New Religious Movements

“One of the most fascinating things about religions is that, like all forms of life and culture, they are constantly changing. Change occurs for many reasons. Sometimes followers of one religion move into another culture, and their religion mixes with a locally established religion, thereby producing a hybrid faith. Sometimes social problems lead to the emergence of a new religion, one that helps people cope with the new social issues they face. Sometimes followers of an older religion argue with each other and then separate, creating a new branch or, occasionally, an entirely new religion. And sometimes individuals have life-changing insights, attract followers, and create a new religion around themselves. We should recognize that many of the major religions and denominations began in similar ways – as new, small, and sometimes persecuted religious movements.” (Michael Molloy, Experiencing the World’s Religions: Tradition, Challenge, and Change, 5th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010), 490.)

Some popular new religious movements include:

  • Contemporary Paganism: Wicca and Druidism
  • Religions of the Yoruba Traditions: Santería, Voodoo, and Candomblé
  • Theosophy
  • Scientology
  • Falun Gong
  • Cao Dai
  • Rastafarianism
  • Baha’i