Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

New Religions

  • Benjamin Beit-HallahmiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_459

The Phenomenon

Right now, there may be more than 10,000 living religions in the world, each promoting a separate belief system and having its own organizational structure. What makes a religious group unique are its own distinct beliefs, practices, authority structure, and leadership. Quite often the group’s history starts with a new claim to authority on the part of a new leader.

As used here, the term new religions, or new religious movements (NRMs), refers to groups founded after the year 1750. In recent years, such movements have been examined under the rubrics of religious experimentation, marginal religions, or oppositionist religions.

Quite interestingly, most of the religions that have ever been in existence were founded after 1750. The modern age, while being marked by secularization, is also marked by the appearance (and disappearance) of thousands of new religious movements. This may actually be directly related to secularization and the decline in the authority and...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael