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Chapter Objectives

After reading this chapter, you will be able to do the following:
• Discuss the reasons for the emergence of new religious movements.
• Explain the difference between a cult and a sect.
• Describe major examples of alternative religion.
• Discuss the roles that new religious movements play.

Chapter Summary

Religions change, grow, and sometimes emerge in response to immigration, social problems, controversies within existing religions, or through individuals having unique experiences. A new religion may start as a variant of established religion that grows into an independent form. It may be syncretic—a blend of different existing religions. Finally, a new religion may surface independent of and distinct from established religions. New religions are often viewed with suspicion. While some new movements may pose a danger to society, most do not. Indeed, many of the major established religions began under similar circumstances and were small, sometimes persecuted, movements.
Sharing features with indigenous religions are Contemporary Paganism and Yoruba-tradition religions. Contemporary Pagan movements attempt to return to earlier, nature-based religions that predate Christianity. The movement of Wicca focuses on the feminine aspect of the divine, the prominent role of women as leaders, and seasonal ritual ceremonies. The Druid movement seeks to reclaim the religion of the ancient Celts and focuses on the male aspect of the divine. The religions of Santería, Voodoo, and Candomblé arose among slaves brought to the New World. These syncretic religions blend West African Yoruba traditions and Roman Catholicism. Practitioners believe in a single High God, supernatural beings who mediate between God and humans, and spirits of the dead that can affect the living.
Theosophy and Scientology draw on the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Theosophists speak of multiple spiritual levels and psychic abilities that can be developed through training and meditation. Theosophy and its offshoots helped popularize in the West elements such as reincarnation, karma, and yoga. Scientology was founded in the 1950s by author L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology seeks to correct the process of knowing and interacting with the world to free the soul in progressive stages. This religion acknowledges past lives and has developed its own unique terminology describing the practices that overcome difficulties and blockages in life.
Much persecuted in present-day China, Falun Gong is a new religion whose roots lie in Daoism and Chinese Buddhism. Followers practice Qigong exercises composed of movement meditations, with the goals of gaining health, strength, virtues, and paranormal powers. Another strongly Chinese religion is Cao Dai, which blends elements of Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Chinese belief in spirits, and Christian monotheism.
The Rastafarian movement arose in Jamaica in the 1930s and is strongly influenced by Christianity. Themes of social justice and freedom from oppression run strong in this religion that found a messianic figure in the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, believed to be a new appearance of Jesus.
Baha'i is a monotheistic religion with roots in Shiite Islam claiming the most advanced revelations from God. Teachings seek ways of harmonizing different religions with each other and with science. Baha'is advocate complete equality between men and women, an end to poverty and racial prejudice, and education for all.
New religious movements offer adherents a unique identity and sense of purpose in the context of small-group intimacy. Women play a key role in many of the new movements. The mystical element often is stressed as followers seek experiences beyond the normal and mundane. Many paths also offer clear programs for self-development.

Alliance

In Cao Dai, one of three periods of special divine revelation.

Anthroposophy

"Human Wisdom" (Greek); a movement that grew out of Theosophy, which emphasizes education and other practical means for spiritual development.

auditor

In Scientology, a counselor who through a series of questions works to guide a person to greater self-understanding.

Bab

"Door," "gate"; a prophet who was the forerunner of Baha'u'llah, the founder of Baha'i.

Baha'i

A modern monotheistic religion that grew out of Islam that emphasizes unity and equality of individuals, cultures, and religions; also, a follower of the religion.

Baha'u'llah

"Glory of Allah" (Arabic); the founder of Baha'i.

bard

A first-level initiate in Druidism.

Bridge

In Scientology, a diagram of the stages of personal liberation.

Candomblé

The syncretic region of Brazil that blends elements of Roman Catholicism and African religions.

Cao Dai

"High Palace"; A syncretic religion that began in Vietnam, which blends Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and Catholic Christianity.

Church Universal and Triumphant

A religion that unites elements from Theosophy and Christianity, also referred to as CUT.

clear

In Scientology, the state of mental liberation; also, the person who has achieved mental liberation.

Contemporary Paganism

A general name for several movements that attempt to reestablish a pre-Christian European nature religion; also called Neo-Paganism.

CUT

An acronym for the Church Universal and Triumphant, a religion that unites elements from Theosophy and Christianity.

dreadlocks

The long and coiled hair worn by some Rastafarians.

