Legitimating New Religions
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.
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Legitimating new religionsUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Lewis (religious studies, Univ. of Wisconsin) wrote this book to fill a gap in the study of new religions, claiming that there has been no new analysis of the strategies used by these movements to ... Read full review
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AND THE ORIGINS OF RELIGION
NATIVE AMERICAN PROPHET RELIGIONS
ESUS IN INDIA AND THE FORGING OF TRADITION
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND THE SPACE BROTHERS
ANTON LAVEY THE SATANIC BIBLE AND THE SATANIST TRADITION
HEAVENS GATE AND THE LEGITIMATION OF SUICIDE
THE AUTHORITY OF THE LONG AGO AND THE FAR AWAY