New Religious Movements Scholarship - Legit or Not?


Angelic Poster
Others know far more than I.

However, the short version is the CoS, through a series of CAN missteps and CoS harassment and litigation, CoS took over CAN. Then CAN 2.0 become a CoS front group.

Unbelievable, huh?


P.S. A good link for CAN's history is at
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Gold Meritorious Patron
Boomina, you're probably right. But the ones who are apologists are the ones who get the press.

And it's a publicity / notoriety / selfie world these days. Even in academe.


In the public eye that is true, but academics themselves despise apologists like these as they do plagiarists and other frauds.

Apologists get their professorship, get tenure and subsequently sell out to the highest bidder(s). Apologists surely shed many or all of their academic friends the moment they cross over. The people who gave them tenure and gave them a professorship will feel cheated. The rest will feel the similar contempt.

The term "NRM"/"New Religious Movements," at one time, did not exist.

One thing you might try to do is trace its origins.

While, in a category of study which came into existence, under shadowy conditions, over 40 years ago, one would expect to find, decades later, some variation, and some dissent, the majority of "NRM" persons stand in opposition to people such as Margaret Singer, Robert J. Lifton, Stephen Kent, and Steven Hassan.

You mean in the wake of the transformation of the word 'cult' in the 1970's when the Jonestown massacre took place?

For those who do not know about this transformation, the term 'cult' had 2 meanings prior to Jonestown.
1) A fad or craze such as the cult craze of the hula hoop.
2) A religion which is derived from the teachings of an older religion but is considered heresy by members of the same religion. This would include Christianity which is attached to the Jewish old testament but is rejected by Jews as well as Islam, which is dependent on Christianity and Judaism, but is rejected by Jews and Christians (This is one of the primary reasons Jews have been despised and/or persecuted for centuries by Christians and Muslims).

Jonestown was a cult in the sense of the second definition, the sense used by theologians. When the Jonestown massacre captured the headlines, the word 'cult' was used, because it was a derivative of Christianity, but heretical to Christians outside the group. The event had such an impact on society that the connotations of the word 'cult' were identical to the meaning of the expression 'dangerous sect.'

I suspect that the word also caught on because it's harsh consonants make it a convenient vehicle for catharsis, much better than 'sect'. It is not hard for people to look upon breakaways from a mainstream religion as dangerous. As I've mentioned, we see this sectarian tendency from the other direction when we consider hundreds of years of Jewish history.

After only a few decades, the original meaning of the term has been lost, except by a handful of upset theologians, who resent the hijacking of their terminology. I'm sure all cults at the time wanted a new propaganda term.