Druid

"Oak-tree wisdom"; Celtic priest of two thousand years ago; a follower of the modern re-creation of Druidism.

e-meter

In Scientology, an electronic machine that reads galvanic skin response; sometimes used to assist the auditing process.

engram

In Scientology, an experience of earlier suffering (even from a past life) that keeps a person from relating healthily to the present.

equinox

"Equal night" (Latin); the two days of the year, in spring and autumn, when the hours of daylight and of nighttime are equal.

Esbat

In Wicca, the time of the full moon, often marked by a meeting or ceremony.

eurhythmy

"Good rhythm" (Greek); a type of interpretive dance utilized in Anthroposophy as a technique for spiritual growth.

Falun Gong

"Law-wheel energy" (Chinese); a modern Chinese religion that uses meditation and physical exercises.

falun

"Law wheel" (Chinese); an invisible spiritual wheel, believed by followers of Falun Gong to spin in the abdominal region, distilling and spreading energy from the universe.

loa

A deity in Voodoo; also spelled "lwa."

MEST

In Scientology, an acronym for matter, energy, space, and time; the world of time and space, the world in which the spirits must live.

ocha

In Santería, any deity.

operating thetan

In Scientology, a fully liberated person; also referred to as an OT.

orisha

A general name for a deity in the Yoruba-tradition religions.

Oshún

A female deity in Santería, who is associated with love, fertility and marriage.

ovate

A second-level initiate in Druidism.

pre-clear

In Scientology, a person who is not yet spiritually liberated and who is only just beginning to undergo the auditing process.

Qigong

"Energy force" (Chinese); a type of martial art that is thought to increase health and strength.

Ras Tafari

The original name of Emperor Haile Selassie, often used by Rastafarians to emphasize his religious significance.

Rastafarianism

A religion that began in Jamaica in the 1920s to emphasize African pride; it considers Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari) to be divine.

Rede

Advice, counsel; a term used in Wicca to describe its maxim that an act is allowable if it does no harm; "And [if] you harm none, do what you will."

Sabbat

One of eight seasonal turning points marked by Wiccans and Druids.

Samhain

"Summer's end"; In Wicca, the end of the old year and beginning of the new (around Oct. 31.)

Santería

"Saint-thing" or "saint-way" (Spanish); a Yoruba-based religion that developed in Cuba.

santera

A priestess of Santería.

santero

A priest of Santería.

Scientology

"Knowledge-study" (Latin and Greek); a modern religion that promotes a process of focusing thought and clarifying life-goals.

Shangò

In Santeria, a popular god associated with lightning, thunder, and powerful storms.

solstice

"Sun-stands" (Latin); the two days of the year, at midwinter and midsummer, when the season begins to reverse itself.

Theosophy

"Divine wisdom" (Greek); an eclectic movement, particularly influenced by Hinduism, that focuses on the mystical elements of all religions.

thetan

In Scientology, the human soul.

Voodoo (Voudun)

A religion that blends elements from French Catholicism and African religions.

Wicca

A Contemporary Pagan movement that emphasizes feminine expressions of the divine.

Scientology is a modern monotheistic religion that grew out of Islam, emphasizing unity and equality of individuals, cultures, and religions; the term is also used to indicate a follower of the religion.

False

In Scientology, the state of mental liberation is called "clear"; the term is also used to indicate the person who has achieved mental liberation.

True

Falun Gong or "law-wheel energy" (Chinese) is a modern Chinese religion that uses meditation and physical exercises.

True

In Scientology, a counselor who through a series of questions works to guide a person to greater self-understanding is an auditor.

True

Scientology, meaning "divine wisdom" (Greek), is an eclectic movement, particularly influenced by Hinduism, that focuses on the mystical elements of all religions.

False

In Rastafarianism, thetan is the human soul.

False

Theosophy is a Contemporary Pagan movement that emphasizes feminine expressions of the divine.

False

Rastafarianism is a religion that began in Jamaica in the 1920s to emphasize African pride; it considers Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari) to be divine.

True

Rede (advice or counsel) is a term used in Wicca to describe its maxim that an act is allowable if it does no harm: "And [if] you harm none, do what you will."

True

Baha'i is a religion that blends elements from French Catholicism and African religions.

False

The midwinter solstice celebration of Wicca is most commonly called the
A) Samhain.
B) Beltane.
C) Yule.
D) Esbat.

C) Yule.

Established groups of Wiccans are called
A) witches.
B) sisterhoods.
C) covens.
D) sects.

C) covens.

