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New religious movement facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Rainbow Gathering Bosnia 2007
A New Age Rainbow Gathering in Bosnia, 2007

New religious movement is a term that is used for certain religious communities. Such communities are usually small, compared to world religions. Very often, they do not have a long history. In most cases, the following will be true:

  • Most people in the movement converted from another religion; the case where the parents and children are part of the same movement does not occur often.
  • The members are all part of the same social group, for example the new middle class.
  • There is a charismatic leader.
  • There is a clear distinction between people who are part of the movement, and those that are not. This distinction can often not be made easily, for mainstream religions.
  • The way the group is organised may change.

Other names for such movements include sect and cult. They are problematic though, because they have a negative connotation. Examples for movements that have been called cults are Scientology, Transcendental Meditation, Unification Church, Family International also called Children of God, Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate and Wicca.

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