Cults and New Religions Aren’t Hard to FindThey’re in your neighborhood . . . your workplace . . . your school . . . maybe even your family.Cults are flourishing across America. Chances are, you’ve encountered one, perhaps even know someone who is involved in a cult. Can you discuss knowledgably the critical differences between Christianity and the teachings of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, the New Age movement, Hindu-based cults, and other prominent groups and religious movements? In this essential resource, preeminent cult authority Ron Rhodes explains what cults are, why they are cause for concern, and why in the 21st century, as never before, their numbers and memberships are exploding nationally and worldwide. Drawing on his extensive experience as a cult researcher, Rhodes offers to-the-point, cutting-edge information on twelve major cults and new religions:MormonismJehovah’s WitnessesMind SciencesNew Age MovementChurch of ScientologyHindu-based CultsUnification ChurchBaha’i FaithUnitarian UniversalismOneness PentecostalismMasonic LodgeSatanismLearning the distinctives of these groups will equip you to deal with any of the thousands of other less significant cults you may encounter. The Challenge of the Cults and New Religion includes Color photosScripture IndexSubject IndexGlossaryBibliographyAnd your resources don’t end at the last page. You can supplement your knowledge whenever you choose by visiting the author’s Web site at www.ronrhodes.org for free, thorough, up-to-the-minute information on each cult discussed in the book.If you’re concerned for the temporal and eternal welfare of others, The Challenge of the Cults is a must. It will help you confront the deception of false Christs and lying doctrines with the clear, well-grounded truth of biblical Christianity.
In Mystics and Messiahs--the first full account of cults and anti-cult scares in American history--Philip Jenkins shows that, contrary to popular belief, cults were by no means an invention of the 1960s. In fact, most of the frightening images and stereotypes surrounding fringe religious movements are traceable to the mid-nineteenth century when Mormons, Freemasons, and even Catholics were denounced for supposed ritualistic violence, fraud, and sexual depravity. But America has also been the home of an often hysterical anti-cult backlash. Jenkins offers an insightful new analysis of why cults arouse such fear and hatred both in the secular world and in mainstream churches, many of which were themselves originally regarded as cults. He argues that an accurate historical perspective is urgently needed if we are to avoid the kind of catastrophic confrontation that occurred in Waco or the ruinous prosecution of imagined Satanic cults that swept the country in the 1980s. Without ignoring genuine instances of aberrant behavior, Mystics and Messiahs goes beyond the vast edifice of myth, distortion, and hype to reveal the true characteristics of religious fringe movements and why they inspire such fierce antagonism.
What is a cult? Why do they emerge? Who joins them? And why do tragedies such as Waco and Jonestown occur? This reader brings together the voices of historians, sociologists, and psychologists of religion to address these key questions about new religious movements. Looks at theoretical explanations for cults, why people join and what happens when they do. Brings together the best work on cults by sociologists, historians, and psychologists of religion. A broad-ranging, balanced and clearly organized collection of readings. Includes coverage of topical issues, such as the 'brainwashing' controversy, and cults in cyberspace. Section introductions by the editor situate the nature, value, and relevance of the selected readings in context of current discussions.
"Brief synopses of more than 30 influential groups, including the Integral Yoga Institute, Tibetan Buddhism, and the Human Potential movement, are also covered. Each major group is contrasted with traditional biblical teachings for easy comparison and study. Straightforward organization and clearly marked sections make [this book] easy to use. Other helpful features include: brief summaries of basic tenants and sources of authority; helpful charts for quick reference; an in-depth doctrinal appendix for further study..." -- BACK COVER.
James R. Lewis has written the first book to deal explicitly with the issue of how emerging religions legitimate themselves. He contends that a new religion has at least four different, though overlapping, areas where legitimacy is a concern: making converts, maintaining followers, shaping public opinion, and appeasing government authorities. The legitimacy that new religions seek in the public realm is primarily that of social acceptance. Mainstream society's acknowledgement of a religion as legitimate means recognizing its status as a genuine religion and thus recognizing its right to exist. Through a series of wide-ranging case studies Lewis explores the diversification of legitimation strategies of new religions as well the tactics that their critics use to de-legitimate such groups. Cases include the Movement for Spiritual Inner Awareness, Native American prophet religions, spiritualism, the Church of Christ-Scientist, Scientology, Church of Satan, Heaven's Gate, Unitarianism, Hindu reform movements, and Soka Gakkai, a new Buddhist sect. Since many of the issues raised with respect to newer religions can be extended to the legitimation strategies deployed by established religions, this book sheds an intriguing new light on classic questions about the origin of all religions.