New religious movements
Although classification is difficult, one of the more successful is that of R. Wallis, using ‘response to the world’ as the principal distinguishing criterion: this separates two main types: world-denying and world-affirming movements—and a third, relatively minor category, the world-accommodating type. The first type emerged as participants of the counterculture, somewhat disillusioned with its approach and objectives, began to turn to religions such as Hare Krishna (see INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY …), the Divine Light Mission, the Unification Church (see MOON, SUN MYUNG), and the Children of God, which shunned the world and stressed the importance of the expressive, experiential approach to religious truth over against reason and reflection.
For a time these movements, highly authoritarian, rigid, demanding, and communalistic, exercised most appeal, sometimes rivalled by the world-affirming Scientology and Transcendental Meditation. More recently, however, world-affirming movements as a whole (embracing among others metaphysical movements such as the Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship, such ‘self-religions’ as Exegesis and Silva Mind Control, African and Japanese new religions, for example the Aladura churches and Sōka Gakkai respectively) have experienced considerable growth.
The world-affirming movements (or self- or psycho-religions) aim to transform the individual by providing the means for complete self-realization, in the sense of becoming fully aware that the real or inner self is divine and that the ultimate goal of the religious quest is not to know but to become God.
Other common characteristics include a strong millennial dimension, the use made of contemporary language and symbols, eclecticism, and an egalitarian emphasis which in theory permits all to attain the highest levels of spiritual growth. The world-accommodating movements (such as the growth of Christian house churches, and the various restoration and renewal groups) are more concerned with personal holiness and the revitalization of the established religions than with the wider society.
"New religious movements." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/new-religious-movements
"New religious movements." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/new-religious-movements