New Age Religion and the Cult of the Self
New Age Religion and the Cult of the Self is about James Tucker’s observations on the therapeutic nature of the New Age religion. His observations are based on his ongoing on informal therapy, or what anthropologists would call folk psychiatry. He conducted extensive interviews with well over 100 New Agers in several New England states. Sociologists define religion as a cultural system of commonly shared beliefs and rituals that provides a sense of meaning and purpose by creating an idea of reality that is sacred, all-encompassing, and supernatural. Three key elements to religion are: 1. Religion is a form of culture. Culture consists of shared beliefs, values, norms, and material conditions that create a common identity among a group of people. In the New Age religion, the decentralized nature of New Age spirituality is also reflected in its organization, or more accurately, its lack of organization. It is much less bureaucratized than both mainstream religion and professional psychiatry. Furthermore, there are no credentials or membership requirements. According to New Agers, anyone and everyone can become a “healer.” 2. Religion involves beliefs that take the form of ritualized practices. All religions have a behavioral aspect-special activities that identify believers as members of the religious community. New Age practitioners incorporate various ideas and artifacts from centuries-old Asian and Native American religious traditions. They spiritually practice "tapping into your psychic abilities" and "healing your inner spirit.” The New Age religion has a general philosophy, they repeatedly talk about the importance of a "connected" self, an "integrated" self, a "total" self. 3. Religion provides a sense of purpose-a feeling that life is meaningful. The comments of Celeste, a 50-year-old woman who works with "celestial energy”,” I desire to help people go back together, to become whole again" For Celeste, "people"...
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