Comparing New Religions and Alternative Spiritualites Assignment | Online Assignment

Many scholars of new religions, including Rodney Stark and William Bainbridge, have theorised a relation between the degree of formal organisation of new religions and the types of spiritual rewards they offer. According to Stark and Bainbridge, formally institutionalised ‘cult movements’ that require much of their adherents also tend to promise much (in their terms ‘general compensators’; we can also speak of salvation), whereas less formally institutionalised groups (client cults and audience cults) that require relatively less commitment from their adherents also tend to promise less (in their terms ‘specific compensators’; we may also speak of blessings that materialise in this world). Does the evidence on the new religions and alternative spiritualities treated in this course back up or challenge this proposition? Write a paper that discusses the question above. Make sure that your paper: (a) briefly discusses different ways in which new religions and alternative spiritualities can be formally organised socially; and (b) thoroughly reflects on whether different degrees or forms of organisation of new religions/ alternative spiritualities tend to go together with (i) differences in spiritual rewards offered and/or (ii) differences in other characteristics, such as beliefs, rituals, and attitudes towards the world. In your own paper, you should not reprint the posed assignment word for word. Instead, introduce in your own way the research problem and any terminology from Stark & Bainbridge that you will need. Adapt their terminology if you need to. Possibly you will also need to introduce other theory from the course, for example on charisma and charismatic leaders and/or on different world orientations that new religions may have. The paper does not need to cover all the new religions/alternative spiritualities discussed in the course, but you must discuss at least four new religions/alternative spiritualities. Here is the list of religions and alternative spiritualies that you can pick from: Scientology, ISKCON, Unification Church, Mormonism, Wicca, Theosophy, Angel Therapy Movement, Source of Christ

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