Although the Great Anti-Cult Crusade links new religious movements to dangerous cults, brainwashing, and the need for deprogramming, Karla Poewe and Irving Hexham argue that many cults are the product of a dynamic interaction between folk religions and the teachings of traditional world religions. Drawing on examples from Africa, the United States, Asia, and Europe, they suggest that few new religions are really new. Most draw on rich, if localized, cultural traditions that are shaped anew by the influence of technological change and international linkages. With the widespread loss of belief in biblical mythology in the nineteenth century, new mythologies based on science and elements derived from various non-Western religious traditions emerged, leading to the growth and popularity of new religions and cults.
Table of Contents
Foreword -- Preface -- The Great Anti-cult Crusade -- From Cults to New Religions and Global Culture -- New Religions as Global Cultures -- New Religions and Primal Experiences -- Myths and Mythological Fragments -- Yogic and Abramic Religions -- The Membership Process -- New Religions: New Visions -- How Dangerous Are New Religions?