The word "Voodoo" comes from the Fon word "vodun," whose meaning is
A) saint way.
B) oak-tree wisdom.
C) moon worship.
D) mysterious power.

D) mysterious power.

The youngest alternative path studied in this chapter is
A) Falun Gong.
B) Rastafarianism.
C) Cao Dai.
D) Scientology.

A) Falun Gong.

In practicing their religion, both Baha'is and Muslims
A) engage in periods of fasting and undertake pilgrimages.
B) observe a lunar calendar and abstain from drinking alcohol.
C) abstain from alcohol and engage in periods of fasting.
D) meet in nine-sided mosques or temples.

C) abstain from alcohol and engage in periods of fasting.

Two new religions that blend aspects of Christianity into their beliefs and practices are
A) Wicca and Voodoo.
B) Cao Dai and Santería.
C) Rastafarianism and Falun Gong.
D) Rastafarianism and Scientology.

B) Cao Dai and Santería.

The biggest influence of Rastafarianism on mainstream culture has been
A) reggae music.
B) an organic and natural food diet.
C) dreadlocks.
D) distinctive dress with four symbolic colors.

A) reggae music.

Worship and celebration of the feminine aspect of the divine is practiced most by the
A) Druids.
B) Baha'is.
C) Rastafarians.
D) Wiccans.

D) Wiccans.

The Baha'is found a messianic figure in
A) a young Persian aristocrat.
B) an Ethiopian king.
C) a writer of science fiction.
D) a Jamaican farmer.

A) a young Persian aristocrat.

The "world teacher" prophesied by Madame Blavatsky was later identified as
A) Elizabeth Claire Prophet.
B) Rudolf Steiner.
C) L. Ron Hubbard.
D) J. Krishnamurti.

D) J. Krishnamurti.

Working with an "auditor" to find and remove areas that have created blockages to personal growth is a practice of
A) Scientology.
B) Theosophy.
C) the Church Universal and Triumphant.
D) Voodoo.

A) Scientology.

The religions of the Yoruba tradition and Rastafarianism have significant connections with
A) the Middle East.
B) India.
C) Africa.
D) China.

C) Africa.

The breathing and visualization exercises of Qigong that circulate energy through the body are further enhanced in Falun Gong when a master
A) ritually eliminates bad karma of the disciple.
B) activates an invisible spiritual wheel in the lower abdomen of the disciple.
C) projects the image of a large eye inside a triangle into the disciple's mind.
D) trains the disciple to be "mounted" by beings from a higher realm.

B) activates an invisible spiritual wheel in the lower abdomen of the disciple.

________ is a syncretic religion that began in Vietnam, which blends Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and Catholic Christianity.
A) Falun Gong
B) Falun
C) Cao Dai
D) Shangó

C) Cao Dai

The ________ is the term for the last two days of the year, in spring and autumn, when the hours of daylight and of nighttime are equal.
A) Sabbat
B) solstice
C) equinox
D) Sabbath

C) equinox

________ is a modern monotheistic religion that emphasizes unity and equality of individuals, cultures, and religions.
A) Falun
B) Falun Gong
C) Theosophy
D) Baha'i

D) Baha'i

________ is a religion that unites elements from Theosophy and Christianity.
A) The Church Universal and Triumphant
B) Contemporary Paganism
C) Candomblé
D) Scientology

A) The Church Universal and Triumphant

In Scientology, a fully liberated person is referred to as
A) clear.
B) a pre-clear.
C) an operating thetan.
D) an engram.

C) an operating thetan.

________ was a prophet who was the forerunner of Baha'u'llah, the founder of Baha'i.
A) Esbat
B) Baha'u'llah
C) Engram
D) Bab

D) Bab

In Scientology, the world in which the spirits of human beings must live is called
A) MEST.
B) Santería.
C) Rede.
D) Santero.

A) MEST.

