Assess the View that New Religious Movements are Mainly for the Middle Class and Young

Topics: Middle class, Social class, Religion Pages: 2 (1403 words) Published: December 3, 2014
Assess the view that new religious movements are mainly for the middle class and young The growth of new religious movements gained pace during the social change of the 1960s, with an estimated 800 NRMs consisting of approximately more than half a million individuals. With an increase of young professional men and women, more and more people are turning to NRMs as a means of self-improvement and also due to an increase in secularisation and losing faith in the metanarratives of old religious explanations (Lyotard, 1984). Consequently, the majority of members of these movements are young middle class members. Despite this, the view fails to recognise that measuring the membership of some of these movements can be difficult. It is also important to note that while NRMs have experienced growth over the past 50 years, it should not be assumed that this means traditional views are being abandoned; over the last fifteen years or so, fundamentalism has increased due to people blaming the modernising influence of the Western for weakening people’s sense of community particularly in the working class. One of the main reasons for the young and middle class being attracted to NRMs is the secularisation of religion. Traditional religions have seen a decline over time, with more and more people turning to Atheism or simply abandoning traditional religions because their lifestyles and the world around them are more suited to the new movements that are providing better services and answers. Heelas and Woodhead theorised that the congregational domain (traditional religion) is declining due to the high demands, while the holistic milieu experienced growth due to their better services, particularly in Cumbria. This could also be due to the structural differentiation of industrial societies, which according to Parsons has led to religion being disengaged from the state. Secular states see religion as more of a privatised part of society. Postmodernists have also argued that...
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