There are those, particularly historians of religion such as J. It is, however, probable that there are around 2, identifiable NRMs in Europe and North America, with a roughly similar number in Asia and possibly depending again on what is included by the definition several thousand more in Africa and elsewhere. On the other hand, the Church of Scientology, although called a new religion by its founder, L. In Britain there is a growing diversity of religious groupings that are tolerated by Church of England. New Age provides sense of uncertainty. While the earlier Christian sects were classified in Religious Sects by Bryan Wilson according to the actions that they believed necessary to achieve salvation, no such satisfactory typology has been developed for the more disparate NRMs. In the Shi'a denominations, there is a professional clergy led by a Grand Ayatollah. After their formation, sects can take only three paths - dissolution, institutionalization, or eventual development into a denomination. Thirdly, NRMs tend to appeal to an atypical representation of the population. A sect is a religious group that has branched away from a church or denomination. The Basic Law of Saudi Arabia states:
Official responses to the NRMs have varied, from their being completely outlawed in some Islamic countries to their being treated in the same way as any other religion in countries such as the Netherlands or the US, although actual practices have not always been as even handed as the law would seem to demand. A number of countries have amended their constitutions or passed laws that distinguish crudely or subtly between new and more traditional religions, denying the former privileges or rights accorded to the latter Richardson The development of norms results in a decrease in spontaneity, which is often one of the primary attractions of sects. World-Rejecting Religious organisations with a clear notion of God. However, it also offers a dynamic approach that attempts to grasp the ever-changing nature of many NRMs, which are constantly evolving, and even different at the same point in time, depending on location and other contextual considerations. Instead the term NRM has come to be adopted by those wishing to indicate that they are working from a more scientific perspective on contemporary religious phenomena in the West. Nevertheless, the categorisation scheme is useful as it also outlines a sort of developmental process for religions. However, while it is true that many NRMs, at least in their early days, have, like evangelical Christians, put considerable pressure on potential converts, this tends not to be all that effective. Once members start to have children, the children themselves do not give the same commitment and the organisation will become less extreme and turn into a denomination. They may lack most of the characteristics of religious movements. According to Wallis, "sects lay a claim to possess unique and privileged access to the truth or salvation, such as collective salvation , and their committed adherents typically regard all those outside the confines of the collectivity as 'in error'. Another difficulty is a high turnover rate, with joiners being counted more assiduously than leavers. He gives three ideal types of cults: Bruce Campbell discusses Troeltsch's concept in defining cults as non-traditional religious groups that are based on belief in a divine element within the individual. Characteristics of New Religious Movements The enormous diversity within the current wave of new religions cannot be overemphasized. Because there is significant variation in each religion, how closely an individual religion actually holds as their ideal type categorisation will vary. However, this early work within the classical tradition of the sociology of religion has fallen into disfavour in recent times in large part because of the usurpation of the term by popular media and opponents of religious experimentation. But given their closer semblance to denominations than to the cult type, it is more accurate to describe them as denominations. The authors claim that the generality, clarity, and intensity of the compensators increased as one moves from audience cult to cult movement. Sects that depend upon a charismatic leader will tend to disappear when that leader dies. This can divide the cults into being either occults or metaphysical assemblies. The sociologist Paul Schnabel has argued that the Church of Scientology originated from an audience cult the readership of Hubbard's book Dianetics: Such entities are viewed as bad, and to be avoided by individuals and controlled by societies. They have few or no consequences for the lives of adherents. As its membership grew, its rejection of society was watered down. Several governments have commissioned official reports about the movements. Individuals do not have to demonstrate their faith to become members of a church — indeed often they are born into it.
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