New religious movements that are a blend of different religions are called ________.
A) polytheistic
B) monotheistic
C) symbiotic
D) syncretic

D) syncretic

________ is a general name for religious movements attempting to return to earlier, nature-based religions.
A) Dogma
B) Scientologies
C) Contemporary Pagan
D) Modern Romanticism

C) Contemporary Pagan

Wiccan seasonal turning points are called ________.
A) Sabbaths
B) Yuccas
C) Conclaves
D) Sabbats

D) Sabbats

In Santería, any deity is called a(n) ________.
A) ocha
B) thetan
C) miska
D) voodi

A) ocha

In Scientology, ________ is the name for the human soul.
A) thetan
B) ocha
C) miska
D) voodi

A) thetan

Another name for the late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is ________.
A) Trojas
B) Ras Tafari
C) Rastafi
D) Manua

B) Ras Tafari

Baha'u'llah is the founder of ________.
A) Baha'i
B) Jainism
C) Legalism
D) Islam

A) Baha'i

The religion that blends Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and Catholicism is ________.
A) Baha'i
B) Jainism
C) Cao Dai
D) Scientology

C) Cao Dai

Madame Blavatsky is one of the cofounders of ________.
A) Theosophy
B) Christian Science
C) Reflexology
D) Scientology

A) Theosophy

The ________ movement began in the eighteenth century as an attempt to re-introduce the religion practiced in France and England by the Celts about 2000 years ago.
A) Wicca
B) Druidic
C) Theosophy
D) Christian Science

B) Druidic

In Scientology, a(n) ________ is an electronic machine that reads galvanic skin response; it is sometimes used to assist insan the auditing process.
A) bio-feedback auditor
B) e-auditor
C) auditor
D) e-meter

D) e-meter

A priestess of Santería is also known as a ________.
A) santera
B) santerista
C) santeristera
D) Wicca

A) santera

________ is a Yoruba-based religion that developed in Cuba.
A) Santería
B) Voodoo
C) Rastafarianism
D) Creole Catholicism

A) Santería

In Scientology, a(n) ________ is a counselor who through a series of questions works to guide a person to greater self-understanding.
A) santerista(o)
B) auditor
C) inquisitor
D) guide

B) auditor

One of eight seasonal turning points, the ________ is marked by Wiccans and Druids.
A) Sabbat
B) Sabbath
C) Conclave
D) Day of Labor

A) Sabbat

A Contemporary Pagan movement, ________ emphasizes feminine expressions of the divine.
A) Ifa
B) Voodoo
C) Wicca
D) Rastafarianism

C) Wicca

The end of the year and simultaneously the beginning of the new in Wicca calendars, ________ is literally "summer's end."
A) Beltane
B) Mabone
C) Litha
D) Samhain

D) Samhain

A syncretic religion of Brazil, ________ blends elements of Roman Catholicism and African religions.
A) Yoruba
B) Candomblé
C) Batuque
D) Macumba

B) Candomblé

In Scientology, a ________ person is not yet spiritually liberated and is only just beginning to undergo the auditing process.
A) perceptic
B) dyanetic
C) probie
D) pre-clear

D) pre-clear

Movements that attempt to reestablish a pre-Christian European nature religion are known as ________.
A) Neo-pagan
B) New Paganism
C) Contemporary Paganism
D) All these answers are correct.

A) Neo-pagan

New religious movements that are a blend of different religions are called ________ .

syncretic

________ is a general name for religious movements attempting to return to earlier, nature-based religions.

Contemporary Pagan

Wiccan seasonal turning points are called ________ .

Sabbats

In Santería, any deity is called a(n) ________ .

ocha

In Scientology, ________ is the name for the human soul.

thetan

Another name for the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is ________ .

Ras Tafari

Baha'u'llah is the founder of ________ .

Baha'i

The religion blending Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and Catholic Christianity is ________ .

Cao Dai

Madame Blavatsky is the founder of ________ .

Theosophy

The ________ movement began in the eighteenth century as an attempt to re-introduce the religion practiced in France and England by the Celts about 2000 years ago.

Druid

In Scientology, a(n) ________ is an electronic machine that reads galvanic skin response; sometimes used to assist the auditing process.

e-meter

A priestess of Santería is also known as a(n) ________ .

santera

________ is a Yoruba-based religion that developed in Cuba.

Santeria

In Scientology, a(n) ________ is a counselor who through a series of questions works to guide a person to greater self-understanding.

auditor

One of eight seasonal turning points, the ________ is marked by Wiccans and Druids.

Sabbat

A Contemporary Pagan movement, ________ emphasizes feminine expressions of the divine.

Wicca

The end of the year and simultaneously the beginning of the new in Wicca calendars, ________ is literally "Summer's end."

Samhain

A syncretic religion of Brazil, ________ blends elements of Roman Catholicism and African religions.

Candomble

In Scientology, a(n) ________ person is not yet spiritually liberated and is only just beginning to undergo the auditing process.

pre-clear

Movements that attempt to reestablish a pre-Christian European nature religion are known as ________ .

Contemporary Paganism

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