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Displaying: 1-20 of 321 documents


articles
1. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Marianna Ruah-Midbar Shapiro Historians as Storytellers: A Critical Examination of New Age Religion’s Scholarly Historiography
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This study makes a bold statement on the problematic nature of historic academic research, and its implications on our understanding of religion and culture. The case study is New Age religion’s scholarly historiography. It appears that New Age religion plays a part within narrative imagination, which often contains moral allusions as to the heroes or antiheroes, as well as literary allusions to the causal sources of events or to expected developments. We review the conflicts that arise between utterly differing opinions in some of the field’s fundamental issues, and thus evoke several of the challenges historical research on NA faces: when did it debut on the historical stage? Which ideological movements did it draw upon? Who are its unmistakable heralds? Did it already reach the height of its strength, and if so, when? The survey of scholarly studies indicates that the history of New Age is ever-changing. Thus, we argue that though historic discussion may deepen the analysis of a religious phenomenon and its understanding and give it context and meaning—it cannot decipher it. We cannot rely on history in defining a phenomenon, in attempting to comprehend its essence, its power, its importance, and most certainly not its future.
2. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Margrethe Løøv Between Religion and Science: Shifting Views on Knowledge in Acem and the Transcendental Meditation Movement
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This article offers a comparative analysis of the relationship between science and religion in Acem and the Transcendental Meditation organisation. Both these meditation movements have their historical origin in the teachings of the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Hindu Advaita Vedānta tradition. Their further development in the West has been characterised by varying degrees of cultural adaptation. The TM movement has retained a worldview which is inherently religious, but has developed its teachings through its encounters with modern science, and developed a panoply of alternative “scientific” disciplines. The TM movement has also systematically employed scientific terms and tropes to communicate effectively with a Western audience. Acem has discarded religious explanations altogether, and sees modern science as the sole source of reliable knowledge. The shifts in what is conceived to be plausible forms of knowledge have been paired with changes in terminology and self-descriptions. It is argued that the increased emphasis on and normative elevation of science can be seen as strategies to gain legitimacy and appeal in a cultural environment that tends to favour science over religion. The article thus sheds light upon some of the challenges that may arise when a body of knowledge moves between different cultural contexts, and strategies used to encounter these.
3. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier Normal but Peculiar: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Normalization and Differentiation Strategies
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The aim of this paper is to analyse the recent “I’m a Mormon” publicity campaign put forward by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church, or the LDS Church) and its significance in the larger scheme of Latter-day Saints’ public relations history. Since the nineteenth century, Mormons have had to negotiate with mainstream society in order to obtain a comfortable position while maintaining their identity as “peculiar people.” Through a detailed analysis of selected “I’m a Mormon” capsules, broadcasted on the Mormon.org website, this paper presents the recent normalization and differentiation strategies put forward by the Church of Jesus Christ, and exposes the relationship between these tactics and the strategies used by the Church throughout history. We note that while members of the Church of Jesus Christ aim to be accepted by mainstream Americans and viewed as somewhat “normal,” they also seek to maintain an aura of uniqueness associated with their specific religious beliefs and values. This falls under what we refer to as differentiation.
4. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Stephanie Griswold The Raid is On: Elaborations on the Short Creek Women’s Recollections of the 1953 Raid
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Through decades of anti-bigamy legislation, the practice of plural marriage was officially outlawed. In the first half of the twentieth century, contemporary polygamists faced raids in the 1930s, 1940s, and the largest of the time, in 1953. The 1953 raid in Short Creek, Arizona, executed by Arizona Governor Howard Pyle, was meant to put down the “insurrection” of “white slavery” in the border town now known as Colorado City. Though there was significant media coverage of the raid and subsequent trials, and there have been academic works on the subject, the experiences of the women while in state custody require further conversation. In this article, transcriptions of those recollections are examined in order to continue the discussion started in Martha Bradley’s seminal work, Kidnapped from that Land, with a focus on the female experience in their own words.
5. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Xinzhang Zhang, George A. Dunn Spiritual Movements, Secret Societies, and Destructive Cults: Panel Discussion, Hangzhou, October 2017
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During September 22–24, 2017, Zhejiang University hosted an International Symposium on the Theoretical and Practical Issues of Faiths in the Construction of the Community of Common Destiny for All Mankind in Hangzhou, China. In the course of this conference, six scholars from Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and China participated in an interdisciplinary panel discussion about “Spiritual Movements, Secret Societies, and Destructive Cults.” Covering such topics as the general spiritual situation of the contemporary world, the religious marketplace, the dangerous tendencies within some religious movements, and the role of the state in relation to religious communities, the discussion concludes with an examination of the conflict of Falun Gong with the Chinese government and the faults of the group’s leadership that brought the conflict to a head. The discussion offers a fruitful combination of theoretical insights and concrete case studies that provides a wide and deep purview of our present spiritual situation, setting forth both its dangers and its positive potential. This paper is a transcript of the panel discussion, with a brief introduction identifying its highlights.
book reviews
6. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack Hsun Chang and Benjamin Penny, Religion in Taiwan and China: Locality and Transmission
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7. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack Tobias Churton, Deconstructing Gurdjieff: Biography of a Spiritual Magician
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8. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack Stephen Edred Flowers, The Northern Dawn: A History of the Reawakening of the Germanic Spirit, Volume 1, revised edition
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9. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Ajay Dave Sumantra Bose, Secular States, Religious Politics: India, Turkey, and the Future of Secularism
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10. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Bernard Doherty Carole M. Cusack and Helen Farley, eds. Religion, The Occult, and the Paranormal
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11. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Stefan Fisher-Høyrem Michael Rectenwald, Nineteenth-Century British Secularism: Science, Religion and Literature
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12. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Suvarna Variyar Arshia Sattar, translator, Valmiki’s Ramayana
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13. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Suvarna Variyar Arshia Sattar, translator, Valmiki’s Uttara Kanda: The Book of Answers
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articles
14. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Ethan Doyle White Between the Devil and the Old Gods: Exploring the Intersection between the Pagan and Satanic Milieus
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In contrast to emic claims that modern Paganism and Satanism are inherently distinct phenomena with little or no common ground, this article demonstrates that there is an area of clear intersection between the two. To do so, it presents them both as different milieus within the wider framework of occultism, occulture, and the cultic milieu. To make the argument, three case studies are presented. The first concerns Satanic elements within the modern Pagan religion of Wicca, while the second two consider the Pagan aspects of two groups usually regarded as Satanic: the Temple of Set and the Order of Nine Angles. The aim is to illustrate the various ways in which the two milieus interact, thus shedding further light on these new, alternative religions.
15. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Kaarina Aitamurto The Faizrakhmanisty: The Islamic Sect as a Social Problem in Russia
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During the recent decade, the control of religious life and even the persecution of religious minorities has intensified in Russia. This article discusses a small Islamic group, Faizrakhmanisty. This group was named after its founder and leader, Faizrakhman Sattarov. The community lived isolated from the society in a small compound in Tatarstan. In 2012, the police conducted a raid as a part of the investigations of the murder of the Mufti of the republic of Tatarstan. Stories about this authoritarian and potentially dangerous sect were covered not only in Russian, but also in international media. Many of the stories contained exaggerated claims and relied on a few somewhat controversial “experts” of Islam in Russia. This article analyses the way in which Faizrakhmanisty were constructed as a social problem and a “totalitarian sect” and the consequent banning of the organization. In contemporary Russia, such labels as “sect” bring serious consequences for religious communities. In order to place the case of Faizrakhmanisty in context, the article discusses four other forms of Islam or Islamic organizations, Wahhabism, Hizb-ut Tahrir, Nurdzhular, and the National Organization of Russian Muslims, which are generally labelled as “sects” in the Russian context.
16. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Stefano Bigliardi Santo Daime Narratives In Italy: Walter Menozzi, Stella Azzurra, and the Conceptualization of Ayahuasca and Science
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The essay examines in detail the theology of Walter Menozzi, founder and leader of the Italian Santo Daime association Stella Azzurra, the history of which is also reconstructed here. Focusing both on the views expressed in Menozzi’s writings and on some narratives collected at a ritual in which the author actively participated, the study identifies eight ways in which ayahuasca, the psychoactive brew that is identified as a sacrament by Santo Daime affiliates, and science are conflated with religion by Santo Daime followers in order to substantiate, strengthen, and defend ayahuasca-related theology.
17. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Jonathan Tuckett Taekwondo: From Nationalistic Pursuit to Private Spirituality
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This paper develops an earlier proposal to consider ‘religion’ in terms of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological concept of the natural attitude. My overall aim is to argue that ‘religion’ represents an ideological concept for demarcating deviant modes of naturalisation. In focusing on the case of Taekwondo, I will not be able to give a full exposition to this understanding of ‘religion’ but, rather, will make a more conservative attempt to give better phenomenological sense to the term ‘spirituality,’ a concept that will be key for achieving the larger task. To demonstrate this, I will look at Taekwondo in relation to what John Donohue has called the ‘American warrior hero’ as an aspect of American modes of naturalisation.
18. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Wimal Hewamanage The History of the Kāli Cult and its Implications in Modern Sri Lankan Buddhist Culture
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Historically speaking, belief in gods and demons has been practiced all over the world, beginning even before organized religions came into being. Over the last few decades, the influence of the Kāli cult has spread rapidly in Sri Lankan Buddhist culture. This research paper reveals how and why the Kāli cult is popular today, with reference to its history. The investigation of its historical aspects is based on literature, while a discussion of the cult’s present practice is informed by examination of its methods of participation, as well as observations and open discussions. Data collection involved a literature review and qualitative interviews with the cult’s charmers and devotees. Some of the data indicates that the cult is based on an incarnation of Śiva’s wife named Kāli; other records suggest, however, that the cult originated in ancient India before the Aryan invasion. Recently, there has been some loss of spirituality among Buddhist adherents and it can be suggested, therefore, that the Kāli cult offers them direction in their worldly lives. Although the elements of cruelty present in the Kāli doctrine clash with Buddhist tradition, it seems that these adherents are willing to follow anything that enables self-benefit. To overcome this contradiction between Buddhism and the Kāli cult, the figure of Kāli has been transformed from a demoness into goddess.
19. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
James R. Lewis, Zhang Xinzhang, Oscar-Torjus Utaaker Processual Pagans: Quasi-longitudinal Approaches to Survey Research
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There is a common pattern for researchers to study one particular new religion, write a monograph or article on that specific group, and then begin the cycle all over again with a different group. This approach causes one to remember such groups as relatively stable organizations, fixed in memory at a specific stage of development, rather than as dynamic, evolving groups. In the present article, we will examine new data on contemporary Pagans that takes a quasi-longitudinal approach to survey data. Though our focus will be limited, the result will nevertheless be a partial statistical picture of Paganism as a changing, evolving movement, rather than a static statistical snapshot.
book reviews
20. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Stefano Bigliardi Santo Daime: A New World Religion. By Andrew Dawson
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