and very likely risky by means of the population at huge. regardless of their efforts at instructing most people, some of the anti- and counter-cult activists have in truth promoted even more mis-understanding than actual knowing of the spiritual lives of a few in their fellow electorate. for that reason, they've got helped to create a really antagonistic atmosphere for a person whose non secular practices don't healthy inside a so-called mainstream. This set rectifies the location by way of providing exact, accomplished, authoritative and available debts of varied new and substitute spiritual activities which have been and are energetic in American society, and it addresses methods of realizing new and replacement religions inside of a broader context.

Determining what truly constitutes a brand new or substitute faith is a topic of continuous debate. Questions come up as to a brand new faith's legitimacy, ideals, tools of conversion, and different aspects of a spiritual movement's viability and position in a given tradition. How a faith earnings popularity by way of the mainstream, which frequently labels such new activities as cults, is fraught with hassle, stress, and worry. the following, specialists delineate the limits and consider a few of the teams, ideals, events, and different concerns on the topic of new faiths and replacement ideals. Readers will come away with a fuller realizing of the non secular panorama in the US this present day.

quantity 1: heritage and Controversies discusses the rules of latest and replacement religions within the usa and addresses the controversies that encompass them. This quantity is helping readers larger comprehend what makes a brand new or replacement trust method a faith and the problems concerned.

quantity 2: Jewish and Christian Traditions explores a number of the new religions that experience grown out of those Abrahamic faiths. teams equivalent to the Shakers, the People's Temple, the department Davidians, Jehovah's Witnesses and others are tested.

quantity three: Metaphysical, New Age, and Neopagan pursuits seems to be at Shamanism, Spiritualism, Wicca, and Paganism, between different hobbies, as they've got constructed and grown within the U.S. those faiths have chanced on new and committed fans but are usually misunderstood.

quantity four: Asian Traditions specializes in these new and substitute religions which have been encouraged via Asian spiritual traditions. From Baha'i to Soka Gakkai, from Adidam to the Vedanta Society, individuals examine a whole diversity of teams training and worshiping within the U.S. at the present time.

quantity five: African Diaspora Traditions and different American techniques examines some of the traditions associated with the African diaspora reminiscent of Rastafarianism, Santeria, and the state of Islam, along traditions which are really American incarnations like Scientology, flying saucers religions, and Heaven's Gate. the various new and replacement religions lined in those pages include:

; Shamanism

; Wicca

; Black Israelites

; Santeria

; Scientology

; Elan Vital

; Hare Krishna

; Soka Gakkai

; and lots of more

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Hostetler, Hutterite Society, rev. ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997). 16. See, for example, Ruth Brandon, The Spiritualists (Buffalo: Prometheus, 1984). 17. For a survey history of Theosophy see Bruce F. Campbell, A History of the Theosophical Movement (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980). 18. New Thought is a diverse movement, and many studies of facets of it are available. A classic overview is Charles Braden, Spirits in Rebellion (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963).

13. The historical literature on Mormonism is vast. One standard survey is Jan Shipps, Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985). See also Thomas F. O’Dea, The Mormons (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957). 14. Many works have examined the history of Oneida. One widely read book is Maren Lockwood Carden, Oneida: Utopian Community to Modern Corporation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969). See also Free Love in Utopia: John Humphrey Noyes and the Origin of the Oneida Community, comp.

One of the distinctive features of specifically religious leadership is its appeal to supernatural or extraordinary forces as the basis for that leadership. Religious leaders draw on diverse resources to support their claims. Those sources can include direct personal interaction with what leaders identify and followers acknowledge as sacred. They may also include the authorship, reception, or interpretation of authoritative collections of stories and other traditions in either written or oral form, the ability to devise and perform specific ritual actions, the establishment and interpretation of religious law, and the communication of moral or intellectual insight.

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