Organisations, movements and members pt2


Explaining the growth of religious movements 

  • Marginality 
    • Max Weber (1922; 1993), sects tend to arise in groups who are marginal to society
    • Such groups may feel they they are disprivileged - that is, that they are not receiving their just economic rewards or social status
    • Sects offer a solution to his by offering a 'theodicy of disprivilege' - this is, a religious explanation and justification for their suffering and disadvantage 
    • Historically, many sects have recruited successfully among the disadvantaged blacks in the USA - however, since the 1960s, the sect-like-world-rejecting NRMS have recruited mainly from more affluent groups of often well educated young, middle class whites
    • However, Wallis argues that this does not contradict Webers view, because many of these individuals had become marginal in society - despite their middle class origins, most were hippies, dropouts and drug users
  • Relative deprivation 
    • This means that it is possible for someone is in reality quite privileged nevertheless to feel that they are deprived or disadvantaged in somne way compared to others
    • Although the middle class are materially well off, they may feel spiritually deprived, especially in todays materialistic, consumerist world - which they may see as impersonal and lacking in a moral value, emotional warmth or authenticity
    • Sects offer a sense of community 
    • Stark and Bainbridge argue that it is the relatively deprived who break away from Churches to form rsects 
    • The deprived may stress Christs claim that it is 'harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle' - a message that…


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