New Religions in Global Perspective is the first truly worldwide account of the new religious movements that are currently the fastest-growing faith phenomenon in many parts of the globe. Ranging from North America and Europe to Japan, Latin America, South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, the book provides students with a complete introduction to groups such as Falun Gong, Soka Gakkai, the Brahma Kumaris, the Nation of Islam, Messianic Judaism, Rastafarianism, the Peyote cult, and Brazilian Candomble. Peter Clarke explores the dramatic rise of these enormously varied movements, charting their cultural significance and global impact, and discussing their place in a modern world of constant religious change. He also considers the many important ways in which their status as new religions is defined and understood, from genuinely unprecedented faiths with strictly modern roots to others that manifest themselves as new forms of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Paganism. Questions addressed include: * Are new forms of Eastern spirituality replacing old religions from the West? * Does the 'new age' exist as more than a media creation?
* Are new religious movements sacred or secular? * Do new religions brainwash recruits and incite violence? * Why is the public response to new religious movements so hostile? Looking also at the appeal and member profiles of new religious movements, their successes and failures, and their possible futures, this is the most accessible and wide-ranging guide to new religions today.
King's College, University of London and University of Oxford, UK