What are New Religious Movements (NRMs)?

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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New Religious Movements are, as the name implies, religious groups of fairly recent origin that are different from more established religious organizations. A more pejorative term for NRM's would be the phrase "cult." Although many NRM's arise from organized religious groups, some form spontaneously. Quite often they are formed by a charismatic leader who claims some epiphany or divine revelation which is the latest declaration of God's will. In almost every instance its leaders (and followers) are comprised of those who are not satisfied with the message and work of older organized religions. New Religious Movements are often met with strong skepticism by organized religious groups; however if one extends the definition of NRM's to a more historical setting, then Christianity would be a NRM in terms of Judaism, and Islam in terms of both Judaism and Christianity. Each was founded by an individual who claimed that his message was the true word of God. A more modern examples would be the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon.


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