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Assess the view that deprivation is the main reason for the growth or new religious movements.

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Introduction

Assess the view that deprivation is the main reason for the growth or new religious movements. Membership of established mainstream churches has dropped dramatically. However affiliation with other religious organisations (including penticostal, Seventh-Day Adventists and Christian sects) has risen just as noticeably. It is estimated that there may now be as many as 25,000 new religious groups n Europe alone. In attempting to classify new religious movements, Wallis identified three main kinds of NRM. World rejecting, world affirming, and world accommodating. World affirming groups are usually individualistic, life-positive and aim to release human potentials. They tend to accept the world as it is, but involves techniques, which enable the individual to participate more effectively and gain more from their worldly experience. Research suggests that these are more common amongst middle-aged, middle class groups- often disillusioned and disenchanted with material values and in search of new positive meanings. World affirming sects appeal to those who are likely to have finished education, are married, have children and have a mortgage. ...read more.

Middle

Being unattached is an outcome of the increasing gap between childhood and adulthood which as Willis has argued, has been further extended by the gradual lengthening of education and wider accessibility of higher education. It is to these unattached groups that world-rejecting movements appeal. They try to provide some certainty to a community of people who face similar problems and difficulties. What seems to be particularly appealing is the offer of radical and immediate solutions to social and personal problems. Barker, in her famous study 'the making of a moonie', found that most members came from happy and secure middle class homes with parents whose jobs involved some sort of commitment to public service such as doctors, social workers or teachers. She argued that the sect offered a surrogate family in which members could find support and comfort beyond the family, whilst fulfilling their desire to serve a community, in the same way as their parents did in the wider society. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the absence of either grand narrative, (religion or science), people seek to acquire a personal rationale for existence. This can involve a process of 'spiritualshopping', trying out the various alternatives until they find a belief system that makes sense to them. However some people would argue that this is still deprivation, as people are deprived of a reason for existence and so turn to NRMs for the answer. Deprivation such as a lack of prestige or housing can be defined as relative. This is where the persons expectations are not fulfilled to a position they feel they deserve. People may be attracted to an NRM because it offers something lacking in their spiritual or emotional fulfilment. Members may gain self-respect and a sense of community. In light of the evidence above almost all of the factors lean in agreement with the view that people join NRMs because they feel deprived of something in their life that they believe can be fulfilled from an NRM, whether it be a sense of community, self worth or even a reason for existence. ...read more.

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