New religious movement

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New religious movement denotes non-judgmental religious or religious-like social groups , whereby there are different definitions of the term. The designation is related to some movements instead of the (originally neutral) term “ sect ”. For some of the religious and ideological groups that have meanwhile been categorized as a new religious movement and that appeal to young people in particular, the term youth religion was used until the 1980s .

Definition criteria

Not all of the definitions listed here apply to every new religious movement. Typical criteria for new religious movements are:

  • Membership consists largely of converts who were not recruited by family membership .
  • Religious affiliation is atypical in the social environment.
  • Members belong to specific social groups , often the upper middle class .
  • Often there is a charismatic leader .
  • Often there is a clearer line between members and non-members than is the case with majority religions.
  • Frequently changing forms of organization.

As the name already suggests, a relatively short history compared to established religious communities, as well as a deviation from traditional belief systems, is a decisive characteristic of the new religious movements.

Situation in Germany

Study Commission

The 1996 commission of inquiry "So-called sects and psycho groups" of the German Bundestag renounced the term " sect ". The commission "expressly opposes the blanket stigmatization of such groups and rejects the use of the term 'sect' because of its negative connotation." The German constitution only recognizes religious associations, religious societies and religious communities. Therefore, under constitutional law, there is “no difference in this respect between the church and other forms of religious organization”.

Legal situation

According to the final report of the Enquete Commission, the current case law seems to assume that the Heilpraktikergesetz (Heilpraktikergesetz) in particular contains the idea of ​​preventing damage. Treatments, therapies and rituals which, in the opinion of the courts, are fundamentally unsuitable for causing damage, e.g. laying on of hands, pendulum treatment or spiritual healing, do not require any special legal restrictions under trade and association law, as long as the person being treated does not benefit from the claims Doctors are advised against.

Even with the idea of ​​restricting the freedom of movement of non-conventional religious associations, so-called mandatory protective clauses in the health sector and public administration have been discussed for a long time and have been used by private companies. These aim for the undersigned to declare that they reject ideas from one or more groups in order to be prosecuted in the event of a violation in accordance with the contractual penalty provided.

See also

Portal: New Religious Movements  - Overview of Wikipedia content on New Religious Movements


  • Peter Clarke: Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements . Routledge, 2005, ISBN 0-415-26707-2 .
  • Reinhard Hempelmann u. a .: Panorama of the new religiosity . 2nd edition, Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2005, ISBN 3-579-02320-9 .
  • Douglas E. Cowan, David G. Bromley: New Religions and Their Cults . Insel, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3458710318 .
  • Dominic Akyel: New Religious Movements and Violence. Approaches to explaining the dynamics of violent escalation processes . Diplomica Verlag, Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8366-5326-8 (At the same time diploma thesis at the FU Berlin 2006 under the title: Explanatory approaches to the dynamics of violent escalation in the context of new religious movements ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Eileen Barker: Perspective: What Are We Studying? In: Nova Religio 8, 2004, issue 1, pp. 88-102.
  2. a b c Eileen Barker: New religious movements: A practical introduction . Her Majesty's Stationary Office, London 1989, pp. 10f.
  3. Hubert Knoblauch : The Invisible New Age: 'New Age', privatized religion and cultic milieu . In: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 41, 1989, pp. 504-525, here p. 517. Cf. Thomas Robbins: Cults, Converts and Charisma: The Sociology of New Religious Movements . In: Current Sociology 36, 1988, pp. 1-255, here p. 4.
  4. David G. Bromley, Anson D. Shupe: Anti-Cultism in the United States: Origins, Ideology and Organizational Development. In: Social Compass 42, 1995, pp. 221-236, here p. 228.
  5. ^ Clarke, Peter B .: New Religions in Global Perspective: A Study of Religious Change in the Modern World . Routledge, New York 2006.
  6. Final report of the study commission “So-called sects and psychogroups” (PDF; 6.5 MB). German Bundestag , printed matter 13/10950, June 9, 1998, pp. 4, 17 ff.
  7. Final report of the study commission (PDF, 6.2 MB). Retrieved July 9, 2016 .
  8. openJur eV: AG Gießen, judgment of June 12, 2014 - Az. 507 Cs 402 Js 6823/11. In: Retrieved July 9, 2016 .
  9. Martin Mendler - SPD parliamentary group: Health sector more and more infiltrated by Scientology and psycho-groups. In: Retrieved July 9, 2016 .
  10. See Claudia Wustmann: Review of: Cowan, Douglas E .; Bromley, David G .: New religions and their cults. Frankfurt am Main 2010 . In: H-Soz-u-Kult , April 14, 2011, accessed April 14, 2011.