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Blackwell Brief History of Religion


An overview of the development of new religions and the controversies surrounding them in late modern society.

A stimulating, course-friendly overview of the history and development of new religious movements (NRMs) in the late twentieth century
Explores eight cults and NRMs, including the Church of Scientology, Transcendental Meditation, Unificationism, The Family International, the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, the Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate, and Wicca
Each chapter reviews the origins, leaders, beliefs, rituals and practices of a NRM, highlighting the specific controversies surrounding this group
Covers debates including what constitutes an authentic religion, the validity of claims of brainwashing techniques, the implications of experimentation with unconventional sexual practices, and the deeply rooted cultural fears that cults engender.
1. Cults and New Religions: A Primer
2. The Church of Scientology: The Question of Religion
3. Transcendental Meditation: The Questions of Science and Therapy
4. Ramtha and the New Age: The Question of the Dangerous Cult
5. The Unification Church/The Family Federation: The Brainwashing/Deprogramming Controversy
6. The Children of God/The Family International: The Issue of Sexuality
7. The Branch Davidians: The Problem of Mass Media
8. Heaven's Gate: The Question of Cults and Violence
9. Wicca and Witchcraft: Confronting Cultural Fears
10. Rethinking Cults: The Significance of New Religious Movements
Further Reading on New Religious Movements