Using material from item A and elsewhere, briefly examine some of the causes of the growth in new religious movements in modern society
Weber argued the growth of sects was likely to arise within groups that were marginal in society. Members of groups outside the mainstream of social life often feel they are not receiving the prestige and/or economic rewards they deserve.
The growth of sects in the USA in the 1960’s was accomplished through recruitment of marginal and disadvantaged groups. The black Muslims for e.g. aimed to recruit ‘the negro in the mud’ and the sect seemed to offer hope for some of the most desperate blacks.
Relative deprivation could be used. This refers to the subjectively perceived deprivation that which people actually feel. In objective terms the poor are more deprived than the middle class but in subjective terms certain members of the middle class may feel more deprived than the poor. They do not lack material wealth, but feel spiritually deprived in a world they see as too materialistic, lonely and impersonal.
According to Wallis, they therefore seek salvation in the sense of community offered by the sect.
Stark and Bainbridge also employ the concept of relative deprivation in explaining the origin of sects. They define sects as organisations which break away from an established church and they believe it is the relatively deprived who are likely to break away.
According to item a Hervieu- Léger has offered an alternative approach to the secularisation debate. This is that while it’s true that modern societies are dismissive of certain forms of religiously life, it is also the case that they created their own need for religion and forms of religion. In this alternative analysis, the process of secularisation becomes not so much the disappearance of religion altogether but an ongoing process of reorganisation of the nature and forms of religion into styles and structures that are compatible with modern day living.