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Displaying: 1-20 of 28 documents


articles
1. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Carole M. Cusack Cognitive Narratology and the Study of New Religions
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J. Gordon Melton has opined that in the 1960s scholars were trying to explain why new religious movements existed, and ‘what was wrong that people were turning to new religions?’ (Melton 2007). He suggests that in the twenty-first century the mood has changed, and now ‘the emergence of new religions seems to be one sign of a healthy and free society’ (Melton 2007). This article argues that this ‘normalisation’ of new religions should be extended to those religions that are explicitly based on fictional texts and include popular cultural phenomena and ludic elements. Employing the theory of cognitive narratology (Zunshine 2006), it will be demonstrated that a vocabulary of neologisms and a strong narrative thread are characteristic of both sf and new religions and spiritualities. Beings such as gods and ancestors, angels and demons (which belong to the domain of religion) are made real to humans through story (both written text and oral transmission) and thus Theory of Mind (as employed by cognitive narratologists to discuss the ways humans relate to fictional characters) is also a useful interpretative tool to analyse the relationships humans have with supernatural/supraempirical beings such as those found in religions. It is concluded that fiction-based religions (particularly those based on science fiction and fantasy) are actually logical, because Theory of Mind leads readers to invest in the worlds created in the books and to attribute to the characters inner lives and motivations so that they are made more real and meaningful (and thus likely to occupy the place of gods/angels/etc). For a certain number of readers (or viewers of filmic texts), it is logical to elect to derive ethics and other meaningful principlesfor their lives from such narratives, which may take on the status of religion.
2. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
George D. Chryssides Sources Of Authority Among Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watch Tower Society And The Bible
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Jehovah’s Witnesses do not base their teachings on any new special revelation, but acknowledge the Bible as the infallible record of past direct revelations, obtained by those with special spiritual gifts, which have now died out. Since defining the canon of scripture can only be done by those possessing such gifts, its formation is attributed to the early Christian period. The author discusses the Society’s understanding of the relationship between the Hebrew-Aramaic scriptures and the Greek-Christian Scriptures (its preferred terms for the Old and New Testaments) and the need for a precise translation, which they believe its New World Translation provides. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses hold that the Bible cannot be studied reliably outside the Watch Tower organization, the question arises as to whether the Bible or the Society itself is the primordial source of authority. The Society teaches the importance of practices such as baptism, the annual Memorial, and house-to-house evangelism, which cannot be conducted outside the organization; hence belonging to the Society is equally a prerequisite for salvation as accepting biblical inerrancy. There is therefore a tension between whether it is the Bible or the Society’s Governing Body which is the fundamental authority in religious matters.
3. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Lil Abdo Osborn Mary Magdalene ‘The Lioness of God’ in the Baha’i Faith
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This paper examines the role of Mary Magdalene in the Baha’i tradition. ‘Abdu’l Baha son of the founder of the Baha’i Faith spoke of Mary Magdalene on numerous occasions, referring to her as the ‘Lioness of God’ and extolling her as an exemplar to his followers, ‘My hope is that each one of you may become as Mary Magdalene – for this woman was superior to all the men of her time and her reality is ever shining from the horizon of Christ.’ Mary Magdalene is portrayed as a female archetype in the context of the doctrine of ‘return’ which describes how in each revelatory cycle the phenomenon of recurring archetypal events and dramatis personae occur. Mary Magdalene is thus linked to the Persian Poet Tahirih, the immortal heroine of the Babi-Baha’i dispensation. 'Abdu'l-Bahá portrays Mary Magdalene as a courageous woman, venturing out into a hostile and dangerous environment, firmly determined to fulfil her mission and propagate the Cause of God. By doing so, she provided a role-model for the fearful followers of Jesus who had gone into hiding. The parallels to Tahirih, in terms of courage,determination and leadership qualities, cannot be overlooked.
4. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Rasa Pranskevičiūtė “Back To Nature” Philosophy In The Vissarion and The Anastasia Movements
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This article focuses on the twin phenomena of the Vissarion religious movement and the Anastasia “spiritual” movement, both classifiable as New Age. These groups arose in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and spread throughout Europe from the East.The linkage with Nature and the Earth (opposed to what they regard as artificial technocratic civilization), the importance of harmony – i.e. loving and respectful personal relationships with people, the Earth and God, and other ecological ideas – are characteristic of the subcultural “back to Nature” philosophy (the idea of returning to the “right” world and lifestyle) in these movements. Such ideas are realized in the process of sacralizing space (creating the united family of the Vissarions and the Anastasian love spaces), which is fundamental to the self-understanding of these subcultures. Findings are based on data obtained from fieldwork carried out over a six-year period (2004-2010) in Lithuania and Russia, including participant observation research and interviews with respondentsin both countries.
5. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Inga B. Tøllefsen Notes On The Demographic Profiles Of Art Of Living Practitioners In Norway And Abroad
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Examining the demographic profiles of Art of Living practitioners in Norway and to some extent in India, this paper presents new perspectives on some aspects of the practice and people in an Indian-oriented New Religion. Data relating to residence, age, gender, sexual orientation, marriage and children, levels of education, annual income, occupation, political orientation and voting are discussed. The primary findings are that Art of Living practitioners are, especially in a Norwegian context, predominantly adult, female, well-educated, resourceful and politically active – contrary to many popular beliefs about ‘cult’ members. Further,data on the movement’s key practice shows the importance of family and friendship networks for joining and continued involvement with the movement and its practices.
book reviews
6. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Scott Simpson Religions and Identities in Transition by Irena Borowik and Małgorzata Zawiła, eds.
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7. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Alexandros Sakellariou Teaching New Religious Movements by David G. Bromley, ed.
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8. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Christopher James Blythe In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death by Samuel Morris Brown
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9. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Jack Tsonis The Axial Age and Its Consequences by Robert N. Bellah and Hans Joas, Eds.
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10. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Margaret Gouin Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism by Wouter J. Hanegraaff, ed.
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11. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Régis Dericquebourg La Religion des Mormons [The Religion of the Mormons] by Bernadette Rigal-Cellard
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12. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Margaret Gouin The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion by Michael Stausberg and Steven Engler, eds.
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13. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Ted Hand White Magic, Black Magic in the European Renaissance by Paola Zambelli
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articles
14. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Helen A. Berger Contemporary Paganism: Fifteen Years Later
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The Pagan Census (PC) was conducted between 1993 and 1995, while the Pagan Census Revisited (PCR) was conducted in 2009-10. Though not ‘censuses’ in the proper sense, these two data sets represent the best quantitative information we have on contemporary Paganism. Contrasting the PCR with the PC indicates that much has remained the same, especially with regard to general demographic profile. The most dramatic change in the past fifteen years is the increase in the proportion of Pagans who practice alone.
15. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Carter Charles Francophone Mormons and the Internet: The Discovery of a Space Fit for Religious Freedom and Constructive Dialogue
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Investigating various types of communication used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, focusing mainly on online communications in a European context. Using findings from a research project studying the interaction between church members and European institutions and the interactions between Mormons and non-Mormons in a Francophone world. These communications are analyzed by tone, religious and non-religion nature and how the internet has influenced Francophone Mormons' communications.
16. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
James R. Lewis Toward a Paradigm for Longitudinal Studies: A Case Study of the Order of Christ Sophia
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In 2005, 2008 and 2011, demographic questionnaires were administered to the membership of the Order of Christ Sophia, a small new religion in the tradition of the Holy Order of MANS. Findings from these surveys are presented and discussed in terms of the parameters laid out by Lorne Dawson in his 2003 summary of NRM conversion research, ‘Who Joins New Religions and Why: Twenty Years of Research and What Have We Learned?’ In addition to analyzing the changes that have taken place in the Order from 2005 to 2011, the research project is presented as a paradigm for conducting longitudinal studies of other new religious movements in the future.
17. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Garry W. Trompf Macrohistory and End-Time Beliefs in New Religious Movements: Un tour d’horizon
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An important characteristic of New Religious Movements is that their founders purport to be masters of Past, Present, and Future. Indeed this may be a crucial indicator of these movements as ‘modern.’ This article introduces the range of ideas propounded by NRM leaders about history in general (‘macrohistory’) and about why history approaches some culminating point. It is a typical feature of NRMs that their followers believe the secrets of time have been disclosed and that what they are privileged to know about the course of things is a mark of their own and the group’s identity. NRM macro-histories and eschatologies are alwaysconstructed from pre-existing materials and their development as sets of ideas often re-enliven older religious, philosophical, ethnocentric and nationalist beliefs. Starting with sectarian Protestant and Indian-originated movements well known in the West, and documenting various themes in them, the article moves on to survey a wider body of non-Western outlooks. The ideas covered are also presented for being interesting in their own right.
review essay
18. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Sean Currie Key Scholarly Works on the Origins of the New Thought and Christian Science Movements: A Critical Assessment
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In this article, I examine central academic writings on the New Thought and Christian Science movements, concentrating on the scholarly treatment of these movements’ origins and influences. Using a comparative approach, I draw out key questions in these works, both explicit and implicit, with special attention to the role of spiritualism in these movements’ origins. I conclude by briefly discussing my findings and identifying mandates for further research on metaphysical movements.
book reviews
19. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Margaret Gouin Victorian Occultism and the Making of Modern Magic: Invoking Tradition by Alison Butler
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20. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Andrew Stuart Abel Religion in Contemporary China: Revitalization and Innovation by Adam Yuet Chau, ed.
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