A previous post looked at New Age Religious Movements (NAMs) in terms of the idea of different “streams” – a way of broadly classifying NAMs according to the different types of transformation they promise (such as intellectual and lifestyle) the individual and / or society.
This PowerPoint Presentation complements this idea by looking at a broader typology of New Age Movements that classifies them in terms of three types:
1. Explicitly Religious: These types, examples of which include Krishna Consciousness and the Divine Light Mission, demonstrate a much stronger and more-overt religiosity than some of their New Age counterparts. The focus of these well-organised groups is spiritual / religious-type experiences that can be applied in various ways to the individual’s life and work.
2. Human Potential types focus more-specifically on various forms of individual, organisational and societal transformations, with the emphasis on releasing “inner spirituality” rather than worshiping an external religious form. Stark and Bainbridge (1987) called these “client movements” because they focused on providing a “service” to members / practitioners based around a “provider-client” relationship. The services provided, in the form of things like teachings, practices and tests, are frequently sold to practitioners – the latter often quite literally “buy-into” the spiritual services on offer.
3. Mystical types tend to adopt what Stark and Bainbridge classify as an “audience” (or leisure) approach to spirituality and they tend to embody what we traditionally perceive, somewhat stereotypically perhaps, “New Age” forms of spirituality to take. This type is invariably syncretic: spiritual movements embodying beliefs drawn from a mix of “ancient” religious, secular and philosophical teachings that can be picked up, modified and discarded almost at will.
The Presentation identifies a range of significant features of each type and offers an example or two, illustrated by short (30 – 40 seconds) video